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Quick Service Guide 401a
Designing Parcels for Automated Processing
May 5, 2014
440a, Standard Mail Machinable Parcels
460, Bound Printed Matter Irregular and Machinable Parcels
Physical Standards (401)
Minimum weight: 6 ounces except under 401.1.5.2.
Standard Mail: maximum weight is less than 16 ounces.
Bound Printed Matter: maximum weight is 15 pounds.
Parcel Select: maximum weight is 35 pounds (25 pounds for books and other printed matter).
Dimensions: 6 to 34 inches long, 3 to 17 inches high, and 1/4 to 17 inches thick. Parcels 1/4 inch thick must be at least 3-1/2 inches high and 6 inches long.
For an overview of the physical standards for commercial parcels, see Quick Service Guide 401.
Parcels are nonmachinable if they meet any of the criteria in 401.2.5.
An Intelligent Mail package barcode is required for all commercial mailpieces that include an extra services barcode and on all parcels claiming presort or destination entry pricing.
Standard Mail and Package Services barcodes must be prepared with the address and barcode placed squarely onto the largest surface area of the parcel except when the shape and contents require specific orientation for stability during processing. The barcode should be placed immediately adjacent to the delivery address and no closer than 1/2 inch from the edge of the parcel.
Acceptable Container (601.4.0)
Use sturdy materials to withstand handling.
Size must be adequate to contain items and provide space for cushioning material:
Cushioning absorbs shock and vibration of handling. Combinations of cushioning materials are most effective. Cushion items separately.
Closure and Sealing (601.3.0)
First-Class Package Service: A surcharge applies for parcels with the following characteristics:
All Standard Mail parcels, except Standard Mail Marketing parcels mailed as product samples, except those using detached address labels (DAL) and those bearing simplified addresses, must bear an Intelligent Mail package barcode (IMpb) prepared under 708.5.0. Standard Mail parcels may optionally use an IMb in lieu of an IMpb when parcels which are presorted and containerized in 5-digit sacks or other approved containers prepared to the 5-digit level, provided each parcel bears a unique IMb that cannot be reused for 45 days. In situations where the IMb is used in lieu of the IMpb, a Mail.dat or Mail.XML file will be accepted in lieu of a Shipping Service File.
Parcels must be prepared and marked under applicable standards for machinable parcel preparation: