DMM TOC > 300 Commercial Flats > 330 First-Class Mail|
335 Mail Preparation
Presort is the process by which a mailer prepares mail so that it is sorted to at least the finest extent required by the standards for the price claimed. Generally, presort is performed sequentially, from the lowest (finest) level to the highest level, to those destinations specified by standard and is completed at each level before the next level is prepared. Not all presort levels are applicable in all situations.
a. General. A mailing is a group of pieces within the same class of mail and the same processing category that may be sorted together and/or presented under a single minimum volume mailing requirement under the applicable standards. Generally, types of mail that follow different flows through the postal processing system (e.g., automation and nonautomation) and mail for each separate class and subclass must be prepared as a separate mailing. Other specific standards may define whether separate mailings may be combined, palletized, reported, or deposited together.
b. The types of First-Class Mail listed below must not be part of the same mailing despite being in the same processing category (see 705.9.0, Combining Bundles of Automation and Nonautomation Flats in Trays and Sacks, and 705.10.0, Merging Bundles of Flats in Sacks and Pallets Using the City State Product, for advanced preparation options for flat-size mail):
a. 5-digit: the delivery address on all pieces includes the same 5-digit ZIP Code.
c. Origin/optional entry 3-digit(s): the ZIP Code in the delivery address on all pieces begins with one of the 3-digit prefixes processed at the sectional center facility (SCF) in whose service area the mail is verified/entered. Subject to standard, a separation is required for each such 3-digit area regardless of the volume of mail.
e. Mixed ADC: the pieces are for delivery in the service area of more than one ADC.
a. Pieces refers to individually addressed mailpieces. This definition also applies when pieces is used in eligibility standards. Quantities indicated for optional or required sortations always refer to pieces unless specifically excepted.
b. A full flat tray is one that is physically full. Although a specific minimum volume is required (at least a single stack of mail lying flat on the bottom of the tray and filling the tray to the bottom of the handholds) before a tray may or must be prepared to the corresponding presort destination, trays must be filled with additional available pieces (up to the reasonable capacity of the tray) when standards require preparation of full trays.
c. A less-than-full flat tray is one that contains First-Class Mail for the same destination regardless of quantity or whether a full tray was previously prepared for that destination. Less-than-full flat trays may be prepared only if permitted by the standards for the price claimed.
d. An overflow flat tray is a less-than-full First-Class Mail tray that contains all pieces remaining after preparation of one or more full trays for the same destination. Overflow flat trays may be prepared only if permitted by the standards for the price claimed.
e. A 5-digit scheme sort for automation flats yields 5-digit scheme bundles for those 5-digit ZIP Codes identified in L007. Presorting must be performed using L007. Pieces prepared in scheme bundles must meet the automation-compatibility criteria in 301.3.0, Physical Standards for Automation Flats. The 5-digit ZIP Codes in each scheme are treated as a single presort destination subject to a single minimum volume, with no further separation by 5-digit ZIP Code required. Bundles prepared for a 5-digit scheme destination that contain pieces for only one of the schemed 5-digit ZIP Codes are still considered 5-digit scheme sorted and are labeled accordingly. The 5-digit scheme sort is optional. Bundles must be labeled using an optional endorsement line (OEL) under 708.7.0 or with a red “5 SCH” bundle label. Bundles are placed in appropriate containers using the OEL “label to” 5-digit ZIP Code or using L007 column B.
f. An origin 3-digit (or origin 3-digit scheme) tray contains all mail (regardless of quantity) for a 3-digit ZIP Code (or 3-digit scheme) area processed by the SCF in whose service area the mail is verified. If more than one 3-digit (or 3-digit scheme) area is served, as indicated in L005, a separate tray must be prepared for each.
g. The required at [quantity] instruction (e.g., “required at 10 pieces”) means that the particular unit must be prepared for the corresponding presort level whenever the specified quantity of mail is reached or exceeded. Bundles and containers may contain more than the specified required at quantity up to the applicable maximum physical size. Subject to applicable price eligibility standards, smaller quantities may be prepared only if permitted. Where specified by standard, required preparation applies only if the mailer chooses to qualify for the corresponding price.
h. The optional at [quantity] instruction means that the particular unit may be prepared for the corresponding presort level whenever the specified quantity of mail is reached or exceeded. Bundles or containers may contain more than the specified optional at quantity up to the applicable maximum physical size. Smaller quantities may be prepared only if permitted by applicable price eligibility standards. Standards for quantities with which preparation is optional are often followed by standards for larger quantities with which preparation is required.
