Advantages of Intelligent Mail Barcode (IMB)

Published: 01st June 2010
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The Intelligent Mail Barcode (IMB) seeks to replace its predecessors the POSNET and PLANET barcodes for postal mail. It was created in an effort to increase deliverability and efficiency within the USPS. As the USPS added services to help track and ensure delivery such as CONFIRM and ACS the mailing panel continued to get more cluttered. The solution-the IMB. The IMB can combine all the information of a PLANET, POSTNET and other USPS services such as CONFIRM and ACS into one barcode. Overall the IMB represents a shift to more automated mail that carries highly detailed information about the recipient of the mail, the mailer and allows mailers to track mail pieces more efficiently.





An advantage of the IMB is that the information it carries is all contained in a 65 character barcode comprised of several components. These components include Service Type Identifiers, Mailer IDs, Sequence Numbers and Delivery Point Zip Codes. In order to take advantage of the services provided by this new bar code it has to be created first. To create an IMB Data Processing generates 31 digits which are then encoded by Postal Software into 65 characters and produce the IMB.





There are certain Technical Specifications required by the post office to mail an IMB Automated piece such as 0.5 inch clear zone from the right edge of the mailing piece as well as a minimum of 0.625 inches from the bottom edge. Firms should check with Mailers to confirm that their designs meet technical specification requirements for the IMB.





Another benefit is that the best Automation postage rates are available with the use of the IMB. Full service IMB providers, which must adhere to additional requirements, provide their clients maximum postage savings by using the IMB. The discount for using IMB for first class pieces is $0.003 per piece which, for example, would equal $300 in savings for a 100,000 piece mailing. For standard mail the discount for using IMB is $0.001 per piece which equates to $100 savings for a 100,000 piece mailing. The IMB discount allows Mailers to help companies cut costs and to save postage, as well as improve the deliverability and overall efficiency of their mailings.





Most Mailers are currently offering an option for using IMB but the service will not be officially required until May 2011. Starting in November 2009 Mailers that are full service providers allow access to IMB Automation discounts as listed above. Direct Connect Group already has fully implemented the IMB into their facilities.





Postal regulations can be confusion and change often. It is important to select a mail vendor that understands USPS guidelines and that can help you navigate through direct marketing waters.



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