Page 1


The Ifs, Ands and Buts of Choosing

SOFTWARE.... How to tell if you’re making the right choice for your operation. Page 16

Five Strategies to Increase Direct Mail ROI. Page 20

A New Scorecard

for Undeliverable As Addressed Mail. Page 8

Volume 26 Issue 1


Features 16


The Ifs, Ands, or Buts of Purchasing Mail Automation Software Many companies are looking to purchase mail automation software, especially with Basic IMb now required and mandatory Full-Service on the horizon in 2014. But how do you know which choice is right for you? By Adam Lewenberg


Five Strategies to Increase Direct Mail ROI. Implementing even a couple of these steps will take you a long way toward seeing an increase in response rates. By Grant Miller


Checklists – Simple & Powerful Tools Checklists may seem like the grown-up equivalent of busy work — but they serve a very important purpose in any operation. By Mark Fallon


Departments/Columns 5

Editor’s Note


Welcome to 2013! By Amanda Armendariz



Relax... It’s Not a Federal Offense! By Jim LeRose

Real-Life Management

Software Byte


Postal Affairs Full-Service Relief is spelled C-R-E-D-I-T By Kim Mauch


Plugging the Revenue Leaks By Mike Porter


Direct Marketing 101 10 Tips for Successful Direct Mail Programs By John Foley, Jr.

Special Section!

The Trenches

[ PLUS ]

My Two Cents It’s Our Fault We’re Losing Money! By Todd Butler


A New Scorecard for UAA By Christopher Lien



How Do You Motivate People? By Wes Friesen


Ship It

Check out our software solutions starting on page 24!

Make sure you sign up for our monthly e-Newsletter so we can keep you posted with news alerts and updates!

editor’s note

with Amanda Armendariz

Mailing systems technology PUBLISHER Marll Thiede


Welcome to 2013! I hope you enjoy our first Mailing Systems Technology issue of 2013! We thought a new year was the perfect time to introduce a couple of new columns. So in addition to our regular experts, we’ve also included a new column, called Direct Marketing 101, written by John Foley, Jr. Over the years, our subscriber base has grown exponentially, and while the vast majority of our subscribers are still responsible for mail center operations, we do have a substantial number that are involved more with the marketing side of mail. It’s my hope that this new column will not only fill the needs of our readers who are marketers, but also show those of us who are on “the other side” of mail just what goes into successful direct marketing, and thereby give us a greater appreciation for mail as a whole.

Amanda Armendariz

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Todd Butler, Mark Fallon, John Foley, Jr., Wes Friesen, Jim LeRose, Adam Lewenberg, Christopher Lien, Kim Mauch, Grant Miller, Mike Porter


Rachel Spahr

ADVERTISING 608-442-5064 Ken Waddell


And we also have a new column titled, “My Two Cents,” authored by Todd Butler. If you are a subscriber to our monthly e-newsletter, you’ll likely recognize Todd as a recurring columnist. He’s not shy about speaking his mind — and that’s what we like about him! If you have a comment or opinion on any of his pieces, please shoot me an email, and we may print some responses in future issues. One of our goals for 2013 is to get our readers talking, and I think Todd is the person to do just that! So take a look through this issue and let us know what you think of these new additions. And if you’re in the market for mail automation software (as many mailers are, especially now with Basic IMb a requirement for mailers), don’t miss Adam Lewenberg’s article on page 16. He does a great job of explaining what to look for when selecting software, what features come standard, what you may have to pay extra for, and more! I hope to see many of you at the National Postal Forum in March, and as always, thanks for reading Mailing Systems Technology.

2901 International Lane • Madison WI 53704-3128 608-241-8777 • Fax 608-241-8666

Volume 26, Issue 1 Subscriptions are free to qualified recipients: $20 per year to all others in the United States. Subscription rate for Canada or Mexico is $40 per year, and for elsewhere outside of the United States is $45. Back issue rate is $5. Send subscriptions to: Mailing Systems Technology, PO Box 259098, Madison WI 53725-9098; or call 608-241-8777; fax 608-241-8666; e-mail or subscribe online at For high-quality reprints, please contact our exclusive reprint provider. Scoop Reprint Source 800.767.3263 ext. 307 All material in this magazine is copyrighted ©2013 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 26, Issue 1] 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, 608-241-8777. Periodical postage paid at Madison WI and additional offices. Postmaster: Send address changes to: Mailing Systems Technology PO Box 259098 Madison WI 53725-9098

Real Life Management How Do You Motivate People? Motivation is an important key to sustained individual and team performance — perhaps the top key! Can we directly motivate another person? not really — but we can intentionally foster a climate that helps people motivate themselves. President Dwight D. eisenhower said it well: “Motivation is the art of getting people to do what you want them to do because they want to do it.” The secret to effective motivation is to promote intrinsic motivation — that internal motivation people can have to perform well for psychological reasons that go beyond external rewards. Modern day motivational expert Daniel Pink asserts that, “Intrinsically motivated employees find more personal satisfaction in their work, and are consistently more motivated, with less prodding and cajoling from management.” How do we intrinsically motivate employees? We can get some guidance by reviewing the findings of the classic motivation research of Dr. frederick Herzberg and validated by numerous studies since then. Let’s review the basic findings of Herzberg’s “Two factor Motivational Model.”

Two Factor Motivational Model: Satisfiers versus Dissatisfiers Herzberg and other researchers have found that work environments contain “hygiene” factors that if not done well lead to job dissatisfaction (i.e. are “dissatisfiers”). Two key points are 1) not doing well on these hygiene factors will contribute to job dissatisfaction and 2) doing well on these factors will nOT lead to job satisfaction — but will keep motivation neutral. The primary hygiene (dissatisfiers) are: 1) Company policy and administration 2) Supervision 3) relationship with supervisor 4) Work conditions 5) Salary The key here is to participatively engage with employees and develop policies, practices, and work conditions that are viewed as fair and positive. by itself you will not be contributing much to the satisfaction and motivation of your employees. but you will avoid fueling dissatisfaction and demotivating them.

Satisfiers (Motivators) Herzberg and other researchers have also discovered a set of factors that are considered “satisfiers” or “motivators.” assuming the hygiene factors are being satisfactorily met, these factors are what truly inspire and motivate employees. and these factors have a strong “intrinsic” bent to them — they speak to our heart-felt psychological needs and can be intrinsic to the job. There are six major motivators:


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1) Achievement: employees need to have a sense of achievement, and that they are accomplishing something that matters. 2) Recognition: People desire to be appreciated and recognized by their bosses and others for their contributions. 3) Work Itself: The work should be meaningful, interesting, and challenging for the employee to perform and feel motivated. 4) Responsibility: The employee must hold themselves responsible for the work. The supervisors should give them ownership of the work and minimize control but retain accountability. 5) Advancement: employees should feel that by excelling in their current work, they have the opportunity to advance in responsibilities and into other positions that they find appealing. 6) Growth: employees should feel they have opportunities to grow their skills and develop as value-added members of the organization. external rewards do have their place and can help motivate under some circumstances. but what is interesting about the above list is these are not external, reward-driven factors, but involve intrinsic elements that can be cultivated by intentional job enrichment and motivational management practices. all generations in the work force desire and can be inspired by these intrinsic motivators — especially the younger generation. for example, I am a baby boomer who has been with the same company from the day I graduated from college years ago. In contrast, my oldest daughter left her first job after only working there less than a year — and took a small pay cut! Why? She wanted to work someplace where the motivators above were more evident — she now has been at her second job five years and loves it!

Principles for Putting Satisfiers (Motivators) Into Practice The key to applying the satisfiers is to enrich jobs to make them psychologically appealing and inspiring. following is a table of principles to help us enrich jobs: Principle: Remove some controls while retaining accountability. Motivators Involved: Responsibility & Achievement Principle: Increase the accountability of individuals for their own work. Greater personal responsibility for quality of work, less scrutiny by supervisors. Motivators Involved: Responsibility & Recognition Principle: Giving a person a complete natural unit of work (e.g. let employees sign a letter they produced or present a report they prepared). Motivators Involved: Responsibility, Achievement & Recognition

With Wes Friesen

Principle: Granting additional authority to employees; job freedom. Motivators Involved: Responsibility, Achievement & Recognition

Principle: Give a person opportunity to lead special projects and assignments. Motivators Involved: Recognition, Growth, Advancement

Principle: Sharing some reports and information directly with workers rather than through the supervisors. Motivators Involved: Internal Recognition

Let me close with a quote from Homer rice. “you can motivate by fear and you can motivate by reward. but both of these methods are only temporary. The only lasting thing is self-motivation.”

