MAKING THE PIECES FIT Industry trends — past, present, and future page 20
Upgrading your software? Questions you should ask — and pitfalls to avoid page 16
Not to worry — direct mail is here to stay page 22
Software adaptations to support a changing USPS page 8
Mailing systems technology
Volume 24 Issue 1
A New Version Is Now Available Software is a big part of everyone’s operation. Here are some tips to make upgrading as streamlined as possible. By Wallace Vingelis
Successfully Looking Forward Requires Looking Back Insight into 2011 and beyond By Harry Stephens
Death Knell for Email? Why direct mail is (likely) here to stay By Todd Butler
Developing a culture of security A case study on tightening your mail supply chain By Camilla Dadey
Real-Life Management Ten Habits of Highly effective Managers
Reality Check Creating Win-Win Situations
Delivering Software Changes to Support a Changing USPS
Making — and Keeping — Resolutions
Pushing the Envelope Thriving in the Digital World
Everything IMBC Intelligent Mail Updates
Ship It No Inflation? Seen Your New Shipping Rates for 2011?
The Trenches Making Mail Affordable
From the Source New USPS flat-Rate Product Innovations and Price Changes To Take effect in 2011
[ PLUS ] 4
JANUARY-febRUARY 2011 a www.MailingSystemsTechnology.com
Make sure you sign up for our monthly e-Newsletter so we can keep you posted with news alerts and updates! www.MailingSystemsTechnology.com
with Amanda Armendariz
Mailing systems technology PUBLISHER Marll Thiede
Making — and Keeping — Resolutions It’s hard to believe 2010 has come and gone, and we’re already halfway through the first month of 2011 as I write this. Like the vast majority of Americans, I have made some New Year’s resolutions that I hope to accomplish in this coming year. Many of my resolutions include eating healthier, exercising more and paying off debt. When 2012 dawns, I hope to be able to say that I completed all of them! (And yet, I know the discouraging statistic that says the overwhelming majority of people who make resolutions completely abandon them by the time the cold gray of winter melts into the green beauty of spring. But hey, I’m an optimist!) Many people also make New Year’s resolutions for the workplace, as well. Some of these resolutions focus on improving as an employee — arriving on time, working an extra hour a week, streamlining productivity, etc. Some of the resolutions are broader in scope and focus on the department or organization as a whole, as opposed to an individual employee. If you’re one of those people who has made such a resolution this year, kudos! The mailing industry needs forward-thinking people in order to flourish, especially in the face of current USPS woes (among other hardships). If upgrading your software system is on your to-do list for this coming year, this is an issue of Mailing Systems Technology that you’ll want to keep around. Wallace Vingelis’ article on page 16 is a fantastic start for an industry professional who wants to upgrade their software system. He provides you with critical questions to ask and, more important, certain pitfalls you want to avoid. Chris Lien’s column on page eight is another great resource, and don’t forget to check out page 24. We’ve put together a classified section of sorts, and by contacting one of the vendors listed, you’re sure to find the answer to your software questions. I’m looking forward to a fantastic 2011. We’re going to keep providing those in the mailing industry with the most relevant, up-to-date and interesting information, so make it your resolution to keep on reading. As always, thanks for reading Mailing Systems Technology.
Amanda Armendariz email@example.com
CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Todd Butler, Kevin Conti, Camilla Dadey, Wes Friesen, Stephen Kearney, Jim LeRose, Christopher Lien, Kate Muth, Mike Porter, David Robinson, Wanda Senne, Harry Stephens, Wallace Vingelis
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Volume 24, Issue 1 Subscriptions are free to qualified recipients: $20 per year to all others in the United States. Subscription rate for Canada or Mexico is $40 per year, and for elsewhere outside of the United States is $45. Back issue rate is $5. Send subscriptions to: Mailing Systems Technology, PO Box 259098, Madison WI 53725-9098; or call 608-241-8777; fax 608-241-8666; e-mail email@example.com or subscribe online at www.MailingSystemsTechnology.com. For quality, customized reprints, please contact our exclusive reprint provider. FosteReprints • 866-879-9144 • www. marketingreprints.com. All material in this magazine is copyrighted ©2009 by RB Publishing Inc. All rights reserved. Nothing may be reproduced in whole or in part without written permission from the publisher. Any correspondence sent to Mailing Systems Technology, RB Publishing Inc. or its staff becomes property of RB Publishing Inc. The articles in this magazine represent the views of the authors and not those of RB Publishing Inc. or Mailing Systems Technology. RB Publishing Inc. and/or Mailing Systems Technology expressly disclaim any liability for the products or services sold or otherwise endorsed by advertisers or authors included in this magazine. Mailing Systems Technology (ISSN 1088-2677) [Volume 24, Issue 1] is published seven times per year, including the annual resource guide, by RB Publishing Inc., 2901 International Lane, Suite 100, Madison WI 53704-3128, 608-241-8777. Periodical postage paid at Madison WI and additional offices. Postmaster: Send address changes to: Mailing Systems Technology PO Box 259098 Madison WI 53725-9098
Real Life Management Ten Habits of Highly Effective Managers “Sow a thought and you reap an act; sow an act and you reap a habit; sow a habit and you reap a character; sow a character and you reap a destiny.” Right in the middle of this quotation is the importance of our habits. A habit is “an acquired mode of behavior that has become our common practice.” Our habits mold our character and ultimately determine our destiny in the world. Want to further develop your character and develop into a highly effective manager? Intentionally pursuing and building worthwhile habits is the key. following are 10 of the habits of highly effective managers. This is not an exhaustive list, but these will build a strong foundation on your road to increased management effectiveness:
Habit #1 “expanding Self-Awareness.” Having a high level of emotional Intelligence (eQ) is essential to being an effective manager — and eQ starts with having accurate self-awareness. Self-awareness can help us gain self-control and be helpful to people around us — not hurtful. Some tools to help expand our self-awareness include getting feedback from others by using 360 degree surveys or having a mentor to speak to in your life. Habit #2: “Pursue Continuous Learning and Continuous Improve-
ment.” Are you a perfect manager and person? Me neither! What we can do is commit to being life-long learners and seek to continuously improve ourselves as managers and as human beings. I have been inspired by this quote from Dr. Martin Luther King: “I may not be the man I want to be; I may not be the man I ought to be; I may not be the man I can be; but praise God, I’m not the man I once was.”
Habit #3: “Always Do the Right Thing.” Too many people have
been victimized by the unethical behavior of those in leadership roles. Remember enron? My co-workers and I at Portland General will never forget — we were owned by enron at time of their bankruptcy and our retirement savings were decimated. Mark Twain said, “Always do what is right. It will gratify half of mankind and astound the other”. My former pastor Loren fischer said, “It’s always right to do right” — and I agree.
JANUARY-febRUARY 2011 a www.MailingSystemsTechnology.com
“be Results AND Relationship Oriented.” As leaders, we are expected to get results — and we should. At the same time, building positive relationships is the right thing to do — and it leads to great results. One tool to help build relationships is to consistently practice the three Rs with people. Recognize people for who they are and what they do; Reward people for individual and team achievements; and show people Respect — everybody wants to be respected, as the classic Aretha franklin song emphasizes.
Habit #5: “Achieve big Goals One Small Step at a Time.” I remember a grade school friend telling me the following riddle: “Question: how do you eat an elephant? Answer: one bite at a time.” Get the point? We need to set long-term visions and big goals for ourselves and our teams. And we need to break down the journey towards the vision and goals into manageable steps that inspire others to move forward. Habit #6: “See the Glass as Half-full.” Are you normally a pessimist or an optimist? Studies have shown that the most effective leaders are strong optimists. being optimistic does not mean that we ignore the half of the glass that is empty. It does mean we are thankful for the half that is full, and we work together to fill the rest of the glass as best we can. Habit #7
“Look for the Win-Win.” effective managers don’t get locked into specific positions, but look for ways to meet interests of themselves and others so everybody gets something (a “win-win” versus a “win-lose”).
