WHAT ARE POSTAL OFFICE BARCODE SOLUTIONS?
In recent years the supply chain has seen unprecedented demands on the volume and speed of courier and parcel delivery expectations. The United States Postal Service (USPS) is an example of a very efficient company that plays a large role in the sortation and delivery of millions of pieces of mail daily. This high volume of throughput calls for reliable, accurate, efficient, and traceable logistics to be in place. The USPS has very detailed parcel tracking systems in place that incorporate various postal service barcodes. Dependent on what type of postal office barcode solutions services maybe employed, the postal office barcode solutions can not only identify the shipping, location, and delivery points but also success of direct marketing campaigns.
USE OF BARCODE SOLUTIONS POSTAL AND PARCEL TRACKING SYSTEMS
Barcodes are thoroughly integrated into our everyday lives and can be found on packaging in the grocery stores, airline tickets, entertainment gate control access, pharmaceuticals, and on our daily mail. In each industry the codes used are dictated by the information needed according to specific rules. For instance, pharmaceutical products can be tracked to origin, lot numbers, expiration dates etc. Similarly, the United States Postal Service employs specially encoded barcode postal and parcel tracking systems that offer various bits of information that provide the ability to track mailings and more. The USPS has developed various postal service barcode systems that have offered information to the mail service that track mailings, confirm service, and success in the reception of direct mail campaigns.
TYPES OF USPS BARCODES FOR COURIER AND PARCEL TRACKING
The USPS barcodes are comprised of a mix of long and short vertical lines of varying lengths, all designed to aid and improve courier and parcel deliveries. Generally, they will convey zip codes, Zip+4 codes, and delivery address. Different facets of a postal service barcode may also include additional purchased items such as registered mail or USPS tracking services. Items’ barcodes are read through automated sorting machines where data contents are read and items sorted for delivery.
- Postnet barcodes – The postnet postal numeric encoding technique is a symbology designed to assist with direct mailings by the USPS comprised of full and half lines representing delivery address that will usually have a check digit after the ZIP, ZIP+4 or delivery point. A check digit helps detect errors. The Postnet barcodes were replaced when the feature rich USPS Intelligent Mail barcode (IMb) was developed in the early 2000’s.
- Planet barcodes – The postal alpha numeric encoding technique (Planet) was a barcode of 12 – 14 - digit length used by the USPS to track and identify mailing pieces. It also carried a check digit at the end to check for errors. Both Postnet and Planet barcode technologies were superseded by the IMb.
- USPS Intelligent Mail barcode (IMb)
The IMb, also known as the USPS 4-State Customer Barcode, was developed by the United States Postal Service for use in sorting and tracking letters, cards, mailers, and flats. It combined features from the Postnet and Planet barcode technologies into a larger barcode that offers other traceability features. The IMb is a group of 64 long and short vertical lines that comprise its structure. This barcode contains embedded information such as delivery point, mailer ID (identifies the mail owner), discounts, and much more details that help increase throughput and traceability when read by USPS sorting machines. If mail using an IMb code meets specific USPS criteria, it can qualify for automation discounts and will be included in the barcode. Mailers can apply for full-service certification from the USPS when they meet the requirements giving them higher visibility in their mailing efforts.
DATALOGIC SOLUTIONS FOR SUCCESSFUL MAILERS
Datalogic provides a wide range of products for high-performance and reliable barcode reading of postal barcodes on parcels and packages with varying shapes and sizes. The ability to receive incoming products faster and tracking them as they move through the supply chain helps to maximize efficiency while keeping costs down. Quick and accurate reading of the USPS Intelligent Mail Barcode captures crucial feedback needed to analyze success of mail campaigns. Dependent on the size of the operation and sortation systems, automatic or manual, Datalogic has the best fitting technology for the job. Here are a few scanning solutions designed to improve the comfort, performance, and accuracy of the operators involved with induction and sortation.
- HandScanner (mounted on the glove)– Itis the lightest and smallest wireless wearable 2D scanner with a weight of only 40gr/1.4 oz. It enables ergonomic work, providing workers with a comfortable and non-intrusive hands-free solution. Operators can work faster and more efficiently. A fully charged battery can last almost two working shifts, with a running time of 15 hours. Its versatility is increased when coupled with one of Datalogic’s top of the line mobile computers. Allowing the operator to move freely, it will easily aid in the accurate reading of postal barcodes and facilitate a great throughput in mail service.
- Memor 11 – The Memor 11 family is a versatile mobile computer series that improves business productivity and streamlines operations. This cutting-edge addition to the prestigious Memor Series is designed to provide unparalleled flexibility for today’s mobile workforce.
- PowerScan 9600 – 2D imagers have an ultra-rugged design, an ergonomic shape with well-balanced weight to reduce operator stress during daily activities and an intuitive aiming system, allowing the highest first-pass reading rate while reducing unnatural wrist movement. Its snappy omnidirectional performance easily handles 1D, stacked, 2D, and postal codes. Its rugged IP65/67 ratings, high visibility OLED display with optional 4-key and 16-key keypads, standard and high-performance models, ergonomic balanced design, and flexible configuration will provide its operator flexibility with extreme reliability. Both corded and cordless versions offer flexible configurations. The contactless charging bases for the mobile formats provide quick and easy charging while decreasing issues of corrosive contacts. The PowerScan 9600 series will quickly prove its value to the induction and sorting of postal items easily reading the encrypted postal codes and ensuring accurate, efficient, and timely movement of posted materials. Used individually at stations or back up to automated sorting machines, the PowerScan 9600 reader will provide excellent results in performance cost of ownership.