New Royal Mail 6″ by 4″ labels roll out Sunday

Example of new Royal Mail barcoded labelRoyal Mail are rolling out new larger labels to their Despatch Manager Online (DMO) users from this Sunday, the 15th of February. Before Monday morning you’ll need to change your printer settings ready for the new 6″ by 4″ labels.

Royal Mail say that this is part of an ongoing programme to enhance their parcels business. The new labels will include a barcode that will improve how they monitor shipments throughout the network, and provide customers with enhanced parcels management information.

The bar code aspect is interesting, although Royal Mail are being a little coy in their announcement as to how they’ll make use of them. We’re used to seeing barcodes on services such as Signed For, Tracked 24 and Tracked 48 and Special Delivery. However the announcement suggests that all parcels will have a bar code, even services which aren’t currently tracked.

Barcode benefits

Barcodes should have two important benefits – Royal Mail will be better able to track lost and missing parcels through their service. Here at Tamebay we would like to think that a big benefit would be that in the future Royal Mail will be able to provide exception reports for undelivered items. This would enable you to inform customers of failed deliveries and advise them when their item is available for collection from their local Royal Mail Delivery Office. Royal Mail may also scan “untracked” parcels at the door step improving proof of delivery.

If this is the case it does pose the question on the future of services such as Royal Mail Signed For (Recorded Delivery). If all parcels are scanned at the point of delivery do we need a signature for lower value parcels? However this would undoubtedly impact Royal Mail’s future revenues, but it’s worth pointing out that many of their competitors provide a scanned proof of delivery as standard, even on budget services.

The second benefit should be for Royal Mail’s revenue protection services. If each parcel has an individual bar code it will be that much easier for them to track volumes entering the system and validate claims for missing or lost items.

Additional features being rolled out

Royal Mail have also announced a number of additional important enhancements to the DMO/Shipping API, which will improve UK and international shipping and labelling processes from this Sunday:

  • Local characters for international shipments will be enabled, e.g. Chinese, Japanese and Cyrillic.
  • Ability to produce relevant customs documentation for non-European shipments including CN22/CN23 declaration labels and commercial invoices.
  • Integration of the Royal Mail shipping label into the customer’s own Pick notes.
  • Royal Mail Special Delivery Saturday Guaranteed® will be available. If items are posted on a Friday and customers want to guarantee delivery on a Saturday, they will be able to select this service on DMO.

Setting up your printer for the new larger label size

There are simple, step-by-step instructions to change your printer settings on the Royal Mail website.