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Tighter Standards for Addresses Prompt New Look at Mailing Practices

Press release from the issuing company

Monday July 16 STAMFORD, Conn.-- Pitney Bowes is conducting extensive customer outreach and education activities to help mailers prepare for the tightest set of address standards the U.S. Postal Service has ever created, the company announced today.
The new standards are designed to bring greater efficiency and lower costs to the mailstream. One of the biggest sources of waste in the current system is mail that lacks a valid address and cannot be delivered. The Postal Service estimates it spends nearly $2 billion each year to handle this mail, and mailers waste billions of dollars more creating mail pieces that ultimately cannot reach their intended recipient. The Postal Service has committed to cutting undeliverable mail by 50% by the year 2010.
The root cause is address lists that are not updated to reflect the tens of millions of changes that occur every year as families move, new households are created, new buildings open, old buildings close or are repurposed, and streets are built or renamed. In tests conducted by Pitney Bowes, up to 12% of the letters in a typical mailing may have substandard addresses.
Effective August 1, the Postal Service will no longer provide automation discounts for mail that lacks what the USPS calls a "valid delivery point," tacking up to six additional cents on to the postage for each such piece. For a mail drop of 100,000 pieces where 6% lack valid delivery points, this could result in more than $230 in higher postage costs for the mailer. Multiplied across the billions of letters that enter the mailstream every year, the potential financial hit reaches tens of millions of dollars.
"Mailers can help themselves as they help the Postal Service and the environment," said Pitney Bowes CEO Murray Martin. "A small investment in address cleansing software can mean big savings for mailers, easier processing for the Postal Service, and greater response rates from customers through the mailstream channel."
Among the efforts Pitney Bowes is making to educate mailers are:
- A conference for enterprise customers to learn more about the latest release in the company's line of address quality products, Address Quality Hub(TM) software
- Customer seminars around the country on techniques for "Mailing Smarter"
- Sponsorship of a recent webcast with DM News attended by more than 700 mailers nationwide.
- A national release of new software for the mid-range address quality market: SmartMailer(TM) addressing software
In addition, Pitney Bowes is also using direct mail to remind customers of other ways to save money under newly-adopted postal rates. One key savings opportunity is to take "flat" mail - which is sent in larger envelopes - and fold the contents to fit into a standard business envelope to qualify for the lowest possible rates. Per-piece savings can reach 37 cents for a typical two-ounce mailing.
Pitney Bowes has consolidated volumes of information about the new postal environment on a special Postal Rates and Rules website that is just one click away from the company's home page: www.pb.com.
"The mailstream is a dynamic place where savvy businesses can manage their costs effectively and still take advantage of a powerful communications channel," Martin said. "Each change in rules or rates is a fresh opportunity to revise strategies and practices to get the most out of your mailstream."