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Know your FSM…ASAP!It seems everything has to have an abbreviation these days, even a nice, unassuming workhorse mail piece.
(February 6, 2013)
The USPS has created new standards for one of our favorite formats - the Folded Self-Mailer - and has given it the snappy new abbreviation FSM. By USPS definition, a Folded Self-Mailer is “formed of panels created when a single or multiple unbound sheets of paper are folded together and sealed to form a letter-size mailpiece.”
Friends, there is no need to complicate the uncomplicated.
You have created an FSM if your piece is:
If you are in the process of designing such a piece, there are now some important specifications to follow in order for the piece to qualify for Automation postage rates. Some of these specs are very easy to understand, some you don’t have to worry about (they apply to us, your heroic mail service providers) and some are so confusing that interpretations seem to vary between USPS personnel! Here are the key specs we would like you, our clients, to keep in mind when designing a Folded Self-Mailer:
Truth be told, there is some confusion throughout the mail service provider community (and likely, throughout the USPS) about the regulations on more complicated FSMs. With 6-page or 8-page quarter folded pieces, what constitutes that “first fold” is unclear. The USPS verbiage also doesn’t address double-parallel folds to our liking. The best bet is to RUN YOUR DESIGN BY US before finalizing your mail piece. We like to see what it is we’ll be printing anyway, and we can also check your indicia and mail panel layout while we confirm with our in-house USPS rep that it meets the new FSM guidelines. Remember, we want your mail to run as smoothly as you do!