November 29, 2009
represented the day that determined the true
readiness of the USPS in
providing Full-Service Intelligent Mail discounts
to those mailers who
successfully navigated through the
myriad of additional

the USPS was seemingly ready, and while many of us were
expecting to hear the
sounds of very unhappy mailers that weren't
getting their earned
discounts, all was quiet.

appears as though the USPS was ready after all. Not to suggest
that there weren't
challenges, but with significant support from
many mailers, the USPS
seems to have pulled it off.

So let's
take a look at where the USPS ended up in 2009 with Intelligent

The run
rate for IMb being processed by the USPS passed over
one billion mailpieces per
week. Granted, the significant majority of
these are the Basic and
not the Full-Service IMb.

according to the USPS in their "2009 Comprehensive
Statement of Postal
Operations,"❠by the end of 2009, more than
400 customers had entered
the Test Environment for Mailers (TEM),
which is required before a
mailer can be approved for production
use of the Full-Service
IMb. Nearly 200 of these mailers are now
approved for entry into
the production environment.

USPS notes, "The basic functionality of Full-Service Intelligent
Mail has demonstrated the
ability to perform as designed." Again,
this is not to suggest
that the USPS and mailers are close to being
done, as we are still
early in the overall transition to IMb.

fact, in December alone, there were several patch releases
to address open issues.
One of the key issues that large mailers
were struggling with was
the processing time with larger and
more complex mail

As of
mid-December, while there were some outliers, just under
98% of the eDoc jobs
processed were taking less than 30 minutes
to complete, and nearly
100% of the eDoc jobs were completed
in less than two hours.
Again, there are some outstanding issues,
and work continues to
address these problems.

addition to the continued efforts noted above, the focus is now
turning to education =
getting all USPS employees and mailers educated
in terms of requirements,
timelines and equally, or perhaps
even more important,
additional value that the IMb may have to their

Kevin Conti is Director
of Mailing Solutions at Pitney Bowes Software.
David Robinson is
currently the Director of Address Quality for
Pitney Bowes.

David Robinson is currently the Director of Address Quality for Pitney Bowes.