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2014 HOT COMPANIES! A good look at the businesses with the answers you are looking for Starting on page 18

5 biggest mailing trends

from an industry insider. Page 30

Achieving the perfect mail center; is it doable? Page 34

Connecting your physical mail with digital. Page 36


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Direct Mail, Digital Print, Fulfillment and Logistics The Right Message, To the Right Customer, Through the Right Channel, At the Right Time.

HarteHanks.com | 800-456-9748 Facebook.com/HarteHanks | Linkedin.com/company/HarteHanks | Twitter.com/HarteHanks


Volume 27 Issue 5

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Features

30

30

5 Biggest Mailing Trends

An in-depth look from an industry insider By Adam Lewenberg

34

A More Perfect Mail Center: From Discovery to Delivery

By Paul Abdool

36

Enhancing the Value of Mail–Connecting Physical to Digital

By Patrick Brand

Departments/Columns

34

36

4

5

Editor’s Note

2014 Hot Companies By Amanda Armendariz

6

Real-Life Management

Are You Treating Your Employees Like Adults — or Children? By Wes Friesen

8

Software Byte

Software Simplifies Monthly Updates By Bill Jamieson

10

14

My Two Cents

Gaming the System: Mail That Is Intentionally Not Scanned By Todd Butler

16

Everything IMb

Everything You Wanted to Know about Intelligent Mail—and Need to Ask! By Harry Stephens

2014 HOT Companies 18

BCC Software

Postal Affairs

19

CapStone Technologies

What You Need to Know About Monthly File Updates By Kim Mauch

20

Clear Image Technologies

21

Collins Inkjet

11

Ship It

22

Crawford Technologies

A Life Without “Tiers” By Jim LeRose

23

Engineering Innovation

12

The Trenches

24

Harte Hanks

25

Melissa Data

Vigilance — Working With Outsource Service Providers By Mike Porter

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Direct Marketing 101

Effectively Marketing to Connect Direct Mail and Digital By John Foley, Jr.

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26 NPI 27 Postmatic 28

Postea

29

Satori Software


editor’s note

with Amanda Armendariz

Mailing systems technology PUBLISHER Marll Thiede

EDITOR

2014 Hot Companies As always, it seems that summer is flying by faster than most of us would prefer. Certain occasions in July (the Independence Day celebrations, our annual family vacation to the lake, and, of course, the production of our annual Hot Companies issue) mark the season’s quick progression and remind me that fall isn’t too far away. But, while I wish that summer would stick around for a couple months longer, I’m still happy to present our 2014 Hot Companies; some of the best and the brightest in the mailing industry. As you flip through these pages, you may notice some familiar names from years past. But you may notice some new names that you haven’t heard before. That’s the goal of this issue; to better acquaint you with the familiar faces, and to properly introduce you to those companies with which you may not be familiar. As we always say, people buy from companies they know, so this is your chance to get to know some of the major players in the mailing industry before you make your next big purchase. But the hot companies aren’t the only focus of the July/August issue. We’ve got some great features on an insider’s look at the five biggest trends in the mailing industry, how to create the perfect mail center, and connecting your physical mail with your digital mail. So check it out and let us know what you think. We are here to make your job in the mailing and printing industry as seamless and easy as possible, and I think we’ve definitely achieved that with this issue. As always, thanks for reading Mailing Systems Technology.

Amanda Armendariz amanda.c@rbpub.com

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Paul Abdool, Patrick Brand, Todd Butler, John Foley, Jr., Wes Friesen, Jim LeRose, Adam Lewenberg, Kim Mauch, Mike Porter, Harry Stephens

Audience Development Manager Rachel Spahr rachel@rbpub.com

ADVERTISING 608-442-5064 Ken Waddell ken.w@rbpub.com

GRAPHIC DESIGN Kelli Cooke

2901 International Lane • Madison WI 53704-3128 608-241-8777 • Fax 608-241-8666 rbpub@rbpub.com www.MailingSystemsTechnology.com

Volume 27, Issue 5 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 rachel@rbpub.com or subscribe online at www.MailingSystemsTechnology.com. For high-quality reprints, please contact our exclusive reprint provider, ReprintPros, 949-702-5390, www.ReprintPros.com. All material in this magazine is copyrighted ©2014 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 27, Issue 5] is published six times per year, (January/February, March Buyers’ Resource, March/April, May/June, September/ October, November/December) by RB Publishing Inc., 2901 International Lane, Suite 100, Madison WI 53704-3128, 608241-8777. 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 Are You Treating Your Employees Like Adults — or Children? “The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men (and women) to do what he wants, and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it.” President Theodore Roosevelt Awhile back I stumbled across a book entitled 30 Reasons Employees Hate Their Managers, by Bruce L. Katcher. This book summarized the results of a large survey project across 65 organizations. The survey found that the biggest area of complaint that employees have is that they feel they are being treated like children — not adults. These survey results resonated with me, and I remember back early in my career when I had my first opportunity to be a supervisor at the tender age of 23. There was a lady on the team who had put in her resignation to work in another company just prior to my selection. I had heard about the value of doing exit interviews with departing employees, so I took her aside and asked her one simple question — “Why are you leaving?” Her reply was short and to the point. “I am leaving because I feel like I have been treated as a child, and I am going to a company that will treat me like an adult.” I was speechless, but her sentiment has stuck with me years later.

Survey Says The employee survey zeroed in on some sentiments that people feel. Included are feelings like “We feel like slaves;” “I hate being micro-managed;” “I am afraid to speak up;” “Nobody appreciates my hard work;” and “There are different rules for different people.” Here are some of the specific results: 46% of employees felt management treats them with disrespect, 40% said they don’t have the decision making authority they need, and 43% say their good work goes unrecognized. Fifty-two percent do not feel free to voice their opinions openly.

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12 Keys to Help Us Treat Employees Like Adults 1. Practice the Golden Rule. Treating others positively like we would like to be treated is an ethical approach that crosses most religious and ethical frameworks. Consciously put yourself in the shoes of your employees and ask yourself, how would I like to be treated if I was in their jobs?

2. Get to know your employees as people. We are all very busy and no let up is in sight. But employees feel dignified and appreciated when we make an effort to get to know them as people — not just a worker producing widgets. This is a challenge for many of us — but practicing MBWA (management by walking around) and looking for opportunities to connect help. I have also found it useful to do 1-1s with all my employees — both direct reports and “skip levels” with front-line employees.

3. Treat employees like assets, not liabilities, and view them as valued business partners. Some managers view their employees as liabilities — or like expenses that need to be minimized. Others view employees like assets that are worth being developed and maximized — which is a more dignifying view. Also, the managers that view their employees as valued business partners are naturally going to treat them more respectfully.

4. Survey your employees. Want to know how employees are really feeling? Ask them. Anonymous surveys can be great tools. We use quarterly employee satisfaction surveys, and annually we do a survey instrument like Gallop’s 12 Question Measuring Stick. It’s helpful as a manager to periodically do a 360 degree personal survey, with one group of respondents being your employees.

A different survey found that only 26% of workers say that are actively engaged on the job. That means 74% are disengaged — 55% are passively disengaged and 19% are actively disengaged. Sad results. I suggest that a big driver for this lack of engagement and low motivation is a result of being treated like children. I think motivational expert Bob Nelson is right when he says, “An employee’s motivation is a direct result of the sum of interactions with his or her manager.”

5. Provide more opportunities for employees to have control. Reality isthat for some of our departments — especially in

Why do managers treat employees like children and not adults? The reasons are many — and include bad role modeling (that is how the managers have been treated and what they have seen), fear of delegation, lack of trust towards employees and others.

production type environments — we need to have some structure and rules to get the work done timely and accurately. However, employees do appreciate having as much control as possible over work schedules (including opportunity for part-time), time off, work space, overtime (voluntary versus mandatory), dress code,

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With Wes Friesen

etc. We should look for opportunities to grant employees some choices and control whenever we can.

6. Promote flexibility rather than rigid rules. Rules do have their place and are needed to ensure some level of consistency and order within the organization. But sometimes we can be too rigid and too arcane — resulting in employees feeling like they are being treated like children and not recognizing that sometimes flexibility is warranted. I recently had a manager from Nordstrom in one of my university classes that I teach. Here are the rules he shared that are found in their employee handbook: Rule #1: Use best judgment in all situations. There will be no additional rules. Please feel free to ask your department manager, store manager or division general manager any question sat any time. Obviously we will need more rules than the Nordstrom example — but I think you get the point of trying to avoid too many rules and too much rigidity.

7. Appreciate that employees have lives outside of work. Our employees have lives outside of their vocational work with us, and appreciate when we recognize that reality and work with them when “life happens.” We appreciate the flexibility to attend to our life events — and so do our employees.

8. Respect employee privacy. All of us have expectations of the right to privacy. When there are good business reasons for some type of employee monitoring, we should be open about it. We should also be careful about not treating employees as our possessions and assume we can infringe on their privacy whenever we want.

9. Be a good listener. Rachel Naomi Remen advises that, “The most basic and powerful way to connect to another person is to listen. Just listen. Perhaps the most important thing we ever give each other is our attention … A loving silence often has far more power to heal and to connect than the most well-intentioned words.” I like the practical advice from Dale Carnegie (author of the classic How to Win Friends and Influence People) who said, “You can make more friends in two weeks by becoming a good listener than you can in two years trying to get other people interested in you.”

10. Increase recognition and appreciation. According to prominent psychologist William James, the number one psychological need that the average person has is the need to feel appreciated. A Gallup survey found that 65% of employees said they did not receive any positive personal recognition from their boss the prior 12 months — how sad! There are many ways to recognize employees — and some of the simple ones are the most appreciated. Verbal thank-yous, e-mails, and small tokens of recognition are always in order. And in today’s digital age, the value of a hand written note or card has never been higher.

11. Be honest with employees. Research by Kouzes and Posner in their acclaimed book The Leadership Challenge shows that people desire leaders that are honest and trustworthy men and women of integrity. There is no place for lying to our employees. Sometimes we need to withhold information for a period of time (e.g. a re-organization that is still being worked on), but we should disclose information as soon as possible.

