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JULY - AUGUST 2017

MailingSystemsTechnology.com

ONLINE POSTAGE COMES OF AGE FOR TODAY’S BUSINESSES. PAGE 38

WHAT’S THE BEST DIRECT MAIL PRODUCTION TECHNIQUE FOR YOUR COMMUNICATIONS? PAGE 36

PLUS

NEED TO BUY AN INSERTER? HERE’S HOW TO EVALUATE. PAGE 40

OUR ANNUAL

HOT COMPANIES ISSUE!


TABLE OF CONTENTS

JULY - AUGUST 2017 | VOLUME 30 ISSUE 4

FEATURES

DEPARTMENTS/COLUMNS 05

06

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16

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Our Special HOT COMPANIES Section

This special advertising section lets you get to know some of the best partners in the print and mail industry!

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How to Best Evaluate Different Production Techniques for Direct Mail

Real Life Management

Why Stress About Stress? Keys to Managing Stress Well By Wes Friesen

Mail & Technology Merge

Fire Pit Musing, Part Two By Vincent DeAngelis

Connecting Point

Informed Visibility vs. Informed Delivery: What’s the Difference? By Chris Lien

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Editor's Note

Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone By Amanda Armendariz

38 Online Postage Comes of Age for Businesses By Chris Giles

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Software Byte

The Intelligence of Intelligent Mail By Jeff Peoples

The Trenches

How Much Do Paperless Documents Really Help CX? By Mike Porter

By Kurt Ruppel

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40 Top 10 Items to Consider When Buying an Inserting System By Adam Lewenberg 4

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44 Addresses and Discrete Grid Systems

By Merry Law and Pierre Rossouw

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Postal Affairs

Mobile Shopping + Informed Delivery = Postage Savings By Bob Schimek

Direct Mail Evolution

Direct Mail Gets Social: Can 1.65 Billion People Be Wrong? By Brad Kugler


EDITOR'S NOTE

VOLUME 30, ISSUE 4 MAGAZINE STAFF Publisher Ken Waddell Editor Amanda Armendariz amanda.c@rbpub.com Editorial Director Allison Lloyd allison.l@rbpub.com Contributing Writers Vincent DeAngelis, Wes Friesen, Chris Giles, Brad Kugler, Merry Law, Adam Lewenberg, Chris Lien, Jeff Peoples, Mike Porter, Pierre Rossouw, Kurt Ruppel, Bob Schimek Audience Development Manager Rachel Chapman rachel@rbpub.com Advertising Ken Waddell (o) 608.442.5064 (m) 608.235.2212 ken.w@rbpub.com Design Kelli Cooke RB Publishing Inc. PO Box 259098 Madison WI 53725-9098 Tel: 608.241.8777 Fax: 608.241.8666 Email: rbpub@rbpub.com SUBSCIRBE Subscribe online at MailingSystemsTechnology.com. 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 rachel@rbpub.com Online at MailingSystemsTechnology.com. REPRINT SALES ReprintPro 949.702.5390 www.ReprintPros.com All material in this magazine is copyrighted ©2017 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.

STEPPING OUTSIDE OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE WITH AMANDA ARMENDARIZ Oftentimes, in business, we get stuck in a rut. We do the same old thing on a daily basis, following the same routines we always have — sometimes these routines were even created by our predecessors, and we just continue them when we step into that new role. Sometimes, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. After all, we often do things because they work for us and our operations, so it’s not really that surprising that we stick to the same old, same old. But many times, by sticking to the same old routine, we miss out on opportunities to improve our operations. We are afraid to step out of our comfort zone to explore new partnerships and new avenues of success. And when that’s the case, everyone is affected — the company, the workflow, and most importantly, the customers. And that is why we put together this annual HOT COMPANIES issue. It’s a way for you to get to know some of the best print and mail service providers in our industry. Take a look through the following pages and see if any of the offerings stand out to you. Sometimes, we’re not even sure exactly what we or our organization need until we come across it, but then a lightbulb goes off and we think, “Aha! My mail WOULD be better if we incorporated this service.” After all, that’s our goal at Mailing Systems Technology — to help you be the best mailer you can be, with the help of industry partners. And our annual HOT COMPANIES issue is just another avenue to achieving that goal As always, thanks for reading Mailing Systems Technology.

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 30 Issue 4] is published six times per year, (January/February, Annual Industry Buyer’s Guide, March/April, May/June, September/October, November/December) by RB Publishing Inc.,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

MailingSystemsTechnology.com | JULY-AUGUST 2017

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REAL LIFE MANAGEMENT

By Wes Friesen

WHY STRESS ABOUT STRESS? KEYS TO MANAGING STRESS WELL!

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tress is an inevitable part of work and life. How well we manage stress will significantly influence our personal success — and the success of our teams. To help us better understand and manage stress, let’s dig into the causes of stress, consequences of stress, and coping mechanisms we can employ. Causes of Stress Stress is a reaction to situations (stressors) where we feel threatened or anxious. There are two major categories of stressors we face: Work Stressors and Life Stressors. Work Stressors: We all know that work can be stressful, and job demands can disrupt one’s work-life balance. Following is a list of common work related stressors:  Work demands — being asked to do too much or being asked to do too little  Unclear expectations — not knowing what one is expected to do or how work performance is evaluated  Role conflicts — feeling unable to satisfy multiple, possibly conflicting performance expectations  Ethical dilemmas — being asked to do things that violate law or personal values  Interpersonal problems — experiencing bad relationships or working with others we don't get along with  Career developments — moving too fast and feeling stretched; moving too slowly and feeling stuck on a plateau  Physical work conditions — lack of privacy, too much noise, or other unpleasant working conditions Life Stressors: “Life happens” and can be very stressful from family events (e.g. family member illness), financial difficulties (e.g. loss of income by a spouse), and

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Stress is a reaction to situations (stressors) where we feel threatened or anxious. There are two major categories of stressors we face: Work Stressors and Life Stressors.

relationship struggles (e.g. a separation or divorce). People can also suffer from spillover effects that result when forces in their personal lives spill over to affect them at work or vice-versa. It is often difficult to completely separate work and non-work lives, especially in this age of smart devices that keep us continually in touch with work and personal affairs. Life stressors and spillover effects are highly significant and can affect us and our team members. Consequences of Stress Scholars talk about two types of stress. The first is eustress — constructive stress that results in positive outcomes. It occurs when moderate (not extreme or sustained) stress levels prompt things like increased work effort, greater creativity, and more diligence. Health psychologist Kelly McGonigal has a Ted Talk entitled How to Make Stress Your Friend, which speaks to potential benefits of moderate stress. Moderate stress can prepare our bodies for higher performance by breathing faster, which delivers more oxygen to our brains, and releasing adrenaline, which provides energy. The hormone Oxytocin is released, which primes us to do things

that strengthen close relationships. Oxycotin makes us crave physical contact with our friends and family, and enhances compassion and caring. It is a natural anti-inflammatory, helps blood vessels stay relaxed during stress, and helps the heart heal from any stress related damage. The second type of stress is distress — destructive stress that is dysfunctional for the individual. Distress comes from excessive and/or extended stress and is a major cause of physical, mental, and emotional health problems, including high blood pressure, heart attacks, lower immunity, anxiety, and depression. Key symptoms of individuals suffering distress include increased absenteeism, increased tardiness, decreased diligence in work, increased negative attitude, increased resistance to change and less cooperation. Coping Mechanisms Managing stress well is important for us and our teams. Let’s take a look at 10 proven coping mechanisms that we can use for ourselves and others to deal with the stress that comes our way: 1. Take care of ourselves. We all know the basics: Eat healthy, well-balanced


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meals; exercise on a regular basis; get plenty of sleep; and take a break when feeling stressed out. Get some fresh air. Research indicates that the vitamin D boost from sunlight may elevate your levels of feel-good serotonin. Taking in the sights, sounds, and smells around you redirects your focus from your worries, says Kathleen Hall, a health educator and the founder and CEO of the Stress Institute. Can't get outside? A Washington State University study found when plants were added to the workspace, people exhibited lower blood pressure. Translation: they were less stressed! Talk to and care for others. Share your problems and how you are feeling and coping with a family member, friend, counselor, doctor, or pastor. Spending time caring for other people can help us get our mind off our problems and will be mutually beneficial to us and the people we show care for. McGonigal references a five-year study that showed for every major stress life experience, the risk of dying increases by 30% (ouch!). But, people who spent time caring for others showed no stress-related increase in dying. Zero! Keep perspective. Sometimes we get stressed over potential problems that never materialize. Winston Churchill spoke to this when he said, “When I look back on all these worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which had never happened.” Don’t dwell on the negative. Sometimes we jump to worst-case scenarios and obsess on the negative. If you make a mistake at work, do you assume you're going to get fired? Have a fight with a friend and worry the relationship may be over? Watch the negative selftalk and replace it with helpful advice like you would give a good friend. Visualize calm. Techniques such as meditation, guided imagery (e.g. for

“Happiness is a choice. You can choose to be happy. There's going to be stress in life, but it's your choice whether you let it affect you or not.” —Valerie Bertinelli

me, it’s visualizing being on a beach in Maui!), and envisioning peaceful outcome to a current conflict can help relax us and reduce our stress. 7. Rely on rituals. Whether it's taking a relaxing bath before bed, listening to your favorite playlist on the commute to work, or walking the dog in the evening, in times of stress it helps to turn to a comforting routine. "Our bodies naturally crave routine, and by focusing on these consistent rituals you increase your body's ability to deal with the physical aspects of stress," says Christy Matta, the author of The Stress Response. When stressful situations leave you feeling powerless, following a routine allows you to take back control over part of your day and can help alleviate some of the anxiety and tension. 8. Cultivate gratitude. There is growing research on the benefits of gratitude, particularly on physical, psychological, and relational well-being. An "attitude of gratitude," as Dr. Robert Emmons (a leading researcher on the science of gratitude) calls it, has been linked to greater stress tolerance, increased positive emotions, better sleep, improved physical health, and healthier relationships. 9. Connect to your spiritual side. Many people find strong support from being part of a faith community where advice,

encouragement, and support can be given and received. Spiritual disciplines like prayer, reading the Bible or other scriptures, and related activities like volunteering and worshipping with others can reduce unhealthy stress. 10.Play! A great technique to reduce stress is to take regular time to “play.” According to psychiatrist Stuart Brown, founder of the National Institute for Play, adult play is unique to an individual as a fingerprint and could mean collecting stamps, reading a book, or climbing Mount Everest. (For me, I collect sports memorabilia and find it relaxing). Brown states, “What all play has in common is that it offers a sense of engagement and pleasure, takes the player out of a sense of time and place, and the experience of doing it is more important than the outcome.” I recommend periodically taking time for your team to play together. Having periodic team "play days" and/or using time in team meetings to play and have some fun will help alleviate work stress and build greater camaraderie. My final word of encouragement comes from Valerie Bertinelli, who suggests, “Happiness is a choice. You can choose to be happy. There's going to be stress in life, but it's your choice whether you let it affect you or not.” ¾

Wes Friesen is a proven leader and developer of high performing teams. He is also an accomplished university instructor and conference speaker and is the President of Solomon Training and Development, which provides leadership, management, and team building training. His book, Your Team Can Soar! Powerful Lessons to Help You Lead and Develop High Performing Teams, can be ordered from Xulonpress.com/bookstore or wesfriesen.com (under Book) or an online retailer like Amazon or Barnes & Noble. Wes can be contacted at wesmfriesen@gmail.com or at 971.806.0812.

