Until the USPS begins to close facilities, mailers can continue operating as usual. The first impact of closures will be changes in postal destinations as shown in Labeling Lists. (Labeling Lists show the active 3- and 5-digit ZIP codes of origin and their destination locations.) Mail list management software vendors will make these changes, which may come more frequently than in the past.
Mailers will also need to make customers aware of changes in delivery standards since the elimination of overnight service for first class and periodical mail may affect the mailing schedule.
In with IMb, out with POSTNET
After at least two postponements for implementing the Intelligent Mail Barcode (IMb), the USPS has set announced the date for retiring the POSTNET code for automation discounts. As of January 2013, all mailers claiming automation discounts will be required to use IMb. Using a POSTNET barcode will only get non-automation presort discounts.
Between January 2013 and January 2014 mailers can use either basic or full service IMb. But beginning January 2014, full service IMb will be required for automation discounts and the IMb basic service will be retired.
The USPS has invented a new product to help companies with their marketing efforts. Called Picture Permit Imprint Indicia, the product is a redesign of the familiar presorted first class or standard mail indicia. With Picture Permit, a company can use the indicia area of the mail piece to advertise their brands. The indicia have been tested on more than one million first class mail pieces; additional test mailings are planned.
The indicia still must contain the class of mail, the permit number, city, and state (or name of the company using a company permit), but these elements can be arranged around the logo or other graphic. The image must print in color (black-and-white is not allowed because it failed the reflectance test) and the required text must be at least eight-point type and OCR readable. The mail piece must also use full service IMb.
The USPS has filed with the PRC for approval. If granted, the program was to be rolled out in late June 2012 for presorted first class letters and cards and standard mail letters. Using the Picture Permit will cost one cent more in postage per piece for first class and two cents per piece for standard mail.