12. Support professional development. If we truly view employees as assets and valued business partners, it makes sense to support our employees in their professional development. There are lots of ways we can help develop employees as I have written about in the past. Employees do feel valued when we are willing to provide them learning and development opportunities and show that we care. Treating employees like adults and not children is a great example of the “win-win” that Stephen Covey always emphasized. Employees that are treated like adults will have better morale, stronger motivation, higher productivity and will be more loyal to the organization. Our teams will be stronger and our personal sense of accomplishment will be higher. I wish you success in striving for the worthy ideal of treating our employees like adults! ¾ Wes Friesen, MBA, CMDSM, MDC, EMCM, MCOM, CBA, CBF, ICP, CCM,CMA, CM, CFM, APP, PHR is the Manager of Billing, Credit and Special Attention Operations for Portland General Electric, a utility in Portland, Oregon that serves over 830,000 customers. Wes leads his teams with the able assistance of Supervisors Allison Rowden, Jan DeMeire, Heidi Fouts and Matt McHill. Wes teaches university classes and is a featured speaker at national Conferences like MAILCOM, National Postal Forum, NACUMS, and other regional and local events. Check out his personal website for free information (www.wesfriesen.com). He can be contacted at pchefdebi@comcast.net.

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Software Byte Software Simplifies Monthly Updates Mailers claiming workshare discounts should be aware of an upcoming change to how the USPS publishes their Labeling List, Mail Direction, and Zone Chart data. These data files, which have previously been distributed on a quarterly basis, will be distributed monthly, beginning in August 2014. Mailers will need to ensure that these data files are valid at the time of the mailing (mail induction) or risk acceptance issues. Software and education can help simplify the adjustment to rapid-fire monthly updates. Before ensuring the validity of these data files, mailers should know what these files do and how are they used. In general, the three sets of data files give software the ability to sort mail and generate workshare discounts based on the mail piece groupings, drop locations, and zones. Below is a more detailed description of each of the data file groups. } Labeling Lists are a set of files that define the current 3- and 5-Digit ZIP Code schemes needed to correctly sort mail to bundles, trays, and containers. The Labeling Lists also provide the destination city, state, and ZIP Code that must be printed on the bundle, tray, or container label. In other words, the Labeling List files help to inform the software about the mail piece sort order that creates the most efficient delivery for the USPS, as well as the correct destination for printed labels. } Mail Direction Files define the default drop sites (DDU, SCF, ADC, NDC, and FSS) and any redirections that the USPS has imposed. These files help the USPS and mailers coordinate current drop shipping locations, and help the USPS communicate to software where the most efficient delivery location is. } Zone Chart Matrix is a table that helps identify the zone of a mail piece based the distance from the facility where it was entered

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to where the mail piece will eventually get delivered. This file helps in pricing periodicals and package services mailings. With an understanding of the data files involved, it is important to understand the dates that all mailers should be aware of and how these dates relate to the three data file groups above. } Mailing Date or induction date is the date the mail is entered into a USPS facility. } Effective Date is the date that the data files can first be used to induct mail to a facility. } Mandatory Date is the date that the data files must be used to induct mail to a facility. } Expiration Date is the last day that these data files can be used to induct mail into a facility. If the Mailing Date does not fall on or between the Effective Date and the Expiration Date of the data files used in the sort, then mail pieces may not qualify for discounted rates, or the entire mailing could be rejected.

Software can help mailers make the transition to a monthly update cycle by providing an easy mechanism for: } updating files } moving between data file sets } validating mailing dates with respect to the effective and expiration dates With the change to monthly updates, mailers should expect software that can update very quickly, easily, and accurately. Optimally,


With Bill Jamieson

software should allow for automatic updates to these tables to ensure mailers have access to the most current date files. However, at a minimum, software or software vendors should communicate when these data files expire and when newer files are available for download. Software should be able to warn mailers when a mailing falls outside the Effective Date and Expiration Date range. In some cases, the mailer may even want software to prevent them or their staff from mailing when outside the range. In all cases, software should have a clear way to communicate which set of data files are in use and when those data files are effective and expired. Mailers should get in the habit of updating their software monthly to ensure the most current set of files are installed. However, some mailers who stage mail may need a way to move between

the various tables, as some mail may go out today while other mail may be staged to go out later. Good software will allow mailers to switch between data file sets easily. The mailer or the software can decide which set of data to use when sorting the mail based on the mailing date. Reinstalling software is cumbersome and time consuming and should not be a solution. The change to a monthly update of data files (Labeling List, Mail Direction File, and Zone Chart Matrix) is one that can seem intimidating for the mailer. However, with a little bit of understanding of what these files do, the critical dates that must be met, and software that is intuitive and helpful, most mailers will find that there is actually little adjustment required. 他 Bill Jamieson is Director, Product Strategy, Bell and Howell.

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Postal Affairs

With Kim Mauch

What You Need to Know About Monthly File Updates Starting with September data, published on August 1, the Postal Service will be changing the frequency of updates to labeling lists and the Mail Direction file. Originally, the new monthly schedule was slated to start in with July data, published on June 1. However, with the delay of the summer PostalOne! release to August/ September, the monthly data update was postponed as well.

The Importance of Presort Data Files The labeling list and mail direction file data is used by presort and post-presort software to create correct containers, qualify mail for entry discounts and determine drop shipment locations. In addition, the Zone Charts, City/State file and Delivery Statistics file will also be released according to the new schedule. When this data is incorrect or out of date, containers can be shipped to the wrong USPS facility and delivery can be delayed. In extreme cases, drop shipments can be rejected when shipped to the wrong location.

Starting in October, USPS will start checking the files when the mail is inducted, rather than at mail verification About the Change USPS has changed the frequency of data file updates several times over the past several years. Most recently, these files were updated quarterly. However, due to the number of facility closures and the need to more dynamically update processing of five-digit schemes, the Postal Service determined that it needs to be able to update these files more frequently to better match their constantly changing processing network. On August 1, USPS will start publishing these files every month. Each file will have a three-month time span. When the data is published in the first month, this will serve as a notification period – mailers can install the file, but not use it for current mailings. The next month, the file will be usable for any and all mailings. The file will expire in the third month, and can be used for mailings entered through the end of the month. This means that in any given month, there will be three valid files: two that can be used for active mailings, and one “notification” file that can be used to prepare mailings for the upcoming months.

Here are some scenarios to consider: } If it’s November 8 and you’re preparing a mailing for today, the November data published on October 1, or the older October data published on September 1, can be used for this mailing. 10

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The December data, published November 1, can’t be used at this time. } For a mailing prepared in early December, you’ll need to use the already-published December data published on November 1 or the November data published on October 1. } If you’re preparing a January mailing in November, your only option is to use the December data that was published on November 1. } Preparing mailings that are more than three months in advance is not advised. There’s a good chance you won’t have valid data available for your intended mailing date. Currently, your mailings are compared to the active presort files when your mailing is verified. Starting in October, USPS will start checking the files when the mail is inducted, rather than at mail verification. If you drop ship your mail, you will need to ensure that the proper files are used, especially near the end of the month. If you presort and prepare your mailing in advance, the window for preparing those mailings is shrinking. Fortunately, any errors in preparation will be evaluated based on the make-up of the mail, not strictly the mailing date. This means that if you’re sending mail to areas not affected by labeling list changes, your mail will not be reported as being prepared incorrectly. If any errors are found, your mail should not be rejected. Instead, the errors will appear in your Mailer Scorecard on the Business Customer Gateway. Monitor your Scorecard to ensure that you are compliant, as fines may be assessed in the future.

How to keep up to date You’ll need to make sure these files are updated monthly in both your presort and post-presort software products to meet the new schedule requirements. Each software solution has a different way of updating this data, so you’ll want to contact your software provider to get more information. ¾ Kim Mauch is a subject matter expert in mailing preparation and submission at Satori Software. Contact her at kmauch@satorisoftware.com.


Ship It

With Jim LeRose

A Life Without “Tiers” Talk to any shipper and with few exceptions, each will disclose (in a bit of a panic) how important it is for their companies to achieve pre-negotiated tier discount levels with their preferred parcel carrier. Tiers, by design, reward shippers with bigger discounts in exchange for higher shipping volume. Carriers, eager to expand their businesses and maintain customer loyalty, have utilized this model quite effectively for many years. However, the latest logistics paradigm could prove to be the catalyst that helps shippers obtain a life without “tiers.” Demanding consumers are motivating ecommerce companies to migrate to a multi-functional, multi-carrier shipping model that guarantees their delivery objectives will be met, regardless of which carrier is used. This mandate is rapidly changing the world of ecommerce. Consider: a 50m Distribution Company (DC) utilizes UPS as its preferred small package carrier; however, John Jones (customer of DC) wants the order he placed today delivered tomorrow, and he doesn’t want to pay a surcharge for expedited shipping. The DC has three choices: either it or the consumer will have to pay for upgraded expedited/air shipping charges to UPS (increasing shipping costs), use an alternative carrier that can get it delivered on time without higher costs, or lose the customer. What would you do? Do they pay the cost of air service (increasing their costs), charge the consumer more (and risk losing the business) or utilize the carrier that gets it there in one day, potentially lowering their tier discounts and consequently increasing overall shipping costs? For many shippers, the choice is clear: Satisfy the customer and select a shipping company that can get it delivered on time, at ground prices. Eastern Connection, LaserShip and OnTrac, among others, have found a niche and are competing effectively and overcoming concerns about not achieving desired tier levels. No, they aren’t Joe’s messenger service or a mom and pop shop; these carriers deliver to tens of millions of people all over the US and they do it reliably enough to deliver for some of the most recognizable brands. Many executives mistakenly believe using regional carriers can potentially lower the coveted tier discount levels, resulting in an overall increase in transportation costs. But deploying a carefully developed strategy can have the opposite effect. Ask Nina Hegyi, Corporate Account Manager at OnTrac, and she will set the record straight. “First and foremost, we solve problems. We never ask a company to move all of its business, just what makes sense. In many cases, not utilizing a regional carrier hurts a company’s bottom line and we prove that time and time again."

want will win more business. And as an added bonus, more efficiency in the logistics processes means less package movement, less handling and fewer damaged shipments, and that equates to happier customers.” A companywide analysis evaluating the overall benefits of adding regional carriers to the mix will help make an informed decision while potentially lowering overall shipping costs.