Principle: Introducing new and more difficult tasks not previously handled. Motivators Involved: Growth & Learning

P.S. Hope to see you at the National Postal Forum March 17-20 in San Francisco and/or MAILCOM April 28 – May 1 in Atlantic City! a

Principle: Assign individuals specific or specialized tasks, enabling them to become experts. Motivators Involved: Responsibility, Growth & Advancement

Wes friesen, Mba, CMDSM, MDC, eMCM, ICP, CCM,CMa, CM, CfM, aPP, PHr is the Manager of billing, Credit and Special attention Operations for Portland General electric. Wes teaches university classes and would like to thank his students in the George fox university Organizational Theory class for their contributions to this article. Wes would love to hear your feedback and article ideas and can be contacted at Check out his personal website for free information (

Principle: Bring employees to some meetings; give employees credit for their work that goes to people outside the team. Motivators Involved: Recognition, Growth a january - february 2013


Software Byte

With Christopher Lien

A New Scorecard for UAA undeliverable as addressed (uaa) mail continues to be a problem for the uSPS. at least that is the position both the uSPS and, to a certain degree, the mailing industry continues to take. It is a wellestablished assumption that the only way for a mailpiece to arrive in a timely and predictable manner is with a complete, correct, and current address. In 2006, Postmaster General jack Potter challenged the mailing industry to reduce uaa mail by 50% by 2010. at the time, there were nearly 10 billion pieces of uaa mail annually forwarded, returned, or disposed at a cost of nearly $2 billion. While the PMG wasn’t specific about a 50% reduction in volume or cost, it was pretty clear at the time that both needed to be reduced. The Mailers Technical advisory Committee (MTaC) formed several workgroups focused on address quality and produced some very detailed reports. One in particular is the address Quality Methodology report from workgroup 97, which contains numerous suggestions and best practices for reducing uaa and improving overall address quality. While the report is five years old, it still contains many relevant suggestions for collecting, storing, and updating address data. The report can be obtained by visiting and selecting the MTaC tab on the left. as we begin 2013, now equipped with a new Intelligent Mail barcode, the question still remains: did we reduce uaa by 50% since 2006? That is the question that the uSPS Office of Inspector General (OIG) would like to know, as well as the mailing industry. The OIG began a study in november 2012 looking into ways in which the uSPS and the industry can further reduce uaa cost. This study (13yG008Hr000) is just beginning and there appears to already be a lot of interest in not only obtaining an updated scorecard on uaa, but also what new technologies exist today that can help reduce uaa cost and volume. according to the uSPS national Customer Support Center (nCSC), uaa volume overall has indeed declined since 2006. In 2010, the uSPS reported there were approximately 6.9 billion pieces of total uaa (disposed, forwarded, and returned) mail at a combined cost of $1.4 billion annually. The problem is that overall mail volume has also declined. Thus, the question still remains: did we reduce the volume by 50% through investments in address quality or were the reductions simply attributed to the overall volume declines in first-Class and Standard mail? To perhaps better answer that question, we can take a closer look at where substantial declines in uaa have occurred. In 2004 when the last comprehensive uaa study was done, just over 6


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billion pieces of uaa mail were disposed by the uSPS at a cost of 4.4 cents per piece for a total of $269 million. Due to expanded uSPS Move update requirements and the continued investment of data quality solutions from the industry, we were able to reduce the number of disposed uaa pieces down to fewer than 4 billion and indications are that the decline is continuing. Thus, we can certainly claim victory here in that there are 2 billion fewer pieces of mail that are being disposed of by the uSPS — the true definition of “junk mail”.

As we begin 2013, now equipped with a new Intelligent Mail barcode, the question still remains: did we reduce UAA by 50% since 2006? but what about the other types of uaa mail? unfortunately, it appears that declines in forwarded mail have been slower and there is actually a slight increase in the number of returned mail pieces. The answer to this is likely still due to lack of education in address quality, more timely access to address quality data, and leveraging software return codes. The later item is something that has been addressed in this column in the past, but bears repeating. CaSS certified software solutions provide valuable clues to address defects and mailers should understand how to leverage these codes to apply additional address quality methodologies for the reduction of uaa mail. as the OIG continues to work on their uaa study, it should also be noted that the uSPS and the mailing industry are continuing their pursuit of address quality. The next CaSS cycle is being planned for implementation in june 2014. CaSS, also known as the Coding accuracy Support System, is a test whereby commercial software products process a list of 150,000 addresses and must meet a minimum assignment threshold in order to be considered CaSS certified. The last CaSS cycle was Cycle n, which took place on august 1, 2011. Thus, it is time for the industry, the uSPS, and now the OIG to come together in an effort to continue to reduce uaa mail and present an updated scorecard on our progress. a Christopher Lien is Vice President, Software Marketing, bell and Howell.

Postal Affairs

With Kim Mauch

Full-Service Relief Is Spelled C-R-E-D-I-T If you’re like most mailers, the thought of migrating to full-Service Intelligent Mail is causing a bit of indigestion. uSPS introduced fullService back in 2009; however, fewer than 800 mailers are actively sending mail through this program. The Post Office wants more mailers to use full-Service. uSPS uses this data to gain insight into mail handling procedures and fully report on service standards. Mailers are required to use this system to qualify for automation rates in 2014. There’s no indication that this date will be pushed back. unfortunately, this puts the thousands of mailers who haven’t switched in a tough spot. Getting approved for full-Service is more than just putting a barcode on your mailpiece. The on-boarding steps can take weeks, even months, to complete. uSPS received feedback after the initial 2014 requirement proposal and came up with a plan to help. It is critical for mailers to start sending full-Service mail now.

The Full-Service Process automation mailers have already converted over to the basic Intelligent Mail barcode. full-Service builds on this barcode, and adds even more complexity for mailers: } With full-Service, the barcode on the mailpiece must use the

Sequence number field to stay unique for a minimum 45 days. } In addition to the piece barcode, trays, sacks, and handling units

(pallets, aPCs, and other large containers) must also have a unique barcode. } Mailing documentation must be submitted electronically via Mail.dat, Mail.XML, or the Postal Wizard. users of Mail.dat or Mail.XML must test their submissions through the Test environment for Mailers (TeM). } Mailers who drop-ship must schedule using faST, and mailers with CSas or other special procedures must follow those agreements. Working with their bMeu, mailers test at least five jobs prepared using the full-Service requirements before they are officially approved.

Full-Service will be required for automation-rate mailings starting January 2014 Help with Electronic Documentation So far, TeM has been the biggest bottleneck for most mailers. users of Mail.dat and Mail.XML must go through a manual testing process that is confusing and complex. uSPS has introduced

a new program where users of approved software products can skip a few steps. This streamlined TeM process is still in testing, but it should be available for mailers very soon.

Postage Credit Ahead even with a streamlined TeM process, the biggest complaint mailers have about full-Service is the investment required. In some cases there are additional equipment costs. all mailers will need to change their processes, educate their employees, and test their mailings. uSPS introduced a full-Service Tech Credit program designed to reduce cost for mailers. Qualified mailers will get a credit they can use towards full-Service postage. The tech credit was architected so that even mail service providers who use their customers’ permits can get the tech credit.

