Mailing Systems Technology July/August 2022

Page 1



How Will the Recent July 10 Rate Increase Impact Your Budget? PAGE 28

Changing consumer expectations and the evolution of direct mail strategies. PAGE 18

Best practices in government print & mail. PAGE 22

Does your disaster recovery program need a refresh? PAGE 24






DEPARTMENTS 05 Editor's Note

Halfway Through 2022: A Recap By Amanda Armendariz

06 Real-Life Management

Creating a Culture of Caring By Wes Friesen

08 The Trenches


From Batch to Triggered


By Mike Porter

10 Software Byte

Why, When, and How to Use PMOD By Lisa Leslie

12 Inkjet Info

Which Inkjet Technology Is Best for Your Organization? By Karen Kimerer

FEATURES 18 How Changing Consumer Expectations and Behaviors Shape Omnichannel Direct Mail Strategy

24 Times Are Changing: Is Your Disaster Recovery Program Ready for a Refresh? By Steve Berman

By Wes Sparling

26 NPF 2022 — That’s a Wrap! 20 Be Ready to Capitalize on the Trend to Outsource Printing Services By Kemal Carr

22 Adapting to Changes to Meet Best Practices in Government Print & Mail By Ernie Crawford



15 Strategy & Culture Connection

Succession Plans: Critical to Continued Success? By Bruce Gresham

16 Postal Insights

The Non-Trickle-Down Effect By Leo Raymond

By Amanda Armendariz

28 How the July 10, 2022 Rate Increase Will Impact Your Budget By Adam Lewenberg

SPONSORED CONTENT 17 4 Summer Ideas to Better Deliver Your Mail

SUBSCRIBE FOR FREE! EDITOR’S NOTE VOLUME 35, ISSUE 4 MAGAZINE STAFF President Chad Griepentrog Publisher Ken Waddell Editor Amanda Armendariz Contributing Writers Steve Berman, Kemal Carr, Ernie Crawford, Wes Friesen, Bruce Gresham, Karen Kimerer, Lisa Leslie, Adam Lewenberg, Mike Porter, Leo Raymond, Wes Sparling Audience Development Manager Rachel Chapman Advertising Ken Waddell 608.235.2212


Design Kelli Cooke

MadMen3 PO Box 259098 Madison WI 53725-9098 Tel: 608.241.8777 Fax: 608.241.8666 Email:

SUBSCIRBE Subscribe online at 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 Call 608.241.8777 Fax 608.241.8666 E-mail Online at REPRINT SALES ReprintPro 949.702.5390 All material in this magazine is copyrighted ©2022 by MadMen3 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, MadMen3 or its staff becomes property of MadMen3. The articles in this magazine represent the views of the authors and not those of MadMen3 or Mailing Systems Technology. MadMen3 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 35 Issue 4] is published six times per year (January/February, March/April, May/June, July/August, September/October, November/December) by MadMen3, PO Box 259098 Madison WI 53725-9098, 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


t’s hard to believe that we’re already in the second half of the year. It seemed like it was just yesterday that 2022 was beginning, with an overwhelming sense of hope that things would finally be back to the pre-pandemic normal, even as the threat of Omicron loomed in the background. The reality, as is usually the case, is a mixed bag. COVID certainly seems here to stay, with new variants popping up seemingly every few months and talk of an updated vaccine needed for this fall. So, in that sense, we certainly are not back to our 2019 normal. However, in terms of things like trade shows and networking events, 2022 absolutely delivered. Back in May, I attended the first in-person National Postal Forum since 2019, and it was a resounding success. Mailers from all over the country gathered together in the (sometimes sweltering) desert city of Phoenix to share how their operations had weathered the past three years (and, often, how they were doing on a personal level). It was such a nice dose of normalcy to be back in an exhibit hall, chatting with vendors and attendees, or listening to keynote speeches from USPS executives, getting their insight on where the organization is headed, especially in the wake of the 2022 Postal Reform Act. For those of you who were unable to attend this year’s event, I hope the wrap-up article on page 26 gives you a glimpse of the energy and excitement that characterized the show.

And we at Mailing Systems Technology still have more to look forward to this year. We’re excited to be partnered with Printing United, which will host its event in Las Vegas October 19-21. I certainly hope many of you can attend, especially those of you who are responsible for some aspect of the printing process. It promises to be an educational event that will allow you to bring back much relevant knowledge to your operation. Of course, while the networking side of things is basically back to normal, the decline in mail volumes is still a concern for many. That was a topic of much discussion in Phoenix, especially since it seems like there is no sign of the decline slowing (in part, perhaps, due to the recent twiceyearly rate increases that some believe will simply keep more pieces out of the mail stream instead of bolstering the USPS’s bottom line). While no one has a crystal ball regarding what direction mail will take in the future, it’s worth noting that time and time again, it has been recognized as a communication method that breaks through today’s ever-present digital clutter, and that alone is reason enough to ensure that we work together to keep the mail stream healthy and profitable. As always, thanks for reading Mailing Systems Technology. | JULY-AUGUST 2022





recent survey found that 44% of workers are looking for a new job. There are now two job openings for every person seeking a job, and Baby Boomers are retiring at the rate of 10,000 per day. Gallup surveys show only about 31% of workers are engaged at work. Wow! Human Resource executives say that the attraction and retention of engaged employees is the number-one challenge they face. What can be done to attract, retain, and engage the people we need to be successful? One important strategy is to intentionally strive to create a culture of caring. Research and surveys have identified several benefits to having a culture of caring, such as:  Increased productivity  Higher engagement, job satisfaction, and motivation  Improved workplace connections and sense of community  Lower absenteeism and workplace stress  Higher trust of employers  Competitive advantage, including lower turnover rates and being an employer of choice Tips to Create a Culture of Caring 1. Show You Care. As leaders, we need to show that we care and model the attitude and behaviors we hope to see on our teams. There is an important concept called “shadow of the leader;” people are watching us to see what example we are setting. To create a deeper culture of caring, we need to model and show the way. I resonate with CEO Anne Wojcicki,



who said, “The reality is that the only way change comes is when you lead by example.” A quote I use frequently is, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” We can show we care with our words and with our actions, such as performing thoughtful gestures like sending emails, texts, cards, or notes to our teammates when they perform well or face a difficult situation. We can surprise our team with bringing in ice cream bars on a hot afternoon, or sending people home early on a Friday afternoon after a busy week — the potential ideas are endless. 2. Demonstrate Compassion and Empathy. We have a huge impact on how our team members feel. One brain-imaging study found when employees recalled a boss that had been unkind, they showed increased activation in areas of the brain associated with avoidance and negative emotion, while the opposite was true when they recalled an empathic boss. Researchers at the University of Michigan suggest that leaders who demonstrate compassion toward employees foster individual and collective resilience in challenging times (like we live in now!). Showing compassion to others is good for them and for us, as this quote from the Dalai Lama suggests: “If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” 3. Get to Know Our Team. Our team members are not mere workers, but human beings with fears, dreams, challenges, aspirations, passions, and families. Let’s get to know them (within

reasonable bounds)! Asking open-ended questions, and looking for opportunities to have some fun on work time and also spending time with people outside of normal work hours can be helpful. Over the years, my teams and I have gone bowling, played miniature golf, attended movies, cheered on our local NBA team (go Blazers!), and enjoyed many visits to nearby restaurants or had food brought into the workplace. 4. Foster Social Connections. Multiple research studies confirm that positive social connections at work produce highly desirable results. For example, people get sick less often, recover twice as fast from surgery, experience less depression, learn faster and remember longer, tolerate pain and discomfort better, display more mental acuity, and perform better on the job. On the other hand, research at the University of California found that the probability of dying early is 70% higher for people with poor social relationships! We can encourage social connections among our team members in a variety of ways, such as: having places to take breaks together, having team building meetings and activities (refer to #3 above), acknowledging work anniversaries, celebrating birthdays and other life events, and sometimes just having some fun and laughing together. I like this quote from Andrew Carnegie, “There is little success where there is little laughter.” 5. Ensure a Moderate Workload and Work Hours for Every Employee. There is no place for burning out people in a culture of caring. We should ensure every employee has a reasonable workload and can handle their responsibilities without stress and panic. And we need to minimize the stress on our team members. Experts say that 60-80% of workplace accidents are attributed to stress, and that 80% of doctor visits are related to stress. One large scale study showed a strong link between leadership behavior and heart disease in employees. Stress producing bosses are literally bad for the heart — let’s not be that kind of boss! 6. Practice Continual Recognition and Appreciation. Everybody likes to receive positive recognition and appreciation. In all my years of leadership in both for-profit and nonprofit organizations, I have never had anyone complain they were receiving too much recognition and appreciation. To

SUBSCRIBE FOR FREE! be most effective and motivating, recognition and appreciation need to be ongoing, not just an occasional occurrence. Zig Ziglar stated, “People say that motivation doesn’t last. Well neither does bathing — that’s why we recommend it daily!” 7. Be a Psychological Safe Place. Amy Edmondson from Harvard is considered the world’s leading expert on psychological safety in the workplace. Her research shows that a culture of safety where leaders are inclusive, humble, forgiving, and encourage their staff to speak up or ask for help leads to better learning and performance outcomes. Rather than creating a culture of fear of negative consequences, feeling safe in the workplace encourages people to learn new things, be innovative, and own up to and learn when a mistake happens. 8. Celebrate Success. When we see our team members demonstrate the caring behaviors we want, we need to positively reinforce and celebrate. Management guru Ken Blanchard has long promoted the concept of MBWA (Management by Walking Around) and catching people

doing something right — then immediately giving a sincere praise (recognition). 9. Hire with Care. We should be very careful when we hire new team members. If we are developing the caring and positive culture we want, we need actively engaged team members who believe in the culture we are creating. Adhering to strict screening and onboarding processes will help us bring on new people that will enhance our team. One source of potential attractive new hires is to encourage referrals from our existing team members. 10. Extend a Caring Culture Beyond the Workplace. Part of the way our team culture is defined is how we interact with people outside our immediate team. Outsiders include co-workers from other departments and our vendors and suppliers. Extending care to them will be a true win-win; they will respond well and feel appreciated, and we and our teams will receive high quality support. It’s also very important to extend care to our internal and external customers. Customers want to know we value them, not just their money.

Closing thought: Preeminent psychologist William James counseled, “Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.” When we intentionally act to develop a caring culture our team members and our stakeholders will benefit and feel good — and so will we as leaders!  Wes Friesen (MBA, EMCM, CMDSM, MCOM, MDC, OSPC, CCE, CBF, CBA, ICP, CMA, CFM, CM, APP, PHR, CTP) is a proven leader and developer of high performing teams and has extensive experience in both the corporate and non-profit worlds. He is also an award-winning university instructor and speaker, and is the President of Solomon Training and Development, which provides leadership, management and team building training. He serves as the Industry Co-Chair of the Greater Portland PCC. His book, Your Team Can Soar!, has 42 valuable lessons that will inspire you and give you practical pointers to help you — and your team — soar to new heights of performance. Your Team Can Soar! can be ordered from or (under Book) or an online retailer. Wes can be contacted at or at 971.806.0812. | JULY-AUGUST 2022





he mailing industry has traditionally relied on large batch jobs. Mailers receive a name and address list or print image file from an internal or external client. They create letters, transactional documents, postcards, or self-mailers for each name on the list. While batch mailings continue to be important factors in the mailing business, mail service providers shouldn’t ignore the opportunities associated with mail triggered by individual recipient actions. When I was working in the service bureau industry, one-off mail pieces never fit into our production mail workflow. They were exceptions — work we had to accept from clients to win the large monthly batch jobs our facility was set up to handle. We usually set up a manual, non-standard process to create these low-volume daily jobs. Today, thankfully, print/mail facilities have access to technology that enables those types of mail pieces to be integrated into the daily work and handled by the same processes as the batch jobs. With a white paper document production workflow, you can add a single piece of correspondence to the rest of the day’s work without too much trouble. Document print and mail operations should consider a different approach to mailed communications and tout this ability to prospective customers as a selling feature. Embracing Mailing Trends We all know mail volumes are dropping. Companies and their customers have embraced digital communications as a cheaper way to communicate. Eventually, the elements remaining in the postal mail will be considered items of importance, where the document owners see a benefit by delivering the messages on paper. Organizations willing to spend the money to produce physical docu8


ments will expect a return on investment beyond simply delivering a bill or notice. One way to improve the ROI of any mailed communication is to ensure it arrives at the right moment. Many factors connected to individual consumer circumstances play into determining the right time. You and I may receive the exact same mail piece from our insurance company, for instance, but at different times. The ideal date to send this information could depend on our respective policy renewal dates or the time since our last claim, for example. Old Barriers Removed Many of the limitations that led us to process documents as monthly batch jobs no longer exist. I believe some of the batch volume will eventually transition to daily triggered activity because it’s better for the issuing company. Consider scenarios like these: 1. A customer visits an e-commerce website, adds an item to their shopping cart, and neglects to check out. Today, abandoned cart behavior triggers online re-marketing ads and email follow-ups which may be blocked or ignored, but what if the company could send a postcard? Variable data postcards featuring discounts or incentives connected to the item in the shopping cart are going to get noticed by the consumer, but only if it arrives promptly. I would expect the conversion rate on such mail pieces to exceed the electronic reminders on which retailers currently rely. 2. A company’s customer retention strategy focuses on content delivered via email, but some customers do not open the messages. Perhaps the consumer no longer uses the email address the organization has on file, the messages are going to spam

folders, or the customers are simply overwhelmed with too many emails. Failing to open emails after a set number of attempts could trigger a direct mail communication to re-establish contact with the consumer. Postal mail, with its address correction and move updating features, becomes a more effective way of re-confirming a customer relationship that can then be enriched in digital channels. 3. Anyone subject to an IRS tax lien, a matter of public record, is under pressure to resolve their tax situation and may benefit from some professional guidance. Tax attorneys or other financial experts can begin courting new clients long before their competitors by sending helpful material immediately following the public filing. Waiting until the end of the month to contact all the new prospects may cause them to lose market share. Making Mail Better You can probably think of dozens of other examples where communicating by mail at the ideal time can lower costs, boost sales, or improve customer satisfaction for your print and mail clients. All these instances make mail more valuable to the people paying for it, which is important for preserving the physical mail channel as a viable and profitable way to communicate. Creating daily mail sparked by outside triggers requires some new ways of thinking about how to process and track documents as they progress through the print and mail workflow. The batch, once thought of as a large group of identical documents sharing a cutoff day, becomes a collection of mail pieces from multiple clients or applications that need to be distributed on a certain day. In some formats, such as enveloped letters or flats, the capabilities of inserting equipment will limit some choices relating to document design and envelope selection. However, the technology that enables companies to make these adjustments already exists. All that remains is a study conducted by each print/mail center to decide if investing in triggered mail production is right for your company and your clients.  Mike Porter at Print/Mail Consultants helps his clients meet the challenges they encounter in document operations and creates informational content for vendors and service providers in the document industry. Follow @PMCmike on Twitter, send a connection request on LinkedIn, or contact Mike directly at

Email or Forward Your Company's Mail Tritek 'Oasis' Digital Mail System

Opening, Scanning, Imaging, and Sorting Mail

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s a mailer, you have likely heard of Priority Mail Open & Distribute (PMOD) and Priority Mail Express Open and Distribute (PMEOD). Many mailers who use this drop shipping method enjoy faster delivery, better control of in-home dates, and sometimes save money over other more traditional drop shipping transportation methods. Why Don’t More Mailers Use PMOD/ PMEOD? Generally, there are three main reasons: They are not aware it exists; they have not researched how and when this USPS service may be a better option; and often, they assume it costs too much and is a hassle to use. When Is PMOD/PMEOD Useful? Here are a few scenarios that illustrate when PMOD is a powerful and valuable tool:  A client is mailing to addresses in remote areas of the country (AK, HI, PR, etc.).  A mailing does not have enough drop ship volume to fill a truck or send to a consolidator.  There are several residual sacks or trays from a larger mailing that would typically be drop shipped using LTL but it ends up being both expensive and takes too long to be delivered.  You want to improve the delivery time for your USPS Marketing Mail without the additional cost of mailing it as FirstClass Mail.



