From July 1996 and ongoing through today, the USPS® strategy to improve service and stabilize postage rates has been automation of mail processing and postage collection relying on USPS CASS Certified™ mailing software.

Topics: Timely and Consistent Mail Processing - Postage Rates - Address Quality - Automation Postage Discounts

Rationale: Detecting addressing problems after mail is produced can be very costly.
Benefits: USPS address quality

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United States Postal Service® Message

Why is address quality important?USPS® Quick Service Guide Jan, 2001

Address quality is the key to automation compatibility, barcode accuracy, presort accuracy, carrier route coding and postage payment accuracy. It is also the key to the timely and consistent processing of the mail.

Use of complete and correct address information can result in reduced cost for mailers (through elimination of undeliverable mail) and The Postal Service® (through reduced handling of undeliverable mail and processing more mail on automated equipment). Postal Service automated processing equipment does not have the ability to interpret incomplete or incorrect addressing information. Therefore an improperly addressed mailpiece will likely be misdirected and require postal employees to "guess" at its eventual destination -- almost like dialling a wrong number on the telephone.

Anyone who uses The Postal Service should consider the need for accurate addresses when planning a mailing or purchasing systems with which to gather information about their clients. Systems should allow easy updates and corrections to address data and provide an online interface to some sort of evaluation and quality improvement process. If address information is accurately verified before any mail piece is actually produced, mailers could reap tremendous benefits while contributing to stable postage rates. Detecting addressing problems after mail is produced can be very costly. It has been estimated that mailers lose over two billion dollars annually on the cost of materials, labor and postage associated with undeliverable-as-addressed mail. Through the combined efforts of the Postal Service and the mailing industry, many products are now available that give mailers options in the quality improvement process. These products also open the door to postage discounts and faster processing.

The Postal Service has established minimum standards for address quality for certain categories of postage rates. These standards include move update requirements for Presorted and Automation rate First-Class Mail® and requirements for updating various postal codes including 5-digit ZIP Code, ZIP+4, barcode and carrier route.