Image Number 18 for United States Patent #5602742.
A postage management system is disclosed that enables the use of one of a plurality of carriers from any station in the network. The system imprints postage on postal and private courier parcels and envelopes. Each station of the system has a central processing unit (CPU), an operating system, and a user communications link with the CPU having an embedded software program therewithin. The software program has a permanent portion and a configurable portion, and the configurable portion, in turn, has a postage rate database, a postage service database, and a management program. The databases include on a carrier-by-carrier basis the postal costs for parcels and envelopes of various configurations and specifications for a various parcel and envelope configurations, respectively. The system software includes both user and system default parameter schemes enabling a user to predetermine common patterns of use and quickly employ a given modality. The permanent portion of the embedded software has a rate comparator program which operates with the management program to provide optimization of services.