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

By Chris Dawson February 11, 2015 - 7:30 am

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.

  • 3 years ago

    I was aware of this and it all sounds great and i am all for it but Royal Mail as usual have done a poor job of rolling this out, giving approximately 1 months notice and not initially making it clear that all services were affected including normal RM 24 & 48.

    They said they would send out the new labels and they send me ONE 500 label roll, what good is that? this will last us 1 day or less, then we are left with no labels!!!! Knowing Royal Mail there will now be a label shortage and we are going to be left unable to ship because they take about 1 week to get a stationary order to customers, shocking!

    They needed to give more notice and ensure that customers have stocked up on labels before rolling something like this out, it obviously has a massive impact on businesses if they have no labels to ship.

    I do feel sorry for anyone using integrated labels also, giving businesses a month to use up old stock is again poor on Royal Mail’s part.

    I now just have to hope that we can get our stationary delivery in time.

    • 3 years ago

      Oh dear… a single day’s supply of labels? That’s not going to work!

      I did ask the question as to whether Royal Mail would be using the same format labels as ParcelForce so that you could print both from the same printer without having to change label stock… but as no one knew I’m guessing the answer is no and it didn’t occur to anyone that might be a good idea…

  • Jonathan
    3 years ago

    I really hope they do offer some form of tracking to us as I still have two parcels undelivered from the last 2 weeks. Whilst this is unusual it is very frustrating and costly. Customers expectations of delivery and tracking have changed and Royal Mail need to catch up.
    With regard to the new labels I do believe they are the same size as the Parcelforce ones.

    • 3 years ago

      They might be the same size as Parcelforce, but do they have tear offs in the same position?

      Would so make sense to standardise on one design (although if I was desperate and ran out of labels I wouldn’t care less and would use whatever was to hand!)

  • Stuart
    3 years ago

    Well helpfully this is the first I have heard of it and needless to say I have no labels delivered either………..

    • Jason
      3 years ago

      Same boat…

  • Gary
    3 years ago

    Does this really affect RM standard 24 & 48 services? I have had no notification of any change and there is nothing about this in the product documentation.

    • Gary
      3 years ago

      Whilst I use RM 24 and 48 services I do not use DMO just OBA to submit the order and print the order sheet. So panic over!

    • Douglas
      3 years ago

      I think they are moving all account customers to DMO?? leaflet come through the other day

    • Gary
      3 years ago

      If you are a 24 48 user you can use DMO as an option to print off labels which include addresses but if you use a separate address label then DMO is not required. That is my understanding but I may be right or wrong.

  • Dom
    3 years ago

    Hopefully the improved tracking will tells us if a parcel has been left with a neighbour and which one rather than just saying ‘delivered’ as it currently does for Tracked 48

  • Ol Peculier
    3 years ago

    After finding out we haven’t been sent any automatically I’ve had to order some. Which won’t turn up ’til Monday.

    You’d think if it was a blanket change they’d send at least one roll out to every contract customer?

  • DS2987
    3 years ago

    Our postman seemed to be in the know that RM had recently been trialling scan at doorstep in a pilot area for all packet and parcel post at the request of Amazon.

    It seems RM are back in favour with Amazon after coming to the rescue to clear courier back-logs caused by Black Friday & Cyber Monday.

    Apparently a whole weekend of negotiations took place before RM agreed to step-in and assist. There may have been wider discussions on a new partnership given the loss of revenue reported by RM due to Amazon moving volume elsewhere?

    I am sure the new barcodes are mainly routing and revenue protection driven as loss claims for packets & parcels has long gone although if scan at doorstep is introduced for Royal Mail 24/48 it should reduce INR’s even if the delivery status is nothing more than ‘Delivered’ as it is now with Tracked.

    DMO has been issuing ‘tracking’ numbers for Royal Mail 24/48 packets for sometime such as AAA084824415GB but they are not recognised by Track & Trace currently.

  • Cambridge_Blue
    3 years ago

    Suspect you are right and this is mostly for internal reasons although they may choose to offer selected accounts (e.g. Amazon) tracking to confirm delivery for standard RM24/48 services as a sweetener but doubt the rest of us will get such a deal.
    The implementation has been very poor and not nearly enough notice given to get label stock in or use up integrated labels.
    Even the supposed ‘print test’ button generates the existing printer label NOT the new style one until Monday – I ask you how difficult to simply put the test print with the correct label design on the advice page!
    The new thermal printer stock is standard 6″x4″ with no tear-off components so matches most other couriers.
    The loss of compensation on standard RM24/48 services still rankles given how over priced their Tracked services are.

  • Hereford United Fan
    3 years ago

    Well I have changed the stock size but the labels won’t print. They print the first 20mm or so then the red light flashes and it stops printing.

    After another 30 seconds or so the remainder of the label and the next label come through blank.

    I decided to phone the help line. I know it is Sunday but they are bound to be working as they are rolling out such a significant change.

    How wrong could I be…….

    • Dom
      3 years ago

      Worked out the rolls of Royal Mail labels are slightly too big for the Zebra printer so rub preventing it moving on, throwing away about 30 labels got it to work

    • Hereford United Fan
      3 years ago


      I tried that last night but it did not help. I have managed to get the labels off now by putting the size at 70mm and 120mm.

      Hopefully Royal Mail will sort it out.


  • hereford united fan
    3 years ago

    This is so frustrating. Why oh why isn’t the help desk open?

    I imagine the help desk is going to be fairly busy tomorrow if everyone has the same problem.

  • DS2987
    3 years ago

    It would have been so useful for the printer test button to be updated last week and the go-live not scheduled for a Monday!

    We too have problems with DMO on-demand printing landscape not portrait and any orientation change in our printer driver just flips the label image to the left or right but not rotated as the 180deg setting would suggest.

    Ring the RM helpdesk and the recorded message says ”Thank you for calling, goodbye” all morning now.

    Surely we are not alone with this and putting a fix on the RM website would reduce call volume!!

    Anyone here had this?

    • DS2987
      3 years ago

      Just got through to RM Helpdesk after being on hold for 3hrs and there is a known bug with on-demand and a patch being ‘hopefully’ applied at 1pm today but if not then it will be later this afternoon and all will be fixed for tomorrow morning……

      Having asked if this information could be put on the system message screen of DMO to prevent long call waits and high volumes the support agent replied ”Yes that is a good idea, I will ask for it to be done”.

      Beggars belief.

  • 3 years ago

    We were lucky and ready for this as we’ve been shipping on 6 x 4 for a while as we are able to add more pick/pack information and get rid of the packing invoice this way. If you deal in only 24/48 or 1st/2nd PPI products but no tracked products, we can help. All you have to do is upload your CSV file into Simple Merchant and we produce your new 6 x 4 labels. You will still need to log into OBA/DMO for end of day manifest.

    Let me know if any of you need help,

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