Eligible Full-Service pieces

Postage credit

125,001 – 500,000 500,001 – 2,000,000 2,000,001 and up

$2,000 $3,000 $5,000

any mailer who sends at least 125,000 pieces of qualifying automation mail annually can qualify for this credit. uSPS is currently reviewing each mailer’s volume of barcoded first-Class, Standard Mail, Periodicals, and bound Printed Matter letters and flats. The amount of your credit is based on the volume mailed from October 2011 – September 2012. for mailers who have several locations, each location will be considered for its own tech credit. The nice thing about the tech credit is how automatic it will be for mailers. There’s no signup process — all mailers will be considered. you’ll receive a letter sometime this spring letting you know the amount you’re eligible for. your postage will be credited to your permit account automatically. redeem the tech credit by sending a mailing that contains 90% or more full-Service pieces after the start of the redemption period (expected to be in june 2013). The tech credit is only available for mailers who use Mail.dat or Mail.XML for their electronic documentation. TeM testing is only required for these methods. Mailers who are already sending fullService mail and new adopters will get the tech credit. you’ll have a full year to redeem your tech credit. While the tech credit may not offset all the costs of moving to fullService, it will help ease the burden. This is good news for mailers with full-Service heartburn. a Kim Mauch is a subject matter expert in mailing preparation and submission at Satori Software. Contact her at a january - february 2013


The Trenches

With Mike Porter

Plugging the Revenue Leaks Document print and mail businesses have always operated on a thin margin. It’s a very competitive marketplace. Many customers view document services as a commodity. They may abandon a vendor just to save a few pennies per mailpiece. enhancing customer relationships and adding value are long-term strategies I highly recommend to print/mail service providers. but just as important is making sure that hidden costs are not eating away at the profits. Scheduling a regular review or installing software to make sure that customers are being billed fairly, based on the work that is actually performed, is a good idea. Many document operations are surprised to find out that they really aren’t making money on every job in the shop. They haven’t accounted for all the expenses associated with each project — from the time it’s estimated until it is billed. There may be some parts of the workflow that are costing more than they planned. There are lots of small incidents that can happen during a work day that can increase costs or cause a service provider to under bill. Some organizations may build a cushion into the pricing to cover an occasional operational problem. but chronic issues on repetitive jobs can eat away at profitability. Without an automated workflow system that captures costs, or at least a periodic manual inspection, managers may never know.

Inefficient Manual Workflows Many shops I’ve visited spend lots of time copying information that is generated by one software system into another. estimates, order entry, job scheduling, postage deposits, inventory, and billing are all separate processes. job cost data is randomly captured and rarely reviewed. besides being error-prone and inefficient, the scattering of information across an assemblage of spreadsheets, accounting software, and word processing systems makes analyzing profitability at the job level nearly impossible. also frequently observed are operations that waste time running sequential processes over and over again, requiring human intervention at every step. The processes are so fragile that they require human oversight and monitoring every time they are invoked. failure to standardize and automate processes creates delays and introduces opportunities to make mistakes.

Fixing the Problems There are software solutions that help shops get a grasp on what is going on in document operations, how much it costs, and identify where changes need to be made. Installing one of these tools can streamline workflow and collect all the relevant data in 10

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a single database. from there, managers can run reports that will reveal where pricing needs to be adjusted.

Are there hidden revenue leaks in your operation? Here are some often overlooked trouble spots: • Sub-standard customer-supplied material causes jams. These events lead to longer production times and manual operations to handle an excessive number of reprints. • Untracked jobs sometimes sit on a cart and get forgotten. When discovered, applying rull-rate postage and an extra trip to the post office are required to meet service level agreements. • Postage quotes were based on 5-digit presort qualification but over time a customer’s mail volume has dwindled. You’re now paying 3-digit rates most of the time. Invoicing has never been updated. • Jobs that were quoted based on letter-size machine inserting consistently included high page-count items. Inserter operations just stop the machine and process the mail pieces by hand, sometimes as flats. No billing adjustment is made for the extra labor. • Poor mailpiece design causes inserter operations to slow the machine to avoid excessive jams. Labor and equipment utilization for this portion of the workflow is 150% of the budgeted amount. • Estimating software is an Excel spreedsheet. Some jobs steps are not always selected and do not get included in the estimate. The steps get performed but they don’t get billed. • A job jacket from a project six months ago was found in the warehouse behind a case of envelopes. The job got finished but never billed. How many other instances are there like this?

These tools may also include some rules administration functionality that can prevent costly quoting mistakes or they can issue alerts when something isn’t going as planned. Once only available as part of an expensive full-scale automated document factory, today’s solutions are affordable for shops with more modest requirements. even without such software, print/mail organizations can perform regular audits that inspect the workflow of individual jobs. an objective viewpoint is essential for recognizing inefficient and costly practices or missed opportunities. experience with alternative approaches is always useful for recommending changes that can improve profit margins. In an extremely competitive marketplace, small advantages can make a difference. using available technology or a job cost audit to make sure that every project is profitable may be just what print and mail service providers need to realign costs with revenue. a Mike Porter is an expert in Print and Mail operations and President of Print/Mail Consultants, an independent consulting firm that helps companies nationwide identify trouble spots in their production workflows. for more tips visit and sign up for Practical Stuff — the free newsletter for document operations. your comments are welcome. Send them to

Ship It

With Jim LeRose

Relax, It’s Not A “Federal” Offense! It was recently reported that FedEx had been “systematically overcharging” customers by billing businesses and government offices at higher residential rates. This statement, made by a company sales executive, was revealed in court during a hearing against FedEx. Bank of America, Toyota, and the US Government Passport office are named as the plaintiffs. In 2012, FedEx charged a $3.00 surcharge for residential deliveries ($2.55 for home delivery) above and beyond the traditional package shipping charges, similar to airline surcharges for baggage. FedEx customers, who powerlessly agree to this fee, are typically unaware of how often it occurs and the overall impact to their bottom line. Most of their customers trust FedEx is getting it right. Is it possible FedEx violated the trust of their customers and overcharged them… intentionally? Let’s examine the facts. How is this fee determined? The driver decides whether or not to assess the residential fee at the point of delivery. That’s right . . . there is no database of addresses in the FedEx billing system classifying residential vs. commercial addresses. UPS utilizes the same imperfect methodology. So why doesn’t FedEx (and UPS) simply code residential addresses in their billing system just like they do with the delivery area surcharge (DAS) and most other fees? The answer is twofold: healthcare and a broken legal system. FedEx truly wanted to automate the residential calculation but it would have required employees to key in so much data (there are 127 million addresses in the US) it would have likely caused an outbreak of carpel tunnel syndrome, exposing them to employee lawsuits. Executives at UPS of course shared the same concern. FedEx believes it will be exonerated; the court will understand its dilemma and accept that 100% of the overcharges were errors made by its drivers that coincidentally always favored FedEx.

2 – Use the USPS. If you are waiting to make the shift to add them to your portfolio of carriers then you are behind the times and probably losing to competition. Every ecommerce company is either using the USPS or considering them. There has never been an issue of hidden fees with the USPS. 3 – Negotiate discounts on fees or entirely out of your agreement. Many believe this can’t be done. That is a misperception. 4 – Deploy a 3rd party multi-carrier shipping solution. This is the single most important action you can take to help control shipping costs, reduce or eliminate fees, and increase competitiveness now and in the future. Collectively these four solutions will help prevent hidden fees, get refunds when they are erroneously assessed, reduce or eliminate the cost of fees entirely and help reduce shipping costs substantially. What are you waiting for? In conclusion; UPS is watching closely because it too is at risk. But don’t be surprised if FedEx settles behind closed doors, hides the terms of the agreement, and admits no wrongdoing. I can almost guarantee it. This will help protect it from a barrage of lawsuits, further reputation damage, and a loss of hundreds of millions of dollars. I hope this is a lesson learned: Carriers should reconsider greedily increasing profits at the expense and trust of their customers. This situation should be a wakeup call to those who believe their interests are being guarded by either of the Dynamic Duo (UPS/ FedEx). They’re not. Many of their customers will believe both companies would never put their own interests ahead of their customers’ needs. They’re wrong. There are many more tricks up their sleeves, so stay tuned. Relax; it’s not a “federal” offense, it’s just FedEx…and UPS! a

If FedEx is found guilty, it may trigger a customer revolt as others discover they too are being bamboozled. Customers will flock to UPS, who will temporarily count its blessings until its newfound customers discover they are equally guilty of playing by the same rules. Then what? There’s a duopoly — and consequently little anyone can do about it. Or is there?

