The Problem: Costly Duplicate Barcodes
Data departments are generating duplicate barcodes for some of the mail their Lettershops are giving to comminglers. This is a serious problem that’s burning mailers of record like Midwest, left on the hook for potentially steep postal assessments and fines.
To our data gurus, a duplicate IMb is: STid+MID+Sequence Number+Zip5+Zip4+Delivery Point.
To the USPS, it’s a bit simpler. A duplicate IMb is: STiD + MID + Sequence Number … repeated on multiple mail pieces. This sequence number cannot be reused for 45 days.
Compliance costs are largely absorbed by comminglers, who put their name and reputations to every mailing they put out. But responsibility lies with every party.
Lettershops must be processing in actual Full Service environments, and penalties stemming from duplicate barcodes are going to prove costly to production facilities in an industry moving to best practices and universal compliance.
You can be sure if a commingler takes a hit for your postage errors, those fines will be passed back your way. Postal assessments are not in place yet; but, they are coming – and we’re helping all our partners get their ducks in a row now. It all starts with good data!
Mail producers must keep updated software and processes in place; if that’s prohibitive, outsourcing data management to comminglers like Midwest is always an option.
So what needs to change?
Quality comminglers with great USPS scorecards and internal best-practices in place won’t be able to accept mail from customers or shops not meeting uniqueness standards for barcodes, or who don’t outsource their data functions to Presort operations ensuring Full Service compliance.
Keeping our qualifications
Full Service qualifications are lost if certain standards are not met, such as ensuring accurate addressing, barcode quality, Move Update compliance and barcode uniqueness. The other rule to remember is that mailers must wait 45 days to re-use a barcode serial number.
It’s simple: Keep penalties at bay by keeping data in sequence. Comminglers take on all of responsibility when preparing a mailing, but we need – and appreciate – cooperation from all our partners to be as good as we can, every mailing.
*The six and nine digit serial numbers need to change on every mail piece.
Additional Resourcesbarcodes, commingle, data, IMb, intelligent mail barcode, lettershop, mail piece, mailings