Bundle Prep Rules Hit April 30

The U.S. Postal Service begins assessing additional postage for bundles of presorted Periodicals, Standard Mail and Package Services intended for processing on APPS equipment April 30 that do not meet new bundle address visibility requirements.

Under the visibility requirements published by the USPS in October, address and presort information on the tops of these bundles must be located so that it remains visible and readable to the naked eye during processing. The agency hasn't specified how that must be accomplished but notes that placing the address in one of four quadrants formed by cross strapping bundles would do the trick.

The requirements took effect in October, but the USPS gave mailers a grace period through April 30 before assessing extra postage for noncompliance.

The visibility requirements let the bundles be prepared by the postal service's high-speed Automated Package Processing System. APPS uses optical character and barcode readers to improve distribution productivity. APPS is replacing many of the older-technology small parcel bundle sorters and is driving the need for 100 percent readable and accurate package barcodes.

USPS acceptance personnel also will examine all aspects of bundle preparation, including instances of loose banding, poor use of rubber bands and poor shrinkwrap quality.

Also effective April 30, mailers must use two bands to secure all bundles of Periodicals, Standard Mail and Package Services intended for the APPS equipment. The rule requires mailers to use at least two bands, one around the length and one around the width, when only banding is used to secure bundles. This eliminates the option to place only one band around bundles 1-inch thick or less.

This rule aims to ensure bundle integrity and avoid handling of pieces from broken bundles. It also supports the efficient use of APPS and thus cost reduction.

Bundle verification will include evaluation by USPS acceptance personnel about bundle integrity and the visibility of address information. If errors are found for more than 20 percent of the bundles, the mailing will be subject to additional postage. The mailer always has the option to rework the mailing, as with acceptance today.

Melissa Campanelli covers postal news, CRM and database marketing for DM News and DMNews.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters

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