Is that a particular format or when you say Australian Post is it that another name for an existing barcode that is familiar of itself?
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Last time I looked into it, the cost was prohibitive. That was a few years ago. It was going to cost something like $60,000 for a license to use the barcodes. I didn't get any further than that. It probably explains why you only see government departments and large corporations using it.
These are not a standard barcode, they are a complex code used by our postal service which includes the full address of the recipient. It's read by the machines in the mail centres and simplifies the mail sorting a delivery process. You'd think they'd want to just give it away considering it makes their life easier.
Thanks for the info Marc. I don't want to recreate the wheel...rather find a product already on the market that we can "talk" to...ie changed or new records exported or transferred in some way that triggers the external product to cleans, verify and return the address (from an the approved PAF) and barcode (DPID) for use within the database rather than the marketing people having to export and play outside. This is achievable but still leaves legacy errors within the database in the future and given we are developing a new CRM with cleansed data, it's not a desireable outcome.
There may be an Australian developer who has set something up. Perhaps send an e-mail to David Head directly to see if he knows of something. If you do find a solution, please let me know. I'm sure some of my clients could make use of it.
Marc, I spoke with David Head yesterday. David doesn't know any more than me and you. I have asked him to keep me in mind if he does hear of anything. In the meantime, the client feels it will be more cost effective to spend the $1800 for the software they have looked at an have their marketing people take the task outside of FileMaker. The problem with that, is of course, that any invalid addresses within FileMaker will remain invalid and have to be corrected externally every time.
Should I hear any more, I'll keep you in mind.
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I too did this a couple of years ago. Things may have changed since then.
The core of the system is the table of all addresses in Australia and the matching barcode numbers. Australia Post owns this data and controls it very tightly. IIRC any solution that uses this data cannot directly expose the addresses to the end user: the process is "show me your address and I will tell you what the barcode is" which is designed to keep the addresses secure.
Because of this, direct integration with FMP was difficult or impossible. The process was manual:
1) create csv file of addresses to barcode
2) run the csv file through the barcode application
3) the application adds the barcode numeric value to the csv file
4) import the csv file back into FMP to get the barcode numeric value
5) print the numeric code with an appropriate barcode font.
Depending on your address data entry you could get a large percentage of non-matches. The solution I worked with incorporated address checking and correction to minimise the errors.
I do not know whether the license allows you to look-up a barcode once and save it with the address, thereby creating your own table of addresses and barcodes.
Note that to get the cheapest mail rate you need to do all these things:
1) barcode the addresses
2) sort the letters and bundle them based on postcode ranges
3) meet minimum item counts
For the company I was working with, the cost of the software and the time and effort to barcode the addresses and sort the items was significant, and compared with normal postage rates the savings were borderline.
Hey Nick, yes I had seen it, and if the client had enough bulk mail, it would be worth the research time to find the right company/product but they don't have that much mail, rather they want to be able to manage their own marketing with some cost benefit re postage costs.
It has been many years since I tackled any AUST POST stuff..
Just pondering... is there any avenue for web-scraping individual barcodes?
Thanks Vaughan. This is the direction we thought we may have to go. The 3rd party products available can apparently return the corrected address, however, the cost to develop our own would be too prohibitive. Maybe I am just daydreaming now hoping somebody has already found a package that they can hook into with FileMaker.
Ta for stepping out the process you used.
Lyndsay I wouldn't know where to start!
It depends on your definition of "hook into FileMaker". By some definitions, the export-import process IS integration, it just requires some manual intervention.
yes... starting... I thought perhaps Nick or Vaughan might now if it is possible. If so I could probably help figure it out.
When you get the barcode in the csv document what form does it come as? image or text/font?
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From memory the "code" is returned as a 8 digit number consisting of 0, 1 or 2 (and maybe 3, I forget). This is then printed usng an appropriate barcode font, which is actually the easy part. In the csv file the code might be "31230223".