Have you been using the Intelligent Mail® barcode (IMB) technology? It’s a barcode system for letters and flats that according to the USPS’s FAQ’s will “expand the ability to track individual mailpieces.” The IMB will combine the current data schemes of POSTNET™ and PLANET CODE®. Currently it is an optional format, but for mail houses to continue getting automation prices, it will need to be implemented across the board by May 2011.
Letters have been able to be processed with IMB since late 2006 and the technology was expanded to automation rate flat sized mailers in 2007. The Postal Services feel most people have recognized the significant benefits of IMB the multi service barcode allows for. These benefits include delivery forecasting, free address change service, and payment tracking.
The one line barcode will encode 31 digits into 65 vertical bars. The data will represent:
- a Barcode Identifier which indicates the level presorting completed.
- a Service Type Identifier indicating class type and other services requested.
- a Mailer ID a USPS designated six or nine digit number assigned to the business mailing the pieces.
- a Sequence Number designated by the mailer to the individual piece.
- And a Delivery Point Zip Code. The Delivery Point Zip Code is optional, which indicates the delivery point. This can range from five to eleven digits.
Hopefully this gets you excited about the upcoming permanent change to IMB! I know we have already started using it and so far are pleased with the results. As always, feel free to let us know if you have any questions or concerns.