Adding PMOD (or PMEOD when delivery dates are extra-critical and your customer will pay for it) can be an extremely valuable option. You just need to know how to use it (which may be easier than you thought)! How Does PMOD/PMEOD Work? Priority Mail Open and Distribute is a USPS service that is an alternative method of transporting drop shipped mail vs. using traditional transport methods (truck, rail, airfreight, etc.). The following is a summary of how to prepare Open and Distribute mail: √ Prepare the correct postage statement (examples: 3152 or 5630), which starts the clock for USPS tracking events. √ Be sure to include an Open and Distribute barcode on every container. √ Attach the appropriate tags/labels (see the examples on the next page). √ The tags/labels used vary depending on the containers used (sacks, tray boxes, flat rate envelopes, or flat rate boxes) and where they’re being dropped (at a DDU or a DMPF). Approved destination facilities include: DDU, SCF, ADC, NDC, ASF. √ As shown on the next page, eVS tags & labels do not require a postmark or signature and are marked “APPROVED eVS MAILER” in the postmark/ signature space. How Is Postage Calculated for PMOD/ PMEOD?  PMOD postage is based on the weight of the contents (excluding tare weight)

 PMEOD postage is based on the *zone and weight of the contents *based on the zone of the accepting PO location to the container’s destination facility (not the enclosed letters’ destination PO location).  Minimum weight of sacks: 5 pounds (except for sacks containing qualified trays)  Maximum weight of each container: 70 pounds. How Is Postage Paid for PMOD/PMEOD? • Postage for the enclosed mail can be any method permitted for the mail class (except for any method requiring cancellation — so no ordinary postage stamps). • Evidence of payment must be affixed to each individual tag, label, or tray box. • The mailing must be accepted at the BMEU or acceptance location designated by the Postmaster. Special Notes • Mail in the container must meet all eligibility and preparation standards. • PMEOD has a service guarantee by end-of-day of the scheduled delivery day. • There are NO authorized extra services available for PMOD/PMEOD containers. Work with your trusted software providers for useful tools to help you quickly compare pricing and delivery dates using drop shipping with LTL, PMOD, and other shipping options so you can provide the ultimate value to your clients.  Lisa Leslie is Director of Client Development for Window Book, Inc. - a BlueCrest Company.

Resources Visit for more details on the USPS Open and Distribute service. Visit html/pb22198/pb15kitt.html for specifications regarding tags, labels and other details related to PMOD service and publications/pub97/pub97_ch7_001.htm for information pertaining to PMEOD service.






nkjet technology has become increasingly popular in the recent past, and this is hardly surprising. Its value proposition aligns well with the communication needs of today’s consumers and buyers. As a result, the volume of pages being transferred from offset and digital toner devices to inkjet is healthy and growing. Keypoint Intelligence’s Global Production Printing & Copying Market Forecast predicts a strong growth rate for inkjet through 2025 (see Figure 1 below).



Recognizing the opportunity and need, technology providers have been steadily improving their product portfolios and capabilities. Moreover, new players continue to enter the market with the forecasted growth in the adoption of inkjet solutions. Suppose you are seeking a print provider that offers inkjet or considering investing in an inkjet press yourself. In either case, you’ll quickly notice that there is no shortage of information about the various technologies and capabilities.

What’s more, the information available to today’s buyers is growing all the time. So much information can make the decision-making process quite overwhelming, and the consequences can be costly if the wrong decision is made. Due to variances in technology, ink, paper, and other factors, it is nearly impossible for a linear decision-making process to reveal the right solution. As a result, selecting the best inkjet production press for your operation isn’t always as simple as evaluating speed, capacity, and quality. Today’s print operations have a great many choices when it comes to inkjet, but this piece attempts to make sense of them. The Incongruity of Inkjet Modern inkjet devices are available in all shapes and sizes. In fact, at the date of this publication, there are upwards of 70 different models that qualify as production inkjet presses. These presses can use coated or uncoated stock, and include continuous paper or cut-sheet feeding systems. Ink choices include water-based pigment or dye inks as well as UV-curable or solvent inks. Depending on the ink type that is chosen, additional paper considerations play a key role. For example, papers can be pre-treated or primed to improve press performance and image quality, or coatings can be applied post-printing.


The two primary types of printheads that are used to apply ink to paper are piezo and thermal, and both have their own unique advantages. Capacity, or the maximum number of prints that a device can print in a month, is also a key consideration. All of these characteristics are important when it comes to identifying the best inkjet press for your print operation. But wait, there’s more! Adding in the variables of service requirements, available uptime, environmental control investments, image quality, the digital front end, speed, finishing, and the cost of the initial investment can quickly disarm even the most decisive buying committee. So how do you determine the best solution for your business? Before we answer that question, let’s explore just a few of the variables in the technologies mentioned above. Their descriptions highlight why it’s important to fully understand all your options before coming to a decision.

 Coated Paper: A special coating is applied that enables the paper to absorb ink without smudging or bleeding.  Uncoated Paper: Available in a variety of textures, uncoated paper takes less time to dry and meets the requirements for many of today’s inkjet-eligible applications.  Continuous Feed (CF): This technology is excellent for specific applications and workflows. Books, transactional documents, and direct mail run well on CF devices. The process is cost-efficient and highly productive.  Cut Sheet Fed: Offers flexibility in matching substrates to a variety of applications, making it easier to expand into new applications that weren’t originally specified for inkjet.  Water-Based Pigment Inks: These inks consist of dry powder suspended in water pigment that sits on top of the paper rather than being absorbed.

They tend to keep their vibrancy longer as they resist fading.  Water-Based Dye Inks: Composed of dissolved dye suspended in a liquid and designed to be absorbed into the paper instead of sitting on top of it. These inks are known for brilliant colors and their likeliness to color match images and texts more accurately.  Hybrid Ink: Often developed by an equipment manufacturer or partner to complement other components of their technology, hybrid ink is not defined by a single ink category.  UV-Curable Ink: This ink eliminates the need for pre-coated paper. Ultraviolet technology is quick to dry, highly durable, and sticks to most materials. It is also very economical. Printing is clean and clear, does not smudge, and will not fade over time. UV ink is known to be environmentally friendly at 99.5% VOC (Volatile Organic Chemical) free. | JULY-AUGUST 2022


 Solvent Ink: Durable and suitable for printing on a wide variety of substrates, these inks are well-suited for outdoor signage or applications that need to last a long time.  Thermal Printheads: Offering a cost advantage over piezo, thermal technology uses heat to release the ink from the printhead. Two different droplet sizes are available.  Piezoelectric Printhead: Although piezoelectric printheads are a bit more expensive than thermal, they can be used with a wider range of inks, solvents, pigments, and dyes. Droplet sizes can vary to form detailed images. The considerations listed above are only some of the factors associated with inkjet technology. Forming a decision without a thorough understanding of the technology is the equivalent of a crap shoot. The good news is that making the right decision doesn’t need to be as daunting as it seems. Start with a Strategy The Ben Franklin decision-making approach — which is essentially compiling a list of the pros and cons, thinking about them, and then coming to a decision — can work well in many cases. When it comes to inkjet, though, this approach will only be as good as the information that is gathered to support your strategy and goals. To be clear, having a desire to increase productivity with a faster press is not a strategy. Striving to offer the best print quality is not a strategy. Purchasing the latest technologies is not a strategy. Strategy is a detailed plan that outlines the specific actions required to achieve a goal. In our industry, strategy is often influenced by communication trends and best practices. When developing an inkjet strategy, consider your current customers’ communication needs rather than immediately deciding on printheads and substate capabilities. Think about the shifts that are occurring in their world. What changes would you need to make to better support their vision? Start by breaking it down based on the applications they depend on. Think about the following: o Do they include personalized or versioned content? 14


o Are their volumes growing or declining? o What is the ideal substrate for each application? What is acceptable, and what’s not? o Are there things you can’t produce that your competitors can? Why? o How are your customers using print to create better customer experiences? o What is the required turnaround time, and is it increasing or declining? o How do you finish the application? Why? o What are the quality expectations? o What applications would benefit from adding more color?

