AddressManager System Said to Save Money

NCR Information Imaging Systems has introduced a service called AddressManager designed to help banks and other corporations qualify for the lowest possible postal rates.

When a bank provides the NCR unit with a tape containing customer address information and specifying class of mail, the computer company uses AddressManager to automatically correct addresses, verify carrier routes, determine ZIP and ZIP+4 codes, and apply bar codes for sorting.

The service has been tested by the U.S. Postal Service and certified as meeting bar coding requirements.

Customer Base Established

Last year, more than 200 banks outsourced mailing projects to NCR, a unit of American Telephone and Telegraph Co. These projects typically included yearend reports, tax documents, mortgage statements, and other mailings to customers and shareholders.

In the past, NCR sorted only be five-digit ZIP codes. AddressManager's enhancements include the bar code reading and sorting capabilities and the ZIP+4 capacity that is important for high-volume mailings.

"AddressManager will offer our outsourcing customers increased cost reduction," said Greg Hanson, national director of information imaging systems at NCR, which provides the mail system through its 14 data centers across the country.

"Last year, we were able to sort by five digits and the cost per letter to a customer was about 24.8 cents," he said. "With AddressManager we get it down to 23.3 cents, and we pass that savings along.

"For a bank that is mailing out hundreds of thousands of documents, the savings can be substantial."

A Post Office Goal

Increasing numbers of post offices have installed automatic bar code readers and are encouraging corporations with a high volume of mail to use bar code technology.

The bar codes on letters contain the ZIP+4 information and using this technology enables the post office to streamline the sorting process.

How it works is fairly straightforward:

The first three digits in a ZIP code represent the area of the country. The next two represent the post office or other delivery site. The last four in the nine-digit version indicate the sector of a town and perhaps the exact block or side of the street. Ms. Sullivan is a freelance writer based in New York.

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