New postal regulations: Keeping it together

A second grouping of changes to the new postal regulations deals with how FSMs (Folded Self Mailers) can be folded and closed. Because FSMs don’t come in envelopes, they must be entirely self-contained. But lack of rigor in how FSMs were held shut meant they would often come apart during the mailing process, jamming processing machines and resulting in damaged mailers, missing inserts—and lost revenue.

The new guidelines outline precisely how mailers should be held together, reviewing existing rules and introducing new ones. High points include:

  • Mailers that now only require one tab on the top will now need two. Tabs must be at least 1” in diameter, and placed no more than 1” from adjacent edges. This will help mailers stay shut tight.
  • No weak tabs allowed: perforated tabs are no longer permitted. Mailers must use either wafer seals or paper adhesive tabs.
  • Final folds on top are a no-no. For a bi-fold mailer, the fold must be on the bottom edge (relative to the placement of the recipient’s address). For a tri-fold piece, the address should appear in the mailer’s center panel. Similarly, no tabs are allowed on FSMs’ bottom panels. If the piece contains an insert that needs to be held in place, a dot of glue can be used.
  • Pay attention to flaps: they can’t be too short or too long. Fold-over flaps are another way to close up an FSM. They must end on the non-address side of the mailer. On horizontally folded mail pieces, they must be at least 1.5” at their longest point, and no closer than 1” from the panel’s bottom edge.
  • Watch where you put that glue. Adhesive or cohesive glue can be used as an alternative to tabs. You can glue panels together using a continuous glue line, a handful of glue spots (no more than 3/8” in diameter), or a trail of elongated glue lines (0.5” long or less).

Yes, this is more than you’ve probably ever needed (or wanted) to know about postal service regulations. But here’s a secret about the new rules: you don’t need to know them. At Oregon, we were prepared for this shift long before January 1. We made sure our clients were regulation-compliant, and as a result, the transition has come and gone without a hitch.

Want to know how your direct mail pieces measure up to the new regs? Give Oregon a call, and we’ll make sure your FSMs are up to snuff.

 

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