For many shippers, the choice is clear: Satisfy the customer and select a shipping company that can get it delivered on time, at ground prices. If your company has invested in TMS technology, fear not. OnTrac (and many other regional carriers) works with most major shipping solutions including ShipStation (shipstation.com), ShipWorks (shipworks.com) and enterprise applications provided by companies such as Neopost (neopost.com), Pitney Bowes (pb.com), Kewill (kewill.com) and Agile Network (agile-network.com). With ecommerce shipments quickly approaching 50% of overall parcel delivery in the US, and with consumers demanding free shipping and immediate delivery, it may be time to rethink your ecommerce company’s carrier portfolio. That could mean increased revenue, lower shipping costs and a life without “tiers.” Please let me know what you think. I hope this information helps your company Ship Better and Save Money. ¾ Jim LeRose is Principal of Agile Network, North America’s leading provider of multi-carrier shipping software and transportation cost reduction strategies. Jim is also CEO/Founder of EcoReturn.com. Contact Jim at jim.lerose@agile-network.com or 888.214.1763. Visit www.agile-network.com for more information.

Hegyi continues, “Today everyone wants faster delivery that is cost-effective. Companies that give their customers what they www.MailingSystemsTechnology.com a JULY - AUGUST 2014

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The Trenches

With Mike Porter

Vigilance – Working With Outsource Service Providers Recently, I was consulting with a couple of different clients who both found via our assessment they were spending too much money on postage. It was another one of those cases where a condition that was obvious to an outside party was completely invisible to the people working in the operations every day. The postage-rate disparities were immediately obvious to me when we did workflow and operational assessments.

handle printing and mailing tasks. An examination of invoices from the outsource vendor revealed an assessed postage rate that was not aligned with any of the prices published by the postal service. It seemed to be some sort of blended rate. There were discounts being applied, but no details on the invoice that indicated the calculations used by the vendor to come up with the price eventually paid by the company.

In each of these cases, the businesses had outsourced their printing and mailing operations. That wasn’t the reason for the excess expense. The service providers were not taking advantage. Rather, it was a case of companies falling into the habit of relinquishing responsibilities to their vendor partners. They had stopped paying close attention to the details. These companies had unknowingly contributed to higher costs when audit and oversight activities eventually ceased.

There’s nothing wrong with an outsource provider charging their customers a blended postage rate — as long as the calculation used to arrive at that rate is clear. Customers should be able to apply a known formula to the counts and come up with the same postage amount shown on their vendor’s invoices.

Full Rate Postage One of these companies was paying single-piece rates to mail their monthly transactional documents. There were no machineable, automation, or presort postage discounts applied to their mailings at all. Their volume was relatively small so they might not have been able to achieve the mail density necessary to qualify for commercial discounts on their own. However one of the selling points outsource print/mail providers often pitch is the benefit of co-mingling mail from several of their customers to achieve higher mail density and deeper discounts for all. I would have expected to see some postage reductions, even if they were small. It was clear that company managers hadn’t challenged their outsource vendor about postage rates in quite some time. In fact, they could recollect only a vague memory of making an inquiry years ago and fuzzy details about the answer. Employee turnover had resulted in the transfer of responsibility for managing the outsource vendor relationship to individuals with little experience in document management or mail. They simply don’t know the questions to ask. I have seen this happen before. Once the issue was raised, the outsource service provider was able to suggest changes in mailpiece design and bill cycle modifications that allowed the mail to qualify for discounted postage. In an environment of frequently-changing postal rates, regulations, and services it is more important than ever to stay on top of your organization’s postage spend. Whether this is accomplished with in-house resources or outside experts, the pennies saved on every piece of outgoing mail can add up to significant amounts of money over time.

Didn’t know what they were paying The second company also used an outsource service provider to 12

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Given the nature of their business this company would have been expected to benefit from a fairly deep postage discount. Companies in their particular industry typically create high-density mailings and align their bill cycles geographically. In this case, presort qualification levels seemed to be lower than they should have been. Furthermore, since all the mail was processed as Full Service Intelligent Mail, they should have qualified for the Full Service discount. There was no indication the discount was being applied. At our urging, the company asked their vendor for an explanation of how their postage rates were computed. Once again, no one currently employed at the company could tell us why they were paying the postage rates that had been appearing on their outsource vendor invoices for years.

Working with outsource vendors is a partnership Print/mail service providers must of course benefit financially from the work they do to help their customers achieve postage discounts. These companies have made investments that allow them to create high-quality mail for their customers. The service providers frequently sort and co-mingle mail from multiple customers to achieve higher density and greater discounts. Customers of outsource print/mail vendors should not expect to always receive full value from the additional discounts made possible by the service provider. Sharing the discount is common. The important lesson here is that transferring work from an in-house print and mail operation to an outsource provider does not absolve a company from responsibility. Even though someone else is doing the work, it is still necessary to perform regular audits and assessments of the services provided. ¾ Mike Porter is an expert in Print and Mail operations and President of Print/Mail Consultants. Visit www.printmailconsultants.com and sign up for Practical Stuff — the free newsletter for document operations. Your questions on this topic are welcome. Send them to mporter@printmailconsultants.com. Follow @PMCmike on Twitter.


Direct Marketing 101

With John Foley, Jr.

Effectively Marketing to Connect Direct Mail and Digital Cross-marketing your offline and online efforts taps into a broader audience than just relying on one approach. Much is made of the impact of digital marketing, but we can’t forget the continued importance of print advertisements. Connecting print ads with your digital content provides that bridge to bring more people to your website and social media.

} Your portfolio with detailed case studies and work samples } Your Pinterest site full of lifestyle photos displaying your products and services } Your Facebook page with posts about your company’s involvement with community events } Your LinkedIn blog with helpful tips on cross-marketing techniques

Direct Mail

Your business card introduces you and your business. Use the QR code to direct people to a location where they can learn more about you and what you are passionate about.

A brochure or postcard in the mailbox holds an advantage over an email marketing campaign as it actually gets in front of your audience — they may even put the ad up on their refrigerator or throw it on their desk for future reference. An email can easily get lost in the masses, be deemed spam, or it is an easy click away from going into the digital trash can forever. If you’re doing targeted advertising, then the majority of people that receive the print ad have some interest in your product or service. If they have no interest in your digital content, then they still have enough information from your print materials to follow up with you about your products and services. If they are somewhat tech savvy, then take the opportunity to lead them your way. A personalized uniform resource locator, or pURL, printed on the ad gives people an easy way to follow up on your information and offers. This is the digital equivalent of “For more information, click here.” The PURL will direct them to a landing page on which you have information relevant to your print ad. While useful, you’ll want to entice the person to put down the ad and get onto their computer. One approach is to offer something only available to someone receiving the ad, such as: } Go to your personalized site, “JohnSmith.SaveNow.com,” for a 10% coupon off of your first purchase } Follow this link to learn how you can save up to 15% on your next print campaign } Visit our website to download a free resource on tips for effectively marketing your services When you offer a takeaway that has value to your target market, people are much more likely to visit your website.

Business Cards The lowly 2-inch by 3-inch business card has been around for decades and it still serves a useful purpose in your marketing plan. Tie it into your digital marketing efforts and you’ll find it creates an effective way to drive interested consumers to your website. Print a QR (quick response) code on your business cards that contains a pURL. When scanned with a smartphone or tablet, the QR code can take people to:

Brochures and Fliers Printed ads that talk about products and services can quickly become a recycling-bin item if your audience doesn’t have a reason to hang onto them. A popular type of content now is the “How To” video. Companies create YouTube channels with a collection of videos that cover everything from basic auto repair to home DIY projects. Direct people to these videos from your brochures and build a loyal following of people who come back to see what else you can teach them. Videos that walk people step-by-step through a task or project will help get your brand noticed. A brochure that presents a product with links to videos demonstrating how to use it most effectively helps people see how it will benefit them. Even more helpful are videos of unique ways that the consumer can use your products that they may not consider. For instance, look at the number of videos available online that show unique uses for Duct Tape.

Using the Hashtag Another way to tie print advertising to the digital world is through hashtags. Hashtags are a way to create an online conversation that interested people follow. Short life span ads such as event promotion, seasonal brochures, and special promotion fliers are good venues for hashtags. Printing a message to “see us at #Print14,” “follow us at #summerfoodideas” or “watch us at #fixitnow” encourage the Twitter savvy consumers to join in on the conversation.

Effective Marketing Plans An overall marketing plan that incorporates print and digital efforts targets your audience in the most beneficial places. You’ll create connections to the consumer with little to no online interest as well as those tech savvy mobile power users. Don’t leave any market untouched by integrating both offline and online marketing techniques. ¾ John Foley, Jr. is the CEO of interlinkONE and Grow Socially. John and his team consult with print and mail companies on sales and marketing techniques, write strategic online marketing plans to get them on a path to marketing success. Learn more about John at JohnFoleyJr.com, and his companies at www.interlinkONE.com and www.GrowSocially.com. www.MailingSystemsTechnology.com a JULY - AUGUST 2014

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My Two Cents Gaming the System: Mail That Is Intentionally Not Scanned The following article is pure conjecture. It is based on two recent mailings made June 12, 2014 that were tracked using IMB Tracing. The conclusions are mine. I’m sure postal management will disagree.