With Wes Friesen
Habit #8 “Spend Much Time in Quadrant 2.” Stephen Covey popularized the importance of intentionally spending significant time doing “Important, Not Urgent” items. These include things like building relationships, reading and other learning activities, planning and thinking, exercise, etc. To spend more time in Quadrant 2, we need to spend less time in Quadrants 3 and 4 (i.e. “Urgent, Not Important” and “Not Urgent, Not Important”) activities like watching TV, playing video games and wasting time doing things that add no value to our lives or the lives of others. Habit #9 “Enjoy the Journey.” Management (and life!) is a journey — filled with both positive and negative experiences. The journey will be much more pleasant and we will go farther if we learn to laugh and be thankful. A Yiddish proverb says “What soap is to the body, laughter is to the soul”. Studies have shown that laughter makes us physically and emotionally healthier — and more fun to be around too. Find a funny friend; enjoy a funny TV show or movie — and just laugh! Being thankful is also important. The reality is that we all have much to be thankful for, and our lives will be more joyful and productive if we learn to develop an “attitude of gratitude.” Habit #10 “Remember — Your Health Is Your Wealth.” Gandhi
said, “It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.” Living a healthy lifestyle will increase your energy, stamina and emotional well-being — and help us be more effective in all that we do. A holistic healthy lifestyle includes developing and using our mental capabilities (read a good book lately or taken a class just for the learning?). We are also spiritual beings, and finding faith and serving others can nourish our spiritual health. Let me leave you with a challenge to not settle for mediocrity, but to get in the game and go for management excellence. Listen to this President Teddy Roosevelt quote: “It is not the critic who counts, nor the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doers of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly … who spends himself in a worthy cause”. a Wes Friesen, CMDSM, EMCM, MQC, ICP, CCM,CMA, CM, CFM, APP, PHR is the Manager of Revenue Collection & Community Offices for Portland General Electric, a utility in Portland, Oregon that serves over 820,000 customers. Wes teaches university classes and is a featured speaker at national conferences like National Postal Forum, MailCom, CS Week and others. He manages the bill production and payment processing teams with the able assistance of supervisors Eric Houger, Tom Laszlo, Gil Rodriguez and Rick VanBeek. Wes can be contacted at Wes.Friesen@pgn.com. www.MailingSystemsTechnology.com a JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2011
Software Byte Delivering Software Changes to Support a Changing USPS Over the course of the last year, there have been over 100 DMM Advisory notices announcing changes or clarifications to mailing requirements and acceptance systems. The vast majority of these notices often bring about substantial changes to software and the technology necessary to effectively address, prepare and induct mail into the US Postal Service — the largest, and arguably most complex, postal delivery network in the world. With such a rapidfire succession of change, it is essential to consider the importance software has on the timely and ultimate delivery of the mail. Software drives the mailing industry. From address cleansing, to presorting, to postage payment — and now to individual piece tracking — software is at the heart of a very dynamic and technologically dependent value chain. Aligning the development roadmaps of these disparate systems is an incredibly daunting task with an ever-narrowing margin for errors. Consider the complexity necessary to support Full Service Intelligent Mail barcodes. First, a name and address must be cleansed and made current using CASS-certified software. Then, it must be
presorted using PAVE-certified software, where additional IMb data is created. More software technology is also needed to ensure unique piece and container barcodes for a minimum of 45 days. To further comply with IMb Full Service, mailers must submit the mailings in electronic form to PostalOne! — another software solution maintained by the USPS. Uploading postal data is typically done using the Mail.dat structure (an industry standard maintained by the IDEAlliance). This data structure contains all the interdependencies of who prepared the mail and for whom was it prepared (known as a By/For relationship). Astute mailers that wish to leverage the deluge of data from IMb can turn to more software solutions that can communicate with PostalOne! using Mail.XML (another IDEAlliance communication standard), track the piece barcodes using data from the USPS Confirm program (more software technology) as well as update name and address data using USPS Address Correction Service information. Again, all this is software-based technology with dynamic requirements.
With Christopher Lien
A Daunting Task In order to stay abreast of change, many commercial mail software solution providers are often heavily involved in industry associations such as: IDEAlliance The Association for Postal Commerce The Mailing and Fulfillment Service Association The Association for Mailer’s Electronic Enhancement The Mailers’ Technical Advisory Committee and many others Being “at the table” with the USPS, customers and other stakeholders is essential in order to provide mission-critical solutions for today’s dynamic mailing environment.
Users of today’s mailing software solutions should continue to leverage all available resources their software vendor of choice provides. This includes web seminars, blogs, newsletters (now often in electronic format), electronic software updates and customer forums. Access to customer support is also critical, as software vendors often act as mediators when working to resolve disputes between mailers and the USPS. Despite the expectation that the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act would provide predictability and stability in postage pricing and preparation, 2010 has shown that the new postal technology landscape is anything but predictable. Mailers that wish to stay current in such a changing and challenging environment need to leverage and depend on software solution providers that are on the leading edge and able to answer “what’s next” for the world’s largest, most dynamic postal service. a Chris Lien is President of BCC Software, Inc., A BÖWE BELL + HOWELL Company.
www.MailingSystemsTechnology.com a JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2011
With Kevin Conti & David Robinson
Intelligent Mail Updates A key driver for the Intelligent Mail initiatives started with the need for the USPS to provide Service Performance Measurement data as part of its obligation under the Postal Accountability and enhancement Act (PAeA). Since 1990, the USPS has measured its delivery success by using a unique system known as the external first-Class Mail measurement system (eXfC). eXfC is an external sampling system measuring the time it takes from the deposit of mail into a collection box or lobby chute until it’s delivered to a home or business. This process measured the delivery timing of blue box mail but not business mail, which is a requirement of PAeA. At the November 2010 Mailers Technical Advisory Committee Meeting (MTAC), the USPS provided an update on the progress of Intelligent Mail for Service Performance Measurement but reported that only 20-25% of the full Service volume is being measured. A significantly high percentage of full-Service Intelligent Mail is not included in Service Measurement due to errors — both from the USPS and mailers. Of 357,168 full-service containers submitted, only 137,065 containers could be used for the Service Performance Measurement due to errors. The USPS is working internally and with mailers to address the errors identified. Mailers are encouraged to review their Microstrategy reports to ensure that their mailings are meeting all compliance requirements. While the USPS delayed the implementation of the IMb full-Service Discount Remover beyond the planned date of January 2, 2011, mailers are still encouraged to plan for its implementation. In November of 2010, the USPS updated PostalOne! to audit all mailings and, via the Microstrategy report provided to mailers, reflect any deficiencies and what the resulting discount loss would be.