MailingSystemsTechnology.com | JULY-AUGUST 2017

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MAIL & TECHNOLOGY MERGE

Editor’s Note: This is a continuation of DeAngelis’ article titled “Did Video Ever Really Kill the Radio Star?” which appeared in the May/June issue.

By Vincent DeAngelis

FIRE PIT MUSING, PART TWO

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o, after my friends and I were finished discussing popular songs and one-hit wonders, our musings turned to places and things that are no longer around. We started with Studio 54, Eastern Airlines (with which I took my first airplane trip; I still own an Eastern Airlines golf travel bag!), Howard Johnson’s, the Horn & Hardart automat, and CBGB (where I saw the Talking Heads and Blondie). Then out of nowhere, someone blurted out, “Service Merchandise.” Now, for those under the age of 40 (ok, maybe 30), Service Merchandise was a catalog-showroom retailer. Consumers would receive a catalog at home, select items of interest and would then drive to the closest Service Merchandise location where they could see the products (displayed in glass cases, if I remember correctly). Customers who wanted to buy products filled out order slips attached to a clipboard and brought it to the cashier for payment. After buyers paid for the items, cashiers would submit the order to the stockroom in back. Shoppers would move to the merchandise pick-up area and wait for their items to come out from the back room on a conveyer belt. Later iterations included self-service kiosks called “Silent Sam;” barcoded pull-tags replaced the clipboards. A few days after my fire-pit nostalgia session, I received an email that contained a link to an article titled “Postal Service Is Really Online Retailers’ Biggest Problem.” It contained the perspectives of the CEO of a major retailer and included the belief that the biggest obstacle for e-commerce

customers will be actually getting products to consumers. This particular business chief believed that “delivery services, specifically the United States Postal Service, will be unable to keep up with the demand soon enough.” The article went on to say that the retailer had recently released its own online shopping initiative that will send products from all of its stores to consumers. There Is a Name for That There is a name for this initiative: Ship from Store (SfS). It has been predicted that by the end of this year, one in three retailers will have Ship from Store capabilities. This initiative will allow retailers to better meet the customer demand of immediacy in receiving articles ordered online while helping to control shipping costs by allowing retailers to induct packages closer to the recipients and thus pay less per package. Studies have also shown that SfS can result in higher sales by preventing lost sales when the online warehouse is out of stock but the stores are flush with inventory. Other benefits include the ability to improve inventory management, reduction of the need to markdown items in overstocked stores while other stores have run out of the same product, and the utilization of existing space as mini-distribution hubs. Steps to Success Retailers must take a few clear-cut steps to ensure a successful omni-channel shopping experience that is consistent with an individual brand’s image. These steps should include:

Editor’s Note: This is a continuation of DeAngelis’ article titled “Did Video Ever Really Kill the Radio Star?” which appeared in the May/June issue.

 Creating an order-management system that allows visibility into both fulfillment center and store inventories.  Establishing consistent operations to ensure that consumers have the same experience regardless of the location from which they receive merchandise.  Training store employees to maintain the consistency mentioned in the bullet above. Warehouse operations are different than store operations. Investing in training is an absolute necessity.  Integrating into carriers’ infrastructure will save a retailer time and money. Reach out to them early. The USPS offers Operational and Technical Integration Specialists who will help guide sellers through the steps they need to set up a successful SfS experience. Come to Think of It… I guess if you stop and think about it, Service Merchandise’s business model was about 90% of the way to a SfS solution. ¾

Vincent DeAngelis is Vice President, Postal Relations, and Shipping Product Management, Neopost USA. Neopost USA provides hardware and software to mailers and shippers of all sizes. Neopost-brand solutions enable businesses to send and receive physical mail, digital documents, and traceable packages. More importantly, Neopost solutions help our customers connect with their customers by establishing individualized, one-to-one business relationships. Visit www.neopostusa.com for more information.

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CONNECTING POINT

By Chris Lien

INFORMED VISIBILITY VS. INFORMED DELIVERY: WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE?

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robably the hottest topic at National Postal Forum this past May was Informed Delivery. It was the subject of Postmaster General Megan Brennan’s address and had many attendees buzzing as they entered the exhibit hall floor. For our industry, it’s important not to confuse Informed Delivery with Informed Visibility. Let’s take a closer look at the two initiatives. While their names are very similar, there are important differences. Informed Delivery (ID) is a consumer-faced initiative whereby the mail’s intended recipient receives a USPS-scanned image of the mail piece the morning it is scheduled to physically arrive in their digital inbox. Today, it is only available for letter-shaped mail. However, availability of ID for flats and parcel images is in the works, and the USPS has promised an aggressive timeline for implementation. The email currently provides a black and white image of the mail piece. The anticipated future, however, is that a color image of the mail will be overlaid or added to enhance the email as well as enable a clickable feature to begin an interactive experience before the physical piece arrives. There is an exciting future for ID, but there are still important, necessary questions that need to be answered by the USPS. One of the most pressing pertains to the clickable link, or personalized URL (PURL). Both mailing service providers (MSP) and marketers need to know:  Who creates the PURL? The MSP or the end customer?  When in the mailing prepress process is the PURL created?  Who does the data entry?

 How is the data transmitted back? How is it housed? Several companies, including ours, are leading the way and are actively involved with the USPS to ensure these questions are being raised and answered on behalf of the industry. Informed Visibility (IV) is not intended for the public; it’s an initiative just for the mailing industry. Its aim is to create a “real-time, single source for all mail and mail aggregate information, leveraging data to provide business intelligence for USPS functional groups and the industry,” according to the USPS website. IV represents the next evolution of mail tracking and visibility with the Intelligent Mail barcode (IMB). However, like ID, there are still questions that are overdue.  How are mail pieces, such as carrier route mail, going to be scanned since the individual IMb is not scanned in the same manner as letter-shaped mail?  What additional pieces of information about the mail processing equipment scanning the IMb will the USPS share with the industry?  How do the new Mobile Delivery Devices (MDD) factor into Informed Visibility? For example, will the USPS be able to extrapolate where a carrier is on his or her route in order to more precisely time when the piece is scheduled to physically arrive and share that with the industry?  When will IV formerly replace the IMb Tracing program? Engage your software provider today to learn about how they’ll be handling these upcoming IV changes.

[The aim of Informed Visibility] is to create a “real-time, single source for all mail and mail aggregate information, leveraging data to provide business intelligence for USPS functional groups and the industry,” according to the USPS website. The Postal Service is actively unveiling radical changes to how data about mail is collected and distributed, and how customers can interact with physical mail pieces. There are new robust ways marketers can integrate mail into a true multichannel effort, and as service providers and industry leaders, we are challenged to present these in an educated and informed manner to our customers. I believe there are still miles to go before we sleep, but I’m proud of our industry’s embrace of the actionable data set in front of us. With our help, direct mail will continue to enjoy some of the highest response rates of all marketing strategies and continue to be employed by savvy marketers nationwide. ¾

Chris Lien is the president of BCC Software and has been active in the mailing industry for over 20 years. During that time, he authored several software solutions utilizing Mail.dat for electronic auditing, distribution and logistics planning, palletization, and electronic postage payment. He has been heavily involved in industry associations such as the Association for Postal Commerce, EPICOMM, Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers, and Idealliance.

MailingSystemsTechnology.com | JULY-AUGUST 2017

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SOFTWARE BYTE

By Jeff Peoples

THE INTELLIGENCE OF INTELLIGENT MAIL

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very day, we see and experience more advances in technology: our lives are full of electronic gadgets that put all sorts of information at our fingertips. Smart people are taking advantage of this electronic “intelligence” to help them perform daily tasks more quickly and easily and to access data using just a click or scroll. The same is true in the mailing world: there are constant improvements to the way data is shared among partners in the supply chain and with the United States Postal Service (USPS). Despite all these advances, it constantly surprises us to see many mailers who only use electronic documentation (eDoc) for their Full-Service mailings. Even worse, there are just as many — or more — who don’t use it at all! It is very clear that the USPS intends to eliminate hard copy postage statements and other documentation. Just as we are getting rid of hard copy documents in our personal lives, the same is true in the mailing world. If you are delaying implementation of eDoc or implemented it only for Full-Service mailings, you need to gear up and make the transition. Why, You May Ask? What Is in It For Me? The most obvious reason is that if you are not mailing at Full-Service, you are currently missing out on Full-Service discounts. One of the requirements for Full-Service eligibility is submitting mailings electronically. That plus unique barcodes means you are more than halfway there! And before you scoff at what those discounts are, consider how much money you’ve already passed up by waiting even this long — and how that money could be used to offset some or all of any investment you need to make to get into Full-Service. Remember, current discounts are $3/1000 pieces for First-Class Mail and $1/1000 pieces for Periodical and USPS Marketing Mail. True,

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The most obvious reason is that if you are not mailing at Full-Service, you are currently missing out on Full-Service discounts. these discounts are not huge for smaller mailers, but something is better than nothing. And, the longer the delay, the even slimmer chance of realizing any ROI whatsoever. Also — what about future discounts? The USPS may well decide to sweeten the Full-Service discount pot in future rate changes. If they do, will you be ready to take advantage of those bigger discounts? What if the USPS decides to completely remove ANY discount? Then you will have absolutely nothing to help with your return on investment. Best to make the conversion now while there are still financial incentives. Another benefit is better data. Documents submitted electronically not only have the advantage of being automatically validated for errors, but it also provides for improved data access. If you submit all your mailings electronically, all that data is available for you to access at a moment’s notice. If you need to get data on your mailing volumes or postage expenditures, whether by class of mail, by processing category, and so forth, it is all available for you on your Mailer Scorecard... if, that is, you are submitting all your mailings electronically! Speaking of trends, de-cluttering and down-sizing are also popular these days. Unless you are a hoarder, no one likes clutter, and paper is the number one clut-

ter-creator in any office. Just think how much time is spent procuring that paper, loading the paper into printers, printing out those postal documents, sorting them, handling them, submitting them, filing them, the list goes on and on. Not to mention the costs of the paper, ink, toner, printer maintenance, filing cabinets, document storage, and so forth. And how much time is wasted trying to track down those necessary hard copy documents? Who needs it? Convert to eDoc, using a smart file naming and storage convention, and all this clutter goes away! What did we do before Google searches? Honestly? We asked family, friends, or neighbors. We went to the library and did research, using hard copy reference materials. How times have changed! Now you can access almost infinite amounts of data using just a few clicks. There is also a TON of data in those Mail.dat files you use for eDoc. Aside from what the USPS is asking for regarding your mailings, find out how you can capture and use all that data for your own purposes. It will help you automate or otherwise improve functions in your mailing operation. Take a deeper look at all this data because you just don’t know what you don’t know. Big Data and those who use it will have the competitive advantage moving forward. Don’t lose your clients to a smarter mailer.


