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Defense Against High Postage Rates

Mailers should expect postage rates to increase twice a year for the foreseeable future. They should take every step possible to minimize the impact of postage rate hikes. Some strategies include taking advantage of postal promotions, improving address accuracy, and postal presorting.

What Does the Postal Service Do?

This question may be a blinding flash of the obvious. Ask anyone; the USPS delivers mail. As much as the Postal Service is the preeminent delivery organization, they are equally adept at sorting mail. From dropping a birthday card in a blue mail receptacle in Key West, Florida, to delivering it in time for the party in Hope Point, Alaska, the sorting effort is staggering. Whenever the Post Office touches a piece of mail, it costs money. If you sort your mail before delivering it to the dock at the Postal facility, you qualify for a postage discount. Sorting before induction into the mailstream is called “presorting.”

Of course, the USPS has rules and requirements for preparing mail for acceptance. The good news is hardware and software technology make presorting discounts available to almost any mailing organization.

Sort the Good

Americans change addresses at an astounding rate. Over 15% of the country’s population moves each year.  Additionally, the Postal Service realigns ZIP and ZIP+4 Codes as the population shifts and because of new construction. Inaccurate address information has a knack for infiltrating your mailing list because of data entry errors and list corruption. For a postal presort to be valid, mailers must update and correct addresses. A “clean” address is necessary for the USPS presort discount programs. Two well-known postal programs that ensure deliverable mail include:

  1. CASS-Certified™ address standardization. This application corrects misspellings, directionals (north, south, east, west), and suffixes (drive, street, circle). It verifies the address, updates the ZIP Code, and adds the ZIP+4 code. Today, a machine reads the delivery address more often than a human, so everything needs to be correct. Software calculates the postal barcode from this information.
  2. The National Change of Address™ (NCOA) move updating program. Software providers and internet services offer a cost-effective NCOA service to update recently moved residences and businesses.

Sorting and MASS™ Certification

Throughout processing, sortation hardware scans the address block of each piece of mail, searching for address information or the postal barcode. The scanning process is highly flexible. The address does not have to be in a consistent location on the envelope or flat. It can be on either side of the mail piece. As the mail travels down a conveying track, the equipment diverts mailpieces to the appropriate bins for the presort schema based on the ZIP Code and other address data. The correspondence is moved from the bins to mail trays already sorted and ready for the post office at a reduced postage rate. The sorting hardware continues to process mail during loading and unloading. There is no reason to stop working.

The USPS certifies sorting hardware to sort based on postal standards and print clean, accurate postal barcodes on the mailpieces. The MASS™ certification extends the CASS™ software certification system mentioned earlier. The USPS and the mailing industry cooperated to design the process to improve the accuracy of postal codes. MASS™ certification is mandatory for mailers using sorting hardware to print delivery point barcodes (DPBCs) on mail pieces submitted for mailing at discounted automation rates.

Presort Mail with Automation

Mail Manifesting

Mail sortation hardware often offers the benefit of mail manifesting. A manifest mailing system enables a mailer to document postage and fees for all pieces in a mailing paid via permit imprint. One significant advantage of manifesting is it qualifies mailers to pay for nonidentical weight pieces with a permit imprint. Other benefits of manifesting include:

  • Automated documentation provides easily maintained mailing records.
  • Convenience of paying by permit imprint. There is no need to affix stamps or meter strips.
  • Combine different classes of mail on the same manifest.

From Tritek Technologies

Since 1988, Tritek has engineered patented, field-proven mailroom automation and document imaging solutions to improve productivity and mailroom efficiency. Tritek’s outbound mail processing equipment and software allow organizations to weigh, label, manifest, barcode, print reports, and build trays and bundles. Our expanding menu of mail services includes Biohazard Screening, Digital Email Delivery, Database Management, Returned Mail Processing, Inbound Mail, Presorted Mail, and Parcel Processing. Tritek’s clients include Fortune 500 companies, government, educational institutions, financial services, healthcare, insurance, and fulfillment.


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