One of the easier steps when converting to Full-Service is switching to a new tray/sack label layout. This new layout includes all the information from the previous 10-digit tray barcode, along with mailer information and a new serial number that uniquely identifies each tray, sack and flat tub in the system.

Hidden in the Full-Service Federal Register was a tiny gotcha: ALL mailings must use this new label layout and barcode, not just Full-Service mailings. Even if you send nonautomation mail, you'll be required to have a Mailer ID, use the new layout, and keep the serial numbers on your tray and sack labels unique for at least 45 days.

USPS® first introduced this new label format and barcode along with the other Full-Service requirements in 2009. The new tray/sack label includes a 24-digit barcode, which featured fields for your Mailer ID and a unique serial number. When the new barcode was introduced, the postal service also proposed a transitional label format that included both the old 10-digit and the new 24-digit barcodes. The transitional label, along with the legacy 10-digit label format, will officially retire on January 26, 2014.

The new label layout is active and available for all mailers today. Most presort software already supports the IMtb, and it's just a matter of selecting the new format. If you haven't already started using the new tray/sack labels, we encourage you to start with your very next mailing - even if it's not Full-Service. If you do, you'll be well ahead of the game this January. You will need a Mailer ID to generate these new labels, and each barcode will need to stay unique for a minimum of 45 days, across all your mailings. If you don't already have your free Mailer ID, you can request one free on the Business Customer Gateway.