Goodbye “USPS Delivery Confirmation” Hello “USPS Tracking #”
The text banners above the barcode on your labels magically changed with the Jan. 2, 2014 release. For instance, where the “ZIP-USPS Delivery Confirmation” text appeared, usps tracking you now see “USPS Tracking #”. Even “ZIP - USPS Signature Confirmation” changed to “ZIP - USPS Tracking #”. No need to update your copy of DAZzle or Endicia for Mac—the banner text simply changed one day (spooky, huh?).
The rewording reflects the USPS's continuing commitment to provide better package visibility during the delivery cycle. When Delivery Confirmation started around 2000, you got just that—a single scan indicating the delivery event. Now, you will typically see over 10 scan events for a given package, so “tracking” is a more accurate description of what the barcode does. The new banners above the barcode announce what services are required at delivery, and, the delivering carrier will be additionally alerted when he or she scans the barcode. The scanner gun will tell him or her exactly what actions are needed.
What are Those Weird 4 Digit Numbers on My Label?
More numbers have popped up on shipping labels – in particular two 4-digit numbers. One number is called the Retail Distribution Code (RDC) , the other is the Carrier Route number (CRT). You can see them on the labels in Figures 2 and 4.
The carrier route is the number in the small rectangular box. This is used to sort packages at the destination Post Office just before the carrier goes out to make his or her deliveries. Each Post Office divides the routes that they service by numbers. C004 means carrier route #4. R008 means rural route #8. In the past, USPS operations staff had to look at each delivery address and make this connection by memory. Now they just look at the number in the box.
The RDC (not in a box) is used by your local origin Post Office to do a preliminary package sort. Your local Post Office prepares containers every evening that are filled with packages heading to the nearest USPS processing "plant". For instance, Endicia’s local Palo Alto, California Post Office forwards mail to the San Francisco Sectional Center Facility (SCF) every evening. The RDC code lets the Palo Alto dock workers perform a first-level sort so that packages destined for the San Francisco Bay Area would go into one container and those packages going to the East Coast would be in another container. Previously, they sorted by looking at the ZIP Code of the address and then figuring out what container would be appropriate. Now, they can just sort based on the simple RDC code and save a ton of time. This preliminary sort at the inducting Post Office speeds up the processing at the main plant hours later.
USPS special services are often indicated by colored labels. These colors help the USPS operational staff identify pieces that need special handling. In the future, you will likely see these colors disappear as the impact of the IMpb becomes more pronounced inside USPS operations. In the transitional period, USPS is creating colored labels representing the various special services but without any special barcodes. Figure 4 is an example of a Registered Mail label with a new red Label 200N which is similar to the old Label 200 which carries its own barcode. This was created using DAZzle with the Label 200N added as an image and then printed on a color printer.
Eliminating multiple barcodes on packages reduces confusion in the USPS operational stream and speeds preparation of the packages by the shipper. Perhaps more importantly, the shipper doesn’t have to keep track of two different identifying numbers for each package – each often reported via different data streams.