ABE Machines Not as Bad as Reported

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While Melissa Campanelli's story ("ABE Machines Aren't Ready, Mailers Warn," April 27) describes mailers' uncertainty about the readiness of ABE machines to correctly evaluate barcodes, the statistics that were quoted and highlighted were outdated. This left the impression that ABE is in worse shape than it actually is.


Here are statistics from the Mail Advertising Service Association's April survey of member mailers: 58 percent had less than a quarter of their mailings tested by ABE -- admittedly fewer tests than anticipated by mailers and the U.S. Postal Service alike. But only 10 percent of the tests called for but not done were the results of USPS personnel, which represents a considerable improvement at the local ABE level.


The ABE equipment itself did not fare as well as postal personnel. The April survey indicated that equipment "not working or unavailable" represented the reason in 37 percent of the instances that tests called for were not done.


On a positive note, the postal service is working with MASA to carry out an objective evaluation of ABE equipment using live mail. MASA members already have created 12 110-count samples of various types of mail that will be tested at 12 randomly selected ABE sites. The purpose is to ensure that the ABE program does not harm either mailers or the postal service.


We hope that soon DM News will be able to write, "ABE Machines Are Ready, Mailers Advise."


David A. Weaver


President


MASA


Alexandria, VA

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