i. Entry [facility] (or origin [facility]) refers to the USPS mail processing facility (e.g., “entry SCF”) that serves the Post Office at which the mail is entered by the mailer. If the Post Office where the mail is entered is not the one serving the mailer’s location the Post Office of entry determines the entry facility. Entry SCF includes both single-3-digit and multi-3-digit SCFs.
j. The group pieces instruction means the pieces are to be sorted together as if to be bundled but not actually secured into a bundle. Bundle labels and other bundle identification methods may be used for unsecured groups of pieces as permitted by standard.
l. A “logical” presort destination represents the total number of pieces that are eligible for a specific presort level based on the required sortation, but which might not be contained in a single bundle or in a single container due to applicable preparation requirements or the size of the individual pieces. For example, there may be 42 mailpieces for ZIP Code 43112 forming a First-Class Mail “logical” 5-digit bundle, and they are prepared in three physical 5-digit bundles because of the applicable weight and height restrictions on bundles.
m. Cobundling is an alternate preparation method available under 705.11.0 for First-Class Mail that allows the combining of flat-size automation price and Presorted price pieces within the same bundle under the single minimum bundle size requirement. Regardless of the class of mail, pieces may not be combined in more than one physical bundle for each logical presort destination unless presented using an approved manifest mailing system under 705.2.0.
Mailers assemble pieces available for different presort destinations into groups. A bundle is a group of addressed pieces secured together as a unit. The term bundle does not apply to pieces grouped or prepared loose in trays.
All pieces in a bundle must be “faced” (arranged with the addresses in the same read direction), with an address visible on the top piece.
Bundles of flats and other pieces of nonuniform thickness may be prepared by counter-stacking under these conditions:
a. Counter-stacking should be used only to create bundles of more uniform thickness that are more likely to maintain their integrity during transportation and processing.
b. Counter-stacking is appropriate for saddle-stitched mailpieces and pieces where one edge is thicker than other edges or one corner is thicker than other corners.
c. When counter-stacking, pieces must all have addresses facing up and be divided into no more than four approximately equal groups, with each group rotated 180 degrees from the preceding and succeeding group(s); prepare as few groups as possible to create a bundle of uniform thickness.
d. Counter-stacked groups within a bundle should be as thick as possible, generally at least 1 inch thick.
e. When pieces are nonuniform in thickness because they are thicker in the center instead of along an edge or corner, counter-stacking will generally not result in a bundle of uniform thickness (i.e., a football-shaped bundle would be created). Instead of counter-stacking such pieces, limit the height (thickness) of the bundle to 3 to 6 inches to ensure the bundle will stay together during normal transit and handling.
2.4 Securing Bundles
Bundles must withstand normal transit and handling without breaking and without causing injury to USPS employees or damage to USPS equipment.
a. Secure bundles with banding, shrinkwrap, or shrinkwrap supplemented with one or more bands. Banding includes plastic bands, rubber bands, twine, string, and similar material. Mailers must meet the following standards when banding bundles:
2. When using twine or string to band bundles, secure the knot(s) so the twine or string does not come loose during transit and processing.
b. When using only banding to secure bundles, apply banding under the following additional requirements:
1. Use at least one band to encircle the length of the bundle and use at least one band to encircle the girth of the bundle.
2. Use tension sufficient to tighten and depress the edges of the bundle so that pieces do not slip out of the banding during transit and processing.
Mailers need not prepare bundles when placing mail in a full tray if none of the mail in that tray would have been more finely sorted if bundled. For example, the content of a full ADC tray need not be bundled if it would have all been prepared in ADC bundles to the same destination.
For mail prepared with a simplified address, all pieces for the same Post Office must be prepared in bundles of 50 when possible. If bundles of other quantities are prepared, the actual number of pieces must be shown on the facing slip attached to show distribution desired (e.g., rural route, city route, Post Office boxholder).
An individual bundle may be prepared with fewer than the minimum number of pieces required by the standards for the price claimed without loss of price eligibility under either of these conditions:
a. A greater number of pieces would exceed the maximum physical size for a bundle and the total number of pieces for that presort destination meets the minimum volume standard (e.g., 30 pieces are available to meet a 10-piece minimum, but a bundle of eight pieces is 6 inches thick).
b. The pieces constitute the “last bundle” for a presort destination and previously prepared bundles met the applicable minimum volume standard (e.g., 505 pieces prepared in 10 50-piece bundles and one five-piece bundle).
