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Currently the Postalsoft DeskTop Mailer (DTM) and Business Edition (BE) products provide integrated IM serial number tracking. However, while Postalsoft Presort does support IM serial numbers, it currently does not track those numbers. We are working hard to provide a high quality integrated IM serial number tracking solution for Postalsoft Presort. In the meantime, here are some tips to help track IM serial numbers using an external spreadsheet or database product.

  • Choose a spreadsheet or database application that can easily export the data to a Comma Separated Variable length (CSV) format file. This will allow you to load this information into the forthcoming Postalsoft IM serial number tracking software.
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  • Determine how many days you want serial numbers to remain unique. The USPS requires that all serial numbers remain unique for a minimum of 45 days, but you may wish to keep them unique longer to cover variations in mail deposits at USPS facilities.
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  • Determine how you wish to identify a job. This could be an 8-character job id like the production job id for mail.dat files, or a simple description, or a presort job file name.
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Once these decisions are made, you are ready to lay out the data fields to track IM serial numbers. Using a spreadsheet as an example, you can choose to track only the piece serial numbers, or additionally tray/sack and pallet serial numbers. It would be best to track these individually on separate “sheets” of the spreadsheet. That way you will be able to export a single sheet to a CSV file to then be imported into the future Postalsoft IM serial number tracking solution. Here are some of the items that need to be tracked.

Mailer ID – This is the 6 or 9-digit USPS mailer id. IM serial numbers must remain unique for each mailer id for a minimum of 45 days.

Serial Number Start – The starting number of a serial number range that has been used in a mailing.

Note: Remember that piece serial numbers will be 6 or 9 digits long depending upon the length of the mailer id. Tray/Sack serial numbers will be 5 or 8 digits, and Pallet serial numbers can technically be 9 or 12 alphanumerics, but we recommend sticking with just 9 digits to keep life simple.

Serial Number End – The ending number of a serial number range that has been used in a mailing.

Entered Date – This is the date on which the IM serial number range was used. It allows you to determine which serial number records were used in the last 45 days so that they are not overlapped by new serial number ranges that you choose.

Tip: If you format the date as Year/Month/Day, for instance YYYY-MM-DD, then this field can be easily sorted even if it’s a text field.

Job Identifier – A way to associate this record with the mailing job.

Note: The job identifier is not used to determine IM serial number uniqueness.

Mail Class (Piece only) – The mail class helps to determine uniqueness for piece IM serial numbers. However, mail class does not apply to tray/sack or pallet IM serial numbers.

Please see the follow up article “Intelligent Mail Serial Number Tracking for Full Service – Part 2: An Example” for more detailed information.

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  1. David Shrader
    We have several people running presort in our department.  To maintain a spreadsheet in that manner would be difficult, at best.  I have devised a method that updates a common table with the number of records being processed.  This number is unique to the MID.  The start number is incremented in the table by the number of records being processed.  This is the easy part, since we know ahead of time how many records are being presorted.

    The serial number for containers and pallets was a bit more tricky.  I finally resolved to use the same number as the piece serial, but drop the leftmost digit.  In both situations, the serial numbers will not be reused within the “do not use” time period.

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    1. Gregg Wernecke Post author
      Thanks David!  Your solution is quite innovative and does simplify things.  I’d be interested in solutions that other users have adopted as well.
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