It has been almost 4 years since the official launch of Mailmark, Royal Mail’s overhauled bulk mail service offering improved tracking and increasingly significant postage cost savings. The Software Bureau has been involved in Mailmark from its very inception, invited by Royal Mail to participate in pre-launch steering groups to help define its implementation, building Mailmark eManifest management software and writing the first of it’s kind guide to Mailmark implementation.
Fast-forward to January 2018 and the Customer Bar Code (CBC) mailings, once the most popular mailing service, has now been phased out in favour of Mailmark. Close to 90% of all bulk mail sent in the UK is now Mailmark enabled. As the use of Mailmark has climbed so has the popularity of GeMMA, the Mailmark eManifest creation and submission software from The Software Bureau.
GeMMA is relied upon by more than 90 mail producers to inform Royal Mail of each and every item of mail entering the postal system on each given day. GeMMA performs a mission critical step for mail producers wishing to maximise the postage discounts available only from the Mailmark service. As Mailmark has developed so has GeMMA with releases to support downstream access provider variants, multi-user support and integration with ONE POST. To address issues of interoperability The Software Bureau even published the Open Standards for GeMMA, allowing external developers to build GeMMA compatible applications.
Although Mailmark is now established as the bulk mail service of choice for mail users it does not mean improvements and updates are a thing of the past. The Software Bureau has committed significant development resource to improving the Mailmark experience for customers.
Mailmark Barcodes from Cygnus and SwiftSort
The ability to produce compliant barcodes for mailing is a facility built into most professional variable data printing applications used by The Software Bureau’s clients. Some mail producers however have found their chosen software to lack this vital capability, making it challenging to fully deploy Mailmark efficiently within their organisation. As of release Cygnus 4.2.0 and SwiftSort 1.13.25, users can now produce Royal Mail approved Mailmark barcodes, not just the string of text used to create the barcode.
Unlike alternative image based barcode generators which are often slow and prone to error, this solution renders the barcode as a font at the point of data merge and can be easily deployed with standard merging software such as Microsoft Word.
Mailmark eManifest Upload
At present, customers can create an eManifest for a supply chain on Royal Mail’s eManifest Handling System (eMHS) 2 days before the handover date to Royal Mail. With effect from 8th January 2018, customers will have the ability to create an eManifest on eMHS up to 14 days before the handover date. This additional lead time will provide flexibility for mail producers in their production and hand-over process. Customers of GeMMA the eManifest management solution from The Software Bureau will be able to utilise this additional lead time from the moment the changes come into effect thanks to recent software updates.
Joint Industry Committee (JIC) Ready
The JIC is made up of members from the DMA, Royal Mail, Whistl, ISBA and the IPA has been setup to help define and measure the effectiveness of Direct Mail. The committee should provide statistically robust data about the performance of Direct Mail which can only serve to improve the confidence in the channel.
For the JIC to achieve its aims requires a number of changes to the way Direct Mail is produced. The Software Bureau has already updated their product suite of Cygnus, SwiftSort and GeMMA to reflect these requirements. Updates to the resources produced when using Mailmark, the inclusion of a seed address for AdMail and associated user interface changes have all been made. Subject to approval and testing an upgrade will be released to customers well in advance of the JIC ‘go live’ date of 18th January 2018.
Ongoing Commitment to Mailmark
The Software Bureau will continue to seek efficiency and performance improvements for users of Mailmark. Customers can rest assured as Royal Mail tweaks and improves the Mailmark service, The Software Bureau will reflect these changes across the suite of software used to manage the service. To find out more about GeMMA eManifest management solution, Cygnus data processing solutions or SwiftSort postal sortation solutions please get in touch with us today for a free demonstration or 30-day software evaluation.