When developing an inkjet strategy, consider your current customers’ communication needs rather than immediately deciding on printheads and substate capabilities. Determine the workflow that you currently use to support these applications, then ask yourself: o Will an inkjet press require a different workflow to keep up with speed and capacity? o What sheet size is optimal for the applications you’ve identified? o What tools are currently required to maintain color consistency and control? Will the technology you’re considering change or improve that? o Where can you add artificial intelligence (AI) or more automation to your workflow? Assess the following finishing considerations: o Do you intend to use your current offline finishing devices? o What sheet size limitations need to be noted? o Do specific applications benefit from inline finishing?

This list of questions is only a start and is certainly not intended to be allinclusive. Once you’ve recorded the mechanics of current and future work requirements, determine if an inkjet press will complement or replace current printing presses. By answering these questions ahead of time, you can narrow your search because the options you don’t need to consider will naturally be ruled out. Other opportunities to narrow the focus involve gathering print samples from different inkjet technologies. Make sure these samples are generated from your own files to help you gain a very visual and useful comparison. Next, share the print samples with your current and potential clients because their feedback is key to a quick start with inkjet. Naturally, there are several other factors that must be addressed before a decision can be made. The key takeaway is that it’s impossible to make a compelling case (e.g., thermal inkjet printheads are a better solution than piezo, an advantage exists in the ability to use coated vs. non coated paper) without first understanding all the characteristics of the application. The Bottom Line As time goes on, technological advancements will only accelerate, and various capabilities will continue to blend. This might simplify the process for identifying the right inkjet press for your organization, but it might also make the process even more complicated. Either way, try to eliminate words like “best” from your vernacular when evaluating your options, because the answer will often depend on a variety of factors. Inkjet technology opens the door to many new opportunities, and it’s about identifying the right fit for your specific applications and needs. 

Karen Kimerer of Keypoint Intelligence has experienced the many challenges of expanding current market opportunities and securing new business. She has developed a systematic approach to these opportunities, addressing the unique requirements of becoming a leader in our changing industry. She is wellversed in 1:1 marketing, web-to-print, direct mail, book publishing, supply chain management, data segmentation, channel integration, and photo products.




n the face of unprecedented and rapidly accelerating change, succession planning is no longer an isolated event occurring at or near the end of a business owner’s or leader’s career. The ever-increasing depth, breadth, and pace of change means leaders must continuously be creating leaders up and down the organization. The real challenge is to help employees — who may be very skilled in some of the tactical aspects of the business — understand how all the elements of the business fit together. And that is not enough; the elements that make the business successful today must be constantly scrutinized for their ability to succeed in the future. Accounting for Generational Differences In most cases, the style, experience, and background of the next generation will be different. For example, if the current owners are content to work 60 hours a week, and the next generation thinks they can get the job done in 40 hours, an evolution in how the business is run will be necessary. A sudden lurch caused by style differences can cause a business to lose key employees, customers, and suppliers. The reality is that a business’s values, practices, processes, and style must evolve. To accommodate this, a series of stages to test, practice, and codify changes is required. It has been our observation that while the external actions may need to be different to address style and environmental differences, the most successful transitions occur when the values of the succeeding generation match those of their predecessors.

Today’s leaders must decide who they need to be, and who their team needs to be, in order to create the experience and outcomes they collectively desire. Succession can no longer simply be an event in a business owner’s lifetime. It is critical to see it as a continuous strategy for building strengths and capabilities that will enrich the current and future generations of leaders. Moving Hearts, Minds, and People We have a customer that owns several different family businesses. The primary owner (“Dad” to both family and non-family employees) has a leadership team of nine members including:  Two sons who have each been in the business for at least 10 years each. One is strategically capable. The other is a great employee who will eventually own part of the business, but never drive the business as a leader.  The “old guard”: four non-family employees over 50 years old who will eventually retire or be retired.  Three non-family employees under the age of 45, who are a critical part the future of the business. One is a candidate to own stock. The owner built the business from scratch over 25 years ago and runs it like a benevolent dictatorship. This means that while the leadership team is outstanding in terms of making day-to-day and weekly tactical decisions, they have limited experience in making longer term strategic decisions. They also have very little experience in dealing with some of the larger, more

profitable customers, and handling complicated employee and cultural policies. In talking with the leadership team, it was apparent they unanimously felt the business only had to continue doing what it had always done in order to succeed. While tighter margins, increased electronic relationships (less face-to-face contact), and higher employee demands were expected in the future, they all felt the “recipe” Dad was using would suffice. In talking to Dad, he vehemently disagreed with his team’s views and felt they needed to think about how to make necessary strategic changes and strengthen critical capabilities. Identifying the Primary Issues After completing an assessment, the leadership team identified these key actions:  Make the transition from a benevolent dictatorship to a great leadership team.  Teach and sustain ownership thinking, but broaden it across the organization, even outside of the leadership team.  Knit family and non-family, owners and non-owners together.  Identify the right members of the team.  Identify what needs to be changed.  Replace Dad’s capabilities.  Deepen, strengthen, and broaden existing capabilities. Give the Team Time This example speaks to the urgent need to identify your unique business model and transfer it to the next generation. Putting it down in writing, and constantly testing and clarifying it will ensure its survival into the next generation when the founder or previous generation is no longer available. It took this team about 18 months to get everything in place to ensure success — and put Dad in a position to retire early. The current owner must begin to let go to gain greater security in the future. They cannot build what needs to be built; they can only provide the tools, raw materials, and leadership. Getting it right means the next generation will work in a true partnership to acquire the materials, structure, capabilities, and tools to build what the future demands.  Bruce Gresham and the team at Applied Vision Works (www. use practical methods to help business owners, leaders, and teams reach their goals faster. Connect via 704.726.6728, or the LinkedIn QR code to the left. | JULY-AUGUST 2022





uring the Reagan administration, an often-heard phrase was “trickle-down economics.” This is another term for supply-side economic policies, which generally held that tax breaks and benefits for corporations and the wealthy will trickle down to everyone else. This theory can be translated — sort of — into the world of the Postal Service. Upon enactment of the 2022 version of postal reform — HR 3076, the Postal Service Reform Act of 2022 — the USPS received significant relief from past and future financial obligations related to health care costs for employees and annuitants. Specifically, that relief derives from two major provisions of the law: one repealing the mandate in the 2006 postal reform law that required the Postal Service to prefund 75 years of future retiree health care costs, and the other allowing USPS employees and annuitants to fully participate in Medicare, thus reducing USPS contributions to other employee and retiree health plans. (Postal employees have always contributed to Medicare like private sector employees but, unlike them, weren’t allowed access to full benefits.) The total value of that relief has been put as high as $107 billion, though that number varies based on who’s estimating and what’s being included; the low end of the range is still about $50 billion. Regardless, it’s a lot of money, which is especially important given that it will partly offset what Postmaster General Louis DeJoy predicted in his 10-year plan would be $160 billion in Postal Service losses over 10 years. That plan includes a variety of measures to both reduce cost and increase revenue, but the two elements of the plan that are most onerous to mail producers and ratepayers are the reduction in service standards for First-Class Mail and some Periodicals, and the implemen-