2.8 Labeling Bundles
Unless excepted by standard, the presort level of each bundle must be identified either with an optional endorsement line under 708.7.0 or with a barcoded pressure-sensitive bundle label. On flat-size mail, the label may be placed anywhere on the address side of the top piece in the bundle. Bundle labels must not be obscured by banding or shrinkwrap. The following colors and presort characters apply to bundle labels:
3.0 Flat Trays
Mailings must be prepared in flat trays with green lids under 3.4, unless prepared in extended managed mail (EMM) trays under 3.5. A postmaster may authorize nonpostal containers for a small-volume presorted mailing if the mailing weighs no more than 20 pounds, consists primarily of mail or bundles of mail for local ZIP Codes, and requires no USPS transportation for processing.
These approximate measurements define the USPS-provided tray sizes that apply to mail preparation standards in 3.4 and 3.5:
a. Flat tray. Inside bottom dimensions: 14-3/4 inches long by 10-3/4 inches wide. Height: 8 inches to bottom of handhold, 11-1/4 inches to top of tray.
b. Letter tray. 2-foot extended MM (EMM) trays: 21-3/4 inches long by 11-1/2 inches wide (inside bottom dimensions) by 6-1/8 inches high.
b. Pieces must be placed in trays to maintain their orientation. Once the required minimum volume is reached to allow or require preparation of a tray, additional pieces must be placed in the same tray up to its capacity to minimize the number of trays used. When possible, pieces must be placed in two or more stacks to optimize tray use, but mail must not overfill the tray to inhibit adequate closure or covering of the content.
f. For automation price mailings prepared under the optional tray-based preparation rules in 6.0, one less-than-full overflow tray may be prepared for a presort destination when the total number of pieces for that destination meets the minimum for preparation of the tray level, and when one or more full trays for that destination are also prepared.
g. For automation price mailings prepared under the optional tray-based preparation rules, if the total number of pieces for a presort destination meets or exceeds the minimum number of pieces required to prepare a tray for that destination, but the total volume does not physically fill a single tray, then the mail for that presort destination may be prepared in a less-than-full tray.
h. Pieces prepared as automation flats under the tray-based preparation option do not have to be grouped by 3-digit ZIP Code prefix in ADC trays or by ADC in mixed ADC trays if the mailing is prepared using an MLOCR/barcode sorter and standardized documentation is submitted.
i. Each flat tray must be covered with a lid. Each covered flat tray must then be secured with two straps placed tightly around the width of the tray (the shorter dimension).
Mailers may prepare First-Class Mail flat-size pieces in EMM letter trays instead of flat trays if the following standards are met:
a. The pieces must fit completely within the dimensions for height, length, and width specified in 3.3b. for an extended managed mail (EMM) letter tray. All pieces must be upright, faced toward the end of the tray (the short dimension), and perpendicular to the length of the tray.
b. Trays must bear tray-size labels that meet all applicable physical and barcode standards under 4.9, with Line 1 and Line 2 information as required for flat-size mail in flat trays. Each label must contain a barcode as specified in 708.6.3.3 and the content identifier number required in Exhibit 708.6.2.1 for the same type of flat-size mail prepared in flat trays.
c. All mail must be prepared under 6.6, First-Class Mail Optional Tray-Based Preparation, and must not be prepared in bundles, except pieces in less-than-full trays must be bundled. Mailers using this option are not eligible to prepare their mail under 705.9.0.
After all finer sort levels are prepared, an origin/entry 3-digit tray (or, if applicable, origin/entry 3-digit scheme tray) must be prepared to contain any remaining mail for each 3-digit (or 3-digit scheme) area serviced by the SCF serving the Post Office where the mail is verified (origin), and may be prepared for each 3-digit (or 3-digit scheme) area served by the SCF/plant where mail is entered (if that is different from the SCF/plant serving the Post Office where the mail is verified). In all cases, only one less-than-full tray may be prepared for each 3-digit (or 3-digit scheme) area.
4.0 Tray Labels
4.1 Basic Standards
Tray labels must contain all required elements applicable to the class and price category of the mailing. Labels must be legible (barcoded, machine printed labels recommended). Tray labels for automation mailings are subject to 4.9 and 708.6.2, Specifications for Barcoded Tray and Sack Labels. Intelligent Mail tray labels are subject to the standards in 708.6.5, Intelligent Mail Tray Labels, and to the specifications posted at http://ribbs.usps.gov.
b. Weight: minimum 70-pound stock (500 sheets, 24 by 36 inches).
c. Height (perpendicular to printing): 1.860 inches minimum; 2.015 inches maximum.
d. Length (parallel to printing): 3.250 inches minimum; 3.515 inches maximum.
e. Thickness: 0.005 inch minimum.
a. Placement. Line 1 must be the first visible line on the label. It must be completely visible and legible when placed in the label holder. This visibility is ensured if the top of this line is no less than 1/8 (0.125) inch below the top of the label when the label is cut and prepared.
