The IMb Evolution

May 09, 2013 3:00 AM  By

Evolving is inevitable especially in today’s digital age. Technology dominates a significant portion of our everyday lives from social media, the use of mobile devices and computers among other forms of technology.  So it shouldn’t be a surprise that the U.S. Postal Service continues to evolve in the digital age as well.

This week I am attending the ACMA’s National Catalog Forum for the first time.  The first day of the forum I’ve learned so much about the Postal Service, about catalog mailers and their concerns on a daily basis. 

The last session of day one introduced me to Jim Cochrane, VP of Product Information for the USPS. His presentation, “Full Service IMb and Informed Visibility: What Does It Mean for Catalogs?” offered an important lesson – “Every piece of mail should have a digital reflection,” according to Cochrane. 

IMb, also known as Intelligent Mail Barcode provides for electronic documentation on everything and provides tracking of all mail across the USPS network.  It promises to track mail pieces and containers end to end. 

Cochrane told attendees of the forum their biggest investments have been in information systems. 

“We have to continuously evolve to drive costs out,” said Cochrane.

Investments in technology will generate revenue.  The point is using data and enhancing the value of mail. 

Cochrane said the real issue of having all the data is improving the process.  The data the USPS is using allows them to get focused on service. 

Full-service IMb adoption provides for significant shift in technology, real time visibility, business intelligence, and cost effective reliable service, according to Cochrane.

Cochrane said, “We have a lot of work to do in a short amount of time.” 

Cochrane taught us that digital and hard copy are at a real convergence.  It’s a digital strategy and it is using information to expand business. 

“It’s all about service, we can do amazing things with this service,” said Cochrane. 

Cochrane said the USPS wants to be able to forecast when mail comes in with the use of IMb.