I love IMB Tracing. It is a fantastic tool. Every letter-sized mailpiece should be tracked by MSPs! Until recently, local Cincinnati, Ohio mailings were taking three to four days until first scan. Beginning the end of April through all of May, first scans started coming within two to three days, with everything delivered in six. It didn’t matter when I entered the mail; Monday, Thursday or Friday. This was great service! Our scan ratios generally run near 100%, except when the delivery unit is a small office that does not receive postal sequenced mail. The exception to this scan rate is a customer whose mail is delivered out of the Columbus, Ohio SCF. When we send a 35,000 piece walk sequenced mailing to Columbus for delivery, we average between 5,000 to 7,500 pieces that are not scanned. It is a tough customer phone call to have when a significant number of pieces go missing. The question always asked, with emphasis provided by customers, “Did you mail my entire list?!” This brings us to my two recent mailings. Both were approximately 1,000 pieces. Both were under three ounces and in a #10 envelope. Both were barcoded and tracked. Both were entered on Thursday, June 12 at the Cincinnati NDC. One mailing was entirely for distribution by the Columbus SCF, the other was a nationwide mailing with 80% of the recipients spread throughout Ohio. These jobs were entered as two separate Standard mailings. I received the first scan on the national mailing on the 17th of June, five days after being entered. I have not received any scans for the Columbus mailing as of this writing on the 28th. On June 20, I had my BSN start looking for the Columbus job; unfortunately, none of the delivery units remembered it. I assume it has been delivered. It took 12 days for the national mailing to reach 100% scanned, at which point 10% of the mail was still undelivered.

Something obviously went wrong with these two mailings. Was it Load Leveling? I entered both mailings at the NDC on a Thursday. According to a Power Point on RIBBS, the only mail supposed to be affected by load leveling was mail dropped by customers at the SCF on Friday. What I am now being told is that if I want to enter mail at the NDC and get Monday delivery, I need

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to drop my mail a day earlier. Contrary to the propaganda from headquarters, load leveling affects all mail! No scans? The fact that my mail took five days before being put on a machine is a much bigger problem for me than a one day load leveling delay. It is obvious that this mail sat someplace unscanned until someone got around to processing it. But why?

Another question one might ask is: why put a delayed mailing on a machine that would tell the world you missed your deadline? Un-scanned mail cannot be seen by anyone! How can I go from two days to first scan, to five days for one job and never for the Columbus job? The longer mail sits un-scanned, the more likely it is that it will never be scanned. No Pallet Placards? Due to the small size of these mailings, there were no pallet placards. No placards, no tracking by postal management in Washington. No tracking, no accountability, no worries. Trays of mail that I enter at the NDC are combined with other trays destined for the Cincinnati SCF. Since my mail did not receive scans for five days from NDC entry, there would have been other Cincinnati SCF trays from around the country also delayed. By being delayed five days by the Cincinnati processing plant, some of this other mail more than likely missed its 10-day delivery standard.

Conclusions Postal management is putting tremendous pressure on everyone downstream to increase productivity by using data generated from Full Service. This creates a tension within postal operations in that mail that is not being tracked by upper management becomes lower valued mail and subject to delay. Mail in this category is mail that is not part of a customer placarded 3-digit or 5-digit pallet. Three-digit and 5-digit pallets are moved as a unit to the SCF. Un-placarded mail, such as my two jobs, is combined with trays of mail from pallets of mixed SCF destinations. These trays have no pallet identity when distributed by the NDCs to SCFs. Currently, no pallet identity means no accountability. Load leveling has become an excuse to put off processing. “It came in on Friday from the NDC, therefore we don’t have to touch it till Monday.” In Cincinnati, this Friday mail had typically been


With Todd Butler

scanned Saturday or Sunday. The old delivery standard was three days delivery from the SCF, 10 days within the continental USA from acceptance. If my national job (all 12 trays) were mis-sorted to the Cincinnati SCF on Friday, and these trays were then load leveled as a Monday arrival, the SCF would still hit their (load leveled) three day standard by processing the mail with an out-fordelivery scan transmitted by Wednesday. Unfortunately a mis-sort and a load leveled delay in processing explain why more than 50% of my mailing missed the 10-day standard. But trays and pieces are not tracked by Washington‌ therefore no foul, no harm, no consequence for the processing unit.

by-passed processing or it was thrown away. No one can/will tell me which. Another question one might ask is: why put a delayed mailing on a machine that would tell the world you missed your deadline? Un-scanned mail cannot be seen by anyone! I believe as we move forward more and more mail that has been delayed will by-pass automated processing. If it cannot be seen, individuals cannot be held accountable. a Todd Butler, Butler Mailing Services, can be reached at 513.870.5060, toddb@butlermail.com or www.butlermail.com.

So what happened to the Columbus mailing? We know that Columbus consistently allows letter mail to by-pass automated processing and is sent directly to their carriers. Either my mail

www.MailingSystemsTechnology.com a JULY - AUGUST 2014

15


Everything IMb

With Harry Stephens

Everything You Wanted to Know about Intelligent Mail—and Need to Ask! We all know that webinars, podcasts and videos can be an excellent way to get the information you need to increase your knowledge base on a topic. When the topic is about Intelligent Mail, having access to materials that educate, answer questions and guide you down a solid path is extremely valuable. Implementing the facets of Intelligent Mail can be confusing, but if you mail in volume, highly profitable. So even though the actual date of mandating the use of the Intelligent Mail barcode (IMb) is still not known, it would be smart to have an understanding of the scope of Full-Service Intelligent Mail — or better yet, have things already in motion. The United States Postal Service offers a plethora of educational resources on Intelligent Mail and encourages mailers to migrate to the use of Full-Service Intelligent Mail when mailing First-Class Mail postcards, letters and flats, Standard Mail letters and flats, Periodicals letters and flats and bound printed matter flats. Full-Service Intelligent Mail is built upon a suite of Intelligent Mail barcodes for mailpieces, handling units (trays and sacks) and containers (pallets, etc.). The beauty of Intelligent Mail barcodes is that they are information-rich. For example, the POSTNET barcode only includes delivery point routing information. In contrast, the Intelligent Mail barcode holds significantly more data, feeding back information about the mail piece, making it possible to use the mail in a much smarter, more efficient manner. To answer questions you may have on the topic, and try to alleviate any confusion, the USPS offers Full-Service Intelligent Mail “Open Line” the first Wednesday of every month from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. EST. USPS representatives answer questions related to Full-Service Intelligent Mail. Additionally, a series of four webinars are available to assist mailers in transitioning to Full-Service Intelligent Mail. The webinars are designed to walk you through the process and help you get the most out of using Full-Service Intelligent Mail. And if you have even more questions, the USPS most likely has the answers. Check out the frequently asked questions and answers (FAQs) available on both RIBBS under Intelligent Mail Services and PostalOne! as well as videos and DVDs that focus on Intelligent Mail barcode implementation specifically. All of these educational materials mentioned — and a host of other resources — can be found on RIBBS — Intelligent Mail Services and PostalOne! Scan the QR codes at the end of this article to access these sites. Even though the actual date to implement Full-Service IMb in order to get the best automated discounts has been pushed off, 16

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your best bet is to push on, stay on track and get Full-Service IMb in place. You can’t lose.

Benefits of the Intelligent Mail barcode include: } A greater overall data capacity than existing postal barcodes } Providing mailers with more digits for their use, allowing for unique identification of up to one billion mailpieces per mailing } More accurate and detailed information about mailings, which can enable better decision making } Increases mailpiece “real estate” by eliminating the need for multiple barcodes } Allows for participation in multiple USPS service programs with a single barcode No doubt about it, it does demand a little more forethought and planning for optimal utilization. However, without a doubt, it makes mailing procedures quicker and more efficient for every business seeking to achieve the best possible rates. The Full-Service Intelligent mail system not only helps the USPS streamline its own operations, it also delivers significant benefits by providing more accurate and detailed information for improved efficiency and accountability when it comes to your business mail. It is simply a win-win for everyone. ¾

RIBBS—Intelligent Mail Services https://ribbs.usps.gov/index.cfm?page=intelligentmail

PostalONE! https://www.usps.com/postalone/welcome.htm

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. He serves on the Executive Board of the Greater Atlanta Postal Customer Council, Major Mailers Association (MMA), PCC Advisory Committee (PCCAC), and the Board of the National Postal Policy Council (NPPC). He is a board member of The Imaging Network Group (INg), an association for Transactional and Direct Mail Marketing service bureaus. As an expert on high-volume print and mail, he has frequently been asked to speak to various USPS groups. You can contact Harry Stephens at hstephens@datamatx.com.


B

ased in Rochester, NY, BCC Software creates innovative postal software solutions and provides extensive data marketing services. The company has delivered mailing technology solutions under the BCC name for more than 30 years. After being purchased by Bell and Howell in 2005, BCC Software was reborn as an independent company in June of 2014. The company continues to focus on support and services for our existing customers, while continuing to innovate and deliver new technology solutions that serve the postal and data quality markets. Among BCC Software’s most recent innovations are access to international address cleansing, household data append options, list rental services, certification of the Datavolve address standardization and validation platform on Linux, and full-service Intelligent Mail barcode support. BCC Software released Go Data in the past year, an entirely web based tool allowing for self-service access to data quality, list enhancement, and list rental. The company continues to focus on making more data available via flexible access points, enabling its customers to deliver highly targeted and relevant communications in the most efficient way possible. All of this is built on the company’s foundation in postal and data quality solutions. BCC Software continues to evolve its Mail Manager and cQuencer product lines to optimize postage costs and simplify the process of compliance with the ever changing landscape of USPS postal regulations. These products are tightly coupled with BCC Software’s Data Marketing Services infrastructure, which is also available as a standalone platform. The Data Marketing Services platform offers address standardization and update services like NCOALink, as well as a robust suite of list enhancement tools including list suppression, email verification, and enhanced identity resolution.

CONTACT INFO: COMPANY: BCC Software

PHONE:

800.453.3130

WEBSITE:

www.bccsoftware.com

EMAIL:

bccmarketing@bccsoftware.com

At BCC Software “How can we help?” is more than a slogan. It’s an attitude and way of doing business that has carried the company through over three decades serving the postal and data quality industries. Whether you’re interested in a product, service, or just have a question about anything postal or data quality related, you’re invited to contact BCC Software so a dedicated professional can ask: “How can we help?”

