The Postal Service will soon be releasing the following Final rule (publishing in the Federal Register) - which will open up a window for you, the mailer, to comment.

My Take on the Whole Full Service IMB Mandate:

The USPS is pushing ahead with this agenda, which is a mistake. There is a disconnect between making the mail run more efficiently and making the USPS an easy to use option for the American public. In other words, operations is running the show and Marketing (think sales) will be suffering the consequences.

How is this going to affect the marketplace?
Time will tell how this all will unfold. Looking into my crystal ball, I see a lot of frustrated mailers giving up, turning their mail over to professional Letter Shops and or moving their marketing dollars to other media. Another nail in the coffin for mail in America. Hopefully these folks will reach out to industry for help in making this transition.

What's Changed?
The USPS recently implemented changes to the testing environment (TEM) that will help mailers make this change. They have finally changed from a long and tedious process to a simplified one step process - IF you have vendor software that has been pre-approved.

Satori software was one of the leaders in getting this change done and we here at Shipware are proud to represent and make these inexpensive packages available for all of our clients.

So what is "Full Service IMb anyway? I don't want to read 57 pages of postal speak!
In a nutshell its the next step in full visibility intelligent mail. All pieces in the mailing, along with their respective containers will have a unique serial number and will be linked together. The documentation will need to be transmitted electronically. It requires critical information regarding the mailing relationships: who is doing the mailing who it is for is required (by/for).

So is there any good news?
Yes, if you want to keep getting Automation discounts on your mail. There are some additional good business reasons why you may wish to embrace this change. Free "One Code ACS" - that is the electronic form of address correction data. Free "One Code Confirm" -this the is ability to track either your out-bound or in-coming mail as it travels thru the mail stream.

If you believe that the Post Office should run as efficiently as possible then this change will be good news to you as it will help them perform detailed analysis on their performance. We as consumers are already benefiting from this as we can see how long delivery is averaging at processing centers around the country. The start the clock data is a key performance piece, and part of the PAEA (Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006) that reorganized the P.O. We have seen big improvements in all aspects of their on time performance - so we know it works. This data is helping them transition to a leaner operation.

Any other good news?
Well, how about no more permit fees? Yup, if 90% of your mail is Full Service, those will be waived! How about the ability to drop your mail at most BMEU facilities? How about a Tech credit of up to $5000 for making the change to Full Service? This and more awaits, like it or not, this is the future of Automation Mail.

There were 52 comments on the preliminary ruling and these have all been addressed in this Final Rule, in many case with the same pre-packaged answer.

The Postal Service is revising Mailing Standards of the United
States Postal Service, Domestic Mail Manual (DMM®), throughout various
sections to modify eligibility requirements for mailers to qualify for automation

Effective January 26, 2014, use of "full-service" Intelligent Mail®
is required to qualify for automation prices for postcards (First-Class Mail®
only), letters, and flats when mailed using the following services: First-Class Mail, Standard Mail®
and Periodicals®; and for flats mailed at Bound Printed Matter®
prices. Additionally, the 10/24 transitional barcoded tray label format is eliminated,
and mailers are required to use the 24-digit Intelligent Mail barcode (IMb)
format on tray, tub, and sack labels.
EFFECTIVE DATE: January 26, 2014.

For all 57 pages of Fun and Excitement - actually it is a pretty comprehensive and easy to understand read of everything IMb