Posts Tagged mail house

An Ounce of Prevention is Worth Thousands in USPS Fines!

US Postal Service EMM Trays

Perils of Printers without Mail House Experience

If your printed piece is going out in the mail, how important is it to choose a printer with in-house mail capabilities?

Last week we had a meeting with a local printer who found this out the hard way. Due to their lack of experience in mailing, they were subject to some hefty USPS fines.

Certainly an avoidable situation, but how do you make a print/mail vendor selection?  Contact them directly and by all means request a tour of the facility. Here are some helpful questions to ask.

  • Ask for credentials.
    • Are they a USPS sanctioned mail co-mingler?
    • Do they provide NCOA, LACSlink or Fast Forward services?
    • Do they provide CASS certification?
    • Do they have an onsite USPS verifier?
    • Do they have an onsite MERLIN?
    • Does the USPS pick up from their dock, or do they deliver to BMEU?
    • Do key employees hold any industry certifications?  How often are they updated?
  • What services do they provide within their own production facility?
    • Color, highlight color, and black and white printing?
    • MICR capable?
    • Inkjet addressing for postcards or envelopes?
    • Collating?
    • Folding?
    • Intelligent mail inserters?
    • Match mailings?
    • HIPAA compliant?
  • How secure is their facility?
    • What is their business continuity plan?
    • What is their disaster recovery plan?
    • Secure building access?
    • 24/7 video monitoring of facility and production floor?
    • If mail is delivered to them, is it left unattended on the dock?
    • Are employees background checked?
An ounce of prevention is worth thousands in USPS fines!

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How Secure Is Your Mail?

How Secure Is Your Mail?

securemailIn this day of heightened security awareness, 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.

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USPS | Commingling Mail

Commingling Mail

presortIn today’s economy, businesses are seeking more opportunities to cut or lower costs. But how many of them consider commingling their mail?

For that matter, how many businesses understand what commingling mail is all about?

Although it may sound too good to be true, it’s not. Using an authorized mail house to process your mail can save your organization as much as 20% in postage.

In a nutshell, the mail house is providing a work share with the USPS.  This cuts several steps out of the USPS work flow and in return, the mail house can offer discounted postage rates from the current $0.46 for a First Class letter.

Your mail is combined with other companies’ mail, sorted and released to the USPS.  Other than your local authorized mail house collecting your mail, nothing changes – your mail still goes out same day, is still delivered in the same timely manner by a USPS letter carrier.  But you SAVE $$$!

And doesn’t saving your organization money make you some kind of hero?  Of course it does.

Contact Strahm today and we will show you how easy it is!

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What is your Move Update policy?

What is your Move Update policy? Is it current? Is it documented? The lack of effective Move Update policies and procedures can be very costly.

In the news yesterday, it was reported that a nationally known company settled an allegation that they had not been meeting USPS Move Update standards.  The settlement was reported to be $1.5 million.

If you are claiming postage discounts, it is mandatory that your mailing list be Move Update compliant. This means you must update your list within 95 days of your mailing.  There are several methods available to vet your list to meet Move Update standards.

National Change of Address (NCOA) processing

The NCOA database is licensed by the USPS to a limited number of processing services, so there is no software you can buy to handle the process internally. The service usually adds very little to your processing costs and typically your mail house can provide the service to you.

You can request from the NCOA list processor a report showing all of the corrected address as well as any addresses that have changed but not filed a COA.  You must use the corrected addresses – don’t just say “hey I had NCOA run and here’s my documentation”.  And don’t neglect to update your database!

The good news is that because this process occurs prior to mailing, you save can money on both printing and postage.

Current Resident/Current Occupant

This is the least expensive Move Update method.  Simply adding “Or Current Resident”, “Or Current Occupant” or “Occupant” to your mailing address instructs the USPS to deliver to the address and ignore the name on the mail piece.  You can choose to eliminate the name entirely or add “Current Resident” on the same line or beneath the name line.

If you are mailing First Class, be aware that by using this method, USPS will not forward the mail or return to you if the person or business has moved.  Your mail is delivered to the designated address, period, and you will not be able to update your address list.

Address Correction Services

Several USPS address correction options can be used to meet Move Update requirements.  They include “Return Service Requested”, “Change Service Requested”, and “Address Service Requested”.  There are different costs and requirements for each service.  For more information regarding these services visit

Don’t be blindsided by a fine.  Ask your mail house for assistance and keep your database clean!

If you need more information regarding Move Update standards, please feel free to reach out to one of Strahm’s qualified Customer Service Representatives.  They can be reached at (816) 756-2733 or by email at

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