Postage costs could nearly triple for campus departments that do not comply with new Postal Service rules going into effect beginning this summer. But with some effort, the same rules will also allow departments to reduce their postage for many types of mailings.
"We're about to enter a new era in mail processing." says Mail Services Director Bill McCart. "The Postal Service has been automating its operations for some years, but now they are restructuring their 100-year-old classification and rate system to further automation. They're calling their restructuring effort 'Classification Reform,' and it's the biggest change to mailing requirements in the last hundred years--and that's no exaggeration.
"Departments that move to take advantage of the new rules will be able to reduce their postage costs. And in doing so they will generally get faster, more accurate service. Those that don't, however, will definitely pay more in postage," said McCart.
Mail Services will undertake a major educational effort on campus this summer, beginning with orientation sessions for MSOs and department business managers in late May. (See dates below.)
"Departments really need to pay attention to these changes," said McCart. "The impact on Berkeley will be significant. We don't want anyone to be caught unawares and then have to pay the price."
"To take advantage of classification reform and keep our costs and recharge rates down, we have to find ways to automate the campus's outgoing mail," said Kay Ingle, operations manager.
"Mail Services has the equipment to do it, but faculty and staff will need to change how they prepare and address their mail. To help them, we will be introducing new addressing guidelines in June."
The new postal reforms will have their greatest impact on the non-profit bulk rate. Much of campus's mail is sent at this low rate; nearly every department uses it.
The new rules, which include annual ZIP Code verification and certified sorting software, will go into effect for it no later than Oct. 6.
According to Roger Hefty, bulk mail supervisor, the only cost-effective way to meet the new rules is to maintain addresses in a database.
"Departments that maintain paper lists or lists that can't meet the requirements won't qualify for the non-profit bulk rate. That leaves first class as the only alternative."
Departments that do not comply will end up paying 32 cents per piece, rather than the current 12.4 cents. "In the current budget climate no department can afford that kind of increase," said Hefty.
For more information, contact McCart at 643-7397 or mccart @uclink. Information can also be found on Mail Services' web site (http://garnet:4250).