It's All About the Data Many mailers forget that using Full-Service provides access to some very valuable data, such as IMb Tracing data, Start-theClock data, and Address Change Service (ACS) data… all for free! Again, if you are submitting everything electronically, you are already a good way down the Full-Service path, so why not go the rest of the way and take advantage of this free data? Granted, the data from the USPS is pretty raw in format, but there are plenty of service providers out there who can help you turn that raw data into usable information. And, if you’re a Mail Service Provider (MSP), you may even be able to monetize the provision of this information to your clients. Again, there is no guarantee that the USPS will continue to offer this data at no charge in the future, so why not take advantage of it now while it is still free and contributes to the Full-Service ROI?

Speaking of contributing to Full-Service ROI, probably the most lucrative contribution is the USPS promotion/incentive programs that are offered each year. Who doesn’t want a money-saving promotion? Well, the USPS offers six promotion/incentive programs for 2017 that require eDoc submission for participation. The trick is you need to use at least some elements of Intelligent Mail Full-Service in order to be eligible for these promotions, including submitting eDoc to PostalOne!. Operate Smarter, Not Harder The sooner you start switching over to all electronic submissions, the sooner you can get it incorporated into your production environment in a smooth and efficient manner. If you are just starting out with electronic submissions, or don’t feel comfortable doing them, going through the Test Environment for Mailers (TEM) process allows

you to practice making these submissions without impacting production. While practicing in TEM can take some time, it is time well spent to ensure everything will work smoothly once you flip the switch to production. Stop the confusion and time wasted switching back and forth between hard copy and electronic workflows in your mailing operation. One standard workflow is always more efficient and less prone to errors. Seamless Acceptance, eInduction, Mail Anywhere… the USPS continues to offer participation in all sorts of new programs designed to save you money or improve the mail acceptance process. The key? Electronic documentation! Get eDoc (and Full-Service, for that matter!) implementation under your belt and into production and you’ll be far better prepared to move on to these new opportunities and tackle new challenges. You can see that Intelligent Mail really IS intelligent… and not just for the USPS.¾

Jeff Peoples is President, Founder, and CEO of Window Book, Inc. With 20+ years of innovative solutions that make using the Postal Service easier and more profitable for mailers and shippers, he has done presentations at industry events, GraphExpo, MAILCOM, the National Postal Forum, Postal Customer Council meetings, Harvard Business Expert Forum, and other industry and direct marketing events.

MailingSystemsTechnology.com | JULY-AUGUST 2017

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THE TRENCHES

By Mike Porter

HOW MUCH DO PAPERLESS DOCUMENTS REALLY HELP CX?

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vividly remember attending a conference in 1999 where presenters addressed electronic bill presentment and payment (EBPP) in nearly every session. You couldn’t have a conversation with anyone at the event where the subject didn’t come up. I guess the memory stuck with me because by the time I left, I thought the end of paper bills was imminent. So did many of my fellow conference attendees. Eighteen years later, after relentless customer prodding and revolutionary advancements in technology, most billers have successfully convinced only 20-30% of their customers to abandon print. The expected widespread digital migration never happened. Electronic bills apparently failed to provide enough compelling benefit for customers to change their behavior. Yet most organizations I know are still running assertive paperless bill campaigns. Time for a Change of Focus Since the number one goal for many companies today seems to be focused on improving customer experiences (CX), perhaps it is time to shift emphasis away from paperless conversions and concentrate on making those paper documents, still preferred by three out of four customers, deliver more value. Part of my argument for this change of focus is financial. The last couple of US clients for whom I analyzed transactional document costs were spending around .50 to mail each bill. Gradually decreasing the number of paper bill customers each year won’t save much money so long as billers must maintain their current bill-production infrastructure to service most of their customers. Looking ahead, customers who have resisted paperless bills so far won’t be easily converted. Greater incentives and more expensive marketing campaigns may be necessary. Some customers may resist progressively aggressive attempts

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Eighteen years later, after relentless customer prodding and revolutionary advancements in technology, most billers have successfully convinced only 20-30% of their customers to abandon print. to change their minds about paper bills and take their business elsewhere. If we view customer-facing documents as tools to facilitate positive customer relationships instead of a source of undesirable expenses, an effort to improve those paper documents makes sense. A strategy that helps retain customers through more helpful or relevant statement messaging, for instance, pays off more quickly than the savings realized by persuading customers to accept electronic document delivery. It seems simple. Here’s an example using one of my own bills: I pay about $1200.00 a year for cell phone service and receive a monthly paper bill. Every bill includes a plea to switch to electronic invoices. If I visit the phone company’s website, I am presented with annoying pop-up messages, also attempting to convert me to paperless bills. I like paper bills because they get my attention. They fit perfectly into a well-established personal workflow for making sure I pay my bills on time. Past bills stored in my file cabinet require no electronic devices, internet access, or passwords to retrieve.

What if the phone company improved their monthly paper bills by adding valuable personalized information? Some ideas might include detailed spending or data use trends, tips about relevant phone features I’m not using, or notices about security updates I neglected to download. What if the company noticed I called numbers in Canada frequently over the last few months and suggested switching to an international calling plan? Attention like that from my phone company would make me think twice about switching to another. Signing with a new phone company would mean starting over. The new company would have to collect months of data before they knew enough about me to provide similar personalized service. Individual attention from a company that knows their customers and uses that information intelligently could create a competitive advantage that helps a phone company earn customer loyalty. If they made improvements in the paper bills, I would see them. The same effort invested in their customer portal or electronic bills would likely go unnoticed.


Why should the phone company worry about saving $6.00 per year on bill production? Retaining my business a few more years by investing in communications I actually appreciate is much more lucrative. Double-Dipping Most customers who receive paper bills can also access electronic versions, but the two presentations are usually independent. Billers have made little progress integrating the two versions of transactional documents. Perhaps this goes back to the EBPP origins. In 1999, a prime concern of billers offering electronic statements was duplicating the paper documents exactly. This was a big deal back then. Corporate customer service departments were still using CRT terminals (green screens). They had already experienced the difficulty of relating a printed document to its electronic counterpart, so companies devoted a lot of attention to technologies that could mimic the printed pages. Document parity is no longer as important. With mobile devices serving as primary internet access points for many customers, delivering an exact replica, such as a PDF, of a printed bill is actually counterproductive. They are difficult to read on smaller screens. Billers now apply responsive design techniques so documents function effectively regardless of the device used to view them. Seamless customer experience is the goal of many organizations. Transactions or correspondence begun in one communication channel should continue uninterrupted in another. Paper bills can play a part in this strategy by treating the electronic version of a bill as an extension of the paper instead of a replacement. To continue the phone company example, their paper bill messages could prompt customers to access their electronic bills and view video tutorials on how to change to the recommended phone plans or download and install the security updates mentioned in the paper bill. Small investments a biller makes to add personalized useful content to their

Customers who sign up to have bills paid automatically from their bank accounts or credit cards have even less incentive to view the bills. paper and electronic bills can pay off as cost savings and CX improvements. Better transactional documents can lower expenses like reducing customer service call volumes and provide that seamless experience that contributes to greater customer satisfaction. High Open Rates It’s no secret that paper bills enjoy a high open rate. Around 90% of consumers receiving paper bills open the envelopes and view the content. This makes paper bills a highly effective way to communicate with customers. The same cannot be said for electronic bills. Email notices don’t get the same level of attention. Customers open fewer of them, and clicking through to view the actual bills happens even less often. It’s easy to understand why. To see their bill online, customers must spot the billing email in their crowded inboxes, click on a link, and enter their username and password, if they can remember them. If they’ve forgotten their login credentials, are using a new device, chosen a different browser, or cleared cookies from their computers, customers may have to endure a two-step authentication process before they can continue. Facing too many access barriers, customers may elect to bypass viewing the bill entirely. Some customers may never see promotional, educational, or informative messaging the company may include in the electronic bill.

Customers who sign up to have bills paid automatically from their bank accounts or credit cards have even less incentive to view the bills. How will a company improve the customer experience when they have essentially cut off their most consistent and effective channel of communication? I wrote about the danger of replacing a high open rate communication some time ago (see Paperless Billing Can Cost You from August of 2013). I’ll continue to help my clients cut expenses. I understand communicating with customers through only electronic channels is attractive to them. There are definitely some benefits, both financial and functional, that digital messaging provides. But I also make sure my clients understand the downside of aggressive paperless strategies. I urge my clients to monitor customer consumption of those electronic messages in a pilot program. If eliminating paper has a negative effect on areas such as customer retention, upselling, and referrals, then perhaps the savings in paper and postage aren’t really worth further intense efforts to eliminate paper documents. Leveraging the influence of an established communication channel seems smarter and easier than convincing reluctant customers to switch to digital delivery. Making paper documents more effective, efficient, and useful for customers can have a positive effect on customer relationships that outweigh net savings gained from increasing the number of paperless customers by a few percentage points. ¾

Mike Porter writes extensively on topics of interest to companies and individuals working in the customer communications business. Visit www.printmailconsultants.com to learn more about his writing and consulting services or follow him on Twitter @PMCmike or LinkedIn.

