In January 2013, the United States Postal Service® (USPS®) replaced the Confirmation Services barcode with the Intelligent Mail® Package Barcode (IMpb) for tracking parcels and for the use of Extra Services. The barcode includes the customer account (Mailer ID or MID), ZIP Code™ routing, payment channel information, class of mail and service combination of the mail piece. The IMpb is similar to the Intelligent Mail Barcode (IMb™) used for Letter and Flat size mail, but is designed specifically for parcels. The USPS also required mailers to submit an electronic Shipping Services File (SSF) for any piece with an IMpb barcode, i.e.: pieces requiring mail tracking or extra services. Then, on January 26, 2014, the USPS made these requirements mandatory to qualify for commercial prices, unless you have an unexpired exception.
If you ship or mail parcels through the USPS at commercial prices and you are not printing the IMpb on your packages and submitting an SSF to the USPS, you may be facing some stiff surcharges. Starting February 28, 2014, which is just one (1) short week away, the USPS will implement a $.20 per piece non-compliance fee for each piece not meeting these requirements.
Who does this impact?
If you ship/mail First-Class™ Package Services, Priority Mail® Express, Priority Mail, Parcel Select®, Parcel Select Light Weight, Bound Printed Matter parcels, Media Mail® or Library Mail parcels, these changes impact you. Effective January 26, 2014, the IMpb and the electronic SSF file are now REQUIRED for all of these types of mail. If you have not converted over to the IMpb and the SSF file for commercially priced shipments, you will be subject to a $.20 per piece non-compliance fee, and will not be able to receive any shipment tracking data or extra services.
IMPORTANT NOTE: While this change does not impact Standard Mail® parcels at this time, you should still pay attention if you mail large catalogs or directories. This change DOES impact you catalog mailers who may normally mail your catalogs at Standard Mail flat rates but may occasionally have very large catalogs that are 16 ounces or more in weight, and are more than 3/4″ thick. These large catalogs move to Bound Printed Matter machinable parcels, and fall into this category of mail that requires the IMpb.
So, what do you need to do to prepare for this fast-approaching deadline? If you ship parcels using the USPS, regardless of whether you send them out at single piece rates or presort rates, you should have already converted over to the IMpb and have been submitting SSF files to the USPS. If you have not completed this certification process for each class of mail that you ship and for each printer used to generate shipping labels, you should be working with the USPS and your shipping services or software provider to complete this certification process. If you have already completed this certification process, you should also be checking your mailing and shipping software, such as Window Book’s Postal Package Partner™ (PPP) solution (or alternatively, PPP… Postal Package Partner for Presort), to insure that all the correct settings and configurations are turned on and working to make sure your shipping labels and SSF files are being generated and transmitted correctly.
For more information on IMpb, consult Publication 199: Intelligent Mail Package Barcode (IMpb) Implementation Guide available on the USPS RIBBS® web site. Also, for Electronic Verification System (eVS) users, consult Publication 205. The USPS also recently issued an Industry Alert on this topic. Mailers who are not able to make these changes should contact their Business Mail Entry Unit (BMEU) for guidance. Mailers can locate their District Business Mail Entry Unit using the locator tool on RIBBS at https://ribbs.usps.gov/locators/find-bme.cfm. Mailers may also contact the NCSC Confirmation Service Files and Labels Certification help desk at 877-264-9693 option 3 with any questions.
Window Book Can Help You
Window Book has already helped scores of shippers receive this critical USPS certification through our highly popular IMpb On-Ramp Service. Don’t face these deadlines alone! Call us at 1-800-524-0380 for more details or to sign up for this service.
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