USPS Weighs Letter-Size Mail Automation Exclusion

Posted on by Chief Marketer Staff

The U.S. Postal Service is considering a move that would permit direct marketers and mass mailers to exclude their letter-size mail from the initial automation process.

According to postal officials mailers would have the option of excluding their letter-size mail from any automated processing involved with the initial distribution of mail, including tabbing and labeling machines, barcode sorters and optical character readers.

In addition they are considering revising the second line of the labels on trayed mail, replacing the phrase “NON OCR” with “NON BC” for presorted first class and Standard A (advertising) mail letters.

Postal officials explained that while the new tray label should provide adequate identification of letter-size mail presorted by 5-digit Zip code, mailers presorting letter-size mail by 3 digit Zip code must attach a “Do Not Automate” label to “ensure proper identification of [mail] bundles for manual processing.”

Although 95 percent of all letter size mail is machine processed, postal officials said that there are a growing number of mailers who lower their costs by folding and binding their mail pieces instead of placing them in envelopes. Generally, they said these are “smaller firms who do not want to invest the time and capital necessary to meet the requirement for higher postage discounts.”

In a move to help those mailers, and to reduce the number of mail pieces damaged because of unsealed edges which often jam automation equipment, the USPS has added leading-edge tabbing machines and labeling systems to the more than 11,500 optical character reading machines and delivery barcode sorters to stabilize the mail piece and minimize damage.

The move was unveiled in the December issue of the postal service’s Memo to Mailers.

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