Postal Q&A: Containers


Q: How can newspapers maximize copies in direct sorts?

A: There are several options to get copies out of working containers and into direct containers for faster delivery.

But first, some definitions:

Direct containers include 5-digit, carrier-route, or merged 5-digit and carrier-route in the same sack or tray.

Working containers include 3-digit, Sectional Center Facilities (SCF) mail, and higher-level sorts.

Now, some ideas:

Look at the ZIP code of addresses in those working containers, primarily 3-digit or SCF mail. If you see copies with ZIPs without a SCF, try one these steps:

• If the address didn’t sort to a 9-digit ZIP code, it probably has a slight defect in the address line. Check it via the ZIP Code Lookup, or even You may be able to make slight changes to get the address codable and added to 5-digit sortation.

• If you have multiple copies in the working sort with proper 9-digit ZIP codes, you may not have at least 24 copies per flat tray or sack, the normal minimum for direct mail.

See if your software will allow an override to let you create trays or sacks with less than 24 copies. Most post offices have no problem with this, and often postmasters advise it to get better service.

– National News­paper Association