By John Barron, Service Center

The U.S. Postal Service has implemented the final phase of a bar-code-automation program that provides substantial discounts for mailers who generate bar codes along with the mail address.

The University of St. Thomas has taken advantage of these discounts for more than four years with encoding hardware and software at the Service Center. To date, savings to UST have amounted to more than $500,000.

Tests have shown, however, that certain types of paper affect the accuracy of Postal Service equipment in reading the printed bar code. Dark “flecks” or “hairs” in paper are mistaken as bars in a bar code and the mail is routed incorrectly.

In order to qualify for the automation discounts, the address must be printed on a background that is clean and white, or at the very least, clean and lightly colored. It will be possible to submit mailings on flecked paper, but the postage will be higher.

If you have any questions about how this will affect your current or future mailings, please call me at (651) 962-6584.