Mailers are encouraged to review their current processes to ensure their mail is compliant. In some cases, it may be appropriate to build “checking” into assignment processes — for example, to be able to detect whether duplicate sequence numbers have been assigned. IMb adoption continues to grow, and as of November 2010, there were 1,033 mailers in the on-boarding process, with over 700 of these being full-service applications. Related, there were 602 customers that completed the on-boarding process and were approved for production, with over 500 of these being full-service applications. In total, there were over 39 billion full-service mail pieces processed by early November. Another recent announcement by the USPS is its intention to require an Intelligent Mail Package barcode (IMpb) on every package shipped domestically in the US. The proposed implementation is to have the IMpb as an option for mailers effective January 2011 but mandatory effective January 2012. As of the time this article was written, we are expecting a Proposed Notice to be published in December of 2010 with a 30-day comment period and a final Notice to be published late Q1 or early Q2 of 2011. On the creative side of things, the USPS has filed a Notice for a market test involving greeting cards. We reported previously that the USPS announced a program with Hallmark greeting cards where the IMb was being used as a means of postage payment. The newly filed Notice expands this offering to other greeting card producers. In short, the USPS will be paid $.24 for every card sold with the IMb applied on the card envelope and another $.24 once the card has been mailed and scanned by USPS’ mail processing systems.
Don’t Lose Your Discount
for additional information on IMb requirements or to take advantage of the free IMb webinars provided by the USPS, please visit the USPS’s RIbbS website at www.ribbs.usps.gov. a
At some point in the not-too-distant future, the USPS will be removing full-service discounts for errors in the following areas:
Kevin Conti is Director of Mailing Solutions at Pitney bowes Software.
Unique barcodes Mailer ID CSA
If a mailing fails the audit, any full-service discounts taken for the pieces that failed would be disallowed. This could be significant if the failure is at the pallet level.
by/for Service Type Identifier
JANUARY-febRUARY 2011 a www.MailingSystemsTechnology.com
David Robinson is currently the Director of Address Quality for Pitney bowes.
With Jim LeRose
No Inflation? Seen Your New Shipping Rates For 2011? Anyone out there who insists there’s no inflation simply hasn’t flown, looked at a cable bill, filled up their tank or shipped a package recently with UPS or fedex. This New Year’s gift from the dynamic duo was the commencement of an all-out assault on your company’s cash box. It’s a test to see just how many of you aren’t paying attention.
The cost to ship this package is going up 20% in 2011.
“Thank you for your customer loyalty” undoubtedly headlined the letter you ignored declaring the rate increase averaged a paltry 4.9%. It’s just a few cents per package… right? Wrong. Shipping costs are out of control — even Usain bolt couldn’t keep up with them. You need to take action now.
1. Hire a professional to negotiate your carrier agreement — those
If you don’t closely examine the new 2011 rate increase and analyze its unique effect on your company’s transportation spend, then you have only yourself to blame when you suddenly discover you are paying UPS/fedex 10-15% more than you expected. The important question for those who are interested is — what will your increase really be after the “so-called” 4.9% average base rate increase AND the sharp rise to all those fees you’ve been overlooking? Consider these facts about the 2011 rate increase: 1 - 5 Lb. Ground rates are rising nearly 7% The address correction surcharge is escalating another 10% The residential surcharge is swelling 11.4% A whopping one in four residences will see Delivery Area Surcharges (DAS) shoot up 10% Here’s an example of a five-pound package before and after the 2011 Rate Change: Cost-2010
Package going from Zone 2 to 8
extended Delivery Area Surcharge
The cost to ship this package is going up 8.75% in 2011.
Now here’s the same 5 Lb. package from above measuring 18 X 18 X 18
extended Delivery Area Surcharge
JANUARY-febRUARY 2011 a www.MailingSystemsTechnology.com
Are you starting to see inflation? better increase your line of credit so you can pay your carrier invoice this year OR find ways to offset these increases. Here are seven simple steps to lower your shipping costs in 2011:
that don’t will likely pay more. You can do this at any point in your agreement. 2. Switch carriers — change from UPS to fedex or vice-versa and that will bring the incumbent back with lower prices. I’ve seen this happen repeatedly. 3. Use the USPS flat rate boxes — this is one of the best deals in the shipping industry, period. 4. Reduce carton sizes whenever possible — this will help you “Go Green” as well. 5. Use regional, airfreight and local carriers whenever possible. 6. Raise your shipping and handling fees to your customers by at least eight percent or more if you can. 7. Get a multi-carrier shipping system that will help you optimize your transportation spend. This is extremely important. finding the least costly carrier simply cannot be done by humans any longer. The nineties are long gone — companies that have deployed third-party shipping technology pay their carriers less! A multi-carrier shipping solution will help you offset skyrocketing rate increases in 2011 by helping you find the least cost carrier and service (even if you don’t change carriers). All fees and surcharges will be known at the point of shipping so you can charge back your customers the correct amount and the addresses will be corrected so you can avoid paying $11 each time they are not. for e-commerce companies, you need this technology to remain competitive and grow your business. When someone tells you there’s no inflation in the US, bet them 20 bucks they’re wrong. Then have them check out the price of airline tickets and prices at the pump, examine their cable bill and visit UPS.com and fedex.com to inspect the new rates. Then use the money you won to ship your aunt Mildred a fruitcake for Valentines Day, but make sure you compare ground service to air — there’s a 50/50 chance it will get there at the same time and you’ll save a bundle! a Jim LeRose, “The freight Spend Assassin,” is Principal of Agile NYC Metro, President of Advantaship.com (a shippers savings club) and has been a transportation industry consultant for 25 years. His clients have saved millions on transportation costs. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com or 888-214-1763.
With Mike Porter
Making Mail Affordable If you think you’ve done everything possible to make mail affordable for your internal or external customers, you might want to take another look. everyone has made cuts over the last two years. but there are still ample opportunities to save money on materials, production costs and postage. Unfortunately, the savings that remain are difficult to recognize — especially for those who work in document operations every day. The very people called upon to find innovative ways to lower costs are handicapped by their intimate understanding of how things have always been done. My own mail provides a perfect example. My brokerage statements have typically arrived in a 9” x 12” flat envelope. but this last month, my statement was bi-folded and inserted into a 6” x 9” window envelope, qualifying the piece for letter mail postage rates. The postage savings? A whopping 32% over the previous month! Mail geek that I am, I was curious to see if anything had changed, or if my brokerage firm had just finally wised up and figured out that letter mail is a lot less expensive than flats. When I compared my last two account statements, I noticed the statement mailed as a letter had two fewer pages than the previous month. Good for them, I thought! They’ve reformatted the document to cut down on page counts so that they could save on materials, printer clicks and postage — exactly what I would have recommended to them. A closer inspection, however, revealed no such format changes. The only difference was a slight variation in account activity. Amazingly, the absence of two little lines of print resulted in two fewer pages of statement.
