With scorecard issues becoming more and more prevalent with PostalOne! our Customer Support teams have reviewed the most common issues. Increasingly, Barcode Uniqueness errors have emerged as one of the forerunners. BCC Mail Manager’s MID Management tool is used by everyone who generates Intelligent Mail® barcodes, but the tool is often misunderstood. Correct usage of this feature can make the difference between a scorecard full of errors and a perfect record. Barcode Uniqueness errors occur when you use the same combination of Mailer ID and serial numbers for more than one mail piece within a 45 day period.
MID management is designed to automatically assign and track serial number for every one of your Mailer IDs, to avoid repeats. It is accessible from either the BCC Mail Manager main menu or the Presort Summary Printing menu under Configure > Mailer ID Management. Each MID entry has three associated values. First is the Mailer ID, then the offset (which is the serial number last assigned for that MID) and lastly an Alternate MID, which is used when the first MID exhausts all of its serial numbers. When a Mailer ID is used in a mailing, the offset number for that Mailer ID is advanced to match the serial numbers that have been used. This is the basic method the Mailer ID Management tools employs to avoid duplicate serial numbers. Understanding how to set up each MID and how to read and use the offset will go a long way toward mitigating Barcode Uniqueness errors.
First let’s focus on the offset. As we mentioned this is the last serial number assigned by Mail Manager for the linked Mailer ID. Each time you generate serial numbers for a given Mailer ID, this number advances to the last one used. This allows us to use all of the unique numbers available to each Mailer ID, without overlapping. Problems arise when we reach the end of an offset. For a typical 9-digit Mailer ID, this occurs at an offset of 999,999 or when the number of pieces in the job will exceed the offset. When this occurs, the offset resets and serial numbers are assigned starting at 1. As long as it takes you more than 45 days for you to use all of the available serial numbers, you should not have any Barcode Uniqueness errors. However if you regularly mail more than a million records in 45 days, this can be the source of the problem. The only solution is to request an additional MID from the USPS. Once you have two or more MIDs it can be a struggle to manage which MID to use for which job. The Alternate MID system should go a long way to remove some of that struggle and extend the total number of serial numbers you can assign before repeating.
An Alternate Mailer ID allows you to chain multiple MIDs together so that you only need to enter one MID for every job, but can still enjoy the increased number of serial numbers available to you by having multiple Mailer IDs. BCC Mail Manager takes care of switching between MIDs and using all of the available serial numbers, before reverting back to numbers it has previously used. Whether you have two MIDs or 10, it is important to set them up correctly so that they can chain together and produce the desired results.
Alternate MIDs must be linked together so that they always loop back to the first MID. This is the most common issue we find when someone is using Alternate MIDs and still getting Barcode Uniqueness errors. The correct setup ties MID1 to MID2, MID2 to MID3 and then MID3 back to MID1. This pattern continues no matter how many MIDs you have, with each linking to the next and the last one linking to the first. This is essential so that the program advances through every available serial number, and then once every MID is used, it can roll everything back and start fresh. Here is an example of what that might look like for three MIDs in the Mailer ID Management window.
When you create barcodes using this setup, you only need to enter MID 900000001. This first MID advances up to 999,999 and then MID 900000002 is used on your mail pieces, without you needing to change the MID you enter in your IMB properties. This continues from MID 900000002 to 900000003. Once 900000003 is used up, it everything goes back to 0 and restarts with 900000001. This allows you to use all three million serial numbers available to you, without having to monitor the exact offset and adjusting your saved labels and templates each time one of the MIDs hits maximum capacity.
These quick tips for managing your Mailer IDs can go a long way to avoiding Barcode Uniqueness issues. As long as you have everything set up correctly, and have the correct number of MIDs for your mail volume, this setup should eliminate Barcode Uniqueness errors without forcing you to calculate and catalog every serial number used in every mailing
As always, please call customer support at 800.624.5234 if you need any assistance with this or have any questions.