The USPS Intelligent Mailâ® barcode offers organizations potential cost savings and faster return on investment in areas far from mail operations; the savings go significantly beyond just the postal discount.

Organizations are taking advantage of the IMB mail piece tracking capability wed with new software to reduce costs in innovative ways. Three examples include:

Delivery Confirmation⢠Replacement

A company uses USPS Delivery Confirmation⢠to prove their notices were actually sent. At $0.18 per electronic confirm, and mailing 10,000 notices a day five days a week, that represents an annual cost of $468,000 â¬" still cheaper then fighting and loosing a few lawsuits a year over non-notification. By implementing IMB Full Service (which they were already planning to do based on new postal regulations) and adding the USPS Gold Confirmâ® service at $6,500 per year, they receive electronic confirmations when they drop off the mail at the USPS (known as â¬Å"Start-of-Clockâ¬â) and at various way points during the USPS process. These confirmations are stored as part of a comprehensive mail piece tracking database internally., The organizations⬠legal department is comfortable this level of detail from the USPS would be sufficient to prevail in court, allowing them to drop the Delivery Confirmation⢠service and producing an annual savings of $401,500.

Reduced Customer Communication, Customer Service Costs

An insurance organization specializes in higher-risk customers. Because of this, they issue a larger percentage of cancellation notices and frequently receive renewal payments shortly after end of the 30 day cancellation period. When they receive a renewal payment after the cancellation date, they must decide how long to wait before they cancel and then frequently have to re-underwrite the insured, a substantial cost which puts additional pressure on their qualified underwriting staff. They must also send notice of cancellation and a new welcome kit to reinstate the insured. Finally, they typically have to field 1-2 calls to their customer service department and loose significant customer goodwill from canceling the policy, making the customer reapply, and leaving the customer with a gap in coverage.

By implementing IMB on both outbound and inbound mail and adding USPS Gold Confirmâ®, they receive notification of the customers inbound remittance envelope, typically the day it is dropped in the mail. They can then delay canceling the customer until the remittance envelope arrives at the lockbox and is processed. With one million customers, of which 10% are late and of which 10% pay their bill just after the 30 day grace period, using IMB for notification of incoming payments saves a document production and mailing cost of $5 for the cancellation and $10 for the reinstatement, and a cost of $25 per call for an average of two customer service calls. This saves them $65 per policy they donâ¬t cancel, or a total of about $650,000 per year. It also lowers their Customer Service costs by eliminating a series of inquiry calls from a cancelled customer and provides an intangible return in greater customer satisfaction and a higher long term customer retention rate.

Better Cash Flow Projection and Lockbox Staffing

PlanetCodes have long been used to project cashflow to lockboxes. But PlanetCodes were typically used on a very small sample of mail (usually 5% or less). Using IMB, 100% of incoming remittances are tracked. Further, sophisticated data mining capabilities allows the amount due to be extracted and stored in the mail piece tracking database. This capability provides a very precise estimate of the expected lockbox cash flow for one, two and three days out (depending on the average USPS transit time for each lockbox). It also allows for better lockbox staffing based on the number of remittances projected to arrive each day.

Also, by tracking USPS performance over time, it can provide additional information to better match lockbox locations with remittances to decrease USPS transit time.

Cost Savings Beyond Postage

Implementing the USPS Intelligent Mailâ® barcode with the Full Service option and with comprehensive mail piece tracking capability offers cost savings and returns that far exceed the postage reductions. Organizations should look at how implementing IMB can lower costs in multiple departments.

Stephen D. Poe, EDP is vice president of product management for Crawford Technologies. Contact him at or visit for more information. CrawfordTechâ¬s Enterprise IMBâ® product family is designed to assist you in successfully implementing a complete IMB implementation while moving forward in smaller, more discrete stages which can more easily be planned and added to your existing document and mail production environment. For an educational presentation on the four stages on IMB implementation, please visit