I advise these four steps to reduce or eliminate hidden fees and get control over transportation costs now:

Jim LeRose has been a transportation industry consultant for three decades. Formerly with Pitney Bowes, he is Principal of Agile New York, a leading provider of multi-carrier shipping software / shipping cost reduction strategies and CEO/Founder of EcoReturn — a revolutionary ecommerce return solution. Visit: and Contact him at or 888.214.1763.

1 – Engage a 3rd party invoice auditor – immediately. There is no downside. The information you will gather will help you better manage your transportation spend. If your carrier rep complains about you using an auditing service, ignore them. a JANUARY - FEBRUARY 2013


My Two Cents

With Todd Butler

It’s Our Fault We’re Losing Money! It’s january and again time for more, significant postal changes. This year we must convert to the IMb with its increased software, printing, and technical specifications. Legacy addressing system upgrades (if available) start at $3,000 and may go as high as $15,000 for controllers, computers, and software. State of the art replacement systems run between $80,000 and $120,000. We paid for our first state of the art production system (with similar costs) in the early 1990s with increasing mail volumes and bottom line profitability. new equipment costs must now be justified in the middle of a market meltdown (a 25% decrease in all mail volume from 2006 to 2013), desperate competition, and a lack of profitability. Most in our industry are pricing direct mail preparation as if it were a grocery store loss leader, hoping to make up their losses with non-existent volume. along with the switch to the IMb, folded self-mailers are going through significant design changes. The new rules require more and bigger tabs, different fold patterns, and new paper weight requirements. Complexity (and our liability) has been added by requirements that change depending on the weight of the finished mailpiece. for 2014, the Postal Service is demanding mail.dat and full service from our industry. The full service mandate adds even more costs and complexity to service providers. Some of the large early adopters in our industry have spent millions on the IMb/full service transition. So are mail service providers (MSPs) going to charge customers to cover our added costs of production? are we going to finally charge more for placing three tabs on a mailpiece in a configuration our equipment cannot handle? are we going to tell a good customer that because they didn’t check with us first, and use the proper paper weight, their postage will be double compared to their last mailing? Or will we lie on the postal documentation as to a mailpiece’s acceptability for the rate claimed; risk paying the increased postage costs ourselves (if postal inspectors visit us six months after a mailing); sign our name on postal documentation under threat of perjury; and ultimately do what our competitors would do, which is slip the mailing through acceptance? Surprisingly our industry accepts all of these risks, including jail time, and then charges less per piece than we did in 2006. It was in 2006 that Postal Service engineers were given carte blanche with mailpiece designs and sent mail volume into a death spiral!


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added to the design changes since 2006, we have had to implement numerous intelligent mail barcodes, changes in package/ bundle preparation, new (more expensive) tab and strapping material requirements, new rate levels, more complex software, numerous forms of electronic documentation, SOX, and the closing of local facilities. With every change, the complexity of producing mail and our costs have increased. Some of these costs are major, some minor, but in nearly every instance our industry has not passed them on to customers. With every postal change we matched higher production and equipment costs against ever decreasing demand and felt compelled to give away more and more services in a futile attempt to retain customers.

If only the USPS worked as hard at saving mail volume as the rest of the industry! It is time for the uSPS and our customers to GrOW uP and face the consequences of their actions. The uSPS has to realize that its drive for processing efficiencies is responsible for the significant loss in mail volume. flats alone have decreased (from 2006 to 2010) by 30%. and yet no one in the Postal Service did a cost benefit analysis on the effects of implementing the new folded self-mailer rules. no one asked if hoped-for processing efficiencies will make up for a significant loss in mail volume. The simple fact is that no one in the Postal Service cares about our costs or mail volume. Customers need to realize that if they want to print on cheap paper that doesn’t meet the new postal specifications, their postage is going to double (auto rates to non-machinable). Customers must also realize that working with the cheapest know-nothing print service provider has very specific, higher costs associated with that option. Meeting stringent postal dimensional and graphic design standards requires a professional to provide the overall lowest cost. The Postal Service has made significant changes to mailing standards since 2006. MSPs have been losing money by absorbing the additional costs associated with these standards. It is time to charge a reasonable rate for our knowledge, services, and expertise! I have no doubt mail volumes will decline if we charge our customers what it costs to produce their mail, but we can no longer afford to subsidize their marketing efforts. The simple fact is that we (and they) may have to move on to something more profitable. a Todd butler, butler Mailing Services, can be reached at 513.870.5060, or

Direct Marketing 101 10 Tips for Successful Direct Mail Programs just like any other marketing effort, your direct mail campaigns require a steady and solid strategy. Old school thinking is that you just pop a postcard in the mail and call it a day. as long as the copy was proofread and given the green light, and the postcards got to their destination, the campaign was considered a relative success. Then direct mail got more “sophisticated,” with response rates being tracked and making sure the branding was obvious. as technology has advanced, the face of direct mail has changed as well. It’s important to make sure that direct mail strategies are in line with current marketing techniques. Here are 10 tips to implementing a successful direct mail program:

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Consistent branding is still imperative to any direct mail campaign. Without consistency, your direct mail piece will be the proverbial fish out of water in your overall marketing efforts. a clear call to action is essential. Will your direct mail piece ask the consumer to log on to social media and share something? Will it have the consumer scan a Qr code that will lead to an instructional video? Will it be a personalized urL leading to a special discount? Don’t make assumptions that your audience knows what to do. you need to tell them what to do and what the benefits of following your call to action are. Compared to a lot of online marketing methods, direct mail can seem costly and perhaps a bit scary for your overall marketing budget. It’s important to set a realistic budget and then stay within that amount. When dealing with the bottom line, cut your costs without sacrificing branding and message impact with metered mail, targeted mailers with a streamlined address database… but absolutely do not cut costs by making it look like your kid designed the mailpiece or typed up the copy. Test and track. With unique urLs and other marketing technology, you can easily test and track the response rate of your direct mail pieces. Make sure the sample size is large enough and be sure to mail out test and control batches at the same time. Don’t test more than one change at a time or you won’t be able to pinpoint exactly what is working and what might not.

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Make this more than a “one touch and you’re done” scenario. your direct mail piece shouldn’t be some standalone communication. It should be in full coordination with your marketing messages via other channels. and you should make this work to your advantage by using one channel to set up the upcoming touch from the other channel. Think message synchronicity. While your direct mail campaign is working in harmony with your other marketing efforts, your direct mail piece should have an exclusive offer, discount, contest, or other message that your audience will only find out about through the direct mailer. If it’s something that your audience has already come across via some other communication, then the impact of the direct mail becomes negligible. use short and enticing copy. This isn’t a test to see how much text you can get on your mailpiece. There is no prize for using long $5 words. Keep it short, sweet and persuasive.

use 100% of the real estate you are given with your direct mail piece. using an envelope? Make it work for you. Make it a standout color. use reverse psychology with a bright sticker that says: Do not open. If you can fit it in the budget, slip something into that envelope that makes the piece obviously bulky so the audience can’t help themselves and just has to open it to find out what resides inside.


Don’t forget to integrate with your social media efforts. Print urLs to your social media profiles to make your company easily found.

With John Foley, Jr.


as with many things in life, timing is key. as you coordinate and plan out your direct mail strategy, you need to make sure that your other efforts (perhaps an email or text message, perhaps a social media post) are set up to make sense to help bolster each message, creating an overall larger impact than a single message alone.

