What’s that black square beside the Recipient address?
The little back square visible on some documents near the mailing address is called a 2D or two dimensional bar-code. It is not yet on all of our mail pieces, but most of them (such as Express Letters, Certified Letters, Postcards, and many others). It is currently being rolled out in phases to ultimately appear on all mail that goes through our building.
It’s not a traditional bar-code that is composed of various parallel lines, but instead is made up of tiny squares which allow a lot of information to be packed into a smaller space than other types of bar-codes.
But why is it on your mail? This code is used by our high speed scanning equipment to make sure that we account for all the mail that our customers ask us to send out. The 2D code shows through the window of an envelope (or appears next to addresses on postcards, fliers, flats, etc.) which allows us to see, at very high speeds, that each document went into its own envelope. This system gives us detailed information so we can further prove that we are doing a great job for our clients.
2D or not 2D? Yes, it has been a philosophical debate for us to decide whether or not this is the right answer. Because as it is, our mail is nearly perfect already. Of all the jobs that we print and mail, over 99.99% are perfect. (Yes, we can say this to you, because we know you will call us out if we are not telling the truth and because, well, we keep track.) This 2D system is costly, but it is being implemented to give us greater insight into every piece of mail that travels through our facility. Do we need this system? Maybe not. But do we think every one of our customers deserves perfect mail each and every time? Do we believe we can make more than 9,999 of 10,000 jobs perfect? Absolutely yes to both questions.
So if you are like us, wrestling with the appearance of a 2D bar-code on your mail piece, now you know why we thought it would be the best answer.