The USPS has come a long way in handling and sortation of mail. What used to be sorted by hand is now sorted by high-speed sorting equipment, which has improved accurate and timely delivery. The development and implementation of the Intelligent Mail Bar Code (IMB) has enabled the efficiency of this sortation equipment. The USPS now requires an IMB on full-service mailings.
In order to append an IMB, a correct and completed address is required including Zip+4. This is why it is essential for all address files to be processed first through the USPS Coding Accuracy Support System (CASS). CASS provides a way to test the quality of addresses and fills in missing information, such as:
Directional (like N, S, E or W) are added
City and street name misspellings
Street suffixes such as Way, Court, Terrace
ZIP code and ZIP+4
If there are addresses in the file that CASS cannot assign all of the above information to, they are likely incorrect. This means that mail may not be delivered. Usually Royle will return these addresses to owner of file for corrections.
Next step after CASS is to pass file through USPS National Change of Address (NCOA). NCOA is one of USPS’s approved Move Update Standards, which requires each address in a mailing to be updated within 95 days before the mailing date. All NCOA hits in the file are changed before mailing and a list of changes are returned to owner of file for updating.
In closing, cleaning and updating your mail list after each mail run ensures you are effectively reaching your target audience while also saving you time and postage expense.