It happens fairly frequently that data that should not show up in addressing fields does. Things such as phone numbers, a "do not mail" note, notes about the clients themselves (tough client, don't ring doorbell, etc) whatever it may be, it is likely the recipient will see it when something gets mailed to them. There is no practical way to know if your data has something in it that it shouldn't - short of going through the records one by one.
NCOA processing is required for any discounted bulk mailing (Presort Standard or First Class Presort). There are several ways to meet this standard. After your file has been put through the NCOA process, you will be able to receive any updated records plus records that were not able to be standardize.
Investing in clean data will save you money in the long run. Consider your cost for printing, labor and postage for all pieces that do not reach an intended recipient. Most mailing projects involve some amount of records that cannot be verified for deliverability.
Clients who's file we have processed for address updating are often amazed (or better said sometimes concerned) at how many records in their database have changed - some as much as 4 years ago! Having 15% or more records that have moved would not be unusual - if you have never updated your file through an automated process.
For some situations it may be tough to enact data quality changes but it will pay off in the end. It can be as simple as educating employees about how and where to enter data and the need to be consistent in the use of data fields. Notes should go in a field just for client notes and nothing else (name in name field, zip code in zip code only field, etc.). Also, IT departments can create data entry environments that force data into the correct format.
Printing the best quantity
Keep in mind you should always allow at least a small amount of extra printing for machine setup and for those that can get damaged during processing. Having to go back and print more will only increase your cost due to additional setup and processing and may cause concern with others involved in the project. If we know what quantity is expected we can tailor an in-house or purchased list to meet that expectation. If we are providing the printing for you, rest assured there will always be enough for addressing. When using printers outside of Kama Inc. let them know what you need for your final quantity. While you may order a certain quantity, industry standards are to bill + or - that quantity. We have seen vendors deliver only 90% of the quantity ordered which meant part of a client's mailing list did not get sent. Also, don't forget what you might need for pass outs or counter displays.
Be careful if you want to personalize! This happens from time to time and we usually get it stopped before it gets too far. Often, clients want to personalize bulk mail postcards with hand written notes and this is definitely not allowed. If you try it, the USPS will hit you with first class rates which could double or triple your postage.
There have been a couple of projects where we received mailers without an indicia (postage permit) so we had to print those on. Since they were small projects the delay and additional cost were minimal. Indicias should always be preprinted but in a crunch we can apply them with our addressing equipment.
Best packing practices
We had a client ship some mailers to us he had already printed. When they arrived many were curled and unusable. Quite a large amount were spoiled (industry speak for torn or mangled) but fortunately, this client sent enough to complete the project.
Some paper is highly absorbent and when it sits in a humid area (like your trunk or storage room) is starts to curl. Try putting a piece of paper outside these days and see what happens to it (absent of sun and rain).
Another cause is the way mailers are packed. Self-mailers, more importantly need to be separated between layers with heavy paper stock and need to be packed tightly. When they are not, you have more pressure on the bottom layers and especially so when boxes are stacked on each other. If you have a partial box after completing a mail-out it would be a good idea to stuff the box with other paper and/or package the remainder with rubber bands.