November 29, 2009
    represented the day that determined the true
    readiness of the USPS in
    providing Full-Service Intelligent Mail discounts
    to those mailers who
    successfully navigated through the
    myriad of additional

    the USPS was seemingly ready, and while many of us were
    expecting to hear the
    sounds of very unhappy mailers that weren't
    getting their earned
    discounts, all was quiet.

    appears as though the USPS was ready after all. Not to suggest
    that there weren't
    challenges, but with significant support from
    many mailers, the USPS
    seems to have pulled it off.

    So let's
    take a look at where the USPS ended up in 2009 with Intelligent

    The run
    rate for IMb being processed by the USPS passed over
    one billion mailpieces per
    week. Granted, the significant majority of
    these are the Basic and
    not the Full-Service IMb.

    according to the USPS in their "2009 Comprehensive
    Statement of Postal
    Operations,"❠by the end of 2009, more than
    400 customers had entered
    the Test Environment for Mailers (TEM),
    which is required before a
    mailer can be approved for production
    use of the Full-Service
    IMb. Nearly 200 of these mailers are now
    approved for entry into
    the production environment.

    USPS notes, "The basic functionality of Full-Service Intelligent
    Mail has demonstrated the
    ability to perform as designed." Again,
    this is not to suggest
    that the USPS and mailers are close to being
    done, as we are still
    early in the overall transition to IMb.

    fact, in December alone, there were several patch releases
    to address open issues.
    One of the key issues that large mailers
    were struggling with was
    the processing time with larger and
    more complex mail

    As of
    mid-December, while there were some outliers, just under
    98% of the eDoc jobs
    processed were taking less than 30 minutes
    to complete, and nearly
    100% of the eDoc jobs were completed
    in less than two hours.
    Again, there are some outstanding issues,
    and work continues to
    address these problems.

    addition to the continued efforts noted above, the focus is now
    turning to education =
    getting all USPS employees and mailers educated
    in terms of requirements,
    timelines and equally, or perhaps
    even more important,
    additional value that the IMb may have to their

    Kevin Conti is Director
    of Mailing Solutions at Pitney Bowes Software.
    David Robinson is
    currently the Director of Address Quality for
    Pitney Bowes.

    David Robinson is currently the Director of Address Quality for Pitney Bowes.