The Value of Making the Move to IMB
Providing the most comprehensive and cost-effective services to clients is critical for direct mail service providers that want to add value in what continues to be a very competitive marketplace. Offering the latest in postal expertise and solutions is one very important way to add critical value to client solutions. Very soon that will mean getting approval from the United States Postal Service to be an Intelligent Mail® barcode (IMB) supplier.
IMB is the USPS's most innovative way yet to process mail, offering a dynamic alternative to the more limited POSTNETTM barcode. Over the years, the USPS has moved from five and nine-digit ZIP codes to the 11-digit delivery point POSTNET barcodes in a quest for accurate and efficient mail delivery. With evolving technologies, the USPS added PLANETTM Code for tracking and the Participant Code for changes of address. With all of these features, the face of the automated mailing piece has become increasingly complicated and cluttered. The beauty of IMB is that it consolidates all of these capabilities into a single barcode.
There are two levels of IMB-Basic and Full-Service. Any mailer that does not implement at least Basic IMB will lose automation discounts starting in May 2011, which means that a mailer of any size is going to have to make the move to at least Basic IMB in less than one year. While many in the direct mail industry may be hesitating because they are concerned that the benefits of IMB are not worth the hassle and cost associated with implementation, these concerns often have been unduly magnified. Waiting until the last minute to implement the new technology will only make implementation more difficult.
In spite of the benefits it brings, it is interesting that the movement of print and mail service providers to Full-Service IMB has been anything but hasty. While a conversion to Full-Service IMB does require a commitment of time and resources, the process can be very manageable. Most importantly, here are the major benefits your company and or your client companies will receive: