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AADC (automated area distribution center)

An area distribution center (ADC) that uses multiline optical character readers (MLOCRs), barcode sorters (BCSs), and other equipment designed for processing automation-compatible mail. Also see ADC. 

ADS (address change service)

An automating process that provides change-of-address information to mailers who maintain computerizes mailing lists. The information is captured in the Computerized Forwarding System (CFS) units and sent to mailers on electronic media to eliminate manual processing of change information. The cost is less than manual notices.

ADC (area distribution center)

A mail processing facility that receives and distributes mail destined for specific ZIP Code areas under the Managed Mail Program (MMP). An ADC is one of the points within the national MMP distribution network.

AEC (address element correction)

A process that revises incomplete or incorrect address files and then attaches ZIP+4 and carrier route codes it involves computer matching of records that cannot be coded using CASS-certified software.

AMC/AMF (airport mail center/airport mail facility)

A postal facility at an airport that receives, distributes, and dispatches mail transported by air.

Aspect ratio

As applied to a mail piece, the length divided by the height.

BBM (bulk business mail)

Standard mail (formerly third-and fourth-class mail) submitted in bulk. The term includes samples, ordinary papers, and circulars.

BC (barcode)

A series of vertical bars and half bars that represents the correct ZIP Code information for the delivery address on a mailpiece. Each numeric digit is represented by a combination of two full bars and three half bars. A complete barcode contains two full bars framing the code; the five, nine, or eleven digits containing ZIP Code information; and a final correction digit that allows the machine to check its reading of the number. See also DPBC and POSTNET.

BCR (barcode reader)

A component in certain mail processing equipment that reads and interprets the barcode previously applied to a mailpiece. 

BCS (barcode sorter)

 A computer-controlled, high-speed machine that sorts letters and cards by using a barcode reader (BCR) to interpret an imprinted barcode. The BCS consists of a mail feed and transport unit, stackers (bins), and associated electronic equipment.

BMC (bulk mail center)

A highly mechanized mail processing plant that distributes Standard Mail(A) and Periodicals in bulk form and Standard Mail (B) in piece and bulk form.

BMEU (business mail entry unit)

The area of a postal facility where mailers present bulk or presort mail and mail entered under permit imprint for acceptance. The BMEU includes dedicated platform space, office space, and a staging area on the workroom floor. (Also called platform Acceptance unit; formerly called bulk mail acceptance unit.)

BPM (bound printed matter)

Standard Mail (B) weighing at least 1 pound but not more than 10 pounds that consists of permanently bound sheets of which at least 90% are printed with advertising, directory, or editorial matter (or a combination of such matter).

BRM (business reply mail)

A domestic service that allows pieces bearing a specific address or label format to be mailed back to the addressee without prepayment of postage by the sender. Postage and fees are collected when the mail is delivered to the addressee who originally distributed the BRM.


A group of packages secured together into a single piece or unit under the standards applicable to the rate claimed See also package.

CASS (coding accuracy support system)

A service offered to mailers, service bureaus, and software vendors that improves the accuracy of delivery point codes, ZIP Codes, and carrier route information on mail pieces. CASS provides a common platform to measure the quality of address matching software and useful diagnostics to correct software problems.

Combined mailing

A mailing in which individually addressed copies of two or more Periodicals publications or editions are merged into a single mailstream, during production or after finished copies are sorted together to achieve the finest presort level possible. Combined mailing is also known as comailing.


To integrate dissimilar mail (such as subscriber and nonsubscriber copies, machinable and irregular parcels) into the same mailing; may require USPS authorization.


 To combine and present together on pallets mail from two or more different or separately produced mailstreams; may require USPS authorization.

CR (carrier route)

The addresses to which a carrier delivers mail. In common usage, carrier route includes city routes, rural route, high-way contract routes, post office box sections, and general delivery units.

CRIS (carrier route information system)

A listing of all delivery address range information in a standardized format. CRIS contains schemes for city, rural, and post office box sections. This information is formatted by ZIP Codes, street name, and street number range.

