Postal Notes, January 9, 1998

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Field Units Test New Barcode Evaluator

The U.S. Postal Service has deployed an updated version of the Automated Barcode Evaluator (ABE) at several field acceptance units.

Version 1.20 is a computerized diagnostic tool that evaluates the quality on mailings before entry in the mailstream. Basically, ABE captures each bar-code image and compares it to various specifications representing acceptable standards.

"ABE will tell a mailer seeking a bar-code discount if that particular mailing meets USPS requirements," said Michael L. Stephens, information sciences specialist at the USPS engineering facility in Merrifield, VA. "With ABE in place, the USPS will get higher quality bar codes on mailings, and customers will benefit through additional discounts and faster service."

ABE does not have the ability to check content such as address accuracy -- its primary focus is on gauging acceptable bar-code print quality.

USPS will continue testing the equipment at 15 sites for the next few weeks. If no significant problems occur, it will announce the start of a 90-day "ramp-up" period beginning next month and implementation in May.

Mail Must Carry New Endorsements

Jan. 1 was the date that USPS began requiring all endorsed mail pieces to carry new ancillary endorsements, which consist of a key word such as "Address" or "Forwarding," followed by two words "Service Requested."

The postal service has decided to streamline the address correction process by condensing 10 highly complicated endorsements down to four, which are uniform across all classes of mail.

According to Michael Murphy, manager of address management at USPS, "the new endorsements will simplify the process and help improve customer service." Any mail bearing invalid endorsements will be considered invalid.

New Faces, Changing Places

Sam Winters, vice chairman of the Board of Governors of USPS, was elected earlier this month to a one-year term as board chairman. Winters succeeds Tirso Del Junco, who served two consecutive terms as chairman. A native Texan, Winters is a member of the law firm Clark, Thomas & Winters, Austin, TX. Most recently, he served as chairman of the Strategic Planning Committee and as a member of the Audit Committee. Taking Wintersí place as vice chairman for one year is Elinar V. Dyhrkopp. His governorís term expires in December 2001. Currently, Dyhrkopp serves as chairman of the Audit Committee and as a member of the Capital Projects Committee. …. According to The American Mail Marketing Association, Ruth Goldway is expected to be the White House's pick for the seat on the Postal Rate Commission vacated by Edward Quick, one of five commissioners whose main duties are to allocate postal costs among the classes of mail and act upon all mail classification changes. Quick just finished his six-year term. …. U.S. Rep. John McHugh (R-NY), chairman of the Postal Service's Subcommittee, will soon lose his top staffer to U.S. Sen. Fred Thompson(R-TN). Dan Blair, currently staff director of the House subcommittee, will become senior counsel to the Governmental Affairs Committee, chaired by Thompson, which oversees the Senate postal subcommittee. McHugh's subcommittee will be led by postal policy expert Robert Taub, who currently is second in command.

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