Bonus If you want true rOI on your marketing efforts, you need to measure them. On a direct mail piece, every call to action needs a response mechanism. Whether it is a phone number, website, Qr Code, event registration, form, etc., each must have their own measurement capability and their own unique identification. for instance, don’t put your general website ID on a certain campaign. Create a domain or shorten one. Instead of “,” use something like “” or “” On phone numbers, use a number with tracking capabilities. It is not that expensive and allows for you to see your response to the campaign. This is really the most important part of any campaign. being sure you have the visibility to see and measure the response to the channel and media used is absolutely critical. a john foley jr. is the founder of Grow Socially, an online marketing company including Social Media. They provide marketing consulting and delivery services. Created in 2010, Grow Socially, Inc ( helps companies with their online marketing efforts, with a focus on social media. These services include discussing and creating marketing plans, strategies, tactics, and goals that align with your company’s needs. In addition to his role at Grow Socially, Mr. foley serves a CeO for interlinkOne, an integrated multi-channel marketing web solutions company serving the print and fulfillment industries and marketing departments. a january - february 2013


The Ifs, Ands, of Purchasing Mail Automation S Many companies are looking to purchase mail automation software, especially with Basic IMb now required and mandatory Full-Service on the horizon in 2014. But how do you know which choice is right for you? By Adam Lewenberg


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ith the uSPS IMb barcode requirements now upon us (basic) and in 2014 (full Service), many entities are going to be looking at mail automation software. This software is designed to get your mailing through the uSPS at the lowest postage costs and with the fewest errors. My goal is to show you what to look for and how to compare the different options available. I have no allegiance to any vendor in this space, but feel that I am an authority on this topic having directed national sales for the largest vendor prior to starting Postal advocate.

Why Use Mail Automation Software?

There are two main reasons entities purchase Mail automation Software: to clean up their address lists and to get postal discounts. Cleaning up your addresses is important to eliminate costly returns and delays in your mailings. This is done in two ways. first, the software validates that the specific addresses in your mailing matches the uSPS directory. Most providers will send you a CD/ DVD of every address in the country every one to three months. Secondly, the software will check for move updates by matching your mailing list against the uSPS national change of address database (the forms we fill out at the uSPS every time we move). The uSPS offers postal discounts to entities that make it easier to process mail when it reaches its facility. Postal automation Software automatically sorts the mailing list prior to printing, assigns a barcode to be printed on the piece, and generates the forms and labels required by the uSPS. all of this gets your mailing deeper into the Postal System and at a savings that they pass on in lower postal rates (See rates below). Single Piece Rates Mailpiece Examples

First-Class Mail Retail Single Piece

1 Ounce #10 envelope


2 Ounce newsletter (6x9)


8 Ounce flat (9x12)


Post Card



How frequently will the mailings occur? I have seen entities purchase these systems to only do quarterly newsletters. The problem is remembering the process when it has not been done in three months. I strongly recommend these systems if there is a frequent nature to the mailings where the process can become routine.


How many pieces will be mailed? you may get proposals from vendors showing large postal savings for small mailings that justify the cost of the system. Make sure to account for the extra work and costs involved, such as putting in the proper trays, taking to the uSPS and getting permits that you may not already use. as a rule of thumb, if you are doing over 5,000 pieces per month, these systems can easily pay for themselves with postage savings.


Would you be better served sending these projects to a Mail House? The addressing is just one piece of the equation. It

then needs to be printed, folded, inserted, mailed, etc. There are companies that do nothing but this type of work that may be able to do it for you more cost effectively. as a tip, make sure to get two or three quotes because rates vary widely.

What to Look For?

The good news is the core of what this software does is going to be the same from every provider. each tool can import a data file in various formats, CaSS certify the addresses (in other words, make sure they match the uSPS database), check for duplicates, run the list through PaVe (uSPS sorting requirements), and print out reports and tray labels. The key differentiators between offerings are ease of use, vendor support, and features that we will describe next.

Ease of Use

To anyone who has been using these tools since the DOS days, you most likely agree that this software has gotten much easier to use. That being said, for someone just starting with Automation Mail mail automation, it can be very with Barcodes confusing. Many of the vendors First-Class Standard Standard Mail have developed wizards that Mail— Mail— Non-profit— walk the operator through all of Automation Automation Automation the steps they must perform. Look at the user interface to $.36 - .405 $.247 - .282 $.135 - .17 make sure it is simple to navi$.36 - .405 $.247 - .282 $.135 - .17 gate and will be usable by your $1.806 - $2.14 $.633 - .805 $.458 - .623 operators (who may not have high levels of computer experi$.234 - .258 n/a n/a ence). Here are some additional items to investigate:

Who Should and Should Not Purchase?


Over the years, I have seen hundreds of companies with the best intentions implement these automation solutions and not use them. It always comes down to the same reasons.

nCOa Interface – How easy is it to run the mail list through the change of address service? Is it built into the tool or does it need to interact with a third party solution?


2. 3.

Who is going to do the work? This software is easy to use but the operator must follow a process to get the mailing from file import to dropping it off at the uSPS. Many companies think that they can train large groups across the department to run their own mailings. This seldom works. In every successful implementation I have


seen, it was because there was a dedicated operator who took the initiative for the mailings the system was intended to process.

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Can it support multiple users?

Can processing steps be stored to make future mailings easier?


How simple is it to set up the print layout and interface with the envelope printer? This may also include printing a return address, message line, graphics, and permit imprint.

Vendor Support

We live in a self-help world where we are expected to install and fix our own issues. This software may be used to get out critical information by specific deadlines, where this type of support may not work. It may be important to have a live body provide installation and training to make sure your staff is proficient. This may also go beyond the functionality of the software to include helping to get the first mailings out the door. How do they handle service when you have an issue? Can this be done live, with remote support or is it web only? Also, how are updates sent? Are they downloaded through the web or sent on a CD? I would strongly recommend doing your research in these areas to make sure you are using a company that can properly support your needs.

Key Features

There are key features you may need to process your type of mail and it is important to make sure they are discussed up front. Many vendors will provide these options for an additional charge or will only make them available in their premium versions. By understanding what these features do, you can make an informed decision when selecting the right package.


USPS Class Support – All tools can support Automated FirstClass and Standard Mail letters and flats, but what about other classes you may want to process? If you do these classes and services below, validate their availability.


Import/Export File Structures – All of the tools should be able to do basic excel (.xls), database (.dbf), Comma Separated (.csv), and text delimited (.txt) file structures, but higher volume applications may require accepting and exporting files in different formats. Make sure to define these requirements up front.

On Demand Address Correction

We have primarily been focusing on address corrections for an established mailing list, but what about other real time address correction needs? Let’s say you run an ecommerce website and want the ship-to address to be validated at the time the customer enters it. You may have seen this in the past when a window comes up with what they believe your address to be. Or you are in customer service and a client calls to change their address. You may want your system to validate as it is being entered; this is definitely possible with certain vendors.


The good news is that most of the established vendors in this space will be able to support your needs and provide the options needed. The key is being able to define what you are looking for up front and to know what questions to ask. Hopefully this framework will make that easy. Adam Lewenberg, CMDSS is President of Postal Advocate Inc. with over 19 years of experience in the mail industry. Their mission is to help entities with large numbers of locations reduce mail related expenses, and to make these spends easy to manage. He can be reached at 617.372.8653 or

a. Carrier Route b. Periodicals c. Package Services d. Paletization


IMB Support – Can they support the new Mail.dat and Mail.


NCOA – How does the software work with getting real time

xml electronic seamless acceptance required to get Full Service IMB discounts?

move update information? Is it paid for by the record, for a specific number of records, or unlimited? Also, how seamless is this interface?


Mail Tracking – With IMB, there is information in the barcode that can allow the sender to track delivery of the mail. What services does the provider offer to make this easy?


