Tom Day current_1

    For those who are cinematic aficionados, especially of the sports genre, one of the all-time movie favorites is Field of Dreams and the famous line: "If you build it, he will come." The lead character in the movie, Ray Kinsella, builds a baseball field in the middle of a corn farm much to the disbelief of family, friends and neighbors. In the end, not only does he come, but they come in droves to his baseball field. Ray had the passion for his vision. In the end so did others.

    Intelligent Mail® is much more than a field of dreams; it is an empowering vision for the future of the entire mailing industry. The mailing industry--mail owners, service providers and the Postal Service--are all challenged by digital communications.

    Intelligent Mail® provides the bridge that links the physical delivery of an item of mail with the digital information associated with it. This digital information includes the sender, the preparer, the type of mail, the recipient, and unique identity of each individual item. Intelligent Mail® provides visibility throughout the supply chain as well as return and response data.

    What can be done with this type of information? Both the sender and preparer of a mailing can be kept informed as the mailing is processed all the way to the point of delivery. In addition, useful information is provided including address correction. For the Postal Service the data will help to better manage its network; to reduce cost and improve service. This will provide reasonable returns on investment for both the Postal Service and the industry. However, the vision goes well beyond these concepts.

    The Internet and digital communication shifts the focus from the seller of product and services to the buyer. The individual consumer has the power in this new business model. Intelligent Mail® is the platform that provides data focused upon individual consumers. It allows a link between the digital and physical. Emails that inform or confirm the delivery of mail items; e.g. an email that lets you know the Field of Dreams DVD is being delivered today. This type of data flow is critical to keeping mail relevant; this is especially true for the younger generations.

    While I firmly believe Intelligent Mail® provides great value, I also understand that Full Service Intelligent Mail® requires a high degree of precision. A system that manages data for each individual mail item cannot operate on loosely defined requirements.

    Many mail owners and service providers have effectively implemented these requirements; others have struggled. The Postal Service will continue to work with the mailing industry to assist them during this period of transition.

    Because of this level of complexity, I also understand the decision of individual customers to come on-board at a pace that makes best business sense for them. Some commentary about Intelligent Mail® has questioned adoption rates. For some, there is an expectation that success is defined as 100%. Short of making Full Service Intelligent Mail® a requirement, I fail to see either a path or a reason to require 100% adoption. Simply stated, for some customers Full Service Intelligent Mail® won't fit their business needs.

    Like Ray Kinsella in the Field of Dreams, not everyone shares the vision and passion; at least not at this time. But we are not at the beginning of this story. With hundreds of mail owners and service providers already participating and producing over 33 billion individual pieces of Full Service Intelligent Mail® in Fiscal Year 2010, many have already seen the vision. I am confident that in the near future the overwhelming majority will have both the vision and the passion. Full Service Intelligent Mail® is the cornerstone to the success of the mailing industry in this age of digital communications. We have built it, they will come.

    "You wanna have a catch?"â

    Thomas Day is the senior vice president of Intelligent Mail and Address Quality. With the ultimate goal of enhancing the value of mail through innovative technology, he leads the Postal Serviceââ⬚¬ââ¬Å¾¢s organization responsible for Intelligent Mail planning and standards, Intelligent Mail implementation, and address management. To learn more about Full Service Intelligent Mail®, check out http://ribbs.usps.gov/.
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