NEW Post Office has REMOVED the May 2011 requirement for IMB! It is now scheduled for Jan. 27th, 2013.

Intelligent Mail Barcode requirements are coming,?you need to start thinking about them today in order to retain your postal discounts after May 2011. Beginning on May 16, 2011, the Postal Service will no longer accept mail with a Postnet ?barcode for automation discounts. You will need to use the Intelligent Mail Barcode (IMB) on your automation mail. For your outbound mail, this is easy because Eye/Comm will do it for you.

However, in order to get automation discounts on your outbound mail, any inbound mail included – business reply mail or courtesy reply mail – in the mailing will also need to be automation compatible, and will need an IMB.

Of course many of our clients order reply envelopes in bulk months in advance, so even though the requirement doesn’t kick in until May, you really need to begin planning for your reply mail now. In order to create an inbound IMB you will need to have your own mailer ID as well as appropriate artwork created for your reply mail.

Getting a Mailer ID (MID)

Getting an MID involves an online application process with the Postal Service. It is not difficult and only takes about ten minutes, but the site is not particularly intuitive to navigate. To get started we are offering a step by step guide click here to get it.

You will start at the USPS Business Customer Gateway. The first thing you will need to do is register as a new user. You can do this by clicking the “Sign Up” button in the Login panel. From there, just follow the prompts.?If you have questions, or would like us to help you?through the process, just give us a call 619-448-6111.

A couple of points about the MID you need for your reply mail:

  • If you already have an MID, you can use it for your reply mail, too.
  • You are allowed to have more than one MID, so if you are not sure if you already have one, don’t worry about getting another one for reply mail.
  • Even if you have multiple locations, it’s OK to use one MID for all of your reply mail.
  • After you have created your MID for reply mail you can still use ours for outbound mail, and we prefer that you do.

Creating the your inbound IMb

Getting your MID was just your first step in making your reply mail Intelligent Mail compatible. The MID is just one component of the Intelligent Mail barcode (IMb) that you will need on your new reply mail pieces. Other components include: a Service Type Identifier (STID), a three digit code that tells the barcode sorter what class and type of mail you have and what services you have requested; a serial number that can uniquely identify a mail piece (but will generally be all zeros for preprinted reply mail); the ZIP+4 for the reply address (nine digits, unless a delivery point is added – don’t ask); finally, a barcode identifier, just for the sake of adding two more digits, and always “00” on reply mail.

The USPS will provide art for you once you have the MID. You can contact Eye/Comm to move this thru the post office for you, or you can contact the post office directly. Remember, you will need to contact the post office where your reply mail goes to get corrected artwork including the IMb.

Time Frames and Help

You can begin to use the IMB on your inbound mail now, but it is not required until May 2011. The best course for you to follow in getting ready is to let us walk you through the process.? Even if you are not currently an Eye/Comm client we can help you. Call us to set up an appointment with a customer service representative.

NOTE: this post was originally published on www.sumgould.wordpress.com.