Ever get those annoying advertising postcards in your mail box addressed to you personally? Or maybe an envelope addressed to you with your name on the pieces inside the envelope? While it may appear to be “junk mail” to you, to a printer it’s a process that requires a lot of attention to detail.
The United States Postal Service has very strict guidelines that must be followed for the printed material to enter the postal stream. Have a wrong weight entered on the paperwork and you postage costs just went up. Have the packaging wrong and you are picking it up from the post office and re-working the trays. Having the barcode a little bit “skewed” and you’re re-printing the whole job. On the other hand, sending a large mailing thru a direct mail house can save a lot of money in postage. If the average 1st class stamp costs $0.49, the average cost to send a piece thru the bulk mail process could bring the cost down to an average of $0.28.
How It Works
The mail house gets an address list from a customer. The list is entered into a Mail Management Software and goes thru a series of steps. The list will be de-duplicated, removing any duplicate names or addresses, it will be CASS (Coding Accuracy Support System) which corrects and matches street addresses, NCOA (National Change of Address) which is used to provide updated and accurate addresses for individuals, families, and businesses. The software then provides an accurate up to date mail list which is sorted to provide the lowest postal rates for that mailing.
The pieces are then sent thru a printer which inkjet prints the name, address and barcode onto the mail piece. As they come off the printer they are sorted into trays or sacks, placed on a skid and sent to the Post Office. The Post Office will them weigh the entire mailing which takes into account the weight of the mail piece, the trays, sacks and skids and compares it to the submitted paperwork and if all is correct, it enters the mail stream and on its way to your home. So keep the junk mail coming and keep us printers in business!