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Making sense of the Intelligent Mail tray, sack, and pallet labeling changes

With all of the Intelligent Mail changes I figured it might be good to highlight how the Intelligent Mail changes are affecting labeling trays, sacks, and pallets.

  • Whereas sacks and trays used to have independent labeling requirements with Intelligent Mail there is now just a single Intelligent Mail Tray label which is used for both sacks and trays.
  • The new Intelligent Mail Tray label is only available as a 2” label.
  • There are two different types of Intelligent Mail Tray labels, a transitional label and a pure 24-digit label.  The transitional label contains the old 10 digit barcode as well as the new 24 digit IM Tray barcode which makes the label quite crowded!  The transitional label provided an intermediate step so the new Intelligent Mail information could be included on the label while also being readable by USPS facilities that weren’t able to scan the new 24-digit barcode.  The pure 24-digit label contains only the new 24 digit IM Tray barcode.  At this point in time the USPS has stated it is ready to accept the pure 24-digit labels so I would recommend producing those instead of the transitional labels.  As far as I know there is no end date where transitional labels will no longer be accepted however that may happen and moving to the pure 24-digit also gives you a larger area for extraneous information.
  • The Intelligent Mail labels for pallets are now called Intelligent Mail Container Labels (confusing I know since before trays and sacks were many times called containers).
  • Unless you are using Intelligent Mail Full Service there is no requirement that you move to any of the new Intelligent Mail labels unless you want to.  As of this writing the USPS has not provided a date when the old sack, tray, and pallet labels can no longer be used in production.

When using Label Toolbox via Label Studio or Postalsoft DeskTop Mailer and Business Edition the following will help you find the proper Intelligent Mail Tray Label templates based on what label types you want to print:

  • Designs and templates ending with “IM 24-digit” are pure 24-digit Intelligent Mail Tray labels.
  • Designs and templates ending with “IM” are transitional Intelligent Mail Tray labels.

All of the shipped designs for Intelligent Mail Address Labels and Intelligent Mail Container Labels (for pallets) contain “IM” or “IMB” within the name.

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