Lots of Potential Savings Wouldn’t it be great if my financial company’s print/mail processor could permanently reduce the number of physical pages on more of their accounts? Wouldn’t their customer be thrilled to see lower postage and processing costs? Of course they would. And it’s not that hard — especially with document re-engineering software that is available from several vendors. Some minor reformatting and page-break logic changes could easily trim the statement page counts by 20%. Imagine the benefits if this could be consistently achieved: Shorter print runs — Paper, toner and maintenance click savings, plus possible labor savings and perhaps even delayed equipment upgrades. Quicker inserting — folded mail inserters generally run faster than flats. And lower page counts have a direct effect upon the number of mailpieces that can be finished per hour. Some shops
may even be able to reduce the number of inserters on the floor, saving capital expense, labor, maintenance and supplies. Lower postage — There is a significant cost savings when switching from flats to letters. Fewer meters — With more of the statements qualifying as letter mail, it might be possible to pay the postage on a large percentage of the mail by permit, thereby saving on meter rental, ink and print head costs, communication lines and loss-of-use as money gets loaded onto meters in advance of need. Page-count reduction is just one of many possible document-production modifications that can turn into big savings. There are lots of other ways to trim costs without affecting quality. every shop is different, but I see savings opportunities in virtually every operation I visit. If mail is to remain a critical customer communications medium, it has to be produced with the greatest accuracy, at the lowest cost and have a significant impact upon the recipients. Not taking advantage of ways to make mail better puts the departments or vendors that produce the mail at risk. Neglecting to make necessary changes because they just weren’t identified in time would be a shame. a Mike Porter is President of Print/Mail Consultants, a consulting firm that helps companies get the most out of their document operations. He welcomes your comments and questions. Visit www.printmailconsultants.com or email Mike directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
REDUCING PAGE COUNTS can have a dramatic effect on overall document costs. Here’s how to do it:
1. Change fonts and margins 2. Eliminate blank or nearly-blank pages 3. Eliminate redundant or irrelevant text 4. Print summaries instead of details 5. Move disclaimers or terms and conditions to the web 6. Smaller barcodes for inserter control 7. Variable size sections instead of fixed, reserved space
www.MailingSystemsTechnology.com a JANUARY-febRUARY 2011
From the Source New USPS Flat-Rate Product Innovations and Price Changes Take Effect in 2011 In 2011, consumers and shippers looking for a simpler way to ship will have many options to choose from at the U.S. Postal Service, which is set to usher in a flurry of new flat-rate product innovations in the new year. These innovations are being introduced in conjunction with price changes for Priority Mail, express Mail and other Shipping Services that took effect on January 2, 2011. As Senior Vice President of Customer Relations at the Postal Service, I can tell you that all of these changes were designed with the customer in mind and for the sole purpose of offering the best combination of value and shipping solutions in the market. In a dynamic and ever-changing marketplace, we think these new products will provide simple solutions to our customers.
Moreover, available at no extra charge for customers using shipping labels from Click-N-Ship or other USPS-approved vendor, packages with the Hold For Pickup endorsement will be shipped directly to a post office, instead of being left at a recipient’s address. Packages will then be held at the post office for up to 15 days until picked up anytime during office hours, at a time convenient for the recipient.
Priority Mail flat Rate innovations include a legal-size envelope and a padded envelope. The Priority Mail Legal flat Rate envelope and Priority Mail Padded flat Rate envelope are both priced at $4.95. In fact, all six Priority Mail flat Rate envelopes will be priced at $4.95, including the Regular Priority Mail envelope, Gift Card flat Rate envelope, Window flat Rate envelope and Small flat Rate envelope.
Prices for 50,000 Post Office boxes classified as competitive products in 49 retail Post Offices will change to reflect a new pricing schedule based on their presence in areas where significant competition exists. As an incentive, starting January 2, new customers who pay in advance for a 12-month PO box rental period at these 49 locations will receive an additional month of rental for free.
The first Priority Mail flat Rate box was introduced on November 20, 2004, when I was the Vice President of Pricing, and I must say that, on a personal note, I have been very gratified to see the flat rate options blossom since then.
for Commercial base and Commercial Plus Priority Mail shippers mailing small and dense parcels, an economical new Priority Mail Regional Rate box featuring USPS-produced packaging will be available in two types with a letter identifier for either type — A and b.
The price for the express Mail flat Rate envelope will remain unchanged at $18.30. A new express Mail Legal flat Rate envelope will also make its debut and will also be priced at $18.30.
Another innovative product offering that will be available to Priority Mail Commercial Plus customers in January is Critical Mail. Offering fast, consistent, time-in-transit service for sensitive documents, Critical Mail also features free Delivery Confirmation. Additional extra services, such as insurance and signature confirmation, will also be available.
In addition to an overall price change of 3.5% for Priority Mail, new prices for express Mail, Global express Guaranteed, express Mail International, Priority Mail International, Parcel Select and Parcel Return Service became effective January 2. The overall price change for all Shipping Services products is 3.6%. Price adjustments to the Postal Service’s competitive shipping products are made each January, which is a shipping industry standard practice. Currently available for express Mail, the popular Hold for Pickup service option will be extended to Priority Mail and first-Class Mail commercial parcels in the new year.
What Time Works for You?
JANUARY-febRUARY 2011 a www.MailingSystemsTechnology.com
Other news for Priority Mail customers includes new and reduced account volume thresholds to meet eligibility for Commercial Plus prices. The total account volume threshold for Priority Mail letters, flats and/or parcels mailed in the previous calendar year has been reduced from 100,000 to 75,000. In addition, a new Priority Mail Commercial Plus account volume threshold had been added for customers who ship at least 5,000 letter-size and/or flat-size pieces (excluding the Padded flat Rate envelope) in the previous calendar year.
With Steve Kearney
Customers who choose online shipping solutions from the Postal Service will continue to save compared to retail prices. A complete listing of 2011 prices is available online on Postal Explorer at pe.usps.com. At the Postal Service, customer service is not only our top priority, but also the guiding influence on every action we take. To that end, I think these new product innovations will provide more value to our customers, and make doing business with us much easier and convenient. a Steve Kearney is Senior Vice President, Customer Relations, for the USPS.
www.MailingSystemsTechnology.com a JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2011
A NEW Is Now Available
Version Software is a big part of everyoneâ€™s operation. Here are some tips to make updating as streamlined as possible. By Wallace Vingelis
“A new version is available.” Software developers write those words a lot. And their customers read them a lot. The year 2011 won’t be any different in how often those words are written and read. Although, come to think of it, with the Postal Service continually making changes to rules, regulations, reports, systems, etc. (I know I could keep that list going for a while, but let’s start the new year off with a smile) — the frequency might actually increase. Software users are going to have to stay alert to keep up with all the new releases coming out from their developers. Note: I am not using the word “vendor” in this lead-in because these days there are just as many internal development groups creating new versions of software for their own internal “customers” as there are thirdparty software vendors. So, how does one best prepare for and deal with a steady stream of new software versions? Well, unfortunately, there is no detailed instruction sheet for how best to handle this. It depends on a number of different factors, and we just don’t have the room here to list them all. but, close to 20 years in software development and support — and product management — has hammered home a few helpful things I can pass along. Most of the following points are applicable whether or not you deal with external third-party software vendors, but I write them as if you do. Stay in contact with your software provider. Make sure they have your correct contact information. You would not believe how often crucial information gets missed by a user because their email address or phone number is not correct in the vendor’s database. It only takes a few minutes to call and say “Hi! Happy New Year! I would like to review all my contact information with you.” And while you’re at it, go over the contact information for everyone in your company. Get it all updated at one time. Also, make sure your own internal IT group adds your provider’s domain name to your whitelist. Too many important emails wind up in spam folders. Another way to stay in contact is to visit your vendor’s website often. There is always new information on there that may not make it into an email or letter delivered right to you. There may also be information on other products there that you may not be aware of and just may help you run your business more effectively and efficiently. Stay in touch with your industry. Reading this article in Mailing Systems Technology magazine is a good start, but you can — and should! — do more. Knowing what’s going on with the Postal Service and how the industry plans to accommodate changes is very important. Other things you can do include joining a local Postal Customer Council (PCC), joining a Mailer’s Technical Advisory Council (MTAC) workgroup, attend industry trade shows and events, visit your vendor’s website, etc. One very popular educational medium these days is the Webinar. There are always webinars going on where you can learn new things. My company currently offers two per week, and we are not alone. Other companies – and the USPS itself — offer free webinars you can attend. All these industry events, groups and information will give you early insight into what to expect from your software vendors in upcoming releases.