MailingSystemsTechnology.com | JULY-AUGUST 2017

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POSTAL AFFAIRS

By Bob Schimek

MOBILE SHOPPING + INFORMED DELIVERY = POSTAGE SAVINGS

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ne of the key U.S. Postal Service themes from this year’s National Postal Forum was Informed Delivery. If you haven’t already subscribed to this new service, you really should… even if you are a non-believer. If you work in the mailing industry, then you need to understand the consumer experience with this program. Informed Delivery is going to forever change what we all have come to know as “the mail moment.” Now is the time to study and test the impact this technology has on the effectiveness of mailing campaigns. The Postal Service has added an additional carrot for the mailing industry to start playing with Informed Delivery. The Postal Service has announced that eligibility for the Mobile Shopping promotion will include using Informed Delivery to qualify for the two percent promotional postage savings. The Mobile Shopping promotion runs from August 1, 2017 to December 31, 2017 and is available to mailers using Marketing Mail (formerly Standard Mail). Registration for this promotion is already open. When the requirements and eligibility for the Mobile Shopping promotion were originally announced, they did not include Informed Delivery. The addition of Informed Delivery was announced at NPF and the details associated with being able to qualify for the promotion are being finalized and will be available soon. There are several items that we do know. If you want to participate, you will have to work with both the Promotions Program Office and the Informed Delivery Program Office.

The Informed Delivery Program Office will be checking to ensure the campaign that you will be running includes all three components of Informed Delivery, which are all required to qualify for the promotion: Representative Color Image: This is the image that will replace the black and white image of the mail piece in the consumer’s Informed Delivery daily email they receive. Ride-Along Image: This is a supplemental image that is also included in the consumer’s email. Some refer to this image as the “call to action” image, such as a graphic that says, “Click here for a special offer.”  Click-Through Interactive URL: When the consumer clicks on the ride-along image in the email, this is the location of the site to which the consumer will be taken. There are several other aspects of your campaign that the Informed Delivery Program Office will work with you to verify. These include limitations around the size and the quality of the images that will be used in the email, along with additional campaign information that is required. Additional information on these requirements can be found in the Informed Delivery Interactive Campaign Guide. Starting June 25, 2017, the Postal Service has started supporting a new version of electronic documentation, Idealliance Mail.dat 17-2. The Postal Service will continue to accept Mail.dat 15-1 and 17-1, but anyone looking to use Mail.dat to provide Informed Delivery information must be

using 17-2. Mail.dat 17-2 can automate some of the manual steps involved in setting up a campaign and can reduce the amount of interaction needed with the Informed Delivery Program Office. The Promotions Program Office will be checking that the click-through interactive URL site is a mobile-optimized website. They will also be checking to ensure the site complies with the requirements of the Mobile Shopping promotion, which includes the ability for the consumer to make a purchase for eligible items. The Postal Service has created a 2017 Mobile Shopping Promotion Program Requirements document that provides additional information for eligibility. To qualify for the two percent postage savings, you must have approvals from both the Informed Delivery and Promotions Program Offices at least three business days prior to the campaign start date. The Promotions Program Office maintains a comprehensive list of all approvals, and they are posted to the BMA (Business Mail Analyst) website. This list is used by the BMEU (Bulk Mail Entry Unit) clerks to ensure the mailing is eligible for the promotion. At the time of mailing, the mailer will need to provide a sample of a live mail piece. This can be a photocopy of the piece that is either provided by the mailer or copied by the BMEU clerk. Now is a great time to use the postage savings from the Postal Service’s Mobile Shopping promotion to start kicking the tires on what Informed Delivery can do for your mailing campaigns. ¾

Bob Schimek, Senior Director of Postal Affairs for Satori Software, serves as primary liaison with the USPS on technical matters affecting the mailing industry. His 27 years of industry knowledge and leadership provide product management and strategic direction for Satori Software’s mailing solutions. Schimek currently serves as Chairman of the Board for PostCom, Chair of Idealliance’s Mail.dat Work Group, and as an Idealliance representative for MTAC.

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JULY-AUGUST 2017 | MailingSystemsTechnology.com


DIRECT MAIL EVOLUTION

By Brad Kugler

DIRECT MAIL GETS SOCIAL: CAN 1.65 BILLION PEOPLE BE WRONG?

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he next generation of direct mail is here. It combines traditional print marketing with online follow-up, creating a seamless multichannel experience for consumers (and exponentially improved results for your clients). It works like this: 1. An interested prospect receives your client’s direct mail piece 2. They visit your client’s website to learn more 3. They leave the site without buying or filling out a form 4. Their browser is “cookied” with coding that tells Google to start showing them your client’s ads 5. They see your client’s ads on other websites they visit, urging them to go back to your client’s site and become a customer And it’s crazy effective. People who are shown follow-up ads are three times more likely to click on those ads than someone who has never interacted with that business before. And once they get back to your client’s website, those visitors are 70% more likely to convert. Marketers who have switched from traditional direct mail to these integrated campaigns have seen their monthly new customers jump by as much as 81% and achieved returns on investment as high as 14,000%. Imagine the results your clients would generate if they could extend their campaigns to also reach those prospects where they spend an average of 50 minutes per day… I’m talking about Facebook! With 1.65 billion active users, Facebook is by far the most popular social

The problem is, many marketers — especially small business owners — face technical obstacles when it comes to running a multichannel campaign. The interfaces are different for each platform, and learning them (let alone managing them) can seem an impossible task. media platform. What was once a place to “poke” your friends (remember that?) and post vacation photos is where nearly half of Americans get their news today. Check out these numbers:  79% of online American adults have a Facebook profile  62% of Americans 65 and older are on Facebook  Users between 18 and 34 spend the most time on the site If your clients are looking to extend their marketing message to social media (and they really should), Facebook is where they want to be. The problem is, many marketers — especially small business owners — face technical obstacles when it comes to run-

ning a multichannel campaign. The interfaces are different for each platform, and learning them (let alone managing them) can seem an impossible task. And for a printer, mail house, or direct mail company, offering these products to your clients means adding staff — not just a Google advertising expert, but a social media specialist, too. Luckily, there are organizations that you can partner with who focus solely on these aspects of your campaign so you can deliver the highly effective multichannel marketing campaigns your clients demand… without complicating your existing business model. Thumbs up to that!¾

Brad Kugler is the CEO of DirectMail2.0, a fully integrated marketing solution for the clients of printers/mailers that combines the proven success of direct mail with in-demand features like online advertising and automated campaign tracking. You can schedule a free demo to see how a partnership with DirectMail2.0 can boost revenue and improve your clients’ response and ROI. Visit www. dm20.com or call 800.956.4129 today!

MailingSystemsTechnology.com | JULY-AUGUST 2017

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Visit our HOT COMPANIES section on MailingSystemsTechnology.com to view these profiles online! 16

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COMPANIES Our Technology. Your Success. AccuZIP, Inc., a national software company, provides feature rich solutions to manage Contact Data Quality, Address Hygiene, USPS Postal Presorting and Compliance, and Mail Tracking and Reporting. Since 1992, AccuZIP Inc. has created award-winning, powerful and robust data quality and direct mail software. The United States Postal Service certifies AccuZIP Inc.’s many products and services at the highest levels and we are SOC2 and HIPAA-HITECH compliant. AccuZIP’s many products and services include: } Mailing Software } Mail Tracking and Analysis } CASS™ and Direct Mail RESTful API Solutions } Real-Time Unlimited NCOALink® and Address Validation } Data Enhancement Services } Resident and Business Mailings Lists } Professional Services AccuZIP’s recently launched Professional Services Group assists in advanced integrations and complex workflows so customers can focus on running their businesses. The AccuZIP Professional Services team motto is ‘Where We Adapt to You’. Using Professional Services limits changes to existing processes and eases implementation so customer partners can process more work in less time. For over 25 years, AccuZIP, Inc. has built an outstanding reputation for value, service and innovation. Providing excellent, efficient and courteous technical support and customer service for all our products and services is a top priority. One of the biggest demonstrations of customer support is AccuZIP’s long-standing pricelock guarantee. Customer partners pay their original price for AccuZIP products and services, regardless of subsequent price changes. Today, AccuZIP continues to charge long-time customers the same rates they paid in 1992. AccuZIP CEO Steve Belmonte recently stated, "People like consistency and dependability. They want to trust the brand. That's why the price-lock guarantee is hugely important—our customer partners can depend on consistent postal software budgets every year." AccuZIP has built our name on this type of care, and our vision. Trust and consistency matter. 18

JULY-AUGUST 2017 | MailingSystemsTechnology.com

CONTACT INFO: COMPANY: AccuZIP, Inc.

PHONE:

800.233.0555

WEBSITE:

www.accuzip.com

EMAIL:

sales@accuzip.com


THE

2017-18 BCC Software offers data-driven solutions to enhance direct communications anywhere along the workflow spectrum, from mail preparation and tracking to data enhancement and targeting. For over 35 years, BCC Software has not only been the leader in the mailing and postal technology industry, but has continuously shaped it. By providing a reliable suite of address quality, mailing preparation, and data quality services, BCC Software has been recognized across the industry for their robust capabilities. BCC Mail Manager, a USPS® certified address quality and mailing preparation software, is relied on by thousands of companies, including some of the country’s biggest mailers. As a result, BCC Software solutions improve deliverability and reduce postage on a quarter of the US mailstream every year. BCC Mail Manager gives businesses the benefits of numerous features, allowing users to create a package that best suits their needs. Plus, customers find peace of mind with unbeatable customer service and support from our team of USPS Certified Mail Piece Design professionals.

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BCC Software solutions are integration ready, and include API toolkits for customization along with prebuilt connectors to many other software packages that already exist in your workflow. Launched in 2016, Integratec is the first and only available PAVE™ certified API, using the secure messaging layer, ZeroMQ™, with the CurveZMQ protocol, enabling Integratec to pass even the most stringent security requirements. BCC Software offers full service data management and campaign execution services, backed by data licensed from the USPS and a handful of carefully selected strategic partners. These services include comprehensive mailpiece tracking and reporting that leverages the USPS Intelligent Mail barcode (IMb™) to improve visibility into the mailstream and enable timed multi-channel communications. To learn more about how BCC Software can make a real difference for your company, visit www.bccsoftware.com or call 800.337.0442.

CONTACT INFO: COMPANY: BCC Software

PHONE:

800.337.0442

WEBSITE:

www.bccsoftware.com

EXECUTIVE PROFILE

Chris Lien, president of BCC Software, has been active in the mailing industry for over 20 years. During that time, he authored several software solutions utilizing Mail.dat for electronic auditing, distribution and logistics planning, palletization, and electronic postage payment. He has been heavily involved in industry associations such as the Association for Postal Commerce, Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers, and Idealliance. Lien also serves as the elected Immediate Past Industry Chair for the Postmaster General’s Mailers Technical Advisory Committee and has spoken at numerous conferences and events such as the National Postal Forum, Mailcom, Graph Expo, and many Postal Customer Councils. Lien holds a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science from the University of Minnesota.