Geocoding – This is being able to set coordinates to the ad-


Mixed Weight Processing – Being able to process different

dresses inside your database. Many companies use it to better target mailings. An example would be an auto dealership planning to send out mailings to people in a five-mile radius of the shop.

weight items inside a mailing. This could be important if sending out first class invoices that are all a different number of sheets or wanting to process multiple mailings together in one batch to get better discounts. a JANUARY - FEBRUARY 2013


Five Strategies to Increase Direct Mail ROI By Grant Miller


a world of Twitter, Facebook, and 24/7 text messaging, connecting to clients and prospects should be easy. However, the combination of channel complexity, information overload, and new-found competition makes it extremely challenging to engage clients in effective, cost-efficient ways. A typical adult may be exposed to up to 3,000 promotional messages each day. Many choose to opt-out, toss out, or simply delete these contacts. Spam filters, do-not-call lists, and unsubscribe buttons have put consumers in control. While marketers are constantly developing new channels of communications, organizational silos and disparate systems can make it difficult to communicate a consistent, well-targeted message in a client’s preferred channel. Managers also face tighter budgets and a renewed pressure to increase ROI. Today, many organizations are turning to direct mail solutions for Standard Mail to help deliver higher impact at lower costs. 20


Five Strategies That Can Help Improve Direct Mail ROI


Lower postage expenses by automating presort – Postage remains one of the biggest expenses of direct mail campaigns. By optimizing presort, organizations can achieve greater discounts by reducing the amount of work required by the USPS. For example, by sorting mail at the 5-digit ZIP Code level, it can save almost four cents per piece. For large businesses handling mail operations internally, software platforms are available to help make it easy to create efficient print and mail stream operations. Many can be integrated into existing systems. For service bureaus or organizations that produce mail in-house on a regular basis, it often makes sense to sort mail physically using sorting equipment, which can run up to 50,000 mailpieces per hour. New, smaller sorters are making in-house sorting a good option for organizations. For businesses that don’t have the time or expertise to implement presorting onsite, external presort service providers can offer

sophisticated technology and the volumes necessary to optimize presort density. Specialists with a national presence can help maximize postal discounts and increase the speed of in-home delivery. Increasingly, high-volume mailers are presorting mail in-house, and then sending any pieces that don’t qualify for the lowest postal rates out to an external presort service provider for added savings. This hybrid model helps ensure that more mail benefits from 5-digit sort rates and streamlined delivery.


Boost open and response rates with personalization – new techniques and technologies enable mailers to create customized communications that can make a bigger impact at a lower cost. for example, print technologies make it easy to create customized messaging on the outside of the envelope, as well as within the body of the letter. using data tools, businesses can leverage insights into a client’s preferences and purchase patterns to create relevant messaging to that individual. These personalized messages increase open and response rates while achieving the same postal discounts as non-personalized offers. Mailers are also adding personalized Quick response (Qr codes) to their envelopes and mailpieces, making it easy for mail recipients to link to websites using smartphones. This ability to create a multichannel experience with the same offers and messages in all media can dramatically improve response. While personalization provides a highly effective way to increase impact, it requires significant data quality and data hygiene processing. Incorporating routine data hygiene tasks into direct mail practices will help ensure that mailing lists are accurate, uniform, and maintained over time.


Gain more control over delivery dates by inducting mail closer to its final destination – The official uSPS delivery standards for Standard Mail are two to nine days, with no delivery guarantees. for marketers, this can make it challenging to time direct mailings for specific events or coordinate activities across multiple channels. as a result, many in-house mailers are adopting Drop Ship strategies, where mail is split, shipped, and inducted at post office facilities closer to its final destination. Drop Ship, or destination-point induction, is a strategy to maximize postal discounts and help ensure quick delivery, enabling mailers to gain control of in-home dates for their direct mail, often within a one- or two-day range. The closer mail is taken to its final destination, the lower the postage cost. for Standard Mail, mail is dropped off at a uSPS network Distribution Center (nDC) or Sectional Center facility (SCf). after the recent postal reorganization, uSPS distribution maps are more consistent for better delivery consistency in every area, eliminating lag time, especially since mail is placed in walking order prior to distribution to local post offices. This eliminates the possibility of holding Standard Mail for slow mail days. If you currently presort your own mail, new software solutions make it easy to sort mail into region-based mail pallets that you can deliver via private shipping companies to uSPS locations throughout the uS. Drop ship savings can help mailers dramatically reduce overall postage costs to 23%. by working with an external presort service provider, you can also take advantage of drop ship benefits if you choose a third-party specialist with a national network of operational centers. Some national providers maintain dedicated transportation departments that coordinate shipping across the country, work with large national

Leflein associates, “Physical mail preferred by many,” april 2010


and regional consolidation partners, deliver directly to national and regional consolidation centers, and self-deliver to local SCfs. In many cases, these networks can induct as much as 82-87% of mail at the destination SCf, bypassing many uSPS stops along the way.


Increase your impact with variable, color print – for years, direct mail was often seen as a high-volume, low-creative communications vehicle for efficiency and effectiveness. However, digital color printing is now making it possible to personalize direct mail letters in vibrant, attention-getting color. envelopes, once a blank canvas for addressing, can now become masterpieces of promotion as technology allows for printing inside the envelope and exterior wrappers for enhanced personalization. One-size-fits-all content cannot match the relevance and response-generating abilities of personalized color messaging inside and outside the envelope. Studies show that consumers are up to 70% more likely to open a mailpiece with color text and graphics on the front before opening pieces with no headline or graphic.1 With 100% variable printing, mailers can imprint an address, postal barcode, logo, return address, targeted message, and image in a single pass without any slowdown in production. Mailers can use any or all of the existing “real estate” on documents to create personalized color messaging and transform transactional documents into datarich customer communications that can drive new revenue.


Coordinate multichannel touchpoints through visibility into postal operations – a decade ago, direct mail offered little in terms of data and reporting. before, we knew total volume mailed and months later we could compare orders to determine overall response rate. Today, barcode technologies and online dashboards provide piece-level tracking and detailed financials, which enable new ways to coordinate multichannel efforts, increase response and maximize campaign rOI. by tracking who receives an offer, and how and when that customer responds, customer engagement strategies can be redefined to create effective offers in the future. The Intelligent Mail barcode (IMb), a required element for direct mail preparation as of january 28, 2013, makes this possible. In terms of capabilities, organizations need a way to generate the barcode, print the barcode, capture uSPS data and generate action-oriented reports. Organizations can achieve this using software and hardware, or by working on mail preparation with an external presort services provider that has invested in technologies that maximize the value of barcode intelligence. Some third-party specialists also provide 24/7 access to incident and geo-location tracking for greater visibility. as technology continues to evolve, large national service providers will be able to track weather patterns, traffic accidents and road construction so trucks used to ship mail to local uSPS facilities can be quickly re-routed to avoid any possible delays. for organizations looking to increase efficiency and effectiveness of customer communications, now is the time to take a closer look at direct mail solutions for Standard Mail. While IT heads and marketers continue to search for the next best thing, direct mail has emerged as a proven communication channel that can create impact, deliver relevancy, boost response, and provide greater savings.

Grant Miller is vice president, global strategic product management, Document Messaging Technologies, Pitney bowes a january - february 2013


Checklists – Simple & Powerful Tools Checklists may seem like the grown-up equivalent of busy work — but they serve a very important purpose in any operation. By Mark Fallon

US Airways Flight 1549, The Miracle on the Hudson. On january 15, 2009, CPT Chelsey “Sully” Sullenberger landed a jet on the waters of the Hudson river after it had lost both engines when it hit a flock of birds. 155 people were on that plane, and not a single life was lost. Sully Sullenberger is a hero not just for his actions that day, but his actions afterwards. In every interview, he made it clear that the “successful” crash landing was because of the efforts of the entire crew. and that what he did was simple — he and the crew followed a series of checklists. Checklists. emergency checklists. Communications checklists. Passenger checklists. evacuation checklists. In addition to the skills of CPT Sullenberger and his crew, checklists helped save those 155 people. Maybe you think airline pilots are unique, and that not everyone uses checklists. you don’t see doctors using checklists during surgery. Maybe you will, if more of them read Dr. atul Gawande’s The Checklist Manifesto: How To Get Things Done. In a complex world, the simple checklist helps prevent more errors than specialized equipment or software programs. Too many people think that checklists are “beneath them” or “adding unnecessary work.” Gawande addresses these issues head-on and makes a succinct and cogent argument for using checklists — for anything that you think is important enough to do correctly. following the examples of professionals like airline pilots, Gawande launched an experiment in using checklists in operating rooms. a simple 90-second checklist used in eight hospitals around the world reduced deaths and complications by more than 30%. 22