JANUARY-febRUARY 2011 a www.MailingSystemsTechnology.com
Read the communications you get from your software providers. I know. A lot of software vendors send their own customers marketing communications designed to promote product upgrades or new/different products. And while those notices always provide valuable information for you, be on the lookout for ones that contain technical information and read those thoroughly. (I know every one of my colleagues in the software world is nodding their heads at this point!) These communications might be announcing an upcoming version, a new version that is now available or, God forbid, a bug in the software. by reading these communications you can better prepare for the actual release when you have it. You will also be able to determine if you really need to install this particular version. (You may not. Your software vendor might be releasing a new version with fixes or new features that you don’t need or don’t use.) but you won’t know unless you read the notices. If you’re confused after reading the notice, call your vendor and discuss it with them. Install and run the new version in a test environment first. All operating platforms are different, but each of them afford you a way to set up and use a test environment before moving a new version into production. And with as many “moving parts” as there are in presort and post-presort software — and as many changes as the Postal Service requires developers to make — you need to be comfortable with and confident in your new version before you begin running production with it. Make sure your standard set of test jobs run — and run successfully. As for what to test, read on… Create and execute a standard test plan. All software developers and vendors maintain and use extensive test plans before giving the “thumbs-up” to a new version of software that will be distributed to their customers. OK. I’ll give you a minute to get all the comments and jokes out of your system about vendors testing their software! Trust me. We do. We ALL do. but, as has been proven over and over again, we can’t — and don’t — catch everything. That’s why it’s doubly important for you to have your own test plan — even if it’s just five to 10 jobs that you know cover your needs — that you step through every time you get a new release of software from your provider. Make sure your new version works for you before you get ready to install it into production.
That’s the first important piece. The second piece is when you run into a problem and give your software provider an opportunity to fix, or explain, something before you go into production. This helps create a more stable version of software for you – and all users - to use to get your job done. Install the new version as soon as you can. With the ever-increasing speed of changes the USPS makes, development-to-distribution windows (external AND internal) are constantly getting smaller. That’s why it’s important to take as much time as you can to execute the previous two steps: installing into a test environment and running your test plan. If you wait until the last couple of days before a mandatory USPS implementation date, you significantly impact the flexibility you have if you should run into a problem during testing.
Wallace Vingelis is Vice President, Business Development & Marketing for Window Book, Inc., and currently serves as Co-Chair for the Mailing Software Developers Group (MSDG) and Mail.dat Specification Committee for IDEAlliance. He can be reached at email@example.com or by calling 617-3954569. Window Book has been helping clients manage their operations more profitably since 1989, and is the leader in providing Intelligent Mail, eDoc and PostalOne! solutions to Lettershops, Corporate Mailers, Service Bureaus, and Mail Owners. Visit their website at www.windowbook.com.
Check out our software spotlight section on page 26, and you can get in touch with an expert that will help you with your software needs!
Speak to your software provider about becoming a Beta site. Given time, most software providers go through a Beta testing period where they let some of their customers get an early release of the software for the exclusive purpose of helping test it. (I say “given time” because, as said above, it seems the development-to-distribution windows are continually being narrowed down by the tight implementation deadlines we are seeing these days.) This is an invaluable way for you to prepare for an upcoming release of new software. Get in on it early! Put it through its paces. Work directly with the provider to log problems, discuss potential fixes and test each Beta version as it gets finished. Over the years I have spoken with a lot of customers who participated in Beta testing, and they all found great value in being able to test early versions. Well, there you have it. Again — not a detailed or complete instruction sheet. Just things I’ve learned, and taught, over my nearly 20 years in this business. And certainly a good foundation for you to build upon when preparing for and installing new releases of software. Happy New Year and my best wishes for your success in 2011!
www.MailingSystemsTechnology.com a JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2011
FORWARD REQUIRES LOOKING BACK
Insight into 2011 and beyond | By Harry Stephens
JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2011 a www.MailingSystemsTechnology.com
are certainly all aware that the way we do business today has radically changed from even just a few years ago — and continues to change. before we can predict events in the future, we have to look back at least three years — a quarter of a decade — and realize that certain things happen over time, they have to evolve and any predictions we make for 2011 may not happen until at least a quarter of a decade going forward. I used to teach math before I went into business. So when I think of the future, equations come naturally. for 2011 — and events that will most likely evolve over the next three years — the equation that comes to mind is: e2C=R.
E stands for the environment. It affects our daily business life in a variety of ways. for example, the events of 9/11, while they seem a long time ago, still affect the way we do many things. Many businesses didn’t survive that period. Those who did survive learned to adapt and move forward, quickly aligning business processes with the needs of customers who were also affected. Hurricane Katrina raised awareness as well. After witnessing the devastation that a hurricane brings to businesses in its wake, companies across the nation began to review or implement disaster recovery programs. In just the last three years, we have seen major changes in behavioral habits due to evolving technology, the economy and shrinking volumes, particularly in the print and mail arena. The recession was just a rumble three years ago, not the roar it is today. Its effect, and the way people operate because of it, has made the words “new normal” an accepted part of our business lexicon, shaping our plans going forward. And then there is technology. A decade ago we were just beginning to understand how the Internet and email could add to our business processes. Three years ago, the iPhone was just a gleam in Apple’s eye, as was the iPad. The heightened interest and involvement with social media platforms was barely in existence. How quickly all that has changed. Now, the Internet and email — along with smartphones, tablets and a myriad of other techniques that keep us connected — are a part of our daily lives and set a completely new standard. This year alone, I received at least 30 electronic holiday cards. Our company sent one as well — even though we still hand-addressed, signed and stamped 400 printed cards as we have every year.
C stands for what this environment has created: low prices, over capacity, instant response and the need to transform our business models to meet these changes. If we look back a quarter of a decade, we have seen active consolidation of businesses to make up for the increasing lack of volume and over capacity. One example of this is our hardware suppliers buying software and service companies to stay competitive and profitable. HP bought exstream Software in 2007 and eDS in mid-2008. Xerox bought ACS. Canon and Oce merged. Last year, Pitney bowes started selling HP printers and continues to get more into the business services sector. bowe, bell & Howell bought bCC Software to help diversify. And the list goes on, with much more to happen in the future. Technology has completely changed our relationship with time, which, in turn, changes (and will continue to change) our business
processes. No longer does a salesperson drive across country making calls, nor do we even typically wait for fedex. Information is exchanged at warp speed. “Nine-to-five” is not a place anymore. People can work anywhere, at anytime, which brings a whole new level of challenges. So R is the result of all this. What it tells us is that we cannot preserve the business models of yesterday or even today. Our business models are going to have to transform with the times to stay viable. In 2011 (and perhaps three years forward), due to e and C, I predict we will continue to see more consolidation of businesses to make up for the lack of volume and over capacity. The industry of print and mail outsourcing is a mature industry, so to compete will require more consolidation. This will present some challenges for many businesses because the lines that separate suppliers from their customers will be blurred. Many of our vendors, as they add new services due to acquisitions, will find themselves in some instances competing with their customers. As more companies compete for the same business, pricing will certainly remain an issue for all of us. Rising postal costs in this tough economy — and postal requirements that keep changing and growing in complexity — are certainly two solid reasons the world of direct mail and transactional mail is sure to change. Speed and cost are two reasons more and more people will become fans of electronic documents, causing many of us to expand the range of services we provide to compete. And any mention of the USPS causes me to safely predict that this is one organization that will have to make sweeping changes to keep up with the times. While not much will officially pass in 2011, we are sure to see the USPS transform — not preserve — its business model. Congress will most likely make those changes in 2012 to get relief from the labor charges as mail volumes continue to decline. Six-day delivery is bound to give way to a five-day plan, and it is certain some post offices and postal facilities will close. The state of the economy will continue to influence behavior, and all of us in business have to take that into consideration. People will still be slow to make buying decisions in 2011 until some of the political turmoil settles, houses start to sell again and financing options become easier to obtain. In less than three years a new election will take place, affecting our lives in ways we have yet to know. However, as we move into 2011 and the near future, there is one thing we can predict for certain: We live in the age of speed. being easy to do business with and making it possible for our customer to save time and simplify lifestyles will become more and more a part of why someone will choose to remain a loyal customer, no matter what business you are in. That will require all of us to keep up with the trends that drive the changes in our business world and, as a result, transform our business models as often as is necessary, because things are not going to slow down. Harry Stephens is President/CeO and founder of DATAMATX, one of the nation’s largest privately held, full-service providers of printed and electronic billing solutions. As an advocate for business mailers across the country, Stephens is actively involved in several postal trade associations. As an expert on high-volume print and mail, he has frequently been asked to speak to various USPS groups, including the board of Governors, about postal reform and other issues affecting business mailers. You can contact Harry at firstname.lastname@example.org. find DATAMATX at http://datamatx.com.