CRM (courtesy reply mail)

Preaddressed postcards or envelopes that a mailer provides to its customers both to expedite and a mailer provides to its customers both to expedite and to provide more accurate delivery of their responses. Unlike BRM, CRM requires no permit fee and involves no charges for returned pieces because the respondent pays the reply postage.

CSBCS (carrier sequence barcode sorter)

An automated machine that performs automated sortation of an individual carrier's mail, allowing the mail to go directly from the automation equipment to the carrier for delivery to postal customers. The CSBCS is a smaller footprint BCS designed for delivery units with 10 or more routes.

DBMC (destination bulk mail center) rate

A discount/rate available to some rate categories of Standard Mail (A) that is properly prepared and entered by the mailer at the delivery address on the mail.

DDU (destination delivery unit) rate

A discount/rate available to Periodicals and Standard Mail (A) that is properly prepared and entered by the mailer at the delivery address on the mail.

DMM (domestic mail manual)

The USPS manual that contains the basic standards governing U.S. domestic mail services; descriptions of the mail classes and special services and conditions governing their uses; and standards for rate eligibility and mail preparation. Domestic mail is classified by size, weight, content, service, and other factors.

DPBC (delivery point barcode)

A POSTNET barcode that consists of 62 bars with beginning and ending frame bars with beginning and ending frame bars and 5 bars each for the nine digits of the ZIP+4 code, the last 2 digits of the primary street address number (or post office box, ect.), and a correction digit. The DPBC allows automated sortation of mail to the carrier level in walk sequence.

Drop shipment

Typically, the movement of a mailer's product on private (nonpostal) transportation from the point of production to a postal facility located closer to the destination of that product. Express Mail and Priority Mail drop shipment service can be used instead of a private carrier.

DSCF (destination sectional center facility) rate

A discount/rate available to Periodicals and Standard Mail (A) that is properly prepared and entered by the mailer at the sectional center facility (SCF) that serves the delivery address on the mail (for Standard Mail) or in its service area (for Periodicals).

Entry BMC

A bulk mail center (BMC) including its satellite auxiliary service facility (ASF) unless specified otherwise, at which mail is entered by the mailer. Also see BMC.

Entry facility

The USPS mail processing facility (e.g., BMC) That serves the post office at which the mail is entered by the mailer. (Also called origin facility.)

Entry SCF

The sectional center facility (SCF) at which mail is entered by the mailer or that serves the post office where the mail is entered. An SCF can have responsibility for an area covering either single- or multi-3-digit ZIP Codes. Also see SCF.


A USPS-licensed automated system that updates addresses by identifying names and addresses for which current change-of-address (COA) orders are on file. FASTforward is available in two applications. The Mailing List Correction application updates computerized name and address mailing lists before mailpiece creation. The MLOCR/RVE application provides an "on-piece" address correction during mail processing before deposit into the mailstream.

FCM (first-class mail)

A class of mail that includes all matter wholly or partly in writing or typewriting, all actual and personal correspondence, all bills and statements of account, and all matter sealed or otherwise closed against inspection. Any mailable matter may be sent an First-Class Mail.

FIM (facing identification mark)

A series of vertical bars used by automated postal equipment to identify, orient, and separate business and courtesy reply mail. FIMs are required in the upper right corner of business reply mail.

FLT (flats)

A code used on mail container labels that identifies the contents an flat-size mail (mail that exceeds at least one of the dimensions for letter-size mail).

Full flat tray

A tray that is sufficiently filled to allow or require preparation to the corresponding presort destination. A full flat tray contains at least enough pieces so that a single stack of mail lying flat on the bottom of the tray reaches to the bottom of the handholds. Additional pieces must be added when possible to physically fill the tray.

Full letter tray

A tray filled with faced, upright pieces, to at least three-fourths of itslength. Each tray must be physically filled to capacity before the filling of the next tray. A tray with less mail may be prepared only if less-than-full or overflow trays are permitted by the standards for the fate claimed. See also less-than-full tray and overflow tray.

