USPS Eyes Rollout Schedule for Barcode Technology

KISSIMMEE, FL — The U.S. Postal Service is to announce a rollout schedule for its next-generation barcode technology used to sort and track mail this week at the 2006 National Postal Forum. Insiders here said the rollout likely will begin in June.

The technology, generically known as the four-state barcode, will let business mailers sort and track up to 1 billion pieces of mail at a time as well as request services such as address correction and confirmation of delivery easily. The USPS also will be able to process and deliver mail more efficiently.

Most vendors on the trade show floor are excited about the program, though they recognize the possibility of a learning curve for everyone in the industry to work with it.

“We think [the four-state barcode] is going to be a good thing for the industry and for our company as well,” said Dave Lewis, president of, Gaithersburg, MD, which provides solutions for tracking mail using the postal service’s Planet Code technology.

Since its launch at the National Postal Forum in March 2000, has helped customers track 30,000 mailings totaling 6 billion pieces and currently provides tracking services for 10 million mail pieces a day.

Lewis said that his company has three products in place based on the new barcode technology. He will be able to offer them as soon as the postal service announces its dates.

Group 1 Software, a Pitney Bowes company based in Lanham, MD, also is expected to announce today that it has integrated the four-state barcodes into its mailstream solutions for large-volume mailers, letting these mailers add the standardized, information-rich codes to their customer data and communications at multiple points in the mail production process.

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