www.MailingSystemsTechnology.com a JANUARY-febRUARY 2011
Death Knell for Email? Why direct mail is (likely) here to stay By Todd Butler
a 2010 blog post by Howard fenton, senior consultant at NAPL, the ice cream company is going “to focus exclusively on social media advertising.” ben & Jerry’s has apparently decided that there are better alternatives than email for building customer relationships. If true, the only use left for email marketing is as an acquisition tool. but direct mail is more responsive, less expensive than email for acquisitions! All the hype from email providers hides the fact that email is more or less a non-responsive medium. Their claims of being more responsive are based on comparing email’s click response with direct mail’s purchase response. On the cost side, they promote the idiocy of comparing the cost of distributing emails to the cost of distributing an equal number of direct mail pieces. email responsiveness, as with nearly all online advertising, is measured in clicks. A click online is when a consumer clicks on a link, opening a new web page containing more information. According to www.listpriceindex.com’s Top email Offer Calculator, this hap22
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pens 0.52% to 1.87% of the time for a business to business list. In comparison, the traditional direct mail response rate is one to three percent. but the traditional direct mail response is a purchase response, or some other significant activity. A click isn’t a purchase; clicks simply display new web pages with more information. There is an identical consumer action in direct mail… it’s called opening an envelope! Opening an envelope or other direct mail piece also displays a new page with more information. In fact, opening a direct mail piece and clicking on a link are identical in fulfilling a consumer’s request for more information. both deliver the requested information; email delivers it on a new screen page, direct mail delivers it on a printed page. Since online advertisers call the action of a consumer requesting more information a “click,” it’s also accurate to call opening a direct mail piece and instantly receiving more information a “click.” by establishing a common consumer action associated with both mediums, it’s possible to accurately compare common response rates and the costs associated with generating those responses. The USPS has been conducting a survey called the Household Diary Study for over 20 years. A five year average (2004-2008) of the
“… consumers are spending 28% less online time using e-mail, according to the measurement company [Nielsen].” Alex Palmer DMNews data shows that 82% of recipients of direct mail advertising read or scan this advertising. Reading or scanning the contents of a direct mail piece certainly qualifies as a click. Because of the Household Diary Study we know that direct mail’s click rate is 82%.
Comparison of response rates: direct mail 82%, email 0.52% to 1.87%. Of all the costs associated with an email campaign, the only number used to calculate the cost of generating a click is the list cost, which includes distribution. To make a comparable click cost calculation, only the costs associated with direct mail’s in-mail cost should be used. In-mail costs are printing, manufacturing, list costs, list prep, fulfillment, mail prep, shipping and postage.
delivering 985 readable messages results in a disc based direct mail cost of $985 compared to an email cost of $3,385.
Cost to distribute 985 readable messages: direct mail $985, email $3,385! This case study generated 74 clicks or a click through rate of 0.25%. An email list cost of $3,385 divided by 74 clicks yields a cost per click of $45.74 per click. A direct mail piece containing optical media would generate the same number of clicks by entering 91 pieces (82% click rate) in to the mail stream. The total cost of generating 74 clicks using direct mail would be $91.00!
Cost to generate 74 clicks: direct mail $91, email $3,385!
Email has a perceived functional advantage in its ability to deliver direct connections to the web. But by adding digital media such as an optical disc, thumb drive, web key or simple QR code, direct mail is also able to provide direct links to the Internet. For a fair cost comparison with email, digitally linked direct mail must be used. The in-mail cost of a direct mail piece containing an optical disc can be as low as $1.00 per piece and will be used in the following cost comparisons.
In comparing email to direct mail, the important numbers to compare are the number of responses (clicks) generated and the cost of each response. When using these metrics, email underperforms… badly. Maybe that’s why Ben & Jerry’s is dumping email for the next hot thing. The fact is that when comparable responses and their costs are used, direct mail (with digital content) delivers greater functionality at a lower cost than online advertising.
Calculating Click Cost To calculate the click cost of a mail-
Todd Butler of Butler Mailing Services can be contacted at 513-870-5060, email@example.com or visit www.ekeymailer.com.
ing, the in-mail cost per piece is divided by the click rate. For discbased mail, divide $1.00 by 82%, yielding a click cost of $1.22. For email, divide the list rental cost by the click rate. Listpriceindex.com has a chart tracking the cost of email lists. The current average cost for BtoB lists is $279/m; the average for consumer lists is $112. So to do the math divide the cost per email address by its click rate or $279/1,000/0.52% = $53.65 per click. An alternative option would be to let listpriceindex.com’s handy dandy click cost calculator do the math for you.
Cost-per-click comparison: direct mail $1.22, email from $14.92 to $53.65. A case study provided by a reputable list broker (summer 2010) had a BtoC company purchasing 30,219 email addresses. Of these 985 were “opened.” The definition of an email “open” is that the graphics were downloaded by the consumer, making the email readable. The reason it’s unreasonable to compare the cost of distributing an equal number of email messages with an equal number of direct mail pieces is that the direct mail industry does not (typically) send blank or unreadable pieces to consumers! With email, a marketer’s message is only delivered to those consumers that download the graphics. In this case study 29,234 marketing messages were left “blank” or unreadable by consumers. Using listpriceindex.com’s average list cost of $112/m for a BtoC list, the current cost for renting 30,219 email addresses would be $3,385. With direct mail’s functional advantage of delivering 100% readable messages, this marketer only needed to mail 985 printed pieces to equal the same number of readable messages delivered through email. An accurate one-to-one cost of distribution comparison for www.MailingSystemsTechnology.com a JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2011
DEVELOPING A CULTURE OF SECURITY A case study on tightening your mail supply chain By Camilla Dadey
24 JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2011 a www.MailingSystemsTechnology.com
ost people don’t automatically associate the mail industry with security, but it is fast becoming a key component in operations. A look at the evening news highlights the importance of a tightened mail supply chain. In this case study, OSM Worldwide shares some insight into the process of developing a culture of security, providing several tips and techniques that mailers at all levels can implement. Security at OSM Worldwide focuses on two equally critical issues: the safety and well-being of personnel and the protection of customer merchandise. 2010 saw big changes at OSM, not the least of which was the move from a semi-secured to a fully secured facility. “It’s been an investment in time, training and technology, says Chuck Schelli, VP at OSM Worldwide. “And it is well worth the effort.” OSM strives to provide a secure supply chain. “From the moment a customer’s merchandise is loaded into our truck, to its movement through our facility and then back out again to air carriers, OSM pays careful attention to each step in the distribution process,” says Schelli. The company is swiftly moving from IAC Compliant to IAC Certification.
