Postage Optimization: How does it work?

By Jamie Krall | Direct Mail, USPS

Did you know that the postage cost for the typical letter that mails from ANRO is less than half the cost of a Forever Stamp? As a commercial mailer, ANRO can take advantage of bulk mail perks, such as lower postage rates based on how well the mail is sorted before being submitted. This also includes the option to utilize USPS Marketing Mail (aka Standard Class Mail) to maximize savings. 

The Data Processing team is trained to analyze data and determine the best method for submitting mail. The primary step in this analysis is called Presorting, which simply means the data is sorted in postal order – grouped by destination zip code – before reaching the United States Postal Service (USPS).  

By default, ANRO’s mail is entered through the on-site Detached Mail Unit within its facility. The mail is then taken to the Bulk Mail Entry Unit where it is separated and put on trucks heading to distribution centers. The mail then follows this flow, from distribution center to distribution center, until it reaches the Sectional Center Facility that serves the destination zip code. At this point it is transferred to the Destination Delivery Unit where it is prepped for delivery. 

ANRO can cut out many of these steps with the help of our mail-optimization vendors, while simultaneously increasing postage discounts. These vendors all bypass the local postal facilities and drop the mail directly at the final Network Distribution Center or Sectional Center Facility.


Here are a few delivery optimization tactics that ANRO uses to decrease postage costs, and how they work:


Commingling – When a mailing is scattered across the country with little saturation, the mail pieces rarely qualify for postal discounts. In this case, commingling can be a good option.

commingler takes individual pieces from one mailing and combines them with pieces destined to the same zip code from other mailings to create one larger mailing that qualifies for discounts. They continue this process until they can fill a truck with only pallets going to the same destination.  

Freight and sorting charges apply when using this option. Comminglers cannot guarantee a specific drop date since their pools run across a few days. The in-home range is approximately 1-3 days for First Class Mail and 10-15 days for Standard Class Mail based on the day the mail arrives at the commingler for processing. 

Scenario: A company marketing college-themed linens wants to mail to students across the country, with only a few thousand pieces for each version. As stand-alone versions, these would not qualify for discounts. Through commingling, the versions can not only be mixed with each other, but also with pieces from other mailers, and they will receive large postage discounts.


Co-Palletization (Co-Pal) – This is similar to Commingling, but at a tray level. Mailers can fill trays with pieces destined for the same zip code and submit them to a Co-Pal facility to combine them with trays destined for the same location from other mailings. They continue this process and build pallets until they can fill a truck with only pallets going to the same destination. 

Freight and sorting charges apply when using this option and are often much higher than the charges for the other options. This is a labor-intensive operation which is done by humans rather than machines. This can only be done for Standard Class Mail and the in-home range is approximately 15-20 days from the day the mail arrives at the Co-Pal facility. 

Scenario: A large credit card company wants to mail to all their cardholders across the country. They have thousands of recipients in each region. The mail file must be split into multiple versions because different brochures are inserted depending on the member level. Because of this, the qualification for postage discounts is not very good. By sending this mailing to a co-pal facility, they can combine trays from each version to build new pallets and improve qualification.  


Drop Shipping with Consolidation – This is similar to Commingling and Co-Pal, but at a pallet level. A consolidator accepts full pallets and combines them with pallets destined for the same destination from other mailings. They continue this process until they can fill a truck with only pallets going to the same destination.  

Freight and sorting charges apply when using this option. Mailers have a decent amount of control over their drop date with this option and can even request specific in-home ranges for an additional charge. This option is only available for Standard Class Mail and the in-home range is approximately 10-15 days from the time the mail arrives at the consolidation facility. 

Scenario: A large insurance company wants to mail to prospects across the country. They have thousands of recipients in each region. All letters will be produced together as one version, which results in full pallets for many destinations. It would be expensive to ship each of these pallets to the postal facilities on their own, but the mailing can be shipped in full to the consolidator who then delivers them to the appropriate postal facilities.  


Drop Shipping via LTL – When a mailer has full pallets of mail destined for a local zip code, it often makes sense to hire a trucking company to take the mail directly to the postal facility.  

Freight charges apply when using this option, but no additional sorting or handling is required. This is only available for Standard Class Mail. The in-home range is approximately 2-3 days if the mail is entered at a Sectional Center Facility, or 1-5 days if entered at a Network Distribution Center 

Scenario: AHVAC company wants to mail a time-sensitive offer to local prospects, and they want to know exactly when it will arrive in homes. The mailing contains thousands of recipients for each destination which makes it qualify for drop shipping. Since these are all local addresses and the client wants control over the delivery date, Drop Shipping via LTL is the best option. 


The Data Processing team is trained to identify the correct option for every scenario. Postage savings, freight charges, and processing time are all taken into consideration to ensure every mailing leaves ANRO through the best method possible. 

For more information on Postage Optimization services, please contact Jamie Krall at