Iowa State University

Inside Iowa State
March 8, 1996

How to trim bulk mailing costs

by Linda Charles

Iowa State units with bulk mailings may be able to speed delivery time and save money, says Bill Schmitt, a postal automation team member at Printing Services.

As the Postal Service continues to automate its distribution of mail, bulk mailers often can qualify for discounts if they have "good" addresses -- addresses that can be processed by machine rather than by hand, Schmitt said.

Printing Services has an "Automation Packet" that can help units qualify for the best mail rate and help speed the mail to its destination. Units that qualify for bulk mail (200 or more pieces third class or 500 or more pieces first class) and maintain their own mailing lists can use the program.

The program checks addresses against a Postal Service master list, standardizes street addresses, city names and state abbreviations, and assigns Zip+4, carrier route numbers and bar codes when possible. It also presorts the mail and generates all documentation needed by the Postal Service, Schmitt said.

"Units could save 10 to 20 percent or more in postage on mailings by qualifying for the lesser rates," Schmitt said.

To get the most savings, units need to format their mail lists correctly. It is critical that street address, city, state and zip are in separate fields in the data base, he said. Printing Services can check a list and determine which addresses are entered incorrectly.

In other news on the postal front, a reclassification of all mail classes, except non-profit, is expected to be approved this month and take effect June 30. If approved, many rules and even the names of most classes of mail will change, Schmitt said. Similar changes for non-profit mail are expected next year. Printing Services mail staff are expected to receive training on new rules and procedures in April.

The postal automation team has been working since September to make a complex topic easier for mailers. Team members include Betsy Gibson, Debbie Hurley, Kelly Popp, Lana Voga, Garry Wirtz, and Schmitt.

For help in qualifying for the best postal rate, contact Printing Services, 4-3601.

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