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COMPANIES Compliance with the USPS Mailer Scorecard doesn’t have to be complex and costly. CapStone’s new AutoViri™ suite of patented robotic and software solutions is the missing link connecting your Physical and Digital workflows…so you can now prevent and/or detect seventeen (17) USPS Mailer Scorecard errors in real-time, before mail ships. By scanning physical trays and pallets on the production floor, AutoViri™ generates Mail.dat/. XML messaging to ensure you update eDoc files to precisely match the actual physical mail being shipped. Concurrently, AutoViri™ is a QC tool that reduces labor, streamlines operations and generates a proven audit trail should the USPS penalize you for non-compliance. Whether your facility is totally automated, completely manual or somewhere in-between, CapStone has the right-sized solution for mailers of all sizes and mail volume. Providing Business Engineering and automated solutions exclusively to the Print-to-Mail Industry since 1999, AutoViri™ now allows CapStone to be your expert partner for both USPS Mailer Scorecard compliance and operational excellence to suit your print/mail operations. Whether you are a Continuous Mailer, Presort Mailer, Lettershop or Co-Pal Mailer, AutoViri : } Generates Mail.dat/.XML messaging to ensure you can update eDoc files to precisely match the actual physical pallet/tray from your production floor. } Provides worry-free screening for USPS Mailer Scorecard errors before mail ships, so you can be proactive not reactive. } Creates a production floor audit trail of your physical mailing. ™

With three modules of AutoViri™ Software available, you choose how to deploy the cloud-based solution to best suit you: } AutoViri™ Builder – USPS Mailer Scorecard & Operational QC PLUS Mail.dat/.XML messaging in real-time from the production floor, to ensure your updated eDoc files precisely match the actual physical pallet/tray builds. } AutoViri™ Monitor – All AutoViri™ Builder functionality, plus provides two-way monitoring to confirm your digital Mail.dat/.XML files precisely match the physical mail…and if it doesn’t allows you to resolve it digitally or physically. } AutoViri™ Auditor - Leverages the audit trails created by AutoViri™ Builder and/or AutoViri™ Monitor to confidently appeal USPS Mailer Scorecard postage assessments and/or improve operations. 20

JULY-AUGUST 2017 | MailingSystemsTechnology.com

CONTACT INFO: COMPANY:

CapStone Technologies

PHONE:

402.465.5400

WEBSITE:

www.captechno.com

EMAIL:

info@captechno.com


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COMPANIES Clear Image Technologies is a company focused on affordable, reliable solutions for the direct mail industry. With over 35 years experience in direct mail, we understand that each mailers needs are different and that one large, complex system is more than many companies need. Our goal to provide user-friendly, scalable, inserting alternatives. All of our products are modular. In 2007, we developed the Picture Perfect Match System for companies doing match mailings by hand or hand checking the mailing off the end of their inserter. This visual match system, retrofitted to a customers existing inserter, displays images of the mail components on a monitor to allow the operator to visually inspect to ensure match integrity. This provided a low cost, semi automated system to companies with medium volume match mailings. In 2009, after many customer requests to stop the inserter in the event of a mismatch, we added the ability to upgrade to optical character recognition. Using the same cameras from the basic system, we could now decode the images to look for names and sequence numbers to match on and data recording of each piece processed. In 2010 we incorporated the ability to read and decode 2D (Data Matrix) and IMB barcodes. This data can be used to check against a sequence number. Now we offer Read and Print. Using our reading technology, inc.jet’s printing software and HP print technology, we can insert, match and print in one pass. Each of our OCR/Barcode products produce an Excel file that can also be used as end of machine verification. Any product can be purchased individually and upgraded later. By partnering with equipment dealers like Tri-State Mailing Equipment in New York, Peak Business Equipment in St. Louis, Mailers Engineering in Los Angeles, Timpac in San Francisco, Mailing Equipment Company in Ft. Worth, Cowart-Gagnon in Seattle and DeBourke in Boston, we’ve been able to provide sales, service and support to the U.S. We are constantly in the field, listening to our customers, the sales people, technicians and operators that use our products. Have a need not mentioned here? Call us!

CONTACT INFO: COMPANY: Clear Image Technologies, LLC

PHONE:

314.853.5867

WEBSITE:

www.clearimagetechnologies.com

EMAIL:

larry@clearimagetechnologies.com


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COMPANIES Hi! we’re engineers who build software for small businesses to send mail. Can we tell you a story? Back in 2003, we saw the Internet and web technology change the way our society works, and we introduced a platform enabling small businesses to easily use the mail. We’ve built tools that use cloud-based technology and APIs to automate any kind of mail from business documents like invoices to marketing pieces like postcards. You can send mail whenever, wherever and however you need it, with no minimum volume – one or ten thousand, printed and mailed the next day. Use these tools right now at Click2Mail.com: } Use our Zapier integrations to set events that automatically trigger mail to be sent to your customers. } Send documents via First-Class Mail with just three clicks from Google Docs using our free tool, MailMyDoc™ for Google Apps. } Email-to-Mail is a tool that does just that! Send an email and Click2Mail prints and mails the attachment(s) the next day. } MailJack+ uses smart detection to turn your PDFs into postal mail. Set it once and it does the rest. } Our selection of APIs enables the integration and/or automation of programmatic mailsending processes into your system or application. Most importantly, we know postal inside out and our on-demand outsourcing services produce professional-quality mail. You can send First-Class Mail™, Standard/Marketing Mail, Certified Mail™, Priority Mail™ and more, and rest assured that every address will be CASS standardized and that every mailpiece will have an Intelligent Mail barcode. Producing high quality mail on demand is not simple, mail is still an essential communications tool - Click2Mail’s goal is to make sending a critical business document via mail as simple as sending an email. We believe digital is enhancing postal. You’re invited to see it for yourself. For your next batch of mailers, try Click2Mail and learn how to use the web to save your team the hours and budgets it could use elsewhere to grow your business. Automate your mail tasks starting today. Call (855) 294-5601 to learn more and be sure to visit Click2Mail.com to read the 900 reviews from our happy customers. 22

JULY-AUGUST 2017 | MailingSystemsTechnology.com

CONTACT INFO: COMPANY: Click2Mail

PHONE: 855.294.5601

WEBSITE:

https://integrate.click2mail.com

EMAIL:

khumphrey@click2mail.com


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SmartSoft Inc. is a leading provider of workflow management software, offering address correction, postal discounts, and print workflow automation software for the United States and Canada. With an ongoing program of development & innovation and an unswerving commitment to great customer service, everything SmartSoft designs will save you time and money, so that you can get on with growing your business.

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SmartAddresser 5 – All-in-one Postal Software If you want to switch to a more user-friendly and feature-rich mailing software solution, then now is a great time to try an industry leader. SmartAddresser 5 is CASS and PAVE Certified by the USPS and easy to install and learn, so you’ll be up and running in no time at all. Offering full support for the Intelligent Mail barcode, it is compatible with all the hottest printers in the industry, whether you output to inkjet or the latest digital printing systems. MailSpotter - Real-time Mail Tracking You print and mail direct campaigns for your customers - why not track them too? MailSpotter tracks mail as it passes through the postal system, using the IM barcode. With easy-to-read tables, charts, and graphs, all accessed through your own unique reporting portal, you can see when and where mail has been delivered. Plus, MailSpotter lets you generate/track unique QR Codes for each mailpiece, with real-time alerts to an email address or cellphone every time someone scans one of the codes. PressWise – Print MIS and Workflow Automation Why spend $50,000 or more trying to piece together products from different providers, only to face additional costs and frustration trying to maintain them? PressWise lets you run your shop with a single, affordable, print management solution with unlimited customer web-to-print storefronts, end-to-end digital workflow automation and fully integrated MIS. Available cloud or self-hosted with NO long-term contracts, and browser-based for instant access—anytime, anywhere. PressWise also integrates with most existing web-to-print systems storefronts and lets you handle more orders with fewer touch points, improving productivity and maximizing your ROI. Solutions that are easy to use and designed to save you money.

CONTACT INFO: COMPANY: SmartSoft

PHONE:

888.227.7221

WEBSITE:

smartsoftusa.com

EMAIL:

contact@smartsoftusa.com


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COMPANIES When your business needs critical information delivered with speed and accountability, ConfirmDelivery simplifies the Certified Mail process with a faster and more cost effective solution. With our web based program, you can process one mail piece at a time or a batch of thousands. Clients simply create an address sheet, insert into our provided envelopes, and drop in the mail. Our software is easy to implement and highly flexible. Connect your database to the USPS tracking and address verification system for easy access to address sheets and labels. ConfirmDelivery prides itself in keeping things simple. Our program is easily implemented and in a short time offices are producing Certified Mail and streamlining their process. Once your account is set up, it is easy to create mail, track and report on your critical mail pieces all from online. Multiple users can complete mailings on the system at the same time. There are no monthly fees or contracts, just use the program as needed. Our reporting features display the activities of each user and department, allowing customers to create an accurate budget for expenditures. ConfirmDelivery sets itself apart in the industry by providing patented tracking technology for each mail piece. Track directly online via ConfirmDelivery software or from your database. Track by recipient, company, location, customer reference number or USPS tracking number. Manage recipient signatures via query or have them automatically emailed for easy print out or electronic storage. Eliminate the 7-10 day wait for the green card and save on postage! We also work closely with the post office in helping our clients find lost mail pieces and obtain the delivery information which is crucial with Certified Mailings. For over 15 years ConfirmDelivery has been helping city and county governments, law firms, banks, and hospitals with their accountable mail. We’ve grown from working with a few Midwestern counties to a vast nationwide customer base from our Indiana office. ConfirmDelivery has an experienced, talented in-house team to support you. Contact them today to schedule a personal webinar and find out just how simple it is!

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JULY-AUGUST 2017 | MailingSystemsTechnology.com

CONTACT INFO: COMPANY:

ConfirmDelivery

PHONE:

765-250-4169

WEBSITE:

www.confirmdelivery.com

EMAIL:

sales@confirmdelivery.com


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Transform “Simple Data” to “Strategic Information” Creating Competitive Advantage Your data is a strategic asset and it’s likely doubling in size every 18 months. At this rate of growth, how do you maintain data quality or ensure its completeness? How do you prevent duplicates and corruption? How do you add value to your data for your customers?

