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Quick Service Guide 401a
Discount Parcels
Designing Parcels for Automated Processing

January 2006
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Related QSGs

440a, Standard Mail Machinable Parcels
450, Parcel Post
460, Bound Printed Matter Irregular and Machinable Parcels

 

Physical Standards (401)

Minimum weight: 6 ounces.

Standard Mail: maximum weight is less than 16 ounces.

Bound Printed Matter: maximum weight is 15 pounds.

Parcel Post: maximum weight is 35 pounds (25 pounds for books and other printed matter).

Dimensions: 6 to 34 inches long, 3 to 17 inches high, and 1/4 to 17 inches thick. Parcels 1/4 thick must be at least 3-1/2 inches high and 6 inches long.

For an overview of the physical standards for discount parcels, see Quick Service Guide 401.

 

Eligibility Standards

Parcels are nonmachinable if they meet any of the criteria in 401.2.3. Parcel Post pieces meeting any of the criteria in 401.2.3 are subject to a nonmachinable surcharge in addition to postage.

Barcoded discount: Standard Mail and Package Services (Parcel Post, Bound Printed Matter, Media Mail, and Library Mail) barcoded discount pieces must meet the standards in 708.5.1. Parcel barcode may be combined with Delivery Confirmation or Signature Confirmation Service barcode. Standard Mail parcels may include only electronic Delivery Confirmation.

Parcels eligible for the Standard Mail and Package Services barcoded discount must be prepared with the address and barcode placed squarely onto the largest surface area of the parcel except when the shape and contents require specific orientation for stability during processing. The barcode should be placed immediately adjacent to the delivery address and no closer than 1/2 inch from the edge of the parcel.

 

Acceptable Container (601.3)

Use sturdy materials to withstand handling.

Size must be adequate to contain items and provide space for cushioning material:

  • Paperboard boxes for easy and average loads up to 10 pounds.
  • Metal-stayed paperboard boxes for easy and average loads up to 20 pounds.
  • Soft goods in paper or plastic bags and enveloped printed matter up to 5 pounds.
  • Avoid waxed or oiled materials, exterior foam boxes, and unsecurely packaged articles.
  • Solid corrugated fiberboard boxes as shown below.

 

Cushioning (601.4)

Cushioning absorbs shock and vibration of handling. Combinations of cushioning materials are most effective. Cushion items separately. Examples of cushioning materials: foamed plastics, corrugated fiberboard, loose-fill material, shredded paper, bubble wrap.

 

Closure and Sealing (601.4)

  • Except for pressure-sensitive filament tape, tapes used for closure and reinforcement must be at least 2 inches wide.
  • Paper tape must be at least 60-pound basis weight.
  • Adhesive (glue, paste, thermal plastic, etc.) must be serviceable from -20oF to 160oF.
  • Staples and steel stitching acceptable if spaced less than 5 inches apart for easy loads, less than 2-1/2 inches for difficult loads.
  • Avoid twine, cord, rope, cellophane tape, and masking tape.

 

Mail Preparation

Parcels must be prepared and marked under applicable standards for machinable parcel preparation:

For pallet preparation, see 705.8.

For combined mailings of Standard Mail and Package Services parcels, see 705.6.

For the specific DMM standards applicable to this category of mail, consult the DMM sections referenced above and the general sections within each DMM module. 

 

Physical Standards for Automation-Compatible Parcels

This graphic shows the placement of a return address in the upper left corner of a package, the placement of an optional carrier release instructions under the return address, the placement of a delivery address in the center of a package, the placement of a parcel barcode to the left of the address, the placement of postage in the upper right of a package, the placement of an Extra Service label between the return address and postage area, and the placement of endorsements and markings under the postage area.

Required - return address (602.1.5)

Optional - "Carrier Release" instructions on uninsured parcels (508.1.2)

Delivery Address (602.1.3)

Extra service label area (503)

Postage: stamps (604.1), postage meter (604.4), or permit imprint (604.6)

Endorsements and markings (302)

Ancillary service endorsement; Instructions if addressee is not at delivery address (507)

Barcode (708.5.1)

  • All information must appear on the same surface.
  • Avoid glassine covering address and barcode.

UCC/EAN Code 128 Barcode
The UCC/EAN Code 128 barcode is required for the Standard Mail and Package Services barcoded discount. For barcode specifications and placement, see 708.5.1.

If the barcode is printed on the delivery address label and in close proximity to the address, the ZIP Code or ZIP+4 code information below the barcode may be omitted. If the barcode is printed on a separate label, the ZIP Code or ZIP+4 code preceded by the word "ZIP" must be printed between 1/8 inch and 1/2 inch below the barcode.

This graphic shows a UCC/EAN Code 128 Barcode with the placement of a ZIP Code 1/4 inch under the barcode.

Postal routing codes must meet the technical specifications in the UCC/EAN Code 128; see 708.5.1.

Packaging and Sealing
This graphic show three packages with the use of pressure-sensitive filament tape, reinforced kraft paper tape and kraft paper tape.Container (see front for details):

  • Sturdy paperboard or fiberboard boxes.
  • Plastic or paper bags up to 5 pounds.
  • Enveloped printed matter up to 5 pounds.
  • Avoid waxed or oiled materials, exterior foam boxes.

Cushioning:

  • Cushion items separately.
  • Combine materials for most effectiveness. Cushioning materials:
    foamed plastics, corrugated fiberboard,
    loose-fill material, and shredded newspapers.

Sealing (see front for details):

  • Pressure-sensitive reinforced tape.
  • Reinforced paper tape.
  • Staples or steel stitching.
  • Adhesive.
  • Avoid twine, cord, rope, cellophane tape,
    and masking tape.

 

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