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Think about that for a second — a 30% reduction in deaths and complications. That means using a checklist didn’t just improve a process — it saved lives. just as Sully Sullenberg and his crew used checklists on that flight to save lives. That’s a very powerful argument for using checklists. now, most of us don’t work in jobs that involve saving lives. but, our jobs, and the jobs of our employees, impact people’s lives. Whether it’s sorting mail correctly so the right person can begin working on a customer’s claim, or printing a high-quality piece that meets our customer’s expectations, or making sure that the right statement is in the right envelope with the right address. all of these processes impact people’s lives. a common argument against checklists is that we want our employees to think for themselves, and checklists limit that. Too often people confuse checklists as a “substitute” for thinking. It’s not; it’s a tool to instill discipline, assist memories, and ensure success. for me, the best example isn’t from pilots or doctors, but from my training as an army officer. One of the most important functions of an army leader is the ability to draft an operations order, or OPOrD. The situation for every mission will be different, the troops involved will be different, but the checklist is the same: 1. Situation 2. Mission 3. execution 4. Service Support 5. Command and Control by following this checklist, the leader is sure that he or she hasn’t missed the necessary steps that are critical to success. How-

ever, there’s a great deal of leeway in what the leader chooses to do in each situation. by the way, this checklist is used at aLL levels — from squads of 10-12 soldiers, to platoons, to companies, battalions, divisions and complete Theater of Operations. That’s how powerful and flexible this simple five-point checklist is. by providing a framework, with key points of success, with necessary requirements, you free up people to use their creativity to solve the complex problems. With a framework and clear expectations of the necessary steps of a process, a checklist facilitates and improves communication on a team. every person on the team knows the key steps and has the authority to point out that a step has been missed or isn’t being followed correctly. also, in both flight crews and medical teams, one of the key steps in the checklists is starting with introductions. each person’s role is clearly identified, and the entire team knows who is responsible for what. That frees up each person to concentrate on what should be their greatest concern, while knowing they are part of a larger effort. Let’s go back to uS air flight 1549. before the plane took off, the team introduced themselves to each other. They knew each other’s names and voices. This became very important, very quickly. after the birds hit the engines, CPT Sullenberger took over the controls. as soon as he did that, his co-pilot, jeffrey Skiles, took responsibility for getting out the manuals and the checklists for an emergency landing. The flight attendants, Donna Dent, Doreen Welsh, and Sheila Dail, began preparing the passengers for a crash landing. Knowing everyone else was doing their job, Sully was able to concentrate on the most important task at hand — landing the plane in the water without sinking right away. When he gave the command, “brace for Impact,” he heard the lead flight attendant repeat that command three times for the passengers. He knew his team was on the same page. another argument against checklists is that we all have the ability to memorize tasks that need to be done. Why isn’t that sufficient? Our memory is fallible. especially when under stress. When everything is going smoothly, like any normal day, we can follow our routines easily. However, when we add in more pressing events, we can become distracted, and make mistakes. Let’s take it one step further, and start making the processes more complex. and complexity now seems the rule, rather than the exception for our lives. While the complexities of some systems are “behind the scenes,” like all of the computerized parts of our cars, other systems require user interaction, like the alarm systems in our houses. now, let’s throw in some fairly common distractions. a customer calls right as you start the job. They’re upset and need you to fix a problem right away. They may even vent their frustration on you, and make you upset. even when the call is over, you’re still upset. and it’s the end of the day, so you’re tired. This is the point where your

memory may fail. This is the point where you are prone to mistakes. a checklist provides protection against failures at this time. a checklist will remind us of the minimum necessary steps, make them explicit and easy to follow. and, they instill discipline. To be successful, checklists need to provide enough, but not too much detail. a checklist isn’t a “how-to” guide”, or instruction manual, but a quick and simple tool to buttress the skills of trained professionals. Certain tasks should always be included in checklists, especially: } } } }

Tasks that have been forgotten in the past. Tasks that have been performed incorrectly in the past. Tasks that are routine, yet critical. Tasks that are the minimum necessary steps.

Checklists should be between five and nine items. any more than that, and it’s cumbersome and people won’t use them. remember, not all tasks, but the minimum necessary tasks for success. The checklist should fit on one page. In most processes where checklists are used, people are using their hands. They don’t have time to be flipping pages. a one-page checklist can be posted in an easy-access location. Once the checklists are developed, they should be tested. Testing is important to any process. The best way to test a checklist is through the after action review (aar) process. In the aar, the participants review the following key points and opportunities for improvement. Questions to ask include: } What happened? Did we use the checklists and pause points? } What went well? Did the checklists assist with the good per-

formance? } What didn’t go well? Did the checklist interfere with performance,

or did we miss a necessary step? } How do we improve the checklist?

To be effective, people have to believe in checklists. Leaders must reinforce the use of checklists. Share stories of the successful use of checklists, including the ones that Dr. Gawande talks about in his book. Most people know who Sully Sullenberger is, but they may not know how he and his team used checklists. everyone has been to the doctor at least once. Measure the team’s performance before and after implementing the use of checklists. Show them how much the checklist helps them be better. Share the positive results, especially the positive feedback from customers. Post “thank you” letter and emails in common areas. Of course, one of the most important actions for a leader to take is to make you the prime example. use a checklist in your own work. Demonstrate how your checklists help you stay effective and efficient. remember, there’s a reason why pilots use checklists. There’s a reason why doctors use checklists. There’s a reason why successful people use checklists. and that reason — checklists work. Mark M. fallon is President & CeO, The berkshire Company. a january - february 2013


ApplicAtion Article by Greg brown, VP of Marketing at Melissa Data

The Egalitarian Marriage Between Open Source and Data Quality Software Over the past several years, those of us concerned with improving data quality in our organizations have observed three trends beginning to converge.


The need for data quality solutions has expanded dramatically as the use of eTL tools for data integration has become more widespread and essential in the information ecosystem.

2. 3.

Despite the inroads open source solutions have made as platforms for data integration, the use of open source tools for many types of data quality is severely limited. Companies that once used data quality tools only for very targeted purposes are now looking to take advantage of them more broadly.

In a unique collaboration, Melissa Data and Pentaho, a provider of open source business intelligence tools, have capitalized on those trends to drive data quality solutions into the open source marketplace and to use open source technology to expand the use of data quality solutions in many enterprises. They have turned what could have been seen by some companies as limitations into new opportunities. but first some background. The roots of the first trend — the growth of eTL and the need for data integration — are easy to understand. as corporate information infrastructures become more complex, data, including contact data such as names, addresses, email and telephone numbers, must move around more freely. Contact information captured via the Web may need to be uploaded to a sales management application hosted in the Cloud. Information from Cloud applications may need to be loaded to corporate databases and then extracted to a data warehouse and so on. and, as eTL processes become commonplace, the need to ensure that transformations necessary to move data from one system to another are correct has become paramount. The reason that open source techniques are often of little use for specific data quality applications is more complex. The argument for open source software development has always been that many hands build better software; patches are built faster, and updates appear on a faster cycle. That may be so in many cases, but not for data quality software geared toward address and contact information verification. In fact, for data quality tools used for contact information, open source is just not an option. Top-flight contact data quality software requires CaSS certification from the united States Postal Service. CaSS, which stands for


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Coding accuracy Support System, involves annual testing for ZIP + 4, delivery point, and carrier route coding. To qualify for barcoding discounts, a mailing list must be verified against the latest uSPS address data file; a match must be found for each address, and the correct 11-digit Delivery Point ZIP Code and corresponding barcode must be added. There are more than 100,000 changes to the uSPS reference datasets every month, so CaSS Certified software needs continuous updating. The open source community structure of software development is just not a good fit for this kind of process. The third trend is driven by the growing awareness that information is an organization’s most valuable asset. Incorrect, incomplete and faulty data can cost companies dearly on the bottom line. So what have Melissa Data and Pentaho done? Melissa Data has used Pentaho’s open source platform to create a lightweight comprehensive data quality solution called Contact Zone. The Pentaho technology serves as the glue to knit together a wide range of Melissa Data data quality services, including address verification, move updating, deduping, geocoding, and postal presorting, that mailers can take advantage of to scale and automate their mailing processes. This collaboration represents an egalitarian marriage of the best kind. by incorporating its data quality components using the Pentaho data integration platform, Melissa Data offers an easy and convenient vehicle for companies and organizations to expand their data quality infrastructure. and given the fierce competition everybody now faces, that has to be a good thing. Test drive Contact Zone today at - the first 5,000 records you cleanse are free for basic address, phone, email and name cleansing.

