All joking aside, mailing professionals routinely site the U.S. Postal Service as a critical resource and partner for achieving the most cost-effective and speedy mail delivery. Here are some helpful links to get started:

• USPS National Customer Support Center offers extensive resources for business mailers through the USPS Rapid Information Bulletin Board System (RIBBS) website.

http://ribbs.usps.gov/

Postal Explorer is a virtual library of information designed for business mailers. Search features provide quick access to information in a single publication or across a range of publications. Publications can also be viewed by clicking on individual titles.

http://pe.usps.com/

The Domestic Mail Manual (DMM) is considered a must-have for business mailers. It provides the USPS’s official prices and standards for all of its domestic mailing services. The DMM is updated frequently, so the Postal Explorer site provides a link to download the late version here:

http://pe.usps.com/DMMdownload.asp

Mailpiece Design provides links that help mailers understand the Postal Service’s mailpiece design requirements.

http://pe.usps.gov/mpdesign/mpdfr_intro_all.asp

The Mailpiece Quality Control (MQC) program is the Postal Service’s certification program for mailpiece design. The MQC program materials are currently being revised and will be posted in the near future.

http://ribbs.usps.gov/index.cfm?page=mqc

The Postal Service has designed Mail Templates to meet all spacing and positioning requirements if used for the correct size mailpiece, including letters and cards: Business Reply Mail and Courtesy Reply Mail.

Mailpiece Design Analysts (MDA) are postal employees specially trained to answer your questions regarding mailpiece design.

http://pe.usps.gov/mpdesign/mpdfr_mda_intro.asp

Intelligent Mail is the technology platform for the next generation of postal services, features and products. This website includes links to detailed information on the Intelligent Mail Services and barcode, videos, FAQs, sample barcodes and more:

http://ribbs.usps.gov/index.cfm?page=intelligentmail

Three separate barcodes make up the Intelligent Mail barcodes suite, which are explained in further detail here:

http://ribbs.usps.gov/index.cfm?page=intellmailsuite

• The Office of Address Management is located at the NCSC in Memphis, TN. It provides value-added product and service offerings that enable business customers to better manage the quality of their mailing lists.

http://www.usps.com/ncsc/

Postal Customer Council (PCC) membership is intended to foster a close working relationship between the USPS and business mailers. Joining one of the more than 200 local councils provides access to regular meetings, educational programs, mailer clinics and seminars designed to keep members abreast of the latest Postal Service developments and build relationships with USPS personnel.

http://www.usps.com/nationalpcc/

• The PAVE (Presort Accuracy, Validation, and Evaluation) program is a process designed to evaluate presort software and determine its accuracy in sorting address files according to Domestic Mail Manual (DMM) standards. The website includes a link to a searchable database of PAVE Certified Products.

http://ribbs.usps.gov/index.cfm?page=pave

MERLIN — Mail Evaluation Readability Lookup INstrument — is a tool that the USPS uses to assist with the acceptance of discount-rate mailings. Discounts are offered for mailings that meet certain address, barcode and sortation standards so that the mailing can bypass processing steps to expedite the mailing process. MERLIN allows the Postal Service to verify overall mail quality and apply appropriate customer discounts.

http://www.usps.com/cpim/ftp/pubs/pub430/welcome.htm

Other websites worth bookmarking when getting into mailing…

• Mailing and Fulfillment Service Association (MFSA)

http://www.mfsanet.org

National Postal Forum

http://www.npf.org/

Mail Systems Management Association and MAILCOM Conference

http://www.msmanational.org | http://www.mailcom-conference.com

Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers (ANM)

http://www.nonprofitmailers.org

Do you have any suggestions for links that should be added to this resources page? Please email them to webeditor@piworld.com