EXECUTIVE PROFILE

Chris Lien is president of BCC Software, with more than 22 years in the data and mailing industries. He has received national recognition for his contributions, most recently in his industry election as Industry Chair of the Postmaster General’s Mailers Technical Advisory Committee, a 49-year-old organization with more than 150 members of the mailing industry. Chris has been heavily involved in numerous industry associations including the Association of Marketing Service Providers, Association for Postal Commerce (Postcom); and IDEAlliance where he also serves on the Board of Directors. Chris has spoken at numerous conferences and events such as the National Postal Forum, Mailcom, Graph Expo, and many Postal Customer Councils. He is a frequent author of industry articles related to address quality and has hosted many online webinars.

COMPANIES

2014 2013


CONTACT INFO: COMPANY: CapStone Technologies LLC

PHONE:

402.880.4673

WEBSITE:

www.AutoViri.com

A

EMAIL: utoViri (auto-`VEER-ê) by CapStone Technologies LLC is the future of mail finishing. Utilizing patented robotic technology, AutoViri eliminates manual handling of finished mailpieces, USPS trays, sleeves and pallets.

dgoodkind@captechno.com

Initially developed in 2005 for the largest coupon mailer in the world, AutoViri is the centerpiece of their “lights-out” mailing facility. Results include: • Production cycle-time reduced from 4 days to 4 hours • Two facilities merged into one • Doubled annual production volume with less than half the staff • No human intervention on finished mail pieces Today, AutoViri is in its fourth generation and handling billions of statements and direct mail pieces annually. AutoViri is now affordable to all mailers interested in lower production costs, eliminating the risk of additional postage assessments and high ROI. With increased USPS scrutiny through Full Service IMB, mailers need processes to “prove” workshare discounts are being earned. Because manual handling is eliminated with AutoViri, physical processes are controlled and digitally tracked in-line using the IMB. Every piece, tray and pallet is robotically handled to complete a truly Automated Document Factory (ADF) and “bullet-proof” production process. Robotics may be new to the print and mail industry but the technology used is mature and reliable. CapStone’s exclusive commitment to print and mail providers, combined with the same precision robots used in Detroit and Japan, make AutoViri a perfect fit for any environment and high speed requirements. Go to the Media section of the AutoViri website to see production video

COMPANIES

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CONTACT INFO: COMPANY: Clear Image Technologies, LLC

PHONE:

314.853.5867

WEBSITE: Clear Image Technologies

C

www.clearimagetechnologies.com

EMAIL: lear Image Technologies is a company focused on affordable, reliable solutions for the direct mail industry. With over 30 years experience in direct mail, we understand that each mailers needs are different and that one large, complex system is more than many companies need. Our goal to provide user-friendly, scalable, inserting alternatives. All of our products are modular.

larry@clearimagetechnologies.com

In 2007, we developed the Picture Perfect Match System for companies doing match mailings by hand or hand checking the mailing off the end of their inserter. This visual match system, retrofitted to a customers existing inserter, displays images of the mail components on a monitor to allow the operator to visually inspect to ensure match integrity. This provided a low cost, semi automated system to companies with medium volume match mailings. In 2009, after many customer requests to stop the inserter in the event of a mismatch, we added the ability to upgrade to optical character recognition. Using the same cameras from the basic system, we could now decode the images to look for names and sequence numbers to match on and data recording of each piece processed. In 2010 we incorporated the ability to read and decode 2D (Data Matrix) and IMB barcodes. This data can be used to check against a sequence number. Now we offer station selection. By reading a barcode or number, individual stations are turned on and off allowing several smaller mailings with some, but not all, identical pieces to be merged into one. Each of our OCR/Barcode products produce an Excel file that can also be used as end of machine verification. Any product can be purchased individually and upgraded later. By partnering with equipment dealers like Tri-State Mailing Equipment in New York, Peak Business Equipment in St. Louis and Chicago, Mailers Engineering in Los Angeles, Timpac in San Francisco, and Creative Mailing Solutions in Toronto, we’ve been able to provide sales, service and support to the U.S. and Canada. We are constantly in the field, listening to our customers, the sales people, technicians and operators that use our products. Have a need not mentioned here? Call us!

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COMPANIES

2014 2013


CONTACT INFO: COMPANY: Collins Inkjet

PHONE:

513.948.9000

WEBSITE:

www.collinsinkjet.com

C

ollins Inkjet produces high quality innovative inkjet inks for Thermal, CIJ (single jet & array), Piezo, and Micropiezo technologies. Collins is a technical leader, providing standard and custom formulations of water based, solvent-based, oil-based, UV, LED, and EB curable inks for almost every industrial inkjet application. Collins manufactures and sells millions of liters of inks worldwide and has partnerships with most major print head manufactures.

EMAIL:

Info@collinsinkjet.com

Collins’ approach to the market is to provide customers with high quality ink solutions that allow them to gain competitive advantage, while expanding industrial inkjet into new markets. Many years of working closely with end users, print head manufacturers, OEMs, integrators, and substrate manufacturers has given us a solid understanding of what is and isn’t achievable with inkjet inks and printers. Collins offers many different types of ink for the Mailing and Addressing/Direct Mail industry. In addition to formulating for targeted substrates, we formulate inks that expand the capabilities of print heads and increase user up-times and reliability. TYPICAL SUBSTRATES THAT WE OFFER SOLUTIONS FOR ARE: • Papers: Offset, Matte, Gloss, Aqueous. • Plastic Cards • PVC • Foils

COMPANIES

2014 2013


W

hat makes a Hot Mailing Systems Solution? The answer should be the one that provides everything thing you need, nothing you don’t and support to back you up today, tomorrow and anytime in the future. Moreover, your solution provider should have expertise across the document management landscape including hot areas such as Output and Customer Communications Management, Archive and ECM solutions and Document Accessibility options to reach and communicate with all of your customers. Our experts and innovative technology gives companies the ability to strengthen workflow operations, increase customer satisfaction and enhance document management investments. We leverage 20 years of experience helping companies find solutions to complex document management needs. We have solutions to help you run your inkjet presses at full capacity, re-engineer documents on the fly, automate manual workflow processes, manage multi-channel customer delivery preferences, redact sensitive customer information, produce high-volume accessible documents, archive your customer communications and more. Crawford Output Management solutions improve operational efficiency and ROI by reducing, and in many cases eliminating, the manual processes typically associated with reprints, transforms, multi-channel delivery, reporting, and tracking. This ability helps you respond to changing customer preferences toward multi-channel communications by delivering unparalleled solutions that streamline and automate your workflows.

CONTACT INFO: COMPANY: Crawford Technologies

PHONE:

866.679.0864

WEBSITE:

www.crawfordtech.com/ hotcompany

EMAIL:

sales@crawfordtech.com

For Archive, we leverage world-class records management to comply with industry regulations, while storing hundreds of millions of customer communications in a single, unified archive. This allows companies to leverage universal print-stream archiving solutions across industries, business applications, print formats and document types. Our solutions classify, transform, index, and efficiently store all types of high-value customer communications. Our Enterprise Content Management (ECM) Solutions optimize your content distribution strategy with a seamless and cost-effective approach that consolidates and streamlines your high-value document output. Organizations can eliminate the bottlenecks associated with ECM content distribution, making it easy for you to access the documents you need, and output them to your customers in the format they prefer most. In the Document Accessibility area, our solutions and services produce alternate customer communications formats for your blind and partially-sighted customers, as well as those unable to read traditional print. Organizations can quickly transform transactional print documents to meet the ever-growing needs of an underserved portion of the population. Conversions include: Accessible PDF (PDF/UA); Braille; Large Print; Audio and E-text. With a wide array of solutions and expertise, we invite you to learn more about our company, people and solutions via www.crawfordtech.com/hotcompany.

COMPANIES

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CONTACT INFO: COMPANY: Engineering Innovation Inc.

PHONE:

800.350.6450

WEBSITE:

www.eii-online.com

S

EMAIL: pecialists in postage savings solutions for mailers of all sizes, Engineering Innovation Inc. (EII) offers solutions for all types of mail including Letters, Flats, and Parcels. EII is best known as the creator of the EZ-Flats manifesting system that simplifies presorting flats for Automation discounts. In the last three years, EII has rounded out its product offerings to include solutions for letters and parcels.

sales@eii-online.com

EII combines more than 30 years of mailroom experience with over 20 years of postal automation design experience to develop solutions that work for mailers of all sizes. EII’s mission is to develop practical products that work in the real-world and to provide service after the sale that is second to none. EII’s solutions include The CHAMP tabletop manifesting system for generating postal savings on a variety of mail, EZ-Flats for getting maximum discounts on Flat mail, EZLetters optimizes letter processing in a small footprint, and the revolutionary EZ-Parcels automatically processes USPS parcels. In line with EII’s commitment to provide the mailing industry with cost effective solutions for maximizing postage savings, these systems open up new savings/revenue opportunities for presorting companies, corporate mailers, government offices, and shippers.

EII’s mailing systems enable manifesting of Commercial First Class Flats, First Class Package Services, Priority Mail (including Commercial Plus and Cubic rates), Bound Printed Matter Parcels and Flats, Standard Flats and Standard Nonprofit Mail and Marketing Parcels, Media mail, Library mail, and Parcel Select Nonpresort. EII equipment works in conjunction with EZ-Confirm.com to completely automate mail preparation and tracking for parcels that require tracking. All equipment includes options for Wide Area Barcode Reader, UMove Move Update processes, processing International Mail, and processing Inbound Mail.

COMPANIES

2014 2013


CONTACT INFO: COMPANY: Harte Hanks

PHONE:

800.456.9748

WEBSITE:

www.hartehanks.com

M

ail is BACK — And Better Than Ever For years now, digital communication channels — email, social media, mobile apps, etc. — have earned far more marketing attention than traditional channels. With the rise of fast, flashy and cheap digital communications, paper mail — with its comparatively long lead times and high costs — seemed to fall out of fashion almost overnight. When a rise in postal rates coincided with a drop in the economy, it could have been the final nail in the direct mail coffin.