Full sack

A sack is considered to be full when the minimum volume standards for the class and rate claimed are met. 


Imprinted designation on mail that denotes postage payment (e.g., permit imprint).


Optional information printed at least two lines above the address or in the lower left corner of the lower left corner of the envelope. Under some postage payment systems, the keyline is required line that contains specific information about the mailpeice.

Less-than-full tray

A tray that contains mail for the same destination that was not preceded by a full tray for that destination. Less-than-full trays may be prepared only if permitted by the standards for the rate claimed.

LTRS (letters)

A code used on mail container labels that identifies the contents as letter-size mail (mail, including cards, that does not exceed any dimension for letter-size mail).

MACH (machinable)

A code used on mail container labels that identifies the contents as machinable parcels (mail that does not exceed any dimension for mail that can be processed on mechanized parcels sorting equipment).

Mailing statement
See postage statement.

MASS (Multiline [OCR] accuracy support system)

A tool similar to Coding Accuracy Support System (CASS) that accesses and checks the address matching software used by customers' multiline optical character readers (OCRs).

MLOCR (multiline optical character reader)

An OCR that reads and interprets multiple lines of the delivery address on a mailpiece.

Multicoded (also multi-ZIP Coded ) city

A post office assigned two or more 5-digit ZIP Codes. As applied to presort, those post offices listed in L001 to which mail for two or more 5-digit ZIP Codes may be combined at the mailer's option (hence, "optional multicoded city").

MXD (mixed)

A code used on mail container labels that identifies the contents as mixed mail for different destinations (such as for multiple ADCs).

NCOA (National Change of Address) System

An address correction service that the USPS licensees. The licensees match mailing lists submitted to them on tape lists submitted to them on tape or disk against change-of-address information for the entire country from all Computerized Forwarding System units. NCOA can correct an address before it is used on a piece of mail. 

NMO (nonmachinable outside)

A parcel or mailpiece that, because of size, weight, or other characteristic, cannot be safely sorted by mechanized mail processing equipment and must be handled manually. The parcel is called an outside because it cannot be placed in a sack or other mailing container.

OCR (optical character reader)

An automated mail sorting machine that interprets the address information on a letter-size mailpiece and sprays the corresponding ZIP Code information onto the piece as a barcode.

OEL (optional endorsement line)

A series of specific printed characters on the top line of the address block that identifies the sortation level of a package label.

Overflow tray

A less-than-full tray that contains all pieced remaining after preparation of full trays for the same destination,. Overflow trays may be prepared only if allowed by the standards for the rate claimed.


A package is a group of addressed pieces assembled and secured together to make up a basic unit of bulk mail for processing purposes. The term in not correctly applied when referring to unsecured groups of pieces as permitted by standard.


A reusable platform on which mail is stacked to be moved as a single unit. Made of rigid material designed for four-way forklift entry and capable of handling loads of up to 65 cubic feet and 2,200 pounds, a USPS pallet measures 48 by 40 inches. See also copalletize.

PAVE (presort accuracy validation and evaluation)

A voluntary program in which certain categories of presort software and hardware products to determine their accuracy in sorting address information according to Domestic Mail Manual (DMM) standards and producing documentation.


A class of mail (formerly called second-class) consisting of magazines, newspapers, or other publications formed of printed sheets that are issued at least four times a year at regular, specified intervals (frequency) from a "office of publication." Periodicals usually must have a list of subscribers and/or requesters, as appropriate.


An authorization; typically a mailing permit or an authorization to mail without postage affixed, using an indicia containing specific information.


An individually addressed mail piece. This definition also applies when piece is used in eligibility standards. Quantities indicated for optional or required sortations always refer to pieces unless specifically excepted.

Postage statement

Documentations provided by a mailer to the USPS that reports the volume of mail being presented and the postage payable or affixed, and certifies that the mail meets the applicable eligibility standards for the rate claimed.

