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A non-profit publication of the Office of the University Relations of Virginia Tech,
including The Conductor, a special section of the Spectrum printed 4 times a year

BRMAS mail helps cut costs

By Printing Services personnel

Spectrum Volume 18 Issue 26 - April 4, 1996

The Post Office has designed Business Reply Mail Accounting Service (BRMAS) mail to help cut costs of incoming mail paid for by the university.

At present, if approved by the program, a returning envelope costs the university 34 cents and a card costs 22 cents. If the envelope fails the standards set by the Post Office, the cost rises to envelopes 42 cents and cards 30 cents. Using the revenue figures from last year and based on our present volume, the Blacksburg Post Office has calculated that the university could lose $3,000 a year if it were to be denied the BRMAS program and allowed to use only Business Reply Mail (BRM).

The problem we are having now is that of consistency of format. Consistency is easily achieved by having Printing Services check and print the mailpiece. When envelopes or cards are done by an outside vendor, mistakes can occur which can render the piece unusable by the BRMAS program.

All Business Reply or Permit 10 mailpieces must be printed by Virginia Tech Printing Services or approved by them if the printing is to be done by an outside vendor. Printing Services orders the bar codes directly from the Roanoke Post Office, thereby ensuring their accuracy. If the mailpiece is illegible or skewed, the piece will fail. There are very specific areas on the envelope where the different elements go (FIM marker, bar code, business-reply legend, main address). If these are placed incorrectly, the piece will fail. If the paper is the wrong weight or color, it will fail. If the ink is not dark enough, it will fail.

All these variables must be checked by both Printing Services and the Roanoke Post Office. At present, we fax a sample of the piece to Roanoke for their review. When they release it, it is printed. Then 15 pieces must be sent to Roanoke so they can physically place them on the sorter to be sure they will work. When they are approved, the Post Office in Roanoke sends a letter of approval to Printing Services and the Blacksburg Post Office. Only when the letter of acceptance is in existence does the BRMAS savings come into effect. Catalog envelopes cannot be BRMAS; they will carry a surcharge of 11 cents if under an ounce, and do not go as automated mail, only mechanical.

There is a possibility, if many pieces are unusable by the BRMAS program, that the entire university may be removed from it and required to pay the higher per-piece BRM fee. This would not only cost the university more money, but would also penalize those departments that take care to produce correct mailpieces.

By this summer, new equipment will be installed in the Blacksburg Post Office that will facilitate only correct BRMAS mail. It is therefore imperative that pains are taken to ensure properly formatted mailpieces.

Effective immediately, departments no longer are required to submit to the Controller's Office the number of pieces of returned Business Reply Mail or the cost of these pieces. All Business Reply or Permit 10 mail is now being delivered to the Controller's Office for review and determination of costs which are charged to the departments. The FRS accounting code that was entered on the IPR for the printing of the Business Reply envelopes is used for charging the postage. After the returns are counted and charged, they are stamped "reviewed by the University Controller" and sent to the addressed department.

In the interest of saving the university, as well as the specific division or department money, with consistent mailpieces, please consult Printing Services (Jenny Akers at 5251) before you have Business Reply Mail Printed. If you have questions about specific charges to your accounts, please contact Pat Hale (8611) in the Controller's Office.