COMPANIES

What if you could cleanse and enhance your data using the latest technology to transform it from “simple data” to “strategic information”? Firstlogic Data Quality (DQ) software has delivered trusted value to data-driven companies for over three decades, and we’re already driving the next phase of data innovation. The Firstlogic® DQ10+ platform delivers: Precision Driven by the industry’s most reliable CASS™ engine, this SAP®-powered system parses and cleans even the dirtiest data in both real-time and batch modes. Data can be further enhanced with U.S. Geocoding, USPS® CASS™, NCOALink®, and DSF2® processing. Performance Our high-performance platform corrects, cleanses, geocodes, de-duplicates, and households data at up to 4X the speed of other tool providers. We offer three fast deployment options: on-premise software, in-cloud services or workflow solutions. Productivity Firstlogic DQ solutions deliver a set of proven tools that allow companies to automate and streamline their workflow processes, minimizing job processing time to meet ever-demanding customer SLAs. Our customers increase quality and productivity while reducing operational time and costs through simplification and automation of repeatable processes. Expertise Our experienced data scientists have been engineering data quality solutions for over 30 years; designing, building, supporting, and optimizing the technology. Our Firstlogic DQ 10+ suite includes FirstPrep™, ACE®, DataRight IQ®, Match/Consolidate®, and our new PAF Manager™ delivering unmatched precision, performance & productivity. Transform your simple data into strategic information with our data quality solutions. To learn more, call (888) 725-7800 or visit www.firstlogicsolutions.com Firstlogic, FirstPrep, ACE, DataRight IQ, Match/Consolidate and PAF Manager are trademarks or registered trademarks of Firstlogic Solutions, LLC. USPS, CASS, NCOALink and DSF2 are trademarks or registered trademarks owned by the United States Postal Service.

CONTACT INFO: COMPANY: Firstlogic Solutions, LLC

PHONE:

888.725.7800

WEBSITE:

www.firstlogicsolutions.com


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Celebrating 20 years in business this year, ID Mail Systems excels at OCR sorting systems that provide effective return on investment with challenging applications. Why ID Mail? Because ID Mail works to understand the customer’s needs, and then tailors both its hardware and software to provide the best solution for each customer. Both mail and parcels are processed for cross-border applications, domestic postal discounts, postal operational processing, private courier processing and incoming applications. With its newest version of the Dispatcher MX, ID Mail has improved the productivity and flexibility of this state of the art mixed mail sorting system. A new feeder module improves processing of more challenging mail. Two manual infeed stations provide flexibility for non-automation friendly mail and small packets and parcels. A polarized imaging camera and lighting system provide superb images with nearly zero plastic reflective spots. Multiple sorting module designs allow ID Mail to tailor the system solution and layout for optimal sorting and placement in customer facilities. For extremely challenging postal mail applications including most non-machinable mail and small packets and parcels, the Dispatcher MAX delivers automated processing on mail most wouldn’t consider processing on a machine. With rugged postal operator designs, this system can stand up to the toughest environments. The Packet and Parcel Sorting system handles small packets all the way to medium size parcels for low to medium volume applications. Investment is reasonable yet features can include OCR, BCR, dimensioning, weighing, labeling and printing with sorting to multiple output containers. The Manual Mail Workstation melds OCR, BCR, dimensioning, weighing, touchscreen data capture and label printing for high productivity of small batch mail and postal parcels of cross-border international mail and parcels. Automate complex routing instructions at the same time as capturing goods information and printing customs labels and postal indicia. The MAX-M OCR Itemized Manifesting system uses OCR and CASS/MASS address coding to assign a fully compliant delivery point validated barcode by printing either IMb or IMpb compliant barcodes and providing electronic data submission for all IMpb requirements. With USPS Tracking and Move/Update features, almost all classes of USPS mail can be processed saving postage and labor while paying postage via customer’s permit account.

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COMPANIES

CONTACT INFO: COMPANY: ID Mail Systems

PHONE:

860.344.3333

WEBSITE:

www.idmailsystems.com

EMAIL:

sales@idmailsystems.com


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COMPANIES “Turning Postal Mail into Digital Mail” Problem You receive thousands of letters every day for your employees, students, teachers and tenants. Each letter may contain PII information so you can’t just open and scan it for them like traditional scanning operations. Your only recourse is to sort the mail, load it onto carts, maybe trucks, and distribute it to every building, residence and cubby hole. This costs time and money. Plus you never really know what mail items have entered your enterprise. Talking about time and money, it gets even worse when you consider that 40% of the mail you deliver is junk mail. And of the remaining 60%, lots of it gets rerouted to people other than the recipient on the envelope. Roles change, people leave, and internal workflow rules known by the end-users are not known by the mail center staff when they make their deliveries. Solution Our Digital Mail Distribution System automates the entire cycle of USPS receipt, junk mail detection, distribution, workflow and destruction. Partnering with vendors like Amazon, Opex and Panasonic, we convert unopened USPS mail to images, send secure email notifications and let the recipients decide for themselves just how they want to receive the contents. Maybe they want it scanned, delivered or they’ll pick it up themselves. They make the decisions and now the mail center staff only spends time on work that has been explicitly requested. Outcome Mail is now tracked, audited and managed by the Image Architects Digital Mail Distribution System. You’ll know who is sending your company mail, who it’s going to and what the response to that mail is. Using our built-in workflow engine, you’ll be able to automatically re-route mail written to one person and send notifications to another. You’ll even be able to send mail in parallel to individuals and compliance departments. Thus the mail gets to the “correct” person the very first time. All this while maintaining complete audit trains and chain-of-custody monitoring.

CONTACT INFO: COMPANY: Image Architects

PHONE:

973.912.9334

WEBSITE:

http://imagearch.com

EMAIL:

pnirenberg@imagearch.com


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COMPANIES In 2017, Kern is celebrating their 70-year anniversary of being a solution provider to companies all around the world. Best known for its state of the art, Swiss-crafted inserting systems, Kern has expanded its reach much further into solving production needs, both in and out of mail rooms. To celebrate 70 years of success, Kern has unveiled a handful of new product lines. The first is the highly toted K1600 inserting system. The Kern1600 is fast, simple, and versatile; and can be used with flexibility in the professional sector. This compact yet multi format system is perfect for the low to medium capacity range. This machine truly impresses with its high degree of flexibility, fast changeover times, exceptional reliability and straightforward operation. Another piece of hardware released this year that is causing a big stir in the card industry is the Kern Card Sorter. This machine uses robotics to quickly and efficiently sort and stack gift cards or credit cards to be mailed out, eliminating any potentiality of “human error”. Once sorted, these cards are then able to be attached to mailings using the K90/91 card attaching systems. Kern again is helping expand the fastest growing arm of the mailing industry. Coupled with the release of great new hardware for Kern, the announcement of new Real-Time Reporting on system performance during production has customers eyes wide open and focused in on Kern. The expansion in the software of Kern doesn’t stop their either, Kern EDGE and the document workflow management platforms have helped multiple industries with small department level applications, to full blown workflows that affect sales order, accounts payable/receivable and so much more. Finally, Kern has announced a brand new solution to the rapidly expanding parcel locker market. The Kern Lockers are automated parcel lockers for simple and flexible delivery and pickup of packages. With three variants (refrigerated, freezer, and dry lockers) and numerous possible applications: Kern Lockers not only improve internal and external workflows, but also provide a wide range of logistical services, both in the business and in the private sphere.

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CONTACT INFO: COMPANY:

Kern International

PHONE:

614.317.2600

WEBSITE:

www.kerninc.com

EMAIL:

info@kerninc.com


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COMPANIES Since 1967 Kirk-Rudy has manufactured innovative solutions for the mailing, printing, and packaging industries. From their state of the art 100,000 sq. ft. factory just north of Atlanta, GA, a complete product line of feeders, transport bases, conveyors, inkjet printers, inserters, labelers, tabbers, sorting, stacking, tip-on, pick-n-place, folders, bump turns, drying and matching/vision systems are engineered and produced with the highest standards of quality and value. Harry Kirk’s principle of “Build a better machine, and it will sell itself” has been KirkRudy’s mission since day one. A highly experienced and dedicated team work together every day designing and manufacturing the highest quality mailing and printing equipment used by the world’s top companies. The new UltraJet v21 inkjet is designed for maximum uptime and performance. It’s 2.1” print head delivers consistent high resolution images at super-fast speeds. Kirk-Rudy’s Phoenix is one of the most versatile, high speed inkjet printing systems on the market today. The 4.25” print head utilizes the latest UV curable inks and makes printing on virtually any surface an easy reality. The KolorJet is an amazing four color high speed inkjet printing system capable of printing 500 color envelopes in one minute, making for a profitable digital inkjet solution for direct mail and transactional pieces. Kirk-Rudy is well known as an innovator of tabbing systems. The KR545T is the only tabber on the market that will apply multiple tabs to three sides of a mail piece in a single pass. They have a complete line of tabbers to meet every size operation as well as labelers and stamp applicators. All of Kirk-Rudy’s equipment is sold through a world-wide network of authorized dealers who have been factory trained on sales and service and fully supported by the factory. With Kirk-Rudy’s Customer Satisfaction Guarantee all the guess work is removed from choosing the right equipment. Ask anyone who owns their equipment and they will tell you, “Nothing is built like a Kirk-Rudy”.

CONTACT INFO: COMPANY: Kirk-Rudy, Inc.

PHONE:

770.427.4203

WEBSITE:

www.kirkrudy.com

EMAIL:

jwilliams@kirkrudy.com


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MCS is a 25 year provider of solutions to advertising mail manufacturers. Known nationwide for innovative inkjet & camera solutions and continuous-form laser printers, MCS has evolved over the last 10 years to also become a provider of equipment & solutions for high-speed and ultra-high-speed inserters and Digital cut-sheet presses.MCS continues to respond to the industry’s current needs: Providing products to increase efficiency and lower labor costs; Increase margins in the face of ever-decreasing industry prices, and; Developing products for our customers to deliver high value-added products for the advertising mail stream.

COMPANIES

We’re highlighting this in 2017 through the following new products: TK17 } The TK17 is a high-speed monochrome production web / continuous forms press that allows inkjet imaging to replace legacy toner continuous forms presses. The reduced operating costs of inkjet – and the elimination of required service contracts allows the variable imaging of marketing materials at ¼ the cost of roll-fed laser printers. The TK17 will run up to 500 fpm and integrate into existing bindery environments. The TK17 also features the optional invisible barcode tracking module for read-and-print operations inline with inserters. 8500 } The 8500 brings the low-cost of production web inkjet to cut-sheet page printing. The 8500 utilizes an 8.5” inkjet print-head to produce full letter-size marketing letters at twice the speed of conventional laser printers at half the operational costs. Common operational scenarios are to utilize an 8500 sheet fed inkjet system on a transport which is inline with a folder – to produce folded letters between 10,000 and 20,000 per hour. The invisible barcode tracking module is also available. PDF Workflow for Color Read-and-Print Systems } For the first time in the industry, MCS has extended its inkjet PDF workflow to include the capability to have an inserter drive full-color envelope printing. Conventional or invisible 2D barcodes are read with the MCS Perfect Match system and the corresponding full-color PDF page will be printed on the outer envelope. With this system, popular composition systems such as GMC™ can be utilized to produce a PDF of up to one million pages and have the envelopes dynamically matched and printed inline. Digital Cut-Sheet Self-Maintenance Plans } MCS is announcing new manufacturer endorsed self-maintenance plans for toner-based digital presses. New customers can receive service tech level training to help reduce standard click-charges and receive the additional benefit of higher uptime and production.

