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The Postal Logistics of Mail Tracking

Carolyn Angelini Carolyn Angelini Director of Resource and Postal Affairs
Katherine Gouldin Katherine Gouldin Brand Communications Associate

The greatest advantage of mail tracking: being in the know! You can do so much with inbound reply and outbound mail tracking, leveraging this technology is extremely valuable and gives you many advantages!  

Mail tracking is a quality control measure and allows for a way to check that everything you thought was going to happen, is happening. It gives you valuable data around where your mail is and where there is a problem with mail delivery, you can isolate and problem solve the issue. In many cases we can see specifically which USPS facility an issue may be taking place so that direct contact with that plant manager can be made. It allows visibility into where your mail is and what’s happening. This is a quality control that you can act on in real time 

Keeping track of the mail after it leaves the mail shop 

Just because the mail piece is mailed, don’t assume you have no visibility to what is happening before your donor receives the mailpiece. Because there are so many moving parts in the mail system, PS ensures that we keep track of the mail after it leaves the mail shop. You don’t just move onto the next project once it is mailed, just as you wouldn’t let your kids get in the car with just anyone to go to a party – you would monitor the pass off!  

PS monitors our logistics and commingle providers closely, and we monitor their logistics suppliers as well because ultimately, they handle all our mail. This is our added service to ensure that our clients mail is making it to its destination and fulfilling the job to completion. While many think that after the mail date everything is set, PS is going above and beyond watching these providers, tracking, and making sure the mail arrives. Just 15 years ago, the technology was not available to track mail in the detail that we can now.  Informed Visibility from the USPS has changed the mail tracking game considerably. If there is an issue, we are looking into it. If we don’t see a typical curve on the tracking results, PS goes after it!  

After all the care put into each job and after watching every aspect of the production, we don’t put on blinders once the mail is out of the mailshop! Is it possibly held up somewhere? If it’s a commingler or other service provider, what can we look at that shows us visibility of how it’s being handled throughout the process? This is part of the extra care that we give. While many think of the mail date as a set it-and-forget it process, that is not the mentality at PS. We ensure that we care for your mail until it arrives in-home. We monitor your mail until it gets into the mailbox as closely as we can, and we do this on your behalf!  

We use tools such as: 

  • Reporting from our suppliers 
  • USPS Informed Visibility 
  • Postage Statements  
  • Mail Tracking – response and outbound  

How does mail enter the mail stream?  

PS has a constant dialogue with our service providers, so it all comes down to what you want your mail entering the mail stream to look like. We have many options: local entry, commingle, co-palletization, co-mail or drop ship. PS prioritizes your in-home strategy, and then we plan for a postal entry method that matches. If you have a very specific short in-home window, we cater to that. We discover your desired results, and then plan on how to achieve them together, with you.  

Tracking mail sent from donors 

By now, you know that we can track the mail sent from you to your donor. But did you know you can track the mail sent to you from your donor? This is an additional service that you can add on. Here’s how it works; On most mail pieces, there is an IMB barcode. IMB’s include special codes that tell the USPS what data should be collected – whether you use it or not. Having access to the data is just a matter of asking to see it and being able to decipher what it is telling you. There are multiple options available for tracking your return mail including tracking by campaign or by individual donor. This gives you the flexibility to set the level of detail that would be helpful to you. 

Mail tracking allows you to have a closer 1 on 1 relationship with your donor. Multi-channel marketing becomes easier if you know that most of your donors will receive their mail by Tuesday, for example, meaning you can send out an email on the Monday prior that ties into your marketing efforts. Response/reply mail tracking can decrease the repetition of reminders and renewal notices by telling you who has responded in real time. There are a lot of ways that mail tracking can help you leverage your relationships with donors and build on efficiencies in your mail program.   Let PS help you manage this process get that mail to donors!

About the Author

Carolyn Angelini
Carolyn Angelini Director of Resource and Postal Affairs

Carolyn, PS’ Director of Resource and Postal Affairs, has been serving with PS since 2016. With over 24 years of experience in our industry, Carolyn has a deep knowledge about sourcing and managing supplier relationship across various operational areas and a significant portion of her career has been focused on direct mail, fulfillment and postal topics. Carolyn defines clear expectations and she understands and conveys PS’ mission with authentic communication and care. 

Carolyn is from Randolph, New Jersey and she telecommutes full-time from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Carolyn enjoys spending time with her three kids, Crossfit, volunteering in her kids’ Cub Scout Pack and swooning over Mid-Century modern architecture and furnishings.

Katherine Gouldin
Katherine Gouldin Brand Communications Associate

Katherine is PS’ Brand Communications Associate and she has been serving with PS since 2019. Living in Great Falls, Virginia, Katherine loves writing and reading about self-improvement topics, practicing mindfulness meditation, trying international cuisines, and learning about people’s stories. Katherine is passionate about philosophy and spiritual development, she lived in Italy for five months, and she has been skydiving twice and highly recommends it!

Responsible for supporting and executing internal and external communications for PS, Katherine ensures consistent brand messaging and engagement. She supports PS leadership by writing the company Win Report and newsletters, gives a voice to the incredible work being accomplished at PS through blogs, manages social media and supports sales enablement activities. Katherine loves contributing to a mission that has purpose and makes a powerful impact.