tation of semiannual price increases that will be as large as legally possible. At the same time, the plan does not include any measures to reduce labor costs; in fact, the agency continues its pattern of largesse when reaching new agreements with the postal labor unions, and there are no efforts to implement performance or productivity standards. On the revenue side, DeJoy has placed emphasis on growing the agency’s package business, as if the existing giants in the package arena will graciously allow the USPS to become a viable competitor. Only passing mention is given the existing market-dominant classes, and no plans are offered to seriously reinvigorate hard-copy mail. Meanwhile, the objections of the commercial mailing industry and its ratepaying customers to the two unsavory initiatives mentioned above have been dismissed consistently by the PMG. Parties opposed to his plan are considered self-interested, narrow-minded whiners and obstructionists. His comments in the past have never indicated that he feels the need to get input about his plan or its implementation from the mail producing and ratepaying community. However, now that Congress has passed the legislation that he’d advocated in his plan, the question that’s resurfaced in the mind of mail producers and ratepayers is how the financial relief afforded to the USPS by that legislation will impact the plan’s financial forecasts and, in turn, the need for maximized price increases. (Observers also note that the USPS ended fiscal 2021 with revenue that was 8.7% better than planned, and 5.7% better than at the end of FY 2020. The USPS also had nearly $24 billion in cold cash at the end of the first quarter of fiscal 2022. Both of these data points further fuel doubts about the accuracy of the oft-

cited $160 billion hole DeJoy want to fill with ratepayers’ money.) Economists might be able to postulate how the benefits of billions in financial relief for the Postal Service are supposed to trickle down to ratepayers, much like tax cuts for the rich were supposed to trickle down to everyone else, but odds are that the results for ratepayers will be as undiscernible as those experienced by average citizens from “trickle-down economics.” However, unlike during the Reagan years, when there was no one deciding whether any alleged benefits would be allowed to trickle down, there is someone — the PMG — who will decide whether the benefits of postal reform will trickle down to ratepayers. If history is any guide, they won’t. The Postmaster General has repeatedly affirmed his intent to maximize the use of whatever rate authority is available to him, regardless of how the circumstances underlying his plan’s financial elements might change. Though, officially, the Governors of the Postal Service have the exclusive right to file price change requests, the majority have shown scrupulous allegiance to DeJoy, acceding to whatever he proposes should be done — including raising rates. Not that it will alter his course, but outside observers have questioned not only the bases for the plan’s financial projections but how the plan itself could — or should — be revised if those bases prove incorrect or overtaken by events. Clearly, getting billions in relief from past and future obligations should make a difference in the total projected loss, and, accordingly, reduce the revenue need, but few expect DeJoy will be diverted from his semiannual price increases on market-dominant products. Most readers of the PMG’s plan get the impression that it assumes the inevitable and unalterable decline of traditional hard-copy (market-dominant) mail. This apparent premise drives the perspective that revenues from whatever of that mail remains should be maximized. Conversely, there’s no attention given in the plan to how the decline could be moderated by better service or, more importantly, by a less aggressive pricing strategy. Therefore, while ratepayers and the commercial mail producers that serve them might be buoyed by the news of financial relief for the Postal Service, they shouldn’t expect that any benefit from that relief will trickle down to them.  Leo Raymond is Owner and Managing Director at Mailers Hub LLC. He can be reached at



Your customers (both current and the ones you hope to find!) are always on your mind. Getting their important information and new ideas delivered in a timely manner can make the difference in keeping them as a customer. Sometimes, you just need to find that one solution that will take care of your mail and improve your customer’s experience. Take a moment to look at 4 ideas that can make the very difference you need.

Track N Trace™ from BCC Software empowers mailers with insight into potential interruptions in the mailstream, providing the opportunity for proactive intervention before a ballot is delayed. TNT also provides robust reporting capabilities, giving election officials the confidence they need to deliver accurately timed ballots. BCC Software has been the leader in the postal software industry for over forty years, providing data quality services and software solutions backed by industry expertise and unmatched customer support. We are committed to the industry, and our solutions remain ahead of the curve and compliant with the latest USPS® regulations. | | 800.337.0442

Click2Mail provides the benefits of Postal Mail as a Service, integrating remote mail sending into your workflows — without purchasing software. Offering inline document validation, address standardization, real-time job status, and IV mail tracking, our HIPAA Certified platform makes conventional business mail processes completely digital for the sender — from start to finish. Discover cloud-enabled postal mail — send mail as easily as email. Proven cost savings compared with traditional mail processes. Drag-and-drop PDFs for hassle-free Certified Mail. Perfect for outsourcing, enabling WFH and offsite users, with a complete suite of plug-and-play VDP and PDF solutions and APIs that automate outsourced next-day print-and-mail. | | | 866.665.2787

Firstlogic’s DQ10 software includes file preparation, address quality, change-of-address, geocoding, data enhancement, and matching/consolidation in a set of comprehensive data quality products available as a bundle or individually. Driven by the industry’s most sophisticated parsing engine, this powerful system analyzes and cleanses data in both real-time API and batch processing modes. With DQ10, marketing departments, data analysts, and fulfillment operations can target digital and printed content that deliver increased sales and superior customer experiences. Data-driven companies turn to Firstlogic to care for their most valuable assets — the data that fuels their business. | 678.256.2900

With the recent health and safety concerns surrounding COVID-19, “vote by mail” has gained popularity. Election officials must identify voters that have moved to reduce waste, costs of UAA mail, and avoid potential voter disenfranchisement. As a USPS® NCOALink® Full-Service Provider Licensee, Melissa matches existing voter lists against the last 48 months of permanent change-of-address records filed with the USPS, and offers proprietary change of address processing using reliable, multisourced data to identify those who don’t file a notice. Be sure to take advantage of our limited time offer — free list processing for states and counties — call for details! | | 800.MELISSA || MARCH-APRIL JULY-AUGUST 2022





n today’s online world, consumers are becoming increasingly concerned about companies collecting their personal data. Yet when it comes to today’s marketing, it’s all about data. Data Concerns Make Consumers — and Marketers — Wary Data and online privacy have been growing concerns, especially as marketers have increased personalization efforts and made data-gathering efforts more evident, and mass data leaks have flooded newspapers and feeds. The industry has reacted in recent years by calling for the elimination of third-party cookies used by advertisers to track a web user’s activity (keep in mind that third-party cookies differ from first-party cookies, which are used by individual sites to remember data like a user’s personal settings). Not only are marketers


tasked with informing consumers about the data they may collect via online channels, but also providing them a means to opt out. Laws, regulations, and organizations are also making it more difficult for marketers to collect this information. For instance, Google will be phasing out third-party cookies from their Chrome browser by the end of 2023. However, offline data, predictive analytics, and other forms of data may have a more dominant role in both mail and online media in the near future.

communicate relevant offers and solicitations for products that interest them. At times, this expectation overrides data concerns. Consumers in America are willing to trade a reasonable amount of new information for relevant marketing communications. Research done by BCG and Google shows that two-thirds of consumers want personalized ads that suit their interests, yet nearly half are uncomfortable sharing the data needed to create personalized ads.

their needs (36%), proving that efforts to utilize data in a responsible way is well worth it. Realistically, consumers can’t have both, but marketers can use data in such a way that it informs a campaign without it becoming the focus. Try using the data differently. Instead of inserting a bunch of data points into a message and hoping for the best, look at how that information can inform the best way to market to your consumer. This entails analyzing the many attributes of compiled data to fully understand customers and prospects, and this information can then be utilized to create personalized, one-to-one omnichannel campaigns. This same modeled data can be used to create custom audiences for social ads, or send one-to-one geo-mapped mobile campaigns to individuals on the file. The end result is highly personalized direct marketing with messaging specifically targeted to individual prospects who are most likely to respond to the offer. Using one set of data with multiple messaging strategies deployed through direct mail and partner channels can drive response and make the most efficient use of your marketing budget. Creating a holistic direct marketing strategy using data can feel like it’s full of minefields, but you’ll manage to avoid them by treating each customer as a person. Try imagining having to make the same pitch in your direct marketing campaign to your consumer’s face — would they be comfortable with a stranger knowing all that information about them? Would you feel comfortable? It takes a nuanced hand and expert eyes, but striking the right balance between data and personalization can become the secret to your next successful omnichannel marketing campaign. 

Creating a holistic direct marketing strategy using data can feel like it’s full of minefields, but you’ll manage to avoid them by treating each customer as a person.