“Product typically passes through our facility very quickly, generally in much less than 24 hours, so it is vital that we have a strong security system in place.” Anyone working in security for the mail industry understands this is an ever-changing environment. As that situation changes, TSA updates and revises regulations. Mr. Schelli believes it’s critical to have the attitude that an organization’s system can — and will — turn on a dime as circumstances warrant. Additionally, companies should focus on having a dynamic and flexible process that is fully supported by upper management through all levels of staff, drivers and production floor personnel. “Product typically passes through our facility very quickly, generally in much less than 24 hours, so it is vital that we have a strong security system in place,” says Mr. Schelli. The system is structured in layers, each providing an added measure of control.
“We’ve had a great response company-wide. This has been a big change and our employees have met the challenge. Even our younger employees have responded well. There has been a lot of creative thinking and planning.” Because a secure system is rooted in the people who work in the facility, both staff employees and temporary workers undergo background checks.
Training Is Key
A critical component to security is ongoing training. It is expected that staff and temporary workers maintain overall security awareness. The company reports that everyone is on-board and committed to these stepped-up measures. “There is a lot of positive energy at the company. People recognize the importance of security for their own safety as well as for our customers’ merchandise,” says Mr. Schelli. The company has implemented on-going training and undergoes annual audits. “We take pride in the fact that our employees feel secure about their wellbeing and our customers can feel secure about their product,” says Mr. Schelli. OSM Worldwide is also compliant with government regulations beyond those established by TSA, including OSHA, DOT and local municipalities and state agencies. TSA works with businesses like OSM Worldwide to make the system more secure. “We’ve found TSA not only takes this job very seriously, they are a great partner in helping us become more secure.” TSA developed the programs as a solution to help industry reach the 100% screening mandate. The program enables freight forwarders and shippers to pre-screen cargo, avoiding any potential bottlenecks at the airport. One of the advantages of becoming IAC Certified is TSA has systems that allow business to choose the best and most effective model for their needs. In this way, they work with businesses like OSM to help secure the system. It allows companies to leverage best practices from global supply chain programs. As an indirect carrier, OSM Worldwide is adopting and carrying out security programs that meet TSA requirements. The company is confident it is taking on the responsibility of meeting the challenges of an ever changing security environment. Management and staff are enthusiastic about making the necessary changes to ensure a better work environment for all.
These layers include security measures such as limited and controlled access, a keyless entry system, visitor escort, additional secured areas, strategically placed cameras that are constantly monitored, as well as physical inspection. “We touch every piece of mail that moves through our facility,” says Mr. Schelli. “And our people are trained and committed to keeping each other and the merchandise safe.
www.MailingSystemsTechnology.com a JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2011 25
Automate Mailing Preparation for Efficiency Prepare volume mailings more efficiently with MailRoom ToolKit® Architect. Integrate address quality and presorting into web-to-print and variable-data mailing systems. This CASS™ and PAVE™ certified mailing preparation solution also supports integrated NCOALink® processing and full Intelligent Mail® barcoding. Its client/server architecture meets the needs of the most complex mailing organization. Satori Software www.satorisoftware.com 800-553-6477 firstname.lastname@example.org
Closing the loop
NetSort Sorting Software Platform
Utilizing Kern’s mailFactory WorkCell enables a single system automated document factory by closing the loop and connecting inserting production data with your entire print and mail operation. It is now easier and more cost effective than ever to achieve a full ADF that gives you control over your mail production at the inserting station.
NetSort from BÖWE BELL + HOWELL supports fullservice use of the Intelligent Mail barcode. IMB-specific functionality includes the ability to manage unique mailpiece IDs for the required 45 days across multiple sorters and sites; manage uniqueness and relationship of/between trays and containers; and create and submit electronic mailing reports.
800-220-3030 www.bowebellhowell.com email@example.com
A-Qua Mailer™. It’s in the cloud.
Automation for Everyone
Use A-Qua Mailer’s on-demand suite of direct mail services to access address quality and mail list processing services such as ZIP + 4®, NCOALink® processing, Duplicate Elimination, Postal Presort, Printer File Output, and more without having to install software on It’s in your computer. Services are the delivered ‘in the cloud’.
Lorton Data 651-203-8290 firstname.lastname@example.org www.lortondata.com
Do you Move Update many small files for customers? Then Melissa Data’s new automated NCOALink® processing is perfect for you. There’s no minimum charge per file and no setup fees. Turnaround is as fast as 2 hours. U.S. and Canadian NCOA processing available. 1-800-MELISSA (635-4772) www.melissadata.com/everyone
FUD Factor Costs You Money
USPS Certified Solutions
Fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) FUD is generally designed to undermine the credibility of a competitor or rival. If you want to cut through the FUD that will inevitably result in you compromising for something less than the best commercial mail software and support available today, call Imhoff Technologies.
Anchor Software offers postal processing solutions such as: MaxCASS (CASS), MaxMover (NCOALink), and MaxPresort (Presort) to achieve the maximum allowable discounts from the USPS. Multi-Platform support for all products is available to run on IBM Mainframe (z/OS), Software as a Service (SaaS), UNIX, Linux, and MS Windows.
DAT-MAIL: THE eDoc & Postalone! Solution Edit Mail.dat files, process partial mailings, manage spoilage and more! DAT-MAIL from Window Book is complete mail management software enabling mailers to make easy transitions to eDoc and IMb services. It supports the Intelligent Mail Basic and Full-Service options, eDoc for PostalOne!, FASTÂŽ appointments via Mail.XML, and merging multiple mailings for co-palletization. Window Book, Inc. 800-524-0380 www.windowbook.com/MST email@example.com
www.AnchorComputerSoftware.com 1-800-237-1921 Info@AnchorComputerSoftware.com
eSS Eliminates IT Headaches Companies are rapidly adapting the new Software As A Service model in which software solutions are deployed without any need to modify existing IT infrastructure. Neopostâ€™s eShipping Solution can be deployed at hundreds of locations with thousands of users without having to purchase a single computer, server, monitor or router. 1-800-NEOPOST (636-7678) www.neopostinc.com
Mail Manager Delivers Mailers across the country depend on Mail Manager. They know they can count on BCC Software to deliver efficiency-boosting innovation, regulatory compliance, and responsive, unlimited customer support. Can you count on your provider? Contact BCC Software today to learn how to put Mail Manager to work for you. http://www.bccsoftware.com (800) 337-0442 firstname.lastname@example.org
Buyers and Decision Makers Are Reading this Right Now. Put the spotlight on your solutions in the next issue. Contact Ken @ 608-442-5064 or email@example.com for details.