CONTACT INFO: COMPANY: MCS

PHONE:

800.728.0154

WEBSITE:

www.mcspro.com

EMAIL:

Glenn.toole@mcspro.com


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COMPANIES Melissa Global Intelligence In today’s rapidly interconnecting world, customers and businesses are turning to new digital technologies to communicate. That doesn’t mean that the use of printed mail is diminishing. But it does indicate the need for businesses to adopt an integrated omnichannel strategy. The future of direct mail is to leverage a host of technologies to connect with customers the way they want to be contacted, while improving the impact of direct mail and ROI. Melissa Global Intelligence can help direct mailers execute an integrated omnichannel approach. For more than 30 years, Melissa has empowered over 10,000 companies worldwide to verify and append address, phone, and email addresses to improve direct mail, telemarketing, and email marketing effectiveness, and reduce costs. As mailers look to improve segmentation strategies, personalization, and integrated marketing activities, Melissa provides services to enrich contacts with demographic and firmographic details (like age, household income, marital status, company name, and more), and add social media handles and profiles. Location Intelligence Helps Mailers Getting your messages, mail, or shipments delivered on time doesn’t just depend on an accurate address. Sometimes it’s more than that. That’s why along with address verification, Melissa offers location enrichments like property data from over 140 million U.S. properties, and geocoding solutions that add precise latitude/longitude coordinates for over 40 countries, right down to the rooftop level. Pinpointing customer locations helps empower market/region data analysis, map visualizations, planning sales territories and delivery routes, and targeting and clustering efforts. The Future of Mailing It’s no secret, the mailing industry is evolving. And the use of new technologies will be at the forefront. Melissa offers the tools to propel your business forward. Are you ready to meet the challenge? www.melissa.com

CONTACT INFO: COMPANY: Melissa

PHONE:

800.635.4772

WEBSITE:

www.melissa.com

EMAIL:

info@melissa.com


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COMPANIES NPI Sorting systems are designed to optimize your sorting operations with advanced design and intelligent software. Built around patented antijam technology, the sorters run more economically as time-wasting jams are virtually eliminated. Multiple motors precisely located throughout the sorter, instead of a single motor power transmission system, drastically reduce maintenance costs and power consumption. Modular ergonomic design promotes seamless upgrades and modifi cations to support your expanding operations and improve production efficiency. NPI Sorting Systems provide solutions for products ranging from postcards, letters, flats, and even small to large parcels. The NPI Catalog of Sorting Systems represents some of the most innovative, advanced and fastest Sorting Systems on the market, but Sorting Systems are only half of the equation. NPI Software Suites are as versatile and innovative as sorters. Through the advent of Intelligent Mail and the universal Mail.dat format, effi cient data management is now the key to sort optimization, enhanced qualifi cation and postage savings. NPI’s OptESuite of software products allows our customers to predetermine sort plans, identify what levels of qualification is best for their operation and understand what it takes to maximize postage savings before a mail piece even hits the sorter. This allows customers in the Printing Industry and Large Standard mailers to realize real savings through commingling and co-palletization. The same technology also allows Service Bureaus to analyze different mail streams to determine the most profitable mail streams to commingle. In today’s mailing world, you can’t afford to be second. If you want your operation to be as efficient, profitable and successful as it can be, you need to contact NPI. We will analyze your operation and offer real solutions to help you be first.

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CONTACT INFO: COMPANY: NPI

PHONE:

888.821.7678

WEBSITE:

www.npisorters.com

EMAIL:

michelle@nationalpresort.com


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OPEX® Corporation started in the mailroom, so why look any further when it comes to implementing a digital mailroom solution in your business?

COMPANIES

HOW CAN I BENEFIT FROM A DIGITAL MAILROOM? Digital mailroom makes the most sense where: } There is a high volume of mail that needs to be distributed to multiple locations efficiently and cost-effectively } There are time-sensitive, customer-facing business processes involved } There is mail affected by regulatory demands When implemented correctly, a digital mailroom reduces costs associated with opening and sorting mail, negates misplaced mail pieces, and boosts compliance. Digital capture and indexing of mail allow businesses to access the most current information complete with a digital audit trail. THE FORGOTTEN COST OF DOCUMENT CAPTURE The information contained in your mail is critical to your business. In most digital mail centers, incoming mail must be manually sorted and the contents removed from the sealed envelopes. The contents of each envelope must be manually prepped before the digitization process begins. Using a Falcon® or FalconRED™ scanning workstation, a single operator working in the mail center can provide your organization with instant access to the most critical information arriving in the envelope. Value is created by scanning content at the earliest point of entry into the organization. Additional benefits include: improved customer service, decreased labor costs, increased speed, accuracy of delivery and increased compliance/security. MAKE YOUR MAIL CENTER MORE EFFICIENT Minimizing multiple sorts, prep, paper handling, and other manual tasks not only improves efficiency but also results in superior integrity, accountability, image quality, and overall productivity. Mail Matrix® redefines the capabilities, functionality, and performance of the mail center. With optional printer/labeler, Mail Matrix & OPEX Tracker™ turns any envelope into an accountable and trackable mail piece. Ideal for digital mail centers, FalconRED can process everything from checks to single sheets to multiple stacks of documents. Simply load your mail onto the Rapid Extraction Desk™, remove contents from the opened envelope, and drop them onto the scanner's conveyor.

CONTACT INFO: COMPANY:

OPEX Corporation

PHONE:

856.727.1100

WEBSITE: www.opex.com

EMAIL:

info@opex.com


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COMPANIES Pitney Bowes is reinventing mail by combining the strength of physical mail and shipping with digital experiences to deliver more value and help companies grow. From the world’s largest mailers to the smallest home offices, Pitney Bowes is delivering innovative and scalable solutions that can help you meet the needs of your business, including productivity, customer engagement, compliance and more. And with the Pitney Bowes Commerce Cloud, a host of valuable new online tools and solutions to optimize your mail and shipping are available at your fingertips. For high volume production mailers, Pitney Bowes continues to offer industry-leading inserting and sorting solutions along with innovative inkjet printing and finishing systems that deliver more targeted, personalized communications. Add to that the power of the Industrial Internet with Pitney Bowes’ Clarity™ solutions suite, and businesses now have access to valuable data that helps optimize productivity, accuracy and compliance. Shippers of all sizes can access industry-leading multicarrier shipping and receiving solutions via SendSuite®, which offers the flexibility of being installed on-premise, hosted or cloud-based. For smaller office shippers and mailers, the SendPro family of solutions brings together enterprise-caliber postal and multicarrier shipping capabilities to take the guesswork out of selecting the right service level and carrier for each piece. ®

Even our physical meters are going digital. Pitney Bowes SmartLink™ digitally connects our existing physical meters to the Commerce Cloud to enable a range of new online tools and services, including automated postage rate updates, low postage alerts, AutoInk™ technology, usage tracking and analytics, and error notifications. Let Pitney Bowes reinvent your mail.

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CONTACT INFO: COMPANY: Pitney Bowes

PHONE:

877.727.3887

WEBSITE:

Pitneybowes.com


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COMPANIES Think Ink is more than an ink solutions provider. With more than 17 years of experience in the mailing industry, no one sells more ink at competitive prices to mail shops nationwide than Think Ink! We are one of the largest OEM ink partners of both HewlettPackard and Kao Collins, as well as a supplier of FlexPrint brand inks. Think Ink’s FlexPrint branded inks are specifically formulated for challenging mail applications. Think Ink has the industry's best inventory of cartridges and ink products that utilize only genuine HP print head technology, as well as numerous inks for MCS Eagle Printers. If it can be inkjetted, we’ve got the solution! Think Ink offers free technical support and advice for all your ink needs. Our technical experts can provide free stock testing for your challenging stocks. Think Ink has shipping locations in Maryland and Illinois, with the latest ship times in the industry. Think Ink doesn’t just sell ink. We sell tabs, tags and maintenance items for your ink cartridges. Think Ink is your best OEM ink source for HP, Eagle technologies.

CONTACT INFO: COMPANY: Think Ink, Inc

PHONE:

301.963.7481

WEBSITE:

www.thinkink.com


HOW TO BEST EVALUATE DIFFERENT PRODUCTION TECHNIQUES FOR DIRECT MAIL

Direct mail can be one of the most effective communication techniques for organizations. Don’t squander the opportunity

D

irect mail remains a popular and valuable marketing channel, especially when it’s part of a well-coordinated multi-channel campaign. Marketers have broad options when designing their direct mail pieces, and they need to make wise choices to ensure efficient production and optimal return on marketing investment (ROMI). Making the right choices in format, technology, and workflow will drive effective mail pieces that are delivered on time and on budget. CHOOSE THE BEST FORMAT FOR YOUR APPLICATION Among the direct mail formats available to marketers are enveloped letters, folded 36

JULY-AUGUST 2017 | MailingSystemsTechnology.com

self-mailers, and postcards. Enveloped letters offer the most “real estate” for delivering your message. They also offer the option to include multiple components — perhaps produced using different printing technologies — that play different roles in connecting with the recipient. The letter offers two-tofour pages to make the pitch for your product or service. This pitch can, and should, be as personalized as possible so it resonates with each recipient. They should feel you are speaking directly to them and that your offer is relevant to their current needs. Other components in the envelope, such as brochures, buckslips, or flyers, can be more visual with heavy color and graphics usage to highlight the product or promotional gift. Mail pieces that contain a large amount of

personally identifiable information (PII), especially financial or insurance offers, should use enveloped letters to better protect the PII they contain from prying eyes. Folded self-mailers save the cost of producing multiple components, but they have design considerations of their own to remain cost-effective. The more complex the fold pattern, the higher the cost to manufacture a self-mailer. It’s also important to be sure your self-mailer design meets USPS automation requirements. In general, the final fold of the piece must be below or to the right of the address, and the piece must be sealed with glue or tabs in a pattern that meets USPS specifications. In addition, the maximum size of a letter-sized folded self-mailer is slightly smaller than for an en-