Use First-Party Data to Inform Your Campaign The first step is to utilize what you have. Using first-party data, and combining it with analytics, device IDs, and identity graphs, we can market to people with direct mail and online channels based on advanced analytics that use offline and online data as well as behavioral data. Postal address and other publicly available information can also act as a match key. According to research done by Factual, 80% of consumers are comfortable with brands using data they share directly. This is where direct mail shines, because it removes the obstacle of online privacy by taking the issue offline. Companies capture data about their customers and prospects that allows them to produce more relevant mail than ever before. Not to mention, the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) found in their 2021 Response Rate Report that — once again — mail has the highest ROI of all direct marketing channels. Surveys from the USPS show that 73% of households say that they read or scan their mail daily. Combining direct mail with two to three other channels creates a multichannel experience that encompasses all aspects of a consumer’s life and increases response across all channels. Exchange Relevancy for Data Without question, consumers are concerned about their data and privacy, and are less likely to be willing to share personal information and habits… unless there’s something in it for them. Consumers expect companies to

The solution is to build trust. Trust is crucial in making this work, and the best way to build trust quickly is by providing transparency and options. The report by Factual states that over half of respondents say they are willing to share data with companies if the company is more transparent. Simply being upfront with consumers about what data you’re collecting and using, and providing options for how to manage the communications you send, will go far in reassuring them that you’re using their information appropriately. It’s also paramount that you express how you’re actively working to protect their privacy and safeguard the information they’ve willingly given you. Striking a Balance Between Data, Personalization, and Consumers’ Expectations of Privacy It’s an impossible ask: deliver relevant, personalized content without using any data. The Factual research shows that personalized content helps consumers find products they like (53%) and makes them feel like the company cares about

Wes Sparling is SVP Marketing Strategy and Data Analytics at IWCO Direct, where he evaluates the effectiveness of clients’ current direct marketing efforts and sets the strategic direction for future campaigns. He can be reached at | JULY-AUGUST 2022




usinesses large and small have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and, in some cases, their entire business models have changed. Employees who now work remotely have proven they are still productive, and many of them want to continue working from a home office. This has triggered some strategic thinking about what to do with currently owned or rented office space, particularly because letting much of it go can improve the bottom line. Many enterprises still retain “essential workers,” those who must work on premise. Among these essential workers are the people who manage and process outgoing mail, including correspondence, transactional billing and invoicing, and regulatory compliance information. For large companies with in-house print and mail facilities, these essential workers can be dozens of employees working on millions of dollars’ worth of hardware and software equipment that must be replaced periodically with newer models, supported by additional training. With the large shift to remote working, many businesses are starting to rethink the wisdom of funding their in-house print shops and those essential employees, who might now be working fewer shifts or days out of the month, especially due to COVID-19 risks. For print service providers (PSPs) this can be good news. With the looming labor crunches and the rising demand for new digital communication options, as well as the affordability of printing in color, outsourcing is increasingly attractive to many enterprises. Deciding to move an in-house mail operation to a third-party service provider requires companies to address certain critical issues to ensure it is the right move. PSPs need to be ready by rethinking their competitive strategy and expanding their offering to include services beyond print and mail. Hardware and software providers continue to innovate with enhanced capabilities that allow service providers to streamline production, offer color print at attractive prices, and solutions that help clients improve customer experience strategies and support digital transformation. While no transition from an enterprise to a print, mail, and communications provider is perfect, having a solid strategy around the use of technology, efficient workflow processes, and in-depth knowledge of their industry will put these new clients at ease. The following are eight areas to examine within your operation when evaluating if your capabilities are ready to take on this new business: Operational Efficiency Today, automation is a must for quality and to meet deadlines. This means your physical workflow and equipment layout and the




steps it takes to move a job through the process is important to consider. A good measure of operational efficiency is observing the number of times material is being touched or moved physically to get through the production process. For example, an efficient operation has a workflow in which the paper output is moving to the inserter with the fewest steps possible. Having the physical workflow down to as few touchpoints as possible reduces the possibility of errors. Fewer touches can also provide better tracking control. If the operation is located on multiple floors and product from the print operations needs to move via elevator or be pushed down a long hall, these are all opportunities for quality errors in the documents, which may fall out of order and cause a reprint. A properly configured production floor increases productivity and quality and decreases process risk. Workforce Utilization The key measurement here is the ratio of the number of people on the floor to the amount of work they are doing. Overtime utilization is also an important factor. Mitigating overtime with part-time employees during peak periods is an option, although part-time or temporary help can pose quality issues if they are not part of the daily workflow. In-house print departments have a much smaller staff, which left them more vulnerable during the pandemic. PSPs typically have a larger workforce and, therefore, are experienced in covering for staffing shortages with crosstrained people.


Technology Historically, in-house print services are limited on investment as printing is not the company’s core business. Often, there is a limit to the services they can offer. With color printing now a standard for statements and invoices, PSPs are investing in these new technologies and can provide a variety of services that may not be available to the restricted in-house print shop. Because of this, there is a trend to move to outsourcing, so it is time for PSPs to look at what investments need to be made, not only to continue with the current course, but also to meet the digital communications needs customers demand, such as preference management and SMS billing.


Quality Metrics Possibly one of the most telling quality metrics is reprint percentage. Reprints include spoilage, items caught in the inserting process, and print quality issues. Internal quality issues that


are caught before mailing must be evaluated, along with end customer issues. One common yet unacceptable issue is double-stuffed envelopes. Companies lacking a closed loop monitoring system that validates every page going through the inserter leave the operation exposed to operator error. If an envelope misfeeds, Customer A may receive Customer B’s page 2, which exposes the operation to fines and negative attention. Substantial or recurring quality issues are a major red flag.


Work Diversity Work diversity encompasses the type of work done within the operation. In-house operations are often relegated to limited equipment options due to the limited nature of the documents being created. If the work mix is limited to strictly black and white policies, it limits the creativity of the company to change look and feel and modernize their formats. As a PSP, it is important to offer the capabilities to expand options for future growth and upgrades of customer communications. Overall Utilization Overall utilization refers to equipment capacity versus usage, as well as the physical space of the production floor and the equipment. The sweet spot for machine capacity versus usage ranges from 70-80%. As an operation, the machines should be running near full capacity with little room for maintenance or equipment downtime. By the same token, equipment running less than 60% is considered underutilized.


Business Continuity Planning (BCP) Every company should examine its business continuity plan (BCP). What is the plan for a short-term week-long interruption versus a complete loss? There are companies that provide total redundancy at a cost; however, these providers are suited to a short disaster. The question to ask is, in the event of a complete loss, is the BCP operations plan sustainable? It is important to have the relationships and facilities to meet disaster recovery challenges.


Business Continuity & Disaster Recovery Keeping your critical communications running so nothing comes between you and your customers • Paul J. DePaoli 203.572.3887 •

Multichannel Delivery The pandemic proved the need for multi-channel delivery, including SMS text-to-pay options. PSPs need to have the resources and the relationships to provide these services through high-end, omni-channel customer communications management (CCM) composition platforms. This includes multiple data streams and formats created and executed to deliver invoicing per the client’s request. A growing focus is on customer preference.


To be considered a leader in your industry, it is important to anticipate industry trends in order to gain a competitive advantage. There is a clear trend that, since the pandemic, outsourcing print/ mail production to a reliable, knowledgeable print and communications partner makes business sense to many enterprises. Many companies no longer want to invest in the capital expenditure, but still recognize the critical need to meet customer preferences in a timely manner. For PSPs, taking on this expanding business opportunity will require more than an understanding of what clients are looking to accomplish. It will require a strong assessment of your operation to ensure your operation is firing on all cylinders and primed to capitalize on this trend with a solid strategy that ensures success.  Kemal Carr is President of Madison Advisors, an independent analyst and market research firm that addresses the needs of the electronic and print customer communications management marketplace. Visit | JULY-AUGUST 2022



he delivery of critical communications within the government has undergone many pivotal changes recently. Many of these changes are causing federal, state, and local government mailing centers to revitalize their production processes and review mail management best practices. Here are four changes that are worth reviewing and questions to ask to ensure your operation is keeping pace: Mail piece verification and piece-level tracking There’s no question that Amazon has changed consumer expectations when it comes to tracking shipped items. Combine this with the private sector’s 99.999% accuracy rates for mail verification. The USPS Informed Delivery platform now enables end users to see where their letters are in the process. Now, these same tracking expectations are being placed on government agencies by constituents. The question to ask is: Does your production process verify and audit every job, mail packet, and page to ensure 100% verification?



