Manual Mailmark Supply Chain Engagement Programme May-July 2021

Supply chain

Manual Mailmark Supply Chain Engagement Programme May-July 2021


Royal Mail does not currently operate a system where every letter item in its network is uniquely identified, meaning it does not have full visibility of volumes and attributes for every mail item in its network at any specified time. The introduction of the Mailmark service and the adoption of this by users has addressed this issue for c.85% of bulk letters and Royal Mail is seeking to introduce barcoding for the remaining 15% of items.

Royal Mail is requesting input from customers and supply chain partners on plans to introduce Mailmark barcoding for every letter and large letter posted through Network Access and Retail Bulk; industry engagement on this programme is happening during May, June and July 2021. The engagement process is critical to help shape proposals and to understand benefits and potential impacts of such a proposal. Royal Mail is also proposing further formal industry consultation later in the year following the initial engagement activity:


The Manual Mailmark specification would apply to existing Royal Mail non Mailmark products:

  • Access 1400 and Access 70 letter and large letter products
  • Retail High Sort letter and large letter products

Royal Mail also proposes to retire its current OCR products.

Today’s Mailmark products (referred to here as full Mailmark) would be unaffected

Manual Mailmark proposes the implementation of a barcode on every item of mail, including those mail items that don’t meet Royal Mail’s machinable specification. The adoption of Mailmark barcodes will simplify the Royal Mail product suite and future product development, focussing on Mailmark systems and reporting. Increased automation (supplemented with automated sampling/ hand scanning) will provide enhanced data provision and insights for customers, supply chain partners and for Royal Mail.

The biggest benefit for customers is expected to be management information and the opportunity this will create to help customers move mail from more expensive manual products into the lowest priced full Mailmark products (Royal Mail processes through automation more mail than the c.85% that is full Mailmark). Mailmark reporting will give customers visibility of the mail streams Royal Mail processes through automation.

Manual Mailmark Specification

The new specification for Manual Mailmark is not yet final and will be determined by the feedback received through the industry engagement. As a guide, the principles Royal Mail are working to are:

  • A Variable 2D Mailmark Barcode (types 7, 9 and 29) or Variable 4-state Barcode on every mail item
  • Each mailing is recorded against a Supply Chain ID
  • Every mail item manifested within an electronic manifest (eManifest)
  • Minimum barcode contents (as per the table below)
Barcode SegmentFieldDefinition
Royal Mail SegmentVersion IDIdentifies the Data Content Version of each Information Type ID. Type: NumericMandatory
ClassIdentifies the class of the itemMandatory
Channel Specific SegmentSupply Chain IDIdentifies the unique customerMandatory
Item IDIdentifies the unique item within the Supply Chain IDMandatory
Destination Post Code plus DPSContains the Post Code plus DPS of the destinationRecommended

Through discussion and collaboration with the industry, Royal Mail hopes to gain a comprehensive understanding of how it may be able to expand the use of barcoding in a way that meets the needs of the supply chain and posting brands. If you wish to know more, please refer to the presentation, which includes details of how to participate.