b. Information. Line 1 must contain only the information specified by standard, including the appropriate destination facility prefix (e.g., “ADC”). Two zeros may follow the 3-digit ZIP Code prefix required by labeling standards (e.g., 223 as 22300).
c. Overseas Military Mail. On 5-digit trays for overseas military destinations, Line 1 shows, from left to right, “APO” or “FPO,” followed by “AE” (for ZIP Codes within the ZIP Code prefix range 090-098), “AA” (for ZIP Codes within the 3-digit ZIP Code prefix 340), or “AP” (for ZIP Codes within the ZIP Code prefix range 962-966), followed by the destination 5-digit ZIP Code of the mail in the tray.
a. Placement: Line 2 must be the second visible line on the label. This line must show the class and processing category of the mail in the tray and other information as specified by standards.
b. Codes: The codes shown below must be used as appropriate on Line 2 of tray labels.
Line 3 (office of mailing or mailer information line) must be the bottom line of required information and must show either the city and state of the entry Post Office or the mailer’s name and the city and state of the mailer’s location. It is recommended that the mailer’s name also appear with the city and state of the entry Post Office.
Lines 1 and 3 may contain abbreviated information if such abbreviations are those in the USPS City State Product.
Extraneous information is not permitted on the destination and content lines. It may be placed away from required lines, subject to these conditions:
a. It may be placed above Line 1 in not more than 0.083 inch high type (6-point type).
b. It may appear to the right of required Line 3 information but it must not consist of numerals that resemble a ZIP Code or 3-digit ZIP Code prefix.
c. It must not appear between Lines 1 and 2 (a blank line is permitted), but may appear between Lines 2 and 3 if it does not consist of numerals that resemble a ZIP Code or 3-digit ZIP Code prefix.
e. A mailer code assigned by the USPS or such words as “Mailer,” “From” (or “FR”), or “Entered at” may appear before the required information on Line 3.
A tray label must be securely placed in an adhesive-backed label holder that is affixed to the specific location designated on the tray. Where no specific location is indicated the label must be securely placed in an adhesive-backed label holder that is affixed horizontally to the top left corner of one end of the tray. Do not use tape. Insert labels completely into the label holder to ensure that they do not fall out during processing. Do not insert labels upside down.
Exhibit 4.9.1 shows the types of mail requiring barcoded tray labels. Barcoded labels must meet these general standards:
b. All information on barcoded labels must be machine-printed. Alterations to preprinted barcoded labels (e.g., handwritten changes) may not be made.
c. Barcoded labels must be inserted completely into the label holder on the tray to prevent their loss during transport and processing.
e. Intelligent Mail Tray labels must be used with mailings entered under the full-service automation option (see 705.23.0).
Exhibit 4.9.1 Required Barcoded Container Labels
5.1 Basic Standards
Each Presorted First-Class Mail mailing must be prepared under 5.0 and 333.3.0, Eligibility Standards for First-Class Mail Flats. All pieces must be in the flat-size processing category. Flat-size pieces must be prepared in flat trays. All pieces must be marked “Presorted” and “First-Class.”
Regardless of the method of postage payment, pieces of single-piece price First-Class Mail may be presented with and reported on the same postage statement as pieces claimed at automation or presort prices if the single-piece price pieces are physically separated from other pieces; bear no price marking, or are marked only “First-Class,” or (if not affixed with full single-piece price postage) are marked “Single-Piece” or “SNGLP” under 202.3.0, Placement and Content of Mail Markings, in addition to any other marking; and either have additional postage affixed to yield the correct amount on each piece or (if prepared with a corrective price marking) have all additional postage paid at the time of mailing.
Except under 2.5, bundling is required before traying. A bundle must be prepared when the quantity of addressed pieces for a required presort level reaches a minimum of 10 pieces. Smaller volumes are not permitted except under 2.7 and for mixed ADC bundles. Preparation sequence, bundle size except under 2.7, and labeling:
1. Line 1: city, state, and 5-digit ZIP Code on mail (see 4.3c. for overseas military mail).
b. 3-digit (required); full trays (no overflow), except for one less-than-full tray for each origin 3-digit(s); labeling:
1. Line 1: Use L201; for mail originating in ZIP Code areas in Column A, use “MXD” followed by city, state, and 3-digit ZIP Code prefix in Column C (use “MXD” instead of “OMX” in the destination line and ignore Column B).
Except for automation price mailings prepared under the tray-based preparation option in 6.6, if a single mailing job contains an automation price mailing and a Presorted price mailing and both mailings are reported on the same postage statement, then the mailing job must be presorted under the cotraying standards in 705.9.0. Flat-size Presorted price pieces may be cobundled with flat-size automation price pieces under the standards in 705.11.0.