EMAIL:

contactus@hartehanks.com

But the tide has turned. All of the excitement around email marketing has created an overload of emails and consumer burnout. Considering that direct mail still offers nearly 20 to 40 times the response rates of email marketing, savvy marketers have started looking more seriously at direct mail again, searching for ways to make it more compelling and more effective. The result is what we call Direct Mail 2.0. Smaller than the heyday of mass mailings and saturation mail, this direct mail comeback will be more powerful — taking lessons learned and becoming smarter, more focused and more targeted. This resurgence in direct mail will be built to drive conversions both offline and online. The most innovative and effective programs will combine print mail with digital marketing in new and novel ways that play to the strengths of each, grabbing attention and creating high-touch campaigns. Think QR codes with personalized URLs, augmented reality, high speed digital print and more. Get on the Mail Train Ready to make Direct Mail 2.0 work for you? Give us a call at (800) 456.9748. About Us Product, premium and literature fulfillment can have a major impact on the way customers perceive your brand. But between printing, inventory management, postage and freight, executing large, custom mailings is quite a complex undertaking. As one of the world’s leading, insight-driven multichannel marketing organizations, we help you save time and money with personalized direct mail and fulfillment services, delivered by a global network that distributes billions of time-sensitive materials every year.

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COMPANIES

2014 2013


CONTACT INFO: COMPANY: Melissa Data

PHONE:

800.635.4772

WEBSITE:

www.MelissaData.com

C

ommitment to quality contact data For nearly 30 years Melissa Data has provided companies data quality solutions for challenges faced in mailing operations. We specialize in affordable data quality tools to help you achieve the greatest level of contact accuracy for high response, low-cost direct mail and fulfillment applications. With ever-changing mailer requirements, we invest in the future of shipping and mailing services in U.S., Canada, and internationally with sophisticated solutions for address verification, change of address, geocoding and transliteration for a global world.

EMAIL:

sales@melissadata.com

CONTACT ZONE: An easy-to-use, powerful tool for enterprise and small businesses to get databases squared away with the least amount of technical expertise for maximum postal savings. It’s designed to improve marketing response rates and customer communication with comprehensive data quality solutions that cleanses addresses, dedupes records, presorts mail, and updates address information and moves (NCOALink). In addition, it parses, validates, and standardizes global contact data, geocodes international postal addresses, and presorts U.S. mailings for maximum postage discounts. Various components available feature: generating CASS Form 3553 for postal discounts, and presort First-Class and Standard Mail. Contact Zone allows output to any source: IBM D82 +,Microsoft SQL Server, SAP, Oracle, dBase, Excel and many more. GLOBAL ADDRESS VERIFICATION: A solution for worldwide address capture, clean, and complete to meet the challenge of mail to international customers. The cloud-based tool corrects address data for over 240 countries and territories, provides international geocoding for 40+ countries, standardizes addresses to a country’s local format, adds missing components such as postal codes, regions, and more. Other features: transliterates native character sets and optimizes online transactions to verify correct postal addresses for international billing and delivery to increase mailing accuracy. SMARTMOVER MOVE-UPDATE SERVICES: Hassle-free services include USPS NCOALink 48-month processing, Canada Post NCOA 72-month processing, plus PCOA (proprietary) and MCOA (multisource) change-of-address processing. Available for batch, real time, fully-automated, and custom processing. MAILING LISTS: Target the businesses you want. Get online counts, purchase and download mailing lists in minutes, or let a list specialist help you select the best for your business. We have APIs available that can integrate into custom applications to get counts and pull lists for internal or retail use.

COMPANIES

2014 2013


CONTACT INFO: COMPANY: NPI

PHONE:

888.821.7678

WEBSITE:

www.npisorters.com

N

PI Sorting systems are designed to optimize your sorting operations with advanced design and intelligent software. Built around patented antijam technology, the sorters run more economically as time-wasting jams are virtually eliminated. Multiple motors precisely located throughout the sorter, instead of a single motor power transmission system, drastically reduce maintenance costs and power consumption. Modular ergonomic design promotes seamless upgrades and modifi cations to support your expanding operations and improve production efficiency. NPI Sorting Systems provide solutions for products ranging from postcards, letters, flats, and even small to large parcels. The NPI Catalog of Sorting Systems represents some of the most innovative, advanced and fastest Sorting Systems on the market, but Sorting Systems are only half of the equation.

EMAIL:

michelle@nationalpresort.com

NPI Software Suites are as versatile and innovative as sorters. Through the advent of Intelligent Mail and the universal Mail.dat format, effi cient data management is now the key to sort optimization, enhanced qualifi cation and postage savings. NPI’s OptESuite of software products allows our customers to predetermine sort plans, identify what levels of qualification is best for their operation and understand what it takes to maximize postage savings before a mail piece even hits the sorter. This allows customers in the Printing Industry and Large Standard mailers to realize real savings through commingling and copalletization. The same technology also allows Service Bureaus to analyze different mail streams to determine the most profitable mail streams to commingle. In today’s mailing world, you can’t afford to be second. If you want your operation to be as efficient, profitable and successful as it can be, you need to contact NPI. We will analyze your operation and offer real solutions to help you be first.

COMPANIES

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CONTACT INFO: COMPANY: Postmatic Inc.

PHONE:

763.784.6046

WEBSITE:

www.Postmatic.com

P

EMAIL: ostmatic, Inc. has been recognized as the leader in postage stamp affixing equipment for over 40 years. That is an outstanding achievement. Equipment manufacturers only get to become the de facto standard solution across four decades by creating high-quality products and taking care of their customers. Postmatic has excelled at both.

info@postmatic.net

Our inline stamping bases feature heavy duty construction and provide years of troublefree service for high volume mail operations. Whether soliciting for donations, appealing to voters, seeking new business, or reaching out to valued customers, the presence of a real postage stamp makes a difference in open rates and response. Companies that don’t use Postmatic equipment for in-line operations often attempt to re-purpose other devices, such as tabbers, to apply stamps. Tabbers are unable to place the stamps in the correct orientation when used while inserting, so stamping envelopes with machines designed for something else is an offline operation. In an industry with already slim profit margins, this additional overhead expense is significant. Tabbers also generally lack the tracking and document integrity controls that are more commonly found on inserting equipment. Besides being expensive, using tabbers to apply postage can also increase customer dissatisfaction due to mistakes or unfinished mail pieces. Extra operations always increase the risk of errors. Postmatic inline stamping equipment is specially engineered to work with automated inserting systems capable of processing mail up to 18,000 pieces per hour. We use sophisticated positioning technology to detect the location of stamps on the coil and place them correctly on envelopes. Extra unproductive steps such as rewinding stamp coils are eliminated. Postmatic is constantly developing new tools for mailers including vacuum transport bases for inline systems to support read/print functionality and camera output verification. For static printing, our Print One base allows mailers to print mailer’s precancelled permits, return addresses, indicia, logos, and more. Organizations can use a single standard envelope for multiple jobs, reducing the headaches and expense of warehousing and inventory. Organizations have many options for creating mail. When the job calls for postage stamps, there is only one set of solutions that thousands of mailers have counted upon for decades — the products of Postmatic.

COMPANIES

2014 2013


CONTACT INFO: COMPANY: Postea, Inc.

PHONE:

703.204.1695

WEBSITE:

www.postea.com

P

EMAIL: ostea was founded in 2007 and it wasn’t long before the company was awarded the first of its patents and was well on its way to developing its breakthrough product, QubeVu.

bizdev@postea.com

QubeVu. Instant dims and data, from almost anything. With QubeVu, dimensioning is just the beginning. In a single, instantaneous scan, QubeVu captures dimensions, weight, barcodes and OCR data — even a photo of the item for verification and claim protection. QubeVu scans anything: parcels, documents, tubes, polybags, pallets, and non-conveyable freight — even irregular shapes. Volumetric management, revenue optimization and compliance From e-commerce and express logistics to bulk freight, supply chain and retail QubeVu brings a new level of intelligence to every scan — enabling system-wide volumetric management and enhancing revenue optimization and compliance. No matter your industry, QubeVu can help you capture significantly more revenue and manage resources more efficiently. And QubeVu supports Big Data analysis to reveal even more savings and growth opportunities. Painless integration QubeVu’s patented 3D dimensioning technology outperforms other systems at a fraction of the cost — all in an economical, zero-footprint design requiring no buildout. Add QubeVu seamlessly to existing operations or flexibly deploy units to spread load and eliminate bottlenecks. Pole, wall, and ceiling mount options mean QubeVu can be used anywhere — over rollers, tables, or floor scales. And our new Handheld version is now in Alpha release. Unparalleled reliability and ease of use QubeVu is packed with smarts, not belts and gears. No moving parts means greater reliability, simpler repair (MTTR < 10 minutes), and incredibly easy operation. QubeVu requires no parcel alignment or special handling and, of course, no waiting, so efficiency goes up while labor costs go down.

COMPANIES

2014 2013 28

JULY - AUGUST 2014 ¡ www.MailingSystemsTechnology.com


CONTACT INFO: COMPANY: Satori Software Inc.

PHONE:

800.553.6477

WEBSITE:

www.SatoriSoftware.com

M

ailers are relationship builders. So is Satori Software. Since 1982, we have committed to delivering not just comprehensive software solutions, but also to addressing the critical issues that impact your business. With so many years in the postal industry, we are sensitive to the changes that have taken place — and how they have impacted everyone, from USPS to you and your customers. You need real people working on your behalf to enable your business to flourish and help you make sense of the latest changes. That’s our commitment to you. As our president Dale Garrett says, “I embrace the critical role we now play in bringing the issues impacting mailers — just like you — to the forefront and influencing the future direction of the postal industry.” That’s why Satori Software, a Neopost company since 2009, champions your interests with USPS in key associations, including PostCom, MTAC, IDEAlliance and AMSP. Our people actively participate in the planning meetings, advisory councils and workshops where industry changes manifest. We speak on your behalf to help form the rules and regulations. Plus, we gain invaluable insights so we can make sure your software meets upcoming requirements. Of course, our commitment to meeting your needs transcends external advocacy. You expect our technology to help keep your mailing operations running. It’s what we do — after all, we come from Seattle, a city long known for innovators. Our investment in R&D grows each year, both to maintain regulatory compliance and field new solutions that help you take advantage of technology advancements. We’re often asked where we got the name “Satori.” This Zen-Buddhist term roughly translates as “sudden enlightenment.” We built this into our values. For 32 years, we have used this inspiration to build powerful products that simply work, so you can work productively with clarity and insight. The relationships we have with you inspire and influence how we build our products. You need productive, profitable mailing operations — even with increasing postage costs and frequent changes in postal regulations. Our job is to facilitate that in partnership with you. We believe informing you about new technologies, regulations and trends will equip you to make better decisions for your business. Sharing knowledge strengthens our relationship with you. In this time of flux, a true partner you can rely on for best-in-class mailing solutions, industry input, advocacy and insights is not just what you deserve. It’s simply powerful.

