Can You Benefit from the Mail.Dat Standard?
The first thing that any business should know about Mail.Dat is that it is not a type of software system. Instead, it is a type of data format standard that is used to communicate data that describes the actual mailing composition. The data is useful for a number of applications, which can prove extremely beneficial to businesses, including:
* Scheduling appointments for drop ship
* Postal acceptance and payment
* Reports and labels for mail production
* Logistics planning
The Mail.Dat format has now been adopted throughout the industry, ensuring that it is possible to receive and send data that describes particular mailings without needing to have it translated to the specific formatting specifications.
What Mail.Dat Looks Like
The standard for Mail.dat defines a detailed record format for a specific set of files that, when taken together, is capable of virtual representation regarding everything that someone needs to know in reference to a specific mailing. This includes the package levels, handling unit (tray or sack), container (pallet) and segment (presort); however, it does not include any individual address level info.
The current standard for Mail.dat is comprised of over 20 individual files, some being optional and some being mandatory. The record formats are then updated occasionally as the Mail.dat workgroup works to identify any changing needs that may be present.
The key fields that are in each of the individual files serve as links to the related fields in the other files. With this type of linkage, the entire file set provides a type of fixed format representation of the relational database.
PostalOne! And Mail.Dat
The United States Postal Service, USPS, has also adopted the format of Mail.dat to be used in its PostalOne! Program. This program allows mailers the ability to submit their data electronically, in the Mail.Dat format, to USPS for payment and acceptance purposes. When documentation is submitted and paid for electronically through the PostalOne! Platform, the mailers will meet the two requirements for the benefits and discounts offered by Full Service IMb.
When this information is received and analyzed electronically, instead of the hard copy format, the processing time for mail acceptance is reduced, as well as the costs. The USPS PostalOne! Program will also reduce the bottleneck occurrence in mail handling facilities by offering more information related to the logistical requirements. This works to improve the overall efficiency of mail delivery around the nation.
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