Brand owners are being urged to sign up to Royal Mail’s Mailmark scheme – which tracks individual pieces of mail as they pass through the postal system – with the lure of even greater discounts and more detailed reporting.
The postal giant has just revealed that from January 2016, a year earlier than planned, brands could qualify for a 5% discount on the next lowest priced postage option when they join the programme.
While on the surface this may not sound like anything to write home about, with many brands spending millions of pounds a year on postage, significant savings could be achieved.
On top of that, by using Mailmark, companies can cut back on so-called reversion charges if mailshots fail to go through new sorting machinery.
Under the current regime, Royal Mail can fine firms – or even send back the entire mail run – if any of the mailings jam. But under Mailmark, there is greater flexibility to fix any problems, as it gives clients the opportunity to download corrections before proceeding with the print run.
Last year the company offered mailing houses up to £50,000 towards the cost of upgrading their operations to handle Mailmark post.
And in Royal Mail’s most recent financial figures – published in May – it said that over 17% of machine-readable mail currently carries the Mailmark barcode. It claimed that existing customers, including home-shopping, energy providers and high street retailers have now signed up.
Despite a slow start – due to mailing houses taking time to adopt the software – the barcode technology and online-reporting scheme appears to be gaining traction.
Mailmark reports are also changing over the summer as the next technology update is deployed. These changes include:
Predicted Delivery: Enhancements to the ‘Predicted Delivery’ pie chart to provide clients with more information on what proportion of mail Royal Mail has delivered and by when
Late Delivery Tail: A new report detailing the ‘Delivery Tail’ for mailings showing how many items were delivered on and how many after the due delivery day and on what day they were actually delivered.
Volume Chart: An update to the volume barchart to remove items with double counts which are currently being added. The firm says this will ensure that the total of machine processed, processed late and not machine processed will once again equal the volume declared bar. Double counting has provided new and unexpected data and will form a new metric for Royal Mail to use to monitor its performance, it insists.
Customer Reference: A new field in the eManifest that allows clients to add an item level customer reference which is then shown in the item level reports.
Missorts: A new field is being added to the Missort report to identify the Mail Centre where Royal Mail first processed the item. The company says this should assist the supply chain participants in identifying the likely causes of missorts.
Machineability: To be renamed Readability and a new breakdown of the addressing error type to make it easier for users to improve address quality. Royal Mail claims it will also ensure that items which are missorted do not also appear as what it calls “sorted seen at outward”.
Royal Mail’s Mailmark team are fronting a number of sessions in London and Leeds to promote the changes.
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