Go Digital to Break Bottlenecks

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Your older-model postage meter may be creating mailing bottlenecks that cost your company in lost time, service and even new business. If your firm relies on the U.S. Postal Service to reach customers with new-product announcements, catalogs, marketing promotions, newsletters and invoices, then upgrading to a digital, high-tech mailing system can increase mailing center productivity drastically and produce bottom-line savings.


Digital technology, embedded software and other high-tech options let today's systems do more than apply correct postage. The smartest meters can vertically feed up to 7,000 pieces of mixed-sized mail per hour without presorting delays. They can accommodate mail up to an inch thick and can accurately meter catalogs, brochures and invoices simultaneously with No. 10 envelopes. And they do this with one simple setup process.


With smart card technology, mailing systems provide a fast, automated and secure way to reset postage directly from the meter via a modem. Smart card technology automates every step of the reloading, which eliminates potential human error or abuse. While older machines required advance payment for postage and meter resets at the local postage office, the newest digital mailing systems eliminate that step and the wait while checks clear via the automated clearinghouse debiting process.


Helping customers stay postage-ready is one goal behind the postal service's PostageNow electronic payment capability. This new technology offers small to midsized businesses another strategy to improve mailroom productivity and fight mailing bottlenecks.


PostageNow e-payment technology gives these companies a reliable, secure and flexible way to download postage directly into their meters via ACH payments, which include various options depending on company needs:


· ACH Debit is considered the best option for most businesses. It provides immediate access to postage in just a few minutes. The payment is electronically handled by the postage meter manufacturer and debited from the customer's secure chosen bank account that evening or the next day.


· ACH Credit is a flexible, cost-effective option for businesses that process large-volume mailings. The postal service customer's bank sends money from a secure bank account to a separate postage account overnight.


· Federal Wire works well for businesses that transfer more than $25,000 of postage in a day. The payment is transferred from the postal customer's secure bank account into a postage account, freeing funds for use within hours.


Such built-in automation also increases flexibility over operations, enabling your business to save outsourcing costs for large mailing projects. The new systems can track and administer postage costs over a number of client accounts and efficiently handle addressing, sorting, presorting, folding and inserting any document in one seamless process.


While technological advances have enabled fast, convenient e-payment, they've also made meters much smaller. Meter manufacturers have simplified and streamlined design using digital technology. The machines take up less space but pack a full range of options, which can ease mailroom bottlenecks and enhance security.


These innovations include digital printing and the postal service's Information Based Indicia Program, which replaced the old-fashioned machine-stamp with a digitally imprinted, specially encoded two-dimensional indicia. This 2-D barcode gives each machine and its owner a unique identifier, which can be read easily by USPS machines and postal workers to ensure its authenticity - moving mail faster from mailroom to recipient.


The USPS also has started an ambitious technology program to create the highest online security for postal funds transactions.


If your company does volume mailings exceeding 1,000 pieces monthly, consider a move to a digital mailing system. The built-in technology and capacity can streamline your mailing process, deliver productivity gains and eliminate troublesome mailing bottlenecks.


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