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By Michael DeFlavia

The USPS again postponed implementation of the IMb that was (re)scheduled for May 2011. Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe says: “We heard concerns that we were moving too fast on discontinuing POSTNET coding, and we will continue to offer the automation prices for mail with POSTNET barcodes beyond May 2011.”

Too fast? For who? Original implementation of the IMb was set for 2009 but has been delayed several times. All signs pointed for a hard implementation of May 2011 though, and it seemed like mailers and facilities that process mail were ready for this. Apparently not.

While implementation of the IMb has been put on indefinite hold, that doesn’t mean you should hold too. If you haven’t already, you should obtain a Mailer ID in order to obtain a USPS approved IMb for your outgoing and incoming pieces. Click here to view a previous IMb article.

The IMb, having been used on more than 41 billion pieces (per the USPS), allows mailers a breadth of services originally only available using a POSTNET barcode and a PLANET code. Services like tracking outgoing and incoming mail down to the specific piece if so desired.

My advice, if you haven’t made the switch to the IMb, do so now. Be ready for when the USPS eliminates the POSTNET barcode and actually does implement the IMb.