COMPANIES

2014 2013


Biggest Mailing Trends

An in-depth look from an industry insider

By Adam Lewenberg Most of the news you read about the USPS is typically dire and paints a terrible picture for the future. In reality, I am not sure this is true. Of course, volumes are changing and certain areas are hit harder than others. But this is a slow progression that is adapting to our changing mailing habits.The goal in this article is to step back and look at what is really happening, so you can see how these changes will impact your organization. 30

JULY - AUGUST 2014 a www.MailingSystemsTechnology.com


USPS Mail Volume By Class (Pieces) - In Millions - From USPS 2013 Annual Report Year

2008

First Class

90,671

First Class % Change

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

82,727

77,592

72,522

68,674

65,834

-8.8%

-6.2%

-6.5%

-5.3%

-4.1%

% Changes from 2008 to 2013 -27.4%

Standard

98,350

81,763

81,841

83,957

79,496

80,890

-17.8%

Shipping

3,346

3,077

3,057

3,258

3,501

3,711

10.9%

International

835

759

594

987

926

902

8.0%

Periodicals

8,605

7,901

7,269

7,077

6,741

6,359

-26.1%

Other

896

517

506

496

497

688

-23.2%

Totals

202,703

176,744

170,859

168,297

159,835

158,384

-21.9%

1.

3.

USPS VOLUMES CONTINUE TO DECLINE... BUT AT A SLOWER PACE

As you can see by the chart above, mail volumes especially around First Class Mail, are continually dropping. This makes sense as we all move to electronic billing and payments or emailing vs. sending through the mail. I expect that this trend will continue and the decreases will stay in the same range of three to seven percent. The good news is it will be a slow decline and First Class Mail, the top rev-

2.

enue source for the USPS, is not going away any time soon. Standard Mail, after a huge decline during the recession in 2007 and 2008, has leveled off and it is predicted that volumes will hold steady. There have been huge efforts by mailers to combine print and digital together. Promotional mail still holds a strong return on investment as we are all inundated with digital ads.

PACKAGES WILL CONTINUE TO BE A GROWTH DRIVER FOR THE USPS

If you have sat through any postal presentations, it becomes clear right away that their main focus is growing their package business. It seems to be working and as you can see from the chart above, their volumes are growing.

This is an important trend for customers to pay attention to for the following reasons: a. Priority Mail rates may be less money — Regardless of your carrier discount, packages weighing less than five pounds may cost less with the USPS than the private carriers. This is because they do not charge residential surcharges, fuel surcharges or Saturday delivery fees. b. USPS Tracking has improved — They are now doing up to 11 scans per package

to give you more information online and they are also offering free insurance. Also, the USPS is providing day-specific delivery for Priority Mail. It is not guaranteed, but can help mailers plan. c. FedEx announced they will start charging dimensional rates next year for every item which means based on size, some packages may be less through the USPS. d. There are free or inexpensive tools to process USPS packages that can make it easy. USPS.com and Postageanywhere.com offer free ways to process USPS packages. Endicia. com, Stamps.com and PBSmartPostage (Pitney Bowes) all have enhanced PC Postage systems starting at around $10.00 per month.

WE ARE SEEING DRAMATIC SHIFTS IN THE WAY WE PROCESS MAIL IN OUR OFFICES In 2008 there were 1.5 million postage meters used throughout the US. By 2013 this had gone down to 1.2 million and I predict that this will continue to decline at four to six percent per year. Here are the main changes and drivers that are causing this change. a. Companies have gotten smarter regarding how they process their larger mailings to send electronically, or move mail to production facilities (inside or outside) that can better handle these volumes. We see this in the chart on the next page that the largest “Commercial” meters (characterized as machines that can process over 150 letters per minute or more) are having the steepest declines. This population of equipment has gotten cut in half over the last six years. Many of these machines moved to slower mid-level machines that meet their new lower volume needs. b. Entities are realizing that they have more equipment than they need and are downsizing to smaller levels. Many savings can come from rightsizing equipment and getting rid of unused meters. c. There is a switch to PC Postage, whose volumes have increased by 350,000 users over this same time period.

www.MailingSystemsTechnology.com a JULY - AUGUST 2014

31


Postage Technology Changes From USPS Meter Market Share Reports July 2013 Year Ending

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

Changes from 2008 to 2013

Postage Meters Commercial

197,503

160,111

151,227

135,708

120,215

104,320

-47%

Mid

194,368

226,190

251,028

253,037

254,224

257,220

32%

Small

1,104,825

1,023,661 992,504

921,691

875,122

831,832

-25%

Total

1,496,696

1,409,962 1,310,436

1,310,436

1,249,561

1,193,372

-20%

-5.8%

-1.1%

-6.0%

-4.6%

-4.5%

913,858

950,314

932,992

1,061,140

1,201,711 41%

7.6%

4.0%

-1.8%

13.7%

13.2%

PC Postage

4.

849,662

DEATH OF THE DIGITAL MAILBOX AS WE KNOW IT

This platform would allow us all to have a single inbox where we could receive our bills and statements electronically. We could also choose which companies we wanted to get solicitations from and schedule payments. The senders would benefit by eliminating some of the physical piece costs (stock, printing and postage) and would be able to learn more about customers viewing habits. The big players in this space seem to be deemphasizing the service or getting out of the space completely.

Here are the reasons I believe this was not a success: a. The USPS did not get behind it — In some smaller posts throughout the world they sponsored this service as a complementary offering. This allowed a single platform to reach the scale of mailers and customers needed to make it viable. b. Some people like physical mail — Many people still getting bills through the mail have done this on purpose. They like getting the item to look at and store in their files. Their vendors have been asking them for years to switch and they continue to hold out. This type of platform was not going to change that.

32

c. Many already get mail electronically — Many people already get their bills and communications electronically and have all of their vendors set up to pay through their bank. This crowd was not looking for a different solution. The people waiting in line for the next iPhone have probably switched to electronic communications years ago and may not see the value in this platform. d. Chicken and the Egg — In order to make this work, you need most of the vendors we all use on the platform so the customer could see the majority of their bills. In order to get vendors to sign up for the platform, they needed to see huge numbers of users. It is difficult to get both at the same time. There are two potential bright spots for this technology that are being capitalized on now and you will see more in the future. • Using this digitizing capability to move mail streams to production providers. With this technology, you can simply transform print streams into electronic communications. This allows mail to move to where it can be produced at the lowest costs. • Scanning incoming mail to manage content electronically inside organizations.

JULY - AUGUST 2014 a www.MailingSystemsTechnology.com

5.

CONTINUAL USPS CHANGES

As mail volumes continue to decline, the USPS is forced to make cost cutting and efficiency practices that will allow them to sustain service for the future. The hardest part for the consumer is keeping up with all of these changes.

Here are some important USPS changes for you to know: a. Intelligent Mail Barcode — This was supposed to be a mandate by the beginning of 2014, but many mailers were not ready and the USPS withdrew this requirement. We do not have firm dates at this time, but feel confident it will implement this rule. There are clear benefits with having these barcodes (mail tracking, discounts, and electronic address changes) on your mailpieces and it is strongly recommended that you migrate when possible. b. Intelligent Mail Package Barcodes — These are being mandated by January 2015 and postage meter users will have to change the way they are processing Priority and Express Mail if they want to ke ep their Commercial (Discounted) rates. c. Postal Facility Optimization — Between 2012 and 2013 the USPS consolidated 141 mail processing facilities. They just announced that they are consolidating another 82 sites. This may change the drop off locations, speed and movement of your mail. d. Mail is slowing down — The USPS has set new delivery standards that impact the amount of First Class Mail that will get next day delivery, where the majority will be at the two to three day standards. This is based on drop off times, distance travelled and how mail is prepared. e. Who knows about Saturday? — This seems to have come on and off the table so many times that it is hard to keep track of. The good news is everyone is in agreement that it would not impact packages. Adam Lewenberg, CMDSS, MDC, President of Postal Advocate Inc., runs the largest Mail Audit and Recover firm in the United States. He can be reached at 617.372.6853 or adam. lewenberg@postaladvocate.com.


