USPS supports price incentives for full-service IMB

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In response to concerns from the mailing community, the US Postal Service said today that it will support an additional price incentive for mailers who adopt the full service Intelligent Mail barcode (IMB) option.

“Postcom was very pleased to hear that the Postal Service reconsidered their position on IMB after receiving input from MTAC [Mailers' Technical Advisory Committee] members,” said Jim O'Brien, chairman of Postcom and VP of distribution and postal affairs for Time Inc.

In an August 8 letter to MTAC members, Stephen M. Kearney, SVP of customer relations at the USPS, wrote that the Postmaster General would recommend to the USPS Board of Governors that full-service IMB prices be lower than basic IMB and POSTNET prices. “This additional incentive for full-service adoption would be available in fall 2009,” he wrote.

As planned, the USPS will be ready for full-service IMBs in May of 2009, Kearney said. A Federal Register notice with additional details related to IMB implementation will be published in the near future, he added.

Kearney's letter followed concerns voiced at this week's MTAC meeting in Washington. According to a post on the Association for Postal Commerce Web site, Postmaster General John Potter told meeting attendees that the USPS intended to implement the IMB program without providing cost incentives for mailers adopting the full-service IMB option.

“I think that made it difficult for mailers to justify their ROI in making the programming changes and process changes to implement IMB,” O'Brien said. A rate differential between basic and full service IMB will “go a long way” toward justifying those added expenses, he said.

The full-service option will require mailers to use unique IMBs on mail pieces as well as trays and containers. Mailers will also have to electronically submit postage statements and mailing documentation before mailings are inducted, among other requirements.  

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