Intelligent Mail Barcode:
The most significant change in the postal regulations this year will be the discontinuance of the old PostNET bar code and the mandatory usage of the new Intelligent Mail Barcode (IMB) for mailers to receive the automated bar code discount on their mail. This should come as no surprise to the mailing industry, as, it’s been on the horizon for over 6 years. Each year, the USPS has pushed back the mandatory usage date to allow mailers more time to implement. Having been given mandatory transition dates each year, only to have them pushed back another year, most mailers have already made the change and have been using the IMB for several years now. January 2013 will be the absolute deadline date to transition to the new IMB (maybe, if the USPS doesn’t push it back again……).
While mailers may not be surprised by this new regulation, I’m afraid that mail users may be totally blind-sided. This requirement means that any preprinted business reply envelopes, business reply cards, etc will be rendered obsolete after January 27th. After 1/27/2013, those business reply devices can still be used, but, you will not be able to claim the bar-coded discount on either the outgoing mail that contains that business reply piece, or incoming reply itself.
Self-Mailer Changes – Effective January 5, 2013
Size: Currently, the maximum dimensions of a letter-size self-mailer is no more than 6 1/8 inches in height by 11 ½ inches in length and can not weigh over 3.3 ounces. Any mail piece that exceeds those dimensions are classified as Flats
On January 5th, 2013, the maximum dimensions of self-mailers will be changed to match those that are currently used for booklets. Height no more than 6-inches (instead of 6 1/8 inches).Length no more than 10.5-inches (instead of 11.5 inches), and weight no more than 3-ounces (instead of 3.3-ounces).
Design: Mailers wishing to receive the presorted automated discount must design the self-mailers with the open end at the top, or, for oblong-style self-mailers, open end must be on the left (or trailing edge). (Final fold must be at the bottom, or, right leading edge)
Self-mailers designed with the open end at the bottom, or, right leading edge, will no longer qualify for the automated discount and will be required to pay the non-machinable postage price.
Tabs or Wafer-Seals: The first big change is that the current ½” perforated tabs will be rendered obsolete and will not be used on any self-mailers. In fact, tabs can not contain a perforation at all. All tabs will switch to 1-inch, 1.5-inch, or optionally, 2-inch non-perforated tabs. All self-mailers will contain at least 2 tabs (as opposed to the current 1-tab configuration when the open end is at the top). The size and placement of the tabs are dependent upon the weight and design of your mail piece.