Melissa Data 800.635.4772

ApplicAtion Article

Helping You Save Time and Money accuZIP, Inc. develops products and software programs for businesses of all sizes that advertise through direct mail or provide mailing and data quality services to other businesses. The accuZIP line of products include a powerful CaSS Certified software that validates your addresses and presorts your mail, Geocoding data that can add Latitude and longitude information to your data and calculate distance from a ZIP+4, nCOaLink validation to update the addresses of those who have moved, mail.dat file creation for PostalOne! electronic paperwork submission, intelligent mail barcode printing, and the accuTrace tracking service that tracks your mail, alerts you of new barcode scans, and helps generate and track the Qr Code on your mailpieces. accuZIP’s flagship product is accuZIP6 5.0, which is the single software program you’ll use to complete a mailing. use this product to import your list of names and addresses from your preferred data format. Once imported, process your list through the CaSS Certification procedure, which corrects, standardizes, and adds ZIP+4, Carrier route, and Intelligent Mail barcode data to your addresses. accuZIP6 allows users to interact with a uSPS Database of address ranges to help correct misspellings in street names and other data entry errors. The accuZIP6 presort setup window is easy to use, and allows you to claim the lowest possible postage rates and greatest postal discounts in firstClass, Periodicals, Standard Class mail, and bound Printed Matter. DDu, SCf, and bMC entry discounts can also be achieved. Container tags and GOLD PaVe Certified postal reports can be printed at the touch of a button, and a special packaging report can help with mail preparation. In addition to the mailing features, accuZIP6 5.0 is a complete database management tool. use accuZIP6’s duplicate detection to remove costly duplicates from your database, which really comes in handy when you’re combining multiple databases into one. Create samplings using the nth Select feature, perform complex searches to weed out records you don’t want to mail, export searches with ease, and much more. When it’s time to print your addresses, accuZIP6 gives you the ability to print only mailing labels or directly onto the mailpiece. you can also export your presorted data, for use in a mail merge or for printing outside of accuZIP6. accuZIP6’s integrated nCOaLink service matches your data to the nCOaLink database at speeds of up to 10 million records per minute. The service is available24/7/365, and allows you to process an unlimited amount of records for one low, annual price. This service ensures that addresses are reaching their intended recipients


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and that mailers are in compliance with the uSPS move update requirements. To help you save time and money and generate more revenue, accuZIP6 can be run completely unattended from start to finish. everything that can be done manually, can be completely automated using the powerful scripting feature. Create a script in accuZIP6 that opens a list, CaSS Certifies it, runs it through nCOaLink, removes duplicates, presorts, prints reports... nearly anything you want to do in accuZIP6. If you have many files that you need to process, put them in a watch folder, and have the accuZIP6 Script Monitor process the files automatically, with no user intervention. you can receive text message alerts each time the script completes. Track each of your mailings with the accuTrace tracking service. Log onto to your personal accuTrace web portal, select a job, and examine the scan results. See which pieces are out for delivery and which are still en route to their destination. Create data for printing Qr Codes, and see when those are scanned by the mail recipients. Send your customers their own urL to examine the reports of their own jobs. accuZIP offers many revenue generating technologies and is the preferred choice for businesses across the nation for over 21 years. accuZIP’s technical support is unmatched in the industry and is very easily accessible. To ensure that accuZIP’s customers make more revenue each year, accuZIP offers an exclusive “price lock guarantee” to ensure annual software maintenance costs never increase for good standing customers. Manage your client’s data and mailings with the simple to use industry standard accuZIP products and services for unlimited possibilities.

AccuZip 800.233.0555


Apps Bring Simplicity To Mailroom Tasks Many opportunities exist to implement smart phone technology to improve productivity and internal customer satisfaction in your mail center. Common time consuming activities like quoting express carrier rates, researching shipping requirements, mail sorting, logging and capturing incoming accountable mail delivery information can be automated by using apps. The mobility afforded to smart phone users also brings extra efficiencies to these everyday responsibilities. UPS, FedEx, and USPS all have mobile apps that give users the ability to track, get rates, process shipments, and find shipping locations. The USPS app also lets you order free mailing supplies like boxes and envelopes and look up Zip Codes. Apps like Ship Master let you compare express carrier rates side by side. Pitney Bowes even has an app ZipShip that verifies and corrects addresses. U-PIC, a discount package insurer, lets their clients save on package insurance on their outgoing shipments. If you are still using a clipboard, paper, and pen or a complicated package scanning solution to log your incoming express carrier deliveries you’re going to want to try QTrak. By enhancing the iPhone and iPod cameras so they function as high-speed barcode

readers that can recognize carrier barcodes, QTrak can quickly capture package-tracking information for all UPS, FedEx, USPS, and DHL shipments. Users can also look up internal locations of addressees, and, if required, email or text message the recipient. The entire receiving process takes less than 10 seconds. At the point of delivery the recipient signs for the package(s) directly on the iPhone or iPod. All receiving and delivery data including a digital image of the signature is transferred in real time via the iPhone 3G connection or the users wireless network to where managers can search for item delivery detail and quickly retrieve detailed package history.

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It’s 2013: Do You Know Where Your Mail Recipients Are? Cleaning address lists with CASS Certified software and updating addresses with an NCOALink service may be something you do automatically. USPS requirements have made both these steps integral to the process of preparing a mailing. They’re so ingrained in your workflow that you do them without thinking. Understanding why you’re doing them, and the limitations of each, can help you adjust your workflow for best mailing results.

Why Clean Your Lists? Clean and current mailing lists don’t just benefit USPS. The real benefit of updating your addresses is your bottom line. Sure, you need to run addresses through CASS Certified software and maintain an approved Move Update process in order to receive the best postal rates. For the real benefits, go back to the purpose of mail. If the message doesn’t get to the right person, at the right time, the message has failed its purpose. When that message fails, you’ve wasted money (on paper, printing and postage), but more importantly, you’ve lost the opportunity. Plus, letting that message get into the wrong hands can get costly.

The Limitations of CASS Certified Software Over the last ten years, requirements for CASS Certified software have evolved to more than just standardizing the address. In addition to checking if the block has buildings, the address must be checked against the USPS DPV data set. This verifies that the address, including any apartment, floor or suite information, actually exists. For many businesses, if a suite number isn’t included in the original address, that suite number can be appended to the address. Using the CASS Certified software won’t do the same for residences. Ultimately, the software can’t verify if the person you have on file truly lives at the address in your database.

beyond what USPS can offer, to provide the information you need to improve both mail deliverability and results. Contact more of the people on your mailing list with Apartment Append. Look up the apartment number for incomplete addresses and reduce the number of addresses with DPV problems found during CASS processing. Having this data can also result in more valid moves found during move update processing. Use ECOA Move Update to reach more people who have moved. This service uses data from credit bureau, magazine subscriptions and other sources to find people who did not file their move with USPS. Depending on the demographics of the list, this process can result in up to 20% more identified and resolved moves.

How Good Is Your Data Really? In the end, the only effective mail piece is one that reaches its intended recipient. There are tools outside CASS and NCOALink processing that give your address lists the extra polish they need to get delivered properly. Send your list in for analysis. We’ll do a thorough check of your mailing list and let you know how you’re doing. Will your data make the grade? Send your mail list to for your address quality evaluation. This program ends March 31, 2013. Satori offers an extensive list of enhancement options to supplement your CRM database with additional consumer or business data tailored to your goals. Email to learn more.

A Second Look at the NCOALink Service The NCOALink service is the only USPS approved pre-mailing solution to satisfy the Move Update requirement. There are two levels of service providers for NCOALink processing: limited and full. Limited-service providers offer 18 months of moves, while full-service providers offer 48 months. The 18-month service may seem sufficient. In reality, moves may be entered into the data set two or three years AFTER the move. The 48-month database can offer additional data, such as temporary away addresses.

Go Beyond USPS Based Services The NCOALink data set only includes moves that have been reported to USPS. Each year, thousands of people move without submitting move forms. Satori Software offers additional services that go



Satori Software 800.553.6477

Mailing Systems Technology Jan/Feb 2013  

Mailing Systems Technology Jan/Feb 2013

Mailing Systems Technology Jan/Feb 2013  

Mailing Systems Technology Jan/Feb 2013