Postnet (postal numeric encoding technique)

 The barcode system for encoding the delivery point information and ZIP+4 code information on letter-size mailpieces. Also see DPBC.


 The process by which a mailer prepares mail so that it is sorted to at least the finest extent required by the standards for the rate claimed. Generally, presort is performed sequentially, from the lowest (finest) level to the highest level, to those destinations specified by standard and is completed at each level before the next level is prepared. Not all presort levels are applicable in all situations.

Presort levels

Terms used for presort levels are defined as follows:

Firm: all pieces for delivery at the address shown on the top pieces for delivery at the address shown on the top piece of a package or bundle.

Carrier route: all pieces for delivery on the same city route, rural route, highway contract route, post office box section, or general delivery unit.

5-digit: the delivery address on all pieces includes the same 5-digit ZIP Code

3-digit: the ZIP Code in the delivery address on all pieces begins with the same three digits

Unique 3-digit: the ZIP Code in the delivery address on all pieces begins with the same three digits as one of the 3-digit areas identified in L002 (column A).

3-digit/scheme: the ZIP Code on the delivery address on all pieces begins with one of the 3-digit prefixes processed by the USPS as a single scheme (see L003) and that, subject to standard, may be presorted together as a single group

Entry SCF 3-digit (s): the ZIP Code in the delivery address on all pieces begins with one of the 3-digit prefixes processed at the postal facility in whose service area the mailer is located

SCF: the separation includes pieces for two or more 3-digit areas served by the same SCF

ADC/AADC: all pieces are addressed for delivery in the service area of the same ADC or AADC

ASF/BMC: all pieces are address for delivery in the service area of the same ASF or BMC

Mixed (BMC, AADC, ect.): the pieces are for more than one presort destination

Residual (pieces/packages/sacks): mail that is left over after completion of a presort sequence. Residual mail, which lacks the volume set by standard to require or permit package or bundle preparation to a particular destination, usually does not qualify for a presort rate. (Also called nonqualifying or working mail.).

RCSC (rates and classification service center)

A field office of Business Mail Acceptance that provides guidance to field personnel and customers on mail classification, postage rates, mail preparation, and postage payment programs.

RR (rural route)

A delivery route served by a rural carrier.

SCF (sectional center facility)

A postal facility that serves as the processing and distribution center (P&DC) for post offices in a designated geographic area as defined by the first three digits of the ZIP Codes of those offices. Some SCFs serve more than one 3-digit ZIP Code range.


Systematic plan for the distribution of mail to its destination.

Scheme sort

The distribution of mail to its destination according to a systematic plan determined by the mail processing functional area. Typically, this allows mailers to combine pieces addressed by two or more 3-digit ZIP Code areas.

Standard mail

A class of mail consisting of mailable matter that is not mailed as First-Class Mail or entered as Periodicals. Matter formerly classified as third-class mail is referred to as Standard Mail (B). the unmodified term Standard Mail applies to both former third-class mail and former fourth-class mail.


A container used in both mechanized and nonmechanized postal facilities to hold letters and flats. It is used as a basic unit of mail quantity for purposes of preparing mail to qualify for postage rates. Also see full tray, and less-than-full tray.

Upgradable mail

First-Class Mail and Standard Mail that the USPS can process on a multiline optical character reader (MLOCR) to apply a barcode. Upgradable mail is letter-size, automation-compatible pieces, with machine-printed nonscript addresses, an OCR read area and a barcode clear zone meeting reflectance requirements, and paper that can accept ink. Preparation of upgradable pieces is usually simpler that the preparation of nonupgradable mail.

WKG (working)

A marking used on mail container labels that identifies the contents as mail requiring sorting and distribution.

ZIP (zone improvement plan) Code

Established in 1963, the system of 5-digit codes that identifies the individual post office or metropolitan area delivery station associated with an address. ZIP+4 is an enhanced code consisting of the 5-digit ZIP Code and four additional digits that identify a specific range of delivery addresses.



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