Mail Preparation & Distribution Printing Knowledge
Mail Preparation & Distribution

Pre-Bar Coding | Mail Preparation | Postal Verification | Mail Distribution | PostalOne!

Preparing your direct mail pieces for distribution is another important part of your project. You could sort and prepare the mail yourself and deliver it to the post office but you must be aware of all the regulations that must be followed to receive the discounts you are claiming. Using a mailing service that specializes in the mail preparation and distribution area will probably save you money in the long run. They will have the expertise to prepare your mailing to obtain the best discount applicable. Saving a few cents per piece can result in a substantial savings to you. Shown below are some of the services that can be provided by a mail house that will result in your receiving the best possible postal discounts.

Pre-Bar Coding

Pre-bar coding is the process in which the POSTNET Bar Code is printed on the mail package. Each package has a different code. There are different ways of accomplishing the pre-bar coding. The bar code can be created and added to the mailing list by importing the data from the mailing list into CASS & USPS Certified software. The CASS (Coding Accuracy Support System) software is certified by the USPS for verifying address accuracy. This software will remove duplicate and undeliverable addresses.

After the software removes duplicates and undeliverable address, it will then add the Zip+4 code to the mailing list and presort it to get you the lowest postage rate available for your mailing. Then when the labels are printed or the address is printed directly on the mail package, the presorted bar code will be printed also. The address may be printed on the letter when it is personalized and the bar code could be printed along with it. The letter is then folded so that the address and bar code will show through the window.

The bar code can also be added after the mailing has been addressed. The mail runs through an OCR (Optical Character Reader), which is an optical scanner that scans the address and then prints the correct POSTNET bar code on the mail package. The package then goes through a bar code sorter that reads the bar code and automatically sorts them.

Presorted bar coding will result in postage savings and improves the efficiency of the mail process which should result in quicker delivery of your direct mail package. The delivery accuracy of your mail package will also improve with the addition of the bar code.

The POSNET bar code represents the actual address on the mail package, including the Zip code and street address.

Mail Preparation

There are specific guidelines that must be followed when preparing your mail to be delivered by the USPS. There are different guidelines for the different mail classes, for different presort levels, for different types of packages (letters, cards, flats, parcels, etc.), for pre-bar coding, for upgradeable mail, and for automated mail. The guidelines deal with packaging, putting in trays and sacks, markings on individual pieces, and supporting documentation that must accompany your mailing. If you have a mailing house prepare your mail, they should be knowledgeable in what the guidelines are for your particular mailing. The guidelines can be found on the USPS Web site at

Postal Verification

All mailings must go through a verification process to be accepted by the USPS as mail. The mailing is verified for classification, preparation, presort and rate eligibility. The verification can be performed at an USPS facility or in a DMU located at the mailer's facility. The verification must be performed by an USPS employee.

A DMU is a detached mail unit. It is an area located at the mailer's facility where USPS employees perform postal duties, such as verification, acceptance, postage payment and other postal processing functions. Having a DMU in your mailers facility eliminates a step at the post office and allows the mailer to deliver the mail directly to the destination delivery unit, bulk mail center or sectional center facility sooner. A DMU allows your mailing to get into the mailstream faster and offers you additional rate savings.

If your mailing does not go through verification and acceptance in a DMU located at the mailer's facility, it will have to go to the local post office serving your mailer's area. There the mailing will go through the USPS postal verification.

Mail Distribution

Once the mail has been verified it is ready for distribution. Arrangements can be made to have postal trailers pick up the mail or it can be delivered by the mailer's trucks to the proper postal facility. The mail could be delivered to the local post office that services the area where the mailer is located, or it could be delivered to one of the destination postal facilities to receive a destination entry discount. Standard Mail and Periodicals are the only mailings that are eligible for these discounts. There are three destination entry discounts available for Standard Mail. They are explained below.

DBMC (Destination Bulk Mail Center) Discount

The DBMC discount is obtained when the mailing is properly prepared and delivered by the mailer to the BMC (Bulk Mail Center) that is designated to service the delivery address (Zip code range) on the mail. A bulk mail center is a highly mechanized postal processing facility that distributes Standard Mail (Bulk Mail).

DSCF (Destination Sectional Center Facility) Discount

The DSCF discount is obtained when the mailing is properly prepared and delivered by the mailer to the SCF (Sectional Center Facility) that is designated to service the delivery address (Zip code range) on the mail. A sectional center facility is a postal processing and distribution center that services the post offices in a designated geographic area. The post offices serviced by each center are determined by the first three numbers of the Zip codes the post offices service. The SCF can service more than one 3-digit Zip code ranges.

DDU (Destination Delivery Unit) Discount

The DDU discount is obtained when the mailing is properly prepared and delivered by the mailer to the DDU (Destination Delivery Unit) that is designated to service the delivery address on the mail (carrier routes). The destination delivery unit is the postal facility that is designated to deliver the mail to the address on the mail piece.

To be eligible for the destination discounts, the mail has to be verified and prepared according to USPS guidelines and have all the proper documentation provided.


PostalOne! is a new electronic interface process offered by the USPS to its major customers. A company must be certified by the USPS to be a PostalOne! user. Mailers can have their mailings verified, process postage statements and mail transportation can be coordinated through electronic processes, eliminating the paper processes that are currently used. PostalOne! will increase the mailers efficiency in mail preparation and provide better tracking capabilities.


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