Automation is Helping Operators Keep up With Changing Postal Regulations

Written By ID Parcel & Mail Solutions Staff


During 2012 the United States Postal Service began notifying customers using its international mail services that dutiable mailpieces leaving the country had to be presented with electronic customs declaration information. Prior to this new regulation, which came into effect in January 2013, this was only required for Express and Priority international mail, but now it includes other International Class products including FCMI, ISAL, GBE and IPA. Mailers were already required to ensure that mail was not being sent to the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons list as published by the Treasury Department and the Denied Parties list published by the Commerce Department Bureau of Industry and Security of the US Government.

The new data requirements are extensive. The sender or mailer must provide the following information: sender’s name and address, recipient’s name and address, package content details including goods and value, date of mailing, shipment date and permit number. If any of this information is incorrect or missing, the mail will be delayed and possibly held for inspection, and if the shipper continues
to send mailpieces with inaccurate information they will be refused at the Postal Service acceptance facility.

This regulation added a major burden to presenting dutiable international mail. If mail service businesses were able to get their customers to provide the electronic data with the mail then this burden would be manageable. However, if the mail generator was not capable or willing to provide this data, the task of capturing and fielding all the data was a considerable processing task. The only readily available solution was to have keypunch operators entering the data for every mailpiece.

To meet this new mailing challenge, ID Mail created a unique solution using several existing technologies already in its product portfolio. The first was the ID Mail MMW (manual mail workstation) system, which provides faster processing for non-machinable mail, single-piece and multi-piece options, customisable for the top 44 country destinations, while processing all items on one system. It can be used on all international mail, packets and parcels to capture the pieces’ format, weight, barcode ID tags and country of delivery, and can then print the indicia and CN22 labels. The system’s recessed scale, 17in touchscreen monitor and ergonomically designed desk increases efficiency for the operator.

ID Mail added a new OCR imaging camera system to field the sender name, receiver name, company name, street address, city and zip code. Any data that cannot be read can be entered via the touchscreen. ID Mail’s World.ware and Inc.ware software coding engines interpret and find the addresses and names, and can automatically place them in the correct fields with just one touch from the operator, reducing keystrokes to a minimum. This new feature saves time and enables mail to be processed faster on the MMWs than via key entry.

Additionally, since this new regulation requires the capture of the goods and values, ID Mail uses an innovative touchscreen user interface solution for minimal key entry with printing of the approved CN22 label. At the goods screen, the operator can select common descriptions, quantities and values.
Variations of this solution can be configured for the different needs of mailing services businesses and their customers. The net result is a faster, more productive method for meeting the new regulations.
Finally, since mailers need to ensure that they are not mailing to the Denied Parties list, ID mail has an upgrade available to compare recipients’ names and addresses against this list to trap mail that should not be mailed, according to USPS regulations.

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