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Reengineered Institute mailing system is saving money

In the Institute mail reengineering now well underway, a major saving is being achieved through central processing of outgoing mail.

The savings were demonstrated in a pilot effort with three large mailers-the Sloan School, Purchasing and Stores and the Registrar's Office-last summer. Postage savings during the pilot period totaled more than $2,200.

Now the effort is expanding incrementally as Distributed Mail Centers (DMCs) come on line and departmental postage meter leases expire, according to Penny Guyer, manager of Mail Services.

Here's how the system works:

Departments deposit their unstamped mail at their DMC in bins marked Mail to be Processed for domestic and international mail. The mail should be bundled with a laminated barcode card or a sheet of paper giving the department name and account number. Mail Services supplies the laminated barcode cards to established customers.

All outbound mail is sent out the same day it is deposited in the bins. Mail is collected from the DMCs beginning at 2:30pm. Most DMCs also have a collection around 5:30pm (call Mail Services, x3-6000, to see where the nearest one is).

All mail deposited is processed by Mail Services and then sent out to be barcoded and ZIP-code sorted before being given to the US Postal Service that night. This mail not only saves postage but moves much faster once it reaches the USPS, Ms. Guyer said. Mail deposited for the later pickup is not sorted and goes at the full rate.

However, she noted, mail that must be postmarked today for legal reasons should be flagged by the mailer because the presorted mail that goes to the vendor reaches the USPS after midnight and thus is postmarked for the following day. Mail with today's date goes directly to the USPS but costs the full amount.

The Mail Service postage meters automatically seal envelopes, so unsealed letters may be deposited at the DMCs. Customers who prefer to seal their letters may do so.

All outgoing mail should include a complete return address, including the department name and internal address. The correct return address format is:

Individual or Department Name
Building and Room Number
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139-4307

Departments will be charged postage on monthly journal vouchers. Ms. Guyer said that itemized statements can be provided but are cumbersome and expensive to produce so should not be requested unless the customer thinks there is a billing problem. The Mail Service will provide as many laminated barcode account cards as each department needs. They will be returned daily in interdepartmental mail, so departments should request enough to account for the fact that some will always be in the mail.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on January 24, 1996.

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