Special Section Mailing & Fulfillment -- Leveraging Your Maili
Truth be known, software developers are in the same position and have been since the early 1990's. They, too, seldom have the luxury of being proactive in developing enhancements and features in their software that they believe the mailing industry could really utilize (and purchase) because they are continually reacting to changes in sorts, rules, rates and certifications that come from the USPS. All of these processes have become more and more complex and cumbersome as the last decade evolved.
In the late 1980's there were basically three discounts that mailers could claim when preparing a mailing. Three digit, five digit and carrier route. Marking of bundles consisted of a green three, a red D or the occasional MS (mixed state) sticker. Remember the blessedly simple days when the mailing statement was accompanied by a handwritten listing of carrier route counts? That was all the mailer needed to claim the deepest postage discounts. In 2004, there are more than 3,000 discounts available from the USPS and nothing handwritten is acceptable.
"The Postal Service is in the midst of one of the most fertile and innovative periods it has ever experienced, driven largely by advances in technology. Over the last few years, we've seen more product introductions and service enhancements than we have over the previous quarter century," then-Postmaster General William J. Henderson said in 2001. Most of the "advances in technology" that Henderson mentioned involve software in some way, shape or form.
In the 1990's the mailing industry began looking with an eye for automation at the physical characteristics of the printed pieces that were to be mailed. All printed pieces began to be reviewed at the design stage from a "postal point of view."
Mailpieces that were designed to comply with automated requirements resulted in significantly reduced postage costs and experienced an improvement in deliverability.