6.1 Basic Standards
Automation First-Class Mail must be prepared under 6.0 and meet the eligibility standards for the price claimed; trays must bear the appropriate barcoded container labels under 708.6.0, Standards for Barcoded Tray Labels, Sack Labels, and Container Placards. Flat-size pieces must be prepared in flat trays.
6.2.1 Automation Pieces
All pieces in a mailing must be sorted together to the finest extent required. First-Class Mail mailings may include pieces prepared at automation 5-digit, 3-digit, ADC, and mixed ADC prices. The definitions of a mailing and permissible combinations are in 1.2.
Regardless of the method of postage payment, single-piece First-Class Mail may be presented with and reported on the same postage statement as pieces claimed at automation or presort prices if the single pieces are physically separated from other pieces; bear no price marking, or are marked only “First-Class,” or (if not affixed with full single-piece postage) are marked “Single-Piece” or “SNGLP” under 202.3.0, Placement and Content of Mail Markings, in addition to any other marking; and either have additional postage affixed to yield the correct amount on each piece or (if prepared with a corrective price marking) have all additional postage paid at the time of mailing.
All automation pieces must be marked under 302. Pieces claimed at an automation price must bear the appropriate class marking. Pieces not claimed at an automation price must not bear “AUTO” unless single-piece postage is affixed or a corrective single-piece marking (“single-piece” or “SNGLP”) is applied.
Except for First-Class Mail prepared under 6.6, First-Class Mail Optional Tray-Based Preparation, all pieces must be prepared in bundles. Bundles may contain fewer pieces than the bundle minimum, depending on the size of the pieces in the mailing or the total quantity of the pieces to that destination. Price eligibility is not affected when a physical bundle contains fewer pieces than the minimum bundle size for the above reasons.
6.5.1 Bundling and Labeling
Preparation sequence, bundle size, (except as allowed under 2.7), and labeling:
b. 5-digit (optional, but required for 5-digit price eligibility); 10-piece minimum; red Label 5 or optional endorsement line (OEL).
6.5.2 Traying and Labeling
1. Line 1: city, state, and 5-digit ZIP Code on mail (see 708.6.0, Standards for Barcoded Tray Labels, Sack Labels, and Container Placards, for overseas military mail).
1. Line 1: Use L201; for mail originating in ZIP Code areas in Column A, use “MXD” followed by city, state, and 3-digit ZIP Code prefix in Column C. (Use “MXD” instead of “OMX” in the destination line and ignore Column B).
a. 5-digit: optional, but 5-digit trays required for price eligibility (90-piece minimum); one less-than-full or overflow tray allowed; for Line 1, use city, state, and 5-digit ZIP Code destination of pieces (for military mail see 4.3c.). (Preparation to qualify for 5-digit price is optional and need not be done for all 5-digit destinations.)
b. 3-digit: required (90-piece minimum); one less-than-full or overflow tray allowed; for Line 1, use L002, Column A for 3-digit destinations.
c. Origin 3-digit: required for each 3-digit ZIP Code served by the SCF of the origin (verification) office; no minimum; for Line 1, use L002, Column A for 3-digit destinations.
d. ADC: required (90-piece minimum); one less-than-full or overflow tray allowed; group pieces by 3-digit ZIP Code prefix; for Line 1, use L004 (ZIP Code prefixes in Column A must be combined and labeled to the corresponding ADC destination shown in Column B). As an exception, pieces do not have to be grouped by 3-digit ZIP Code prefix in ADC trays if the mailing is prepared using a MLOCR/barcode sorter and standardized documentation is submitted.
e. Mixed ADC (required); no minimum for price eligibility. Group pieces by ADC. For Line 1 use L201; for mail originating in ZIP Code areas in Column A, use “MXD” followed by city, state, and 3-digit ZIP Code prefix in Column C (use “MXD” instead of “OMX” in the destination line and ignore Column B). Mailers using a MLOCR/barcode sorter and submitting standardized documentation need not group pieces by ADC.
Pieces meeting the automation-compatibility criteria in 301.3.0, Physical Standards for Automation Flats, may be prepared in 5-digit scheme bundles for those 5-digit ZIP Code combinations identified in L007. These bundles must meet the additional standards in 1.4e., Preparation Definitions and Instructions.
Except for mailings prepared under the tray-based preparation option in 6.6, if the mailing job contains an automation mailing and a Presorted mailing and both mailings are reported on the same postage statement, then the mailing job must be prepared under the cotraying standards in 705.9.0. Automation pieces may be cobundled with Presorted pieces under the standards in 705.11.0.