Posts Tagged Envelope
The Mail Eater
You’ve done it. You and your team have formed an alliance of the best of data, design and technology and brought forth the perfect mailpiece, a scintillating message that will bring you the ROI of your dreams. It is ready for launch.
Beware! Between home port and the final destination, a fearsome danger lurks: The Mail Eater.
It will shred your envelopes, mangle your budget and sink your dreams. But do not despair, there is something you can do to defend yourself. The Mail Eater is nothing more than the machinery the USPS uses to process mail in a swift and cost-effective manner. Properly prepared, your mailpieces will sail through unscathed. But the unwary will fall prey to being macerated, rejected or slapped with the higher cost of manual processing.
Here are three of the riddles you must answer to get past the Mail Eater’s gaping jaws:
- What is your Aspect Ratio?
- Take the length of the mailpiece and divide it by the height. If the answer is between 1.3 and 2.5, take heart, your message’s journey will be blessed. If not, it will meet its doom.
- What is your mail piece thickness?
- Letters must be a minimum of .007 thick, or 0.009 inch thick if more than 4-1/4 inches high or 6 inches long or both. Thin paper makes poor armor against the speed and impact of the postal machines’ maw.
- What are your barcode reflectance properties?
- What do you mean—background reflectance, print reflectance difference or opacity? The automation machines must be able to distinguish the printed barcode from any background designs or print showing through the material of the envelope. It is essential to refer to the USPS DMM code 708.4.4 to combat these issues.
It may seem daunting, but be brave! These answers and more are found in the USPS Quick Service Guide at http://pe.usps.com/. Congratulations, you have now equipped your message to face and conquer the threat of physical damage and increased mailing costs. Good luck, and may the post be with you!
How Secure Is Your Mail?
Not only the piece of paper in an envelope, but what about your data?
Let’s take it from the top:
Is your data transmitted to your printer in a secure transmission? Do you know that it was securely received and when? Do you know that what you transmitted is what was received?
What about the printed piece? Is the print facility secure? Is it video monitored? Is visitor access restricted? Are data servers and processing centers secured and with limited access?
Once printed, are steps taken to ensure that there is no “double feeding” of documents into a single envelope? Is there a process to track an individual mail piece from beginning to end? Is there record that all printed pieces are accounted for and inserted to an envelope?
What happens once this piece of paper is printed, folded, and inserted? Is your mail retrieved by the USPS? If so, is that USPS truck sealed – meaning only authorized USPS employees may remove that mail from the truck?
Just a few questions to ponder – and perhaps to ask of your print and/or mail provider before your next mailing.
How Much Do You Think About ZIP Codes?
There is a whole history, and a pretty cute character, that helped educate your parents and grand parents on how to use these codes and improve mail service.
In July 1963, the postal service implemented the Zone Improvement Plan or ZIP code as it is commonly called. The ZIP code is comprised of 5 digits specific to an area. These codes assist in routing mail efficiently for the USPS.
Predicting that the public would be less than enthusiastic about memorizing not only their ZIP code, but those of family and friends, the USPS introduced Mr. ZIP in late 1962.
Mr. ZIP appeared on buttons, signs, magazines, and even the edges of a sheet of stamps. The point was to educate the public and ingrain the use of ZIP codes to all mailers. Including a ZIP code promised “space-age speed”.
50 years later and Mr. ZIP stands as one of the most successful ad icons of all time. The USPS notes that by 1967, 80% of all Americans recognized him and knew what he stood for.
Mr. ZIP was retired in 1986, but with the 50 year anniversary in 2013, you can expect to see him popping up all over the place. He even has his own page on the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum website.
This simple doodle was able to move the general public into participating in the Zone Improvement Plan – which increased efficiency and speed for the USPS for generations to come.
Please enjoy this video from the mid-1960’s starring our friend, Mr. ZIP!