This article appeared in the March 2021 issue of NPSOA Magazine.

Millions of Americans requested mail-in ballots for the 2020 presidential and senate elections- a record-breaking number prompted by the COVID-19 health crisis. With the unprecedented requests came a great deal of unknown. There was uncertainty about the integrity of mail-in voting and the Post Office’s ability to deliver the ballots, along with other mail, in a timely manner. The Georgia run-off election held on January 5, 2021, was no different. Reports found that there was a 9% decrease in on-time deliveries during the Georgia run-off. The 9% fall affected more than just political mail; the decline accounted for a significant loss of income among marketing mail and compliance mail.

Even though the ballots used for mail-in voting were marked with IMb, the remainder of the 9% of mail affected were sent mostly unmarked.

What could have been done?

Having the ability to track mail is an invaluable resource for ensuring the best performance from your mailpieces. The United States Postal Service® uses Intelligent Mail barcodes (IMb®) to sort and track letters and flats. IMb increases customers’ abilities to track individual mailpieces through the mailstream and better visualize the mail’s’ journey.

BCC Software takes mail tracking a step further with Track N Trace® (TNT™). TNT provides customers with top-of-the-line mailpiece intelligence and reporting.  Having Track and Trace enables customers to collect meaningful reports that give insight into campaigns and gauge what is working well and what could be fixed. TNT’s customizable reporting can be run at any time or on any schedule. This means customers can schedule reports to be sent to them at times that make the most sense for them and their business.

TNT enables customers to monitor both outbound and inbound mailings. Tracking outbound mail identifies weak links in the delivery chain, helps predict mailstream patterns for future jobs, and helps customers form concrete conclusions based on data from the TNT reports. Alternatively, tracking inbound mail gives customers notice of incoming mail, including Business Reply mail.  Having an earlier idea of incoming mail helps predict cashflow with more precision, streamline inventory management, and organize customer service efforts.

How Would TNT have helped?

Getting back to the Georgia run-off elections, TNT could have pinpointed which mail pieces were delivered and which pieces were lost. Processing this information helps plan future mailings and create targeted mailing lists. TNT offers 22 comprehensive reports that sort information by Date, Network Distribution Center (NDC), Sectional Center Facility (SCF), State, and 5 Digit Zip.

Adding outbound and inbound mail piece tracking integrates easily into any direct mailing workflow. The Track N Trace service is available to any mailer via file upload, or through direct integration with our BCC Software family of products: BCC Mail Manager™, BCC Bulk Mailer®, BCC Architect, and BCC Ignite.