Royal Mail’s CBC service is going, what does it mean?

Royal Mail’s CBC service is going, but what does it mean?

Come January 1 next year, the current barcode symbology that Royal Mail uses for its Cleanmail service will no longer exist.

The service, known as Customer Bar Code (CBC), was introduced by Royal Mail to enable UK postcodes and Delivery Point Suffixes (DPS) to be easily read by machines at high speed.

The withdrawal of the service should come as little surprise to many within the printing and mailing industries, as the move was first mooted by Royal Mail a couple of years go.

Back in 2015, Royal Mail gauged people’s opinions on phasing out CBC during its Mailmark Migration Consultation (MMC), which flagged several challenges. As a result, Royal Mail put the move on ice for another year.

The next generation of mail

Described by Royal Mail as the next generation of mail, Mailmark barcodes have been designed to provide an extra dimension of information:

  • Where mail is and when it's going out for delivery
  • Accurate predictions of mail landing, which will allow flexing of resource in contact and marketing teams to take place
  • Online, custom reporting, including status reports and address data quality analysis
As mail is produced, a Mailmark is added. The details of the mailing are then added to an e-manifest (an electronic list of consignments) that gets sent to Royal Mail. As mail rolls through the system, Royal Mail read the barcodes and generate a personal report that can be checked online to identify exactly what's happening with that particular piece of mail

Making the move to Mailmark

Having delayed the axing of CBC for 12 months, Royal Mail now feels that the time is right for it to do away with what it refers to as ‘the old-style barcode option’ and encourage individuals and businesses to use Mailmark instead.

Referred to by Royal Mail as its intelligent barcode service, Mailmark is designed to provide mailing performance transparency.

However, while Royal Mail may be encouraging people to switch to it by the end of the year, there’s nothing new about the service. In fact, it’s been around since March 2014 and, according to Royal Mail, in January this year, 84% of all Access-barcoded mail had a Mailmark barcode on it, a figure which it intends to continue to build upon.

Preparing for life after CBC

Royal Mail’s goal is to receive 90% of machineable mail through Mailmark. Reaching this goal will enable it to minimise its mail centre operations which, in turn, will help boost its overall operational performance.

People can still use the CBC service until the end of December this year, however they are being encouraged by Royal Mail to switch to Mailmark sooner, rather than later. That way, they’ll be fully up to speed with the new service and have identified any glitches well before it takes full effect.

Are you currently still using the CBC service? Perhaps you’d like support and guidance on making the move to Mailmark? For more information about CBC, Mailmark or other bulk mail services,  Contact us or talk to one of our team on 01709 710000.

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