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USPS changes, data-rich IMb mean opportunity for mailers — Part 3 of 3

Today, many transactional mailers – particularly larger ones who have legacy IT systems – rely upon presorters to assign their barcodes and meet Move Update requirements. We see a trend toward more mailers getting control of their legacy data, assigning barcodes pre-print and then using the uniqueness of the IMb to bring transparency to the presorting and delivery process.

While these changes will not happen overnight, it is a good time to step back and assess where the presort industry can add more value in the future. There are several areas – however, clearly this will take new thinking and perhaps changes to existing business models. Priority one is achieving maximum discounts – e.g. 5-digit discounts for a large portion of your sorted mail volumes (First Class or Standard A). The First Class presort industry has already been transformed by one very large player to become an industry that has national large mailers and local mailers. In either case – the main value that the industry can add is to commingle mail volumes to achieve the highest 5-digit discount volumes that are possible.

Increasingly, mailers who handle non-local mailings need to work with partners to achieve these discount levels. Given the competitive threat of national networks and the USPS designating AADC and 3-digit sorting as optional – maximizing 5-digit is the best option for remaining competitive. To achieve this, presorters should look for local partners – data/manifest-prepared mailings or other presorters – to share mail in a manner that maximizes discounts.

BBH has implemented tools in our BCC and Sorting software offerings, and we continue to refine them to help mailers achieve these goals. Our vision is to create a connected set of offerings, from list processing or from meter-prepared mailings, which seamlessly connect to NetSort to enable mailers to achieve maximum 5-digit discounts. Unique IMbs are a foundational building block for achieving these goals and receiving USPS approvals for multi-site mail movement.

Beyond optimizing postage, the data-rich platform from IMb enables dramatically improved opportunities for customer service. Our postal software offerings enable significantly improved customer service – recently implemented features that improve transparency and feedback for your customers. Some of these features include the ability to import Mail.dat files from your clients, optimize sort schemes and report back based upon actual processing results.

It also includes mail tracking through the USPS IMb Confirm platform and the ability for your customers to access your NetSort server via the internet to check on job status. Some mailers are also beginning evaluate the sorting and delivery process. Mailpiece tracking from data (pre-print) throughout the document lifecycle is now readily available in the toolset that is part of our offerings. All of these items are examples of new services that you can provide to your clients.

** This article was originally published in the 2010 Q4 edition of the The Broadcast, BÖWE BELL + HOWELL’s sorting customer newsletter. If you would like to subscribe to the email list to receive these newsletters, please send an email to