Vote by mail The pandemic brought the ability to vote by mail to nearly every household in America. Mailing technology and having an AI-based, intelligent automated document factory (ADF) are key to ensuring accuracy of voting ballots with the correct information and then auditing them on the back end. Now is the time to look at your infrastructure and deploy solutions that address the ongoing issue of accounting for every mail piece that is created and sent and to be able to report on every step of the process quickly and efficiently. The question to ask is: Do you have a robust reporting and accountability process to handle future production processes reliably?

Inclusivity and Section 508 compliance is law One of the most significant changes that has happened in the government printing and mailing space has been inclusivity, or Section 508 compliance. This law covers a range of issues related to assisting people with different kinds of disabilities and, in

SUBSCRIBE FOR FREE! a print and mail operation, this means offering accessible formats to recipients. Departments and agencies need to ensure they have a solution or offering to deliver accessible communications. Implementing these solutions will help ensure your organization is compliant and, thus, avoid potential lawsuits. There are vendors that specialize in bringing braille or large format solutions to the print and mail industry. The vendors in this space know how to support government agencies and departments and have the expertise and people to ensure that your communications are 100% compliant. The question to ask: Do you have a partner or a vendor to help ensure that you offer compliant communications?

Automation Automation should no longer be “in plans for the future.” It is the only way for nearly every large transactional mail provider to ensure it is competitive with the private sector. Automation means you can produce perfect, repeatable output. There are many systems that talk about automating manual tasks in print and mail, but in 2022, it all comes down to using a hyper-automation platform to take those islands of technology and link them together into a harmonious, fully automated workflow. Machine readable codes like 2D barcodes and address verification software have enabled many federal, state, and local government production facilities to now have the latest and greatest software that will control and manage all their jobs. A simple, secure web interface that offers web-based job approval can move responsibility from print operations back to the department or agency that created the communication — all without requiring a production employee to get involved. Technology has made many things easier, and the right workflow management tools will automate manual tasks and eliminate errors, while protecting your employees — which are your most valuable production assets at the moment. The right implementation will simplify your operational procedures so that you can survive some turnover, having less dependence on individual people.


MISSING OUT? What do more than 46,000 mail production and workflow professionals know that you and your colleagues do not?

The question to ask is: What do we need to do to improve or eliminate those non-value-added processes?

Tying It All Together Production print and mail is no longer just print, insert, and mail. It is now about developing the best AI-based hyper-automation workflow and developing a unique, secure offering to give your internal clients and agencies the ability to trust in your production workflow. The best place to start is by outlining where you are at today based on the above four points and look at how you can adapt and expand processes to maximize the efficiency of your mail operations and ensure you are meeting evolving client expectations.  A digital document industry pioneer, Ernie Crawford is President/CEO and founder of Crawford Technologies. One of only a small number of people worldwide with M-EDP (Master Electronic Document Professional) designation, Ernie has more than 30 years of senior marketing and management experience in the high-volume digital printing market.

Every month, Mailing Systems Technology delivers information and ideas for improving the production, quality, workflow, and delivery of your company’s printed customer communications and direct mail.

NOT A SUBSCRIBER? Sign up for FREE today! | JULY-AUGUST 2022


By Steve Berman


Is Your Disaster Recovery Program Ready for a Refresh?


f the last two years have taught us anything, it’s that the threat landscape is constantly evolving. With offices reopening as the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic recedes, many business owners hoped life was returning to normal, only to be faced with supply chain disruptions and rising costs due to inflation. Cyber criminals have also been busy, using a variety of schemes to exploit corporate networks for their own ill-gotten gains. Meanwhile, nature continues to test the resilience of businesses as drought, wildfires, and disastrous weather events occur with ever-increasing frequency. This emergence of new challenges drives home the need for businesses to prepare for a wide range of potential disasters while anticipating new threats. To do so, it’s imperative to have an up-to-date disaster recovery program that includes a current risk assessment, operational analysis, and disaster recovery plan. The Best Defense Begins with a Current, Realistic Risk Assessment A viable disaster recovery plan hinges on a realistic assessment of the threats and vulnerabilities that could potentially disrupt your business. Because circumstances can change rapidly, it’s important to perform a risk assessment at least annually, so you have a clear understanding of any new threats to



your organization. If it’s been a while since you performed a risk assessment, start by identifying vulnerabilities to your physical location, IT systems, networks, and data. Next, catalog any environmental, natural, and human threats and note any changes that could impact your operations. Are weather experts forecasting heavy electrical storms in your area this summer? Are there any new malware attacks on the horizon? Are any of your major suppliers experiencing shortages? Through regular risk assessments, you can factor in any significant developments impacting your business and prepare accordingly. Building Resilience with an Operational Analysis Conducting a regular analysis of your business operations goes hand in glove with an effective risk assessment. As you assess the various threats to your business, consider changes to your operational environment, as well as external risks. Have any employees left your organization? Make sure their accounts have been disabled or deactivated. Are you reopening an office or moving to a hybrid workforce? Ensure you have a system in place to monitor and track the day-to-day usage and location of physical assets and internet usage. Compare these factors against your baseline from previous audits and take note of any changes.

When conducting your operational analysis, you also want to pay attention to your data backups. Do you store backup copies at a geographically remote location? How quickly could you restore critical applications and data in an emergency? To protect the confidentiality, availability, and integrity of your company’s information, perform regular restoration tests of your backup media and make sure you have a current inventory that identifies all backups by status and location. Avoid putting all your eggs into the “cloud” basket — ensure that your plans include contingencies for your business to function if it loses connection to your online backups stored on cloud services. An effective operational analysis should also include a data and application criticality analysis. Required by HIPAA, the criticality analysis is a best practice that every business should adopt to ensure your data and IT resources will be available when you need them. To get started, take stock of all your IT systems and applications and assess the impact that any loss in function would have on your business. Identify which systems need to be restored in minutes versus those that can be placed on the back burner for a few days. Then create a list of applications and systems to restore in order of priority. Plan for Success with an Updated Disaster Recovery Plan Once you’ve performed a comprehensive risk assessment and operational analysis, you’ll have a good idea of what to include in your disaster recovery plan. If you already have one, congratulations! But remember, having a plan is only half the battle. If you’re not updating your plan at least annually, chances are good that it won’t contain the information you need when a disaster occurs. A regular review of team assignments is necessary because staff turnover can create critical gaps in your disaster recovery team. During your review, identify team members who have left the company and note any disaster recovery roles and responsibilities assigned to them. Ensure you’ve got a current organizational chart, so you can identify potential replacements with the decision-making ability and expertise to take over for any team members who have moved on. The ideal disaster recovery team is cross-functional, representing all your major business units and corporate leaders. The plan update is a good time to review your organization and make the adjustments needed to reflect changes

SUBSCRIBE FOR FREE! in your organization and leadership. Also, work to build your team’s cross-training capabilities, so each member can wear multiple hats in a critical situation. Once you’ve addressed the composition of your team, don’t forget to verify and collect current contact information for all team members. A good approach is to ask each team member to build a customer and employee contact list and identify which individuals they will have responsibility for contacting in an emergency. Ensure everyone has quick access to this information. Creating and distributing a laminated card with all team members’ cell phone numbers is a good practice. In addition, you may want to identify alternate methods for placing orders and sending invoice payments if possible.

be done in a formal meeting with someone assigned to take notes and document lessons learned. Try not to run the same scenarios year after year; draw from current events and use actual threats and risks in the tabletop tests, so that the functional tests will best reflect real-world situations. Annual security awareness training for all employees should include the disaster recovery plan, including any new information. All employees should be made aware of the critical points, as well as identifying evacuation routes, emergency assembly points and how to contact those responsible for coordinating emergency response. You’ll also want to address any local requirements related to fire prevention and other topics.