Real-life application Digital Commingling for StanDarD mail
As the economy continues to show signs of “green shoots,” those of us in the mailing industry are also seeing signs of recovery. How individual mail owners gauge the return on their mailing promotions depends on how well they are positioned to meet what most assuredly will be a more demanding mailing market. In addition, many mailing service companies are running below capacity, which provides mail owners with more competitively priced options for the immediate future. With a number of market alternatives available to mail owners, postage costs have become a key negotiating point. Mail owners are now challenging the explanation of “postage is what it is.” They are looking for the best options to manage postage costs in consideration of other services such as co-palletization, commingling and tracking to validate in-home dates. The direct mail industry continues to increasingly rely upon targeted marketing programs. Customers who used to mail several million pieces in a single cell (batch) are now fracturing cells into multiple offers to fewer prospects, often using a variety of media. While these targeted mailings can have higher response rates, they frequently result in lower efficiency with higher production and postage costs. The effect of smaller cells on postage is twofold. Mail that formerly qualified at the optimum qualification discount is now moving into higher cost levels. Not only does this negatively impact the cost of
qualified postage per piece, but it adversely affects delivery. With direct mail, smaller mailings cannot be accepted at a Network Distribution Center or Section Center facility (SCf), and instead enter the mailstream at the local post office. The result: higher costs to the mailing service company and, ultimately, the mail owner. Much of the industry has widely accepted the process of commingling smaller list mailings and cells using sophisticated high-speed sorters. Smaller jobs sent to a commingle department or outside presort bureau not only gained postage discounts by combining many smaller mailings, but also realized deeper penetration and faster delivery by achieving SCf entry. The economic benefits of commingling are clear, and the challenge for mailers is how to determine the best value in a commingle environment — without adding complexity or cost. New software from bÖWe beLL + HOWeLL helps mailers measure the impact of commingling on mailings using a variety of variables and can set thresholds based on operational factors. Plant managers can now quantify the benefits of commingling as they make strategic decisions on how to manage their operations. Additionally, digital commingling provides mailers with the ability to apportion individual mailings to achieve larger mailings, with heavy concentrations of five-digit automation qualified pieces and thus benefit from the lift provided to the lesser qualified pieces. This added benefit of digital com-
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mingling helps reduce the overall size of the mailing, limiting the amount of labor, equipment and time required to process the job while providing the maximum postage benefit per piece. The postage savings of commingling have never been greater. Potential savings from commingling are up to $18 per thousand for local entry mail and up to $43 per thousand for SCf-entered mail. Postage savings can yield $1 million or more for companies that mail millions of pieces annually. Digital commingling tools become increasingly important to enable companies to identify, execute, and track their ability to achieve desired results and return on investment, while continuing to utilize mail as a viable communication channel for their customers. © 2011 Böwe Bell + Howell Company. All rights reserved. BÖWE BELL + HOWELL and the Böwe Bell + Howell logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of BBH, Inc. All other trademarks and service marks are the property of their respective owners. Specifications are subject to change without notice.
With Wanda Senne
Creating a Win-Win Situation
e’ve enjoyed another holiday season and are moving ahead with exciting 2011 adventures. How many of those adventures include tasks related to a New Year’s resolution? According to a 2010 survey, only six percent of people keep their resolutions, and the reality is that 30% slack off by mid-January. The number one resolution among adults is to lose weight. Considering that the average American gains a pound each holiday season — and keeps that pound — it’s probably a good resolution to make and keep. Don’t believe keeping a pound per year? It must be true (just look at those chipmunk cheeks in my picture). One resolution I would make is to learn how successful salespeople create win-win situations to balance client requirements with operations capability. Negotiations sometimes require losing a pound or two, allowing the client to fit the mailing program into budgets, and for service providers to make a profit. Negotiations also make me think about handoffs with the USPS in mailpiece design, postage payment and entry times at postal facilities… and don’t get me started discussing Customer Supplier Agreements! If you had to think of the top three nationally recognized sales experts, who would you name? Zig Ziglar, brian Tracy and Joe Girard topped the list according to SalesGuru website. What are their secrets? Heart, inspiration and being in the trenches having done what they tell people they should do. Zig, brian and Joe, I’ve got a piece I want you to address for me, and it doesn’t meet your machine specifications — exactly — and I will have it delivered to you late — and I still need to get it delivered in-home in a three day window. Would these experts in customer relationships and negotiations say no? No way! They would create a win-win negotiation. What are some of the tactics that go into the negotiation? Considering you want to promote an ongoing relationship, you need to present a situation for both sides feeling comfortable with the solution — (i.e., a win-win). A recent newsletter from Mindtools recommended considering these points, and I think they are pretty good:
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Goals – What are they for each party? Trades – What are you comfortable giving away? Alternatives – Got any? How much does it matter if you can’t reach an agreement? Does this end your relationship?
Relationships – What is the history and what issues influence
Expected outcomes – What do you expect? Any precedents? Consequences – Win or lose, what will the consequence be? Power – Who controls the resources? Who stands to lose the most? Possible solutions – What possible compromises are there? I think the best possible resolution to make, and keep, is: Create a customer-centric focus within your supply chain. Consider the people and companies you work with who either supply products and services to you or receive a product or service you created. What if you were to arrange a supply chain review (some of you probably do) and analyze the hand-offs and transfer points? Can you negotiate win-win customer-focused relationships (using the steps outlined above) and improve the overall relationship? If you take on this resolution, keep in mind what well known marketing expert, Peter Drucker said, “There is only one valid definition of business purpose: to create a customer. He alone gives employment.” a Wanda Senne is the National Director of Postal Development for World Marketing. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 770-431-2591.
Pushing the Envelope
With Kate Muth
Thriving in the Digital World
was looking over the family cell phone bill last week and I noticed that our use of the cell phone and the distribution of minutes is probably a good reflection of how segments of society communicate. I use the most “talk” minutes each month. Apparently, as a woman of a certain age, I still actually use the phone for calls. I use it for email as well, but not so often for texting. I find texting slow and tedious, so I only do it occasionally, like when I need to get a teenager’s attention. My husband uses the most “data” minutes (he likes Google maps) and my 13-year-old son — far and away — uses the most text minutes. (My 10-year old doesn’t have a cell phone and doesn’t want one, which is probably a statistical anomaly, but we are thrilled.) In fact, my teen-aged son uses his cell phone almost exclusively to text. I suspect this is true for most teens and tweens and many probably use a decent amount of data minutes as well, if their parents allow them Internet access via phone.
I think it’s fair to say that I am a consumer who has straddled the digital world and the paper world. I like technology and I like communication to happen quickly. I like efficiency and speed, which I think digital communications can provide. but I’m not going to jump totally into the digital world. I limit financial transactions to those sites with which I have a long-standing and trust-based relationship. I have shunned facebook and Twitter. I don’t like signing up for things that require you to provide your email account, even if it gets me something for free. I don’t like turning over pieces of information about myself that then gets me in a database or puts me on a marketing list. I like privacy and security — two things that I’m not entirely convinced the digital world has mastered. And in the case of privacy, I’m not sure the digital world cares, as recent reports in the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post indicate.
and trusted postal services over the Internet. The .post initiative is part of the UPU mission to build a worldwide space without borders that encourages personal and business communication in a secure and trusted environment. but time is running out for the Postal Service to make its move in the digital world. Congress needs to consider how best to equip the organization for the long haul and act swiftly to make those changes. Some would argue that the Postal Service has already missed the boat, and now we need to start thinking about how to wind down the postal system. They say the USPS is too slow and lumbering to be a player in the digital world. but I think it’s hardly fair to shut the Postal Service down without even giving it a chance to remake itself into a 21st century provider. It might surprise us and find its niche in the digital market, while continuing to fulfill its role as a national infrastructure. Consider the fact that for more than 200 years, the Postal Service’s mission to provide the nation with reliable, affordable and universal mail service has remained unchanged, despite rapid and revolutionary changes in communications. It’s fairly remarkable to think that the USPS has fulfilled its 200-year mission amid all of the significant changes in the country’s infrastructure, new technologies and in the way Americans communicate. Imagine if we gave the Postal Service the tools and/ or flexibility it needs to operate in the digital world. It might do more than just surprise, it might just thrive. a Kate Muth is President of Muth Communications, a writing, editing and consulting firm. Contact her at email@example.com.
I think the areas of privacy and security provide opportunities for the Postal Service to operate in the digital arena. As a trusted government entity, the Postal Service might be better-suited than private industry to provide confidential services in the digital world, such as transmission of medical records and certain other confidential transactions. And it certainly seems the ideal organization to develop a secure connection between physical and email addresses, which would open the door to a host of hybrid services. Such an effort would also support the Universal Postal Union’s “.post” initiative to facilitate the development of secure
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Mailing Systems Technology Jan/Feb 2011