In the year 2021 many practices, even the way direct mail is processed, are becoming more and more technology based. Processes and software we thought were state of the art, or up and coming 20 years ago, are now seen as “old school” or even “vintage” by those in the technology sector today.
When it comes to processing direct mail, it’s important your company is compliant with the new technology regulations that will soon be a requirement of the US Postal Service for all postage machines. It’s only a few short years until the IBI systems will no longer be considered as valid postage. Are you ready?
“Snail” mail has and continues to be an integral part of communication across all business sectors; every company relies on mail processing in one way or another. Traditionally, the only noticeable change from year to year is an adjustment to the cost of postage. On occasion, however, major advances in technology can instigate a change to USPS regulations and compliance; recently we have reached that juncture.
A switch to the new IMI (Intelligent Mail Indicia) system will be necessary for all business postage equipment by 2024, at which time IBI postage will become decertified and no longer accepted by the USPS.
The newest system is much more cost effective and allows businesses and the USPS to be much more efficient, accurate and modern, and also greatly enhances security. The IMI system is exactly what it implies: “intelligent”. The technology used by these updated mail machines is able to capture significantly more data than its predecessor.
The 2D barcode provided by the IBI machine made managing mail flow difficult and there was no efficient way to identify mailing trends. With the new system, the Post Office can obtain data in real-time which now identifies information such as the originating mail system and type of service used. This detailed data helps the USPS to better manage logistics and optimize the movement of mail throughout the mail system.
Saving money is always a good thing, and IMI technology will do just that. Did you know that approximately 1.45 billion pieces of First-Class Mail do not get delivered each year? Everyone has experienced the dreaded “attempted – not known,” “additional postage needed,” or “insufficient address” label on a piece of returned mail at one time or another. For businesses, this can result in unnecessary operational expenses such as additional postage and printing, re-mailing, and hands-on time for the individuals doing the work and research to obtain the correct information.
The mailing industry in the United States absorbs upward of $4 billion in operational costs each year for First-Class mail alone. The intelligent technology of IMI significantly reduces these costs. The new regulation requires a Service Class be selected for each piece of mail, meaning the postage will then be calculated automatically, guaranteeing the correct amount is paid every time. This ensures that important mail (invoices, statements, benefit statements, etc.) arrives at its destination in a timely fashion and the need for resending will be eliminated, which improves cashflow.
The old IBI system required mail machines to connect to the server for updates every 90 days, but a lot can change in three months. Systems using Intelligent Mail Indicia will now be mandated to connect every 72 hours. Dial-up connections with the IBI system are a thing of the past. The new connectivity requirement guarantees the USPS receives frequent postage use updates, allowing them to better manage mail flow throughout the postal system.
This change will also ensure a company’s mail system receives automatic updates with software improvements, rate changes, etc. A failure to comply with the 72-hour connection mandate will result in the meter being locked out. For that reason, a constant internet connection through a dedicated LAN line is imperative. This continuous connection also eliminates the cost incurred from having a separate phone line for the postage system.
Every organization now requires a high level of security at all end points. Protecting private information, including personal identity, sensitive financial information, files and more on both ends of the mail system is critical. IMI technology provides users with FIPS 140-2 security, the latest standard that is recognized outside of the US as the most up-to-date security standard.
The new system also allows businesses to track usage by providing department codes and pin #s, reducing unauthorized users from incurring unapproved expenses. Tracking helps company’s identify trends and provide better budgeting data.
If you haven’t made the switch, the time is now. Loffler has experts to help you make the best decision for your business’s mailing needs. As a technology provider of FP Mailing Solutions, we will provide you with the perfect machine that already meets the new requirements!
Scott Anderson is the Solutions Manager for Loffler Management Solutions (LMS) at Loffler Companies and has been part of the Loffler management team since 2013. He specializes in mailing, finishing and back-file scanning solutions and thrives on finding the ways to integrate his ideas with clients' needs. In his spare time, Scott loves to travel with his wife and daughter, golf and cheer on the Minnesota Vikings.
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