Teamwork Makes Your Plan Work Before you publish your plan and distribute it to your entire organization, assemble your updated disaster recovery team to test your plan against a variety of scenarios. Performing tabletop tests and functional, real-time exercises will give team members a chance to work together and resolve any deficiencies before an emergency takes place. Ideally, this should

Redundancy and Due Diligence Are the Keys to Securing Your Supply Chain With supply shortages impacting many businesses, it’s more important than ever to identify backup vendors for critical supplies. When selecting new suppliers, a thorough vendor due diligence is important. In addition to reviewing financials and security attestations, look at your vendors’ disaster recovery preparedness. Do they have backup sites that are geographically distributed, so they

can transfer operations if a facility is disabled? Do they employ standardized workflows and production processes that can be replicated at alternate sites without loss of critical RPO (recovery point objective) and RTO (recovery time objective)? Ask about their communication channels as well. Do they employ multiple internet connections, using diverse carriers and fiber routes? Whenever possible, line up fully vetted backup suppliers well in advance of any supply chain issues, so you can make necessary adjustments without impacting your ability to deliver the service your customers expect. The pandemic and recent supply chain issues have driven home the importance of building resilience in business operations. Keeping your disaster recovery program current by conducting regular risk assessments and operational analyses and updating your disaster recovery plan will ensure you’re able to weather any storm or other unexpected events.  Steve Berman is Director of Risk and Compliance for DATAMATX, one of the nation’s largest privately held full-service providers of high-volume print and electronic transactional communications. For more information, visit

NPF 2022— THAT’S A WRAP! By Amanda Armendariz


he 2022 National Postal Forum in Phoenix, Arizona, was a resounding success. After two years without an NPF event, thanks to the global pandemic, it was refreshing to be able to gather in person once again, networking and sharing our knowledge and questions. Phoenix is a city rich with cultural heritage, and that richness was evident throughout the entire event. Before hearing Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s keynote address, attendees were treated to a stunning performance of a Native American hoop dance. The dancer did a phenomenal job of educating attendees on the history of the hoop dance and his tribe’s culture. It may not be mail-related, but it was definitely a highlight of this year’s show! The keynote speech that followed started out with PMG DeJoy calling attention to the different factors and players that he believes had contributed to the financial precariousness of the USPS. Whether these assertions were true or not, they certainly fueled much conversation in the hours that followed. He then touched on how aspects of his Delivering for America plan were progressing, noting that, “First, we implemented both market dominant and competitive price increases, which were necessary for our continued survival. Second, we are adjusting all our products and standards to align with market evolutions. These actions will simplify operations and reduce costs and grow revenue. Third, we have reorganized our management structure and have the total organization focused on improving our operations and our service to you. We had a great peak season and have improved market dominant service scores to 94%. On average, we deliver mail in 2.4 days, which is just as fast as before we changed the standard.” After the keynote, attendees had their choice of a variety of sessions imparting information to help them improve their mail operations, and an exhibit hall filled with some of the hottest solution providers in the mailing industry today. Whether or not you were able to attend the first in-person NPF since 2019, we hope you will mark your calendars for May 21-24, 2023, when we will gather in Charlotte, North Carolina. Like all NPFs, that will be an event you do not want to miss! 



JUST THE FACTS Mailing Industry Attendees: 1,676 USPS: 708 Exhibitors: 631 Exhibiting Companies: 108 See you next year in Charlotte! Visit for more information. | JULY-AUGUST 2022





n August 29, 2021, and again on July 10, 2022, the USPS had the largest rate increases in over 10 years, and the combined 12-month increase is daunting at 10-30%! It also impacts the largest mailers the most due to higher percentage increases for production mail categories (see Figure 1). We have been creating comparison charts for our clients that go over the changes in rates to show how it will affect budgets. The reason we do this is to provide a true comparison versus the overall average percentage increase that the USPS talks about. Based on the type of mail you send, the increase could be higher or lower than the announced aver-

age. Also, when you look at the new rate charts provided by the USPS, they typically will not show the level of detail needed (previous and new rates, side by side) to see these differences. The largest volume mailers, who work with the USPS to have the highest level of

automation, will see the biggest increases. This mail makes up 87% of the total and has fewer options for suppression (see Figure 2).  Automation First Class Mail: Going up 7% (Letters) and 13% (Flats)  Marketing Mail: Going up 6% (Letters) and 8% (Flats) Figure 2

Figure 1




First-Class Mail Single Piece: 3.4% – 14.6% Increase




Figure 3


First-Class Mail Commercial: 7% - 20.7% Increase


Figure 4


Figure 5


Hopefully, this will help you budget by seeing the impact of the most common services that you use today. At the bottom of this article there is also a link to an excel tool where you can plug in your mail volumes to see the impact to your organization. The price of a stamp will go up by $.02 and metered letters are seeing a $.04 increase to $.57. A single piece flat is increasing from $1.16 to $1.20. The biggest change is the additional ounce rate; increasing from $.20 to $.24, making heavier items significantly more expensive (see Figure 3).

The largest volume mailers, who work with the USPS to have the highest level of automation, will see the biggest increases.


Marketing Mail (Formerly Called Standard Mail): 4% to 16.5% Increase





Figure 6

Figure 7

Automation letters are going up six to seven percent, and Flats are seeing 13% average increases. Flats will have significantly higher impacts due to the additional ounce rate going up by $.04 (as seen in Figure 4). The biggest change in this category occurred a few years ago when they increased the weight limit for the Commercial Letter rates to 3.5 ounces. The goal was to increase the value of the mail piece allowing customers to add additional content at the same price (see Figure 5). When you look at the chart in Figure 5 and compare the rates of a three-ounce metered letter at $1.05 to a Commercial rate of $0.455, it is a 51% savings! This is a big win for presort services that are now more valuable because of the savings they can provide. Also, for flats (9 x 12 or 10 x 13), consider folding those into 6 x 9 envelopes. The savings can be significant with these new rates and weight savings. A three-ounce flat at $1.68 now could cost as little as $0.455 at the letter rate, assuming it could be automated through in-house software or presort services. Marketing Mail Letter rates are increasing at approximately six to seven percent while Flats are going up seven to 10% (see Figure 6). The destination entry level Letter discounts are increasing up to 10-11%, | JULY-AUGUST 2022


SUBSCRIBE FOR FREE! Additional Rate Change Items

Figure 8

Mailers are going to need to look for savings strategies to help offset these changes. Figure 9

while Flats are holding at the DNDC level but increasing 15% when moved to the sectional center facility (DSCF), as you can see from Figure 7. Additional rate change items are listed in Figures 8 and 9.

Figure 10

Conclusion This is the second largest increase we have seen in years with the biggest occurring in the last 12 months! Mailers are going to need to look for savings strategies to help offset these changes. Our recommended strategy is to create visibility to all mailings and look for automation methods where applicable to reduce the cost and streamline production. To budget for this increase, you need to look at the type of items you are sending, and the weight and zones that are most common, to truly estimate the impact. We have developed a Microsoft Excel-based budget calculator that you can download for free that should help you better plan for this year (see an example in Figure 10). Some of the most popular USPS classes are going up at the highest rates but luckily there are ways to help mitigate this through automation and technology. Adam Lewenberg, CMDSS, MDC, President/CEO of Postal Advocate Inc., runs the largest Mail Audit and Recovery firm in the United States and Canada. They manage the biggest shipping & mail equipment fleet in the world and their mission is 30


to help organizations with multi-locations reduce mail and parcel related expenses, recover lost postage funds, and simplify visibility and oversight. Since 2011, they have helped their clients save an average of 56% and over $73 million on equipment,

presort, avoidable fees, and lost postage. He can be reached at 617.372-6853 or adam.lewenberg@ Visit https://postaladvocate. com/rate-change-tools/ for more information, including the rate change calculator.


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