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MOBILE


BY PAUL ABDOOL

A MORE PERFECT MAIL CENTER: FROM DISCOVERY TO DELIVERY The mailing industry, and the industries in which many mail centers function, is going through a trying period that is making efficiency and quality control more important than ever. For many mail centers, they are finding that they are falling short of being their most efficient. At the same time, they are under unprecedented pressure from industry, client and internal auditors and clients to be more compliant and produce higher quality work. Additionally, the very structure of their operations are changing as mail centers’ work is increasingly affected by a print center, or print centers are becoming more integrated with mail centers. But what are the different approaches to achieving these goals for your mail center’s unique needs? Looking in the mirror is the first step. Being introspective and assessing where you and your mail center are today is essential to understanding how you can move forward to manage a more effective operation. As mail centers and print 34

centers are increasingly overlapping and merging duties, you also need to have a clear view of the responsibilities of each. Simply put, the mail center needs to know the scope of information and jobs that it is receiving, and the print center needs to have a clear idea of what it is responsible for sending to the mail center. A unified dashboard — a single source of truth — of all the jobs and output in process is key to keeping everything in check. Determining your priorities and those of your clients — internal and external — is also important. As an analogy, if you are traveling from New York to Florida, there are a number of ways that you can get there but your choice of transportation will depend on what’s important to you. You wouldn’t take a nonstop flight if you wanted the experience of a long, scenic road trip. In the same vein, it is not necessary for every mail job to be produced as quickly as possible. Importance and speed are not always synonymous, and when you treat

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all jobs with a level of urgency they do not demand, you could misuse your resources. For example, in the insurance business, explanation of benefits documents are important, but not always urgent and do not always have to be produced and delivered as quickly as possible. By printing jobs like these every other day instead of every day, you can potentially reduce your mail center’s budget by 10%. The mailing industry is currently in a state of hyper-auditing by both internal and external sources, so knowing what auditors are looking for will help you control quality in your mail center more effectively. A great way to conceptualize all the areas that auditors touch is what’s known as the “audit wheel.” Auditors want to know about the following in your operation: controls, facts, procedures, planning, methods, risks and how they are managed. Automation and tracking are a key part of increasing your mail center’s efficiency and


quality. For each manual step you have in your mail center processes, there is a potential point of failure — more human touch points increase the chances of something going wrong. By placing controls in your documents, such as barcodes, you can track your output better and provide more precise reports by creating an audit trail and capturing more data. Barcodes or machine readable symbologies are important for increasing accuracy, but not all of these symbologies are created equal. Using the reference point of the Six Sigma statistical quality control, which aims to reduce defects to less than 3.4 parts per million, we can determine the effectiveness of various symbologies in reducing defects. For example, Optimal Mark Recognition (OMR) registers at around the five Sigma level on the Six Sigma scale, which translates to 230 defects per million. Three of nine or 2D barcodes, combined with additional technologies, can reach integrity levels of 5.685 to 6 sigma, which translates to fewer than 20 defects per million. Intelligent Mail barcodes (IMb), which are mandated by the USPS, add another level of control and reporting to the tracking process. Applications that do not use any barcodes and depend on inserters to manually detect misfeeds can have over 3,460 defects per million pieces, which is about 4.2 sigma. You’re probably familiar with the concept of the ADF (Automated Document Factory) along with ADF 2.0, in which document design and content integration, input, transformation, production, control and reporting, and response management are all automated. Implementing ADF 2.0 brings many benefits — supporting business decisions, increasing profits, retaining customers, opening up new business opportunities, differentiating from competitors, enhancing communication and creating audit trails. A less popular concept, the AppDF (Appropriate Document Factory), can be a great alternative that is based on your organization’s needs and what you can afford. Think of this as the cousin of ADF, which tends to be

used in highly regulated environments. AppDF, as I refer to it, are solutions that can be used in environments that are not as highly regulated, or with just a few customers with mission critical applications. These solutions are great for organizations that have tight timelines and decreased budgets. If you are printing and mailing variable data, AppDF might be the right choice for you. On the other hand, if all of your applications are critical and take place in the context of a regulated industry, then an ADF is a must.

ments, data from reports may be unreliable, so listen to subject matter experts (SME) but question and verify the estimates from the “gut” and anecdotal absolute statements that include words like never and always. Realize that good people make bad processes look good. When talking with the SMEs look for the unnecessary extra steps and workarounds that have evolved because of their limited tool set or the “we’ve always done it like that” methods that they inherited from their predecessors.

The mailing industry is currently in a state of hyper-auditing by both internal and external sources, so knowing what auditors are looking for will help you control quality in your mail center more effectively Just as there’s an ADF 2.0, there’s also an AppDF 2.0. Unlike its predecessor, the AppDF 2.0 is built on regulator demands rather than customer demands, staying in business rather than restricted budgets, and business continuity versus risk tolerance.

Mine for Data: Data resides in many parts of your manual operation, so you need to look in many areas when building the business case and looking for information gaps, such as inserter and printer statistics, paper usage and unbudgeted spending.

So what do you need to do?

To improve your mail center, you also need to step outside of the mail center. Educating your customers — internal and external — on your operations is just as important as taking a critical look at your own operations. If your customers do not understand what it takes for the mail center to meet their demands, they will inevitably make demands that are unreasonable or costly.

} Develop a prioritized list of areas to improve for senior management based on return on investment, compliance issues and ease of execution. } Reduce costs: equipment, supplies, postage, legal and labor reductions } Maximize device and labor utilization } Create automated, efficient workflows } Increase document integrity and flexibility } Improve corporate image from better designed documents Throughout the process, you should also keep these practical tips in mind: Add extra time into the original project plan timeline for additional line of business or user interviews — you’ll likely uncover more documents and complex workflows during the data collection phase. In non-ADF environ-

Taking a holistic approach grounded in the reality of your industry, your mail center, and your customers will go a long way in making your mail center more efficient, while keeping quality in check. Even when you have achieved your initial goals, don’t forget to take another look in the mirror every so often. Paul Abdool is Director, Production Workflow Automation Practice, Ricoh Americas Corporation.

www.MailingSystemsTechnology.com a JULY - AUGUST 2014

35


Enhancing the Value of Mail– Connecting Physical to Digital

E

ven in today’s digital world, mail remains relevant. In fact, mail is becoming an even more critical driver of global commerce as more businesses connect physical mail to digital technology to boost its value and enhance its effectiveness. Mailing technology is compressing delivery times and allowing an unprecedented level of customer targeting. In addition, this technology is enabling businesses to integrate their physical mailings with digital forms of communication to extract even more commercial value from the physical mail channel. Businesses can now take a multi-channel approach, combining an array of commu-

36

nication vehicles. They can build customer relationships through email, mobile apps, QR codes, catalogues, and mailpieces. As new technology helps tie together the physical and digital worlds, it’s easier for businesses to conduct more effective marketing campaigns and reach prospects around the world. According to Forrester, 86% of marketers say that combining online channels with offline marketing as part of an integrated campaign is critical to long term success. Direct mail is a leading channel to drive to web. The Direct Marketing Association (U.K.) found in its From Letterbox to Inbox (2013) report that the top three actions consumers take after receiving direct mail from a brand they’re interested in are: } 44% visit a brand’s website

JULY - AUGUST 2014 a www.MailingSystemsTechnology.com

} 34% search online for more information about the product } 26% keep the mailing for future reference The growth in global ecommerce has also spurred a significant increase in the volume of parcels, which is growing at double-digit rates in most major markets around the world. Adding digital capabilities to the mail infrastructure is paving the way for parcels to play a bigger role in mailing. Some observers believe that, over time, packages could become the backbone of the mail stream. Global Reach Connecting physical mail and packages to digital technology can help businesses reach markets worldwide. It’s no secret


By Patrick Brand

we live in a borderless, connected world and it’s important for more and more businesses to operate globally. Cross-border shipping involves much more than just the actual parcel delivery — there are customs, duties, and tariffs that must be met and collected. This can be difficult for small and medium-sized organizations to manage. Here, digital capabilities can be effectively deployed to facilitate buying, selling, and shipping physical products.

New tools help mailers extract business intelligence from the raw data to drive decisions or initiate action, thanks to new levels of visibility. For example, destination tracing for outgoing mail can provide continuous information about the status of the mail piece and predict when it will reach its destination. If mailers know when their mail will be opened and responded to, they can coordinate a followup email or phone call and staff their call centers accordingly to handle responses.

handle any client delivery questions, resulting in a better customer experience. Digital Drives Shipping The USPS is also raising the bar for parcels with innovative digital technology. The Intelligent Mail Package Barcode (IMpb) gives the USPS the ability to provide customers with robust package tracking and visibility as the parcel travels through-out the system. The USPS has increased the number of scan events on

New ecommerce solutions can dramatically simplify cross-border shipping and enable merchants to provide buyers a fully landed shipping cost, including all customs, duties, and tariffs. These digital commerce solutions make it possible for companies of any size to export their goods and services around the world. In other words, any business can now participate in the global market.

Connecting physical mail and packages to digital technology can help businesses reach markets worldwide. It’s no secret we live in a borderless, connected world and it’s important for more and more businesses to operate globally.

Intelligent Visibility Since everything going through the mail today is more “intelligent,” it’s also more visible, thanks to sophisticated digital tracking capabilities. This in turn is creating more business opportunities.

In addition, origin tracking options for incoming mail enable mailers to know when the mail is on its way back and who is sending it in response to an offer or to make a payment. This business intelligence allows mailers to take more effective control of key business processes, making their decisions armed with real information delivered in a timely manner.

The USPS is leading the way with innovative new service offerings, ranging from sevenday delivery to SMS notifications, all of which are underpinned by greater visibility and intelligence around each mail piece and package. The USPS is driving the use of the information rich Intelligent Mail Barcodes (IMb and IMpb) on every piece of mail, mail container, and package. Mailers now electronically transmit key information about the mailing to the USPS before it is dropped off in order to qualify for the best rates. Embedded within the IMb is a host of information: who is doing the mailing, the class of mail used, special or extra services being requested (such as Address Change Service), where the piece is going, and a serial number uniquely identifying the piece. These barcodes are scanned as the mail pieces are processed and tracking events are recorded and made available to the mailer.

Increased visibility and business intelligence around the mail removes uncertainty and enhances the effectiveness and value of mail. Mailers now have answers to these key questions: } Does the USPS have custody of an individual mailpiece? } When is the mail being delivered? } How many days did delivery take? } Was the mail delivered as addressed? } Which pieces were forwarded or returned? } Whose remittance is in the mail? This valuable insight can help improve business performance. Mailers can compare targeted in-home dates to actual delivery dates. They can do a better job of anticipating cash flow needs through tighter tracking of remittances. They can effectively

every item to give shippers more information about the location and timing of their deliveries. The USPS offers a highly competitive rate structure with valuable new features, such as “baked in” insurance for Priority Mail, and free tracking. System enhancements include email or SMS text alerts with postdelivery actions and a delivery information summary for all packages. Digital technology will soon make it possible to receive SMS notifications of delivery status. Mail is not only relevant in today’s digital world; it is a critical driver of global commerce. The industry will continue to develop innovative tools to integrate digital technology in the physical mail stream to unlock even greater value for business mailers. It’s no longer a question of physical or digital, now it’s physical and digital.

Patrick Brand is Vice President and President, Pitney Bowes Mailing, North America.

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37

Mailing Systems Technology July-August 2014  

Mailing Systems Technology July-August 2014

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