Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Everything You Need To Know About Full-Service Intelligent Mail Discounts

The U.S. Postal Service has some mailers in a panic because it is reportedly planning to issue complex, last-minute changes to the rules for Full-Service Intelligent Mail discounts.

Not to worry: After getting a sneak peak at the rules that will supposedly be released Friday to mailers and to the employees who will enforce the rules, Dead Tree Edition offers this simple, exclusive analysis: Using Full-Service Intelligent Mail barcodes (IMbs, AKA FUBAR codes) is like having a first-class cabin on a luxurious cruise ship -- The Titanic.

In The Postage Discount No Mailer Wants, Dead Tree Edition explained two days ago a few of the ways the FUBAR code has been a disaster so far. As if to underscore that article's point, postal officials revealed to some mailers today a number of rules changes that they might announce on Friday for implementation three days later on what Lisa Bowes at Intelisent is calling Black Monday. The Association for Postal Commerce (PostCom) noted that the proposed changes have to do with "Full-Service IMb Verification procedures and error tolerances and postage consequences.

Bowes sums up postal executives' thinking on the FUBAR code this way: "Let’s acknowledge that there are major issues with Intelligent Mail, but proceed as if 'everything is fine' anyway."

Another of her top ten thoughts today from the "Intelligent Mail think tank": "Let’s write and then continually edit/update at least a dozen different guides and specifications necessary to do Full Service Intelligent Mail."

I know what you're thinking: "OK, Mr. Tree, I'm so interested in these new rules that I can't wait until Friday. I've already called my relatives to tell them I'm skipping Thanksgiving dinner to get to work on this, so give me the details."

Here you go: They're rearranging the chairs on the deck, and the captain insists on trying to break the record for fastest crossing of the Atlantic. Yes, this will be an historic trip. No, you don't want to be on it.

For the foreseeable future, that's all you need to know about Full-Service Intelligent Mail.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The "deck chairs on the Titanic" is the perfect analogy for this, and MTAC has been doing the rearranging. This is a classic example of rule by committee. Gigantic committees on conference calls debated the number of characters in a field while they never grew the required pair needed to challenge the fundamentally screwed up concept of Full Service.

PostalOne! (I love the exclamation mark - it's so marketing-ey) has NEVER really worked outside of a tiny handful of enormous mailers. To think you're going to begin sending files detailing EVERY PIECE IN THE MAILING is nuts. And the USPS never really explained why they needed this, other than the fact that they wanted it. Is anyone really surprised to see this scow sink? Does anyone really believe it might still work?