By Kurt Ruppel

veloped letter (6” x 10.5” vs. 6.125” x 11.5”) The simplest direct mail format, postcards, are best used when the message is short and simple, lends itself to a visual presentation, and no PII beyond the name and address need to be included in the offer. Due to their easy-to-produce, inexpensive nature, postcards can be a great “first step” into direct mail. Special postcard postage rates only apply for First-Class Mail, and then only if the postcard is no larger than 4.25” x 6”. If you are using USPS Marketing Mail (formerly Standard Mail), a postcard simply mails at letter rates. MATCH TECHNOLOGY TO PRODUCTION NEEDS Once you’ve chosen your format, you still have decisions to make about which of the various types of production technology you will use to drive the efficiency and effectiveness of your mail piece. If you choose to mail an enveloped letter, you’ll need to decide whether to use flexo or litho printing for your envelope. Flexo-printed envelopes can be efficiently produced in a single manufacturing operation, making them less expensive; however, they traditionally have had simpler art and lighter ink coverages than their litho-printed counterparts. But keep in mind, modern envelope converting technologies now allow flexo printing of four-color process images and use of coated papers and heavier ink coverages, so be sure to talk with your envelope supplier about the best printing option for your application. Litho printing requires a two- or three-step manufacturing process, so it is more expensive, but it allows heavier ink coverages, use of coated papers, and more complex images. The savvy marketer needs to weigh the potentially higher response a flashy litho-printed envelope may gain for the mail piece against the cost differential of the two production methodologies. Mail piece components, self-mailers, and postcards can be printed or personalized on sheet- or web-fed devices no matter the technology chosen. Typically, this is a volume-driven decision. Faster set-up and less make-ready waste favor sheet-fed for smaller volumes (up to about 25,000-50,000), while running efficiencies strongly favor web-fed technology for larger volumes.

There are two technology options for personalization and digital print: toner-based or inkjet devices. When we look at monochrome (black) personalization on preprinted shells, toner is known for its high-quality output, working well over a wide range of quantities, and being the most common method used for this purpose. Inkjet is known for speed and is most often used for very large-volume projects. In the digital print world, toner is again known for very high-quality reproduction, but due to relatively slow run speed, it is most often associated with cut-sheet production. The quality of full-color inkjet print has improved rapidly over the past five to 10 years and is now very close to what can be achieved with toner. Because of its faster run speed, it has been traditionally associated with continuous input devices, but has been making strong inroads into the cut-sheet market as well. SELECT THE OPTIMAL WORKFLOW Choosing the optimal workflow for a direct mail project incorporates many of the factors we have already discussed. A traditional workflow incorporates preprinted shell documents (usually produced on lithographic presses) with monochrome (black) personalization added in a separate production operation. A traditional workflow generally creates messaging targeted to groups of recipients with similar characteristics, resulting in multiple mailing packages due to different versions of the various components, which are designed to appeal to the different groups. Because of the amount of versioning needed to create personalization and relevance in a traditional workflow, the volume of names, and, consequently, the postal presort qualification, within each version is relatively limited. Often in this type of workflow, once the mail is produced, the various versions will be commingled back into a unified mailstream, with its resulting efficiencies for presort qualification and postal logistics. The alternative is a digital print workflow that incorporates a white paper-based manufacturing flow with full-color print and personalization in which all elements on the page are potentially variable. This data-driven approach to direct mail allows for

true one-to-one messaging with the potential for each recipient to receive his or her own customized, relevant offer. To support the depth of variation that can be found in these programs, it is often necessary to employ a dynamic content management system to automate the versioning and proofing they require. One of the advantages of a digital print workflow is that almost all the variation between individual mail pieces is managed within the digital print software. Because of this, physically separate versions aren’t needed, resulting in “single-stream” production. Since the full universe of names for the program is together in a single mailstream, native postal presort qualification is much higher and the need for commingling is much less. Drivers when considering traditional vs. digital workflows include the amount of data available about the target audience, the number of variables used to create each mail piece, and the ability to transform these data and variables into personalized, relevant targeted marketing. Programs with uncomplicated messaging and minimal targeting are a solid fit for traditional workflow, while programs with highly complex messaging and individual targeting are best supported with a digital print workflow. RETURN ON MARKETING INVESTMENT (ROMI) As with anything related to direct mail, the focus in choosing elements for your direct mail format, technology, and workflow should be continuous testing, measuring results, and adjusting your approach based on your analysis. Choosing the right production techniques drives cost effective direct mail that gets opened and drives response, resulting in optimal ROMI. ¾

KURT RUPPEL is Director Postal Policy and Marketing Communications at IWCO Direct. He is a member of the Mailers’ Technical Advisory Committee (MTAC) and serves on the Board of Directors at the Envelope Manufacturers Association (EMA), where he is also Vice Chair of the EMA’s Postal Affairs Committee. He can be reached at kurt.ruppel@iwco.com. MailingSystemsTechnology.com | JULY-AUGUST 2017

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By Chris Giles

Online Postage Comes of Age for Businesses

O

nline postage was born in the dotcom age, nearly two decades ago. In the summer of 1999, no fewer than four companies launched their offerings within days of each other. Today, there are only two companies with online postage offerings. An interesting footnote: one of these startups was actually the first of the many companies that went public during that time without reporting any revenue! While the initial online postage offerings garnered significant capital investment and headlines, the performance was rudimentary. You could print postage on envelopes, but not on labels. Systems required special hardware, such as a dongle, and each cus-

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JULY-AUGUST 2017 | MailingSystemsTechnology.com

tomer needed to be approved by the United States Postal Service (USPS). So with these limited capabilities and USPS constraints, online postage at the end of the day simply wasn’t that usable, in spite of all the enthusiasm and excitement for it on Wall Street. Not surprisingly, following the dotcom bust, some of the competitors disappeared. Since then, however, a lot has changed. First of all, we’ve all gotten used to conducting a great deal of our lives online. From shopping for all kinds of products and services, to paying for them, along with other monthly bills, to posting personal news and events on social media, to looking for a job, the online world for many of us is the familiar and often preferred place

where we get things done. Next, the speed and ease we experience online have changed our expectations for how quickly — and easily — things should happen. Finally, the mailing and shipping industry has evolved —dramatically — offering impressive online capabilities that have dialed up our expectations around tracking and delivery times. With respect to online postage, the USPS has eased its restrictions, and technology is giving users a lot more benefits than just saving them trips to the post office. Way Beyond Stamps Today, online postage solutions go far beyond printing postage, shipping labels


and addresses. Thanks to the latest easyto-use cloud-based solutions, online users can access comprehensive systems that let them do a better job of managing all their mailing and shipping activities across multiple carriers. These systems will print postage and shipping labels for USPS and other major carriers, as well as offer flexible postage payment options. The solutions also make it easy for users to qualify for discount programs from USPS and private carriers, and allow them to look at all carrier options on one integrated platform. For businesses sending packages internationally, online postage solutions now make it easier than ever before to produce complete customs forms and determine landed costs. In many ways, online postage has become a gateway for small and medium businesses to international commerce. In addition, since these systems reside in

the cloud, they can be offered as a software as a service (SaaS) model. As businesses look for more cost-effective ways to operate, they’re attracted to SaaS solutions. In this approach, all applications and databases reside in the cloud. As a result, a business does not need additional IT assets on premises — the SaaS solution provider takes care of it all. Organizations do not need experts to install and service systems, nor do they need an IT staff to maintain and upgrade them. A SaaS-based mailing and shipping solution is always up-to-date, providing users with all the latest features. The SaaS approach means you pay only for the services you use, at the time you use them. It also lets you access applications and data from anywhere, meaning you can run solutions from the desktop, integrate them into postage meters, and access them remotely on a smartphone or heavy-duty handheld device in a wireless environment. Individual users can mail, overnight, and ship parcels from their computers, tablets, or mobile devices using their choice of major carriers. This new cloud-based technology means that businesses of all sizes can now access multiple shipping options, accurately weigh packages, and print postage and labels from a single easy-to-use online application. Other benefits include the ability to: mail now and pay later, to better manage cash flow and streamline postal accounting; compare carrier choices, tracking, and consolidated reporting; select the best carrier option for each item, based on service level and price. These capabilities can now be offered to small and medium businesses, providing them with the same technology that’s been used for years by large online retailers and shipping companies. And How About That Tracking? Not too long ago, mail and package tracking was reserved for special situations, such as certified mail, registered mail, and overnight deliveries. Nothing happened in real time, as carriers would email spreadsheets and manifests only at the end of the day. But now all that has changed. New technologies permit us to track everything in real time. Carriers can do demand planning and route items for quicker delivery. We now track

billions of events around the country, and some systems can even tell you the street a mail piece or package is currently on. Having the ability to access where every package is, all the time, all over the country, has changed our attitudes as recipients. We now expect to be able to track everything that’s coming to us. Large operations, such as Amazon and eBay, are built on business models that depend on fast shipping and tracking. And now small and medium businesses can offer the same benefits, with the ability to access all the services and capabilities of all the major carriers. Today’s cloud-based online solutions also work seamlessly with a range of hardware options — such as postage meters, scales, and printers — with the user selecting only the hardware they need. Connecting this hardware to a SaaS solution turns these devices into online appliances. Everyday mailing machines such as postage meters have become smart sending devices, putting the latest technology into everyone’s hands. The fact is, never have more people had more access to more mail and shipping capabilities. And they can access those capabilities via the cloud from anywhere, on any connected device, for both sending and monitoring. Thanks to all this technology, today’s online postage solutions are also about big data, emanating from meters and other devices in the workflow. This big data is being used by USPS and private carriers to improve service, as well as by users to improve shipping performance and to lower costs. Cloud-based systems are providing businesses access to solutions, analytics, and APIs across the full business continuum. And they’re doing it with speed and agility, to help businesses identify customers, locate opportunities, enable communications, power ship from anywhere to everywhere, and manage payments more efficiently. When online postage was launched at the end of the last century, the concepts were raw and the commercial capabilities simply weren’t there. Until recently, online postage did not have much of a place in the business mailer’s arsenal. But today, it certainly does. ¾

CHRIS GILES is Vice President, Global Product Management, SendPro Solutions at Pitney Bowes. MailingSystemsTechnology.com | JULY-AUGUST 2017

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ITEMS TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING AN INSERTING SYSTEM Everyone’s needs are different, so it’s important to look at exactly what you hope to achieve with an inserting system before you buy. By Adam Lewenberg Editor’s Note: We ran similar articles on purchasing an inserting system in 2012 and 2015, but we thought that with the updated technology, a more current piece was in order. Enjoy! 40

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he purpose of this article is to give you the information that you will need to select the right folder inserter for your organization. I realize that many of these articles are from someone who works for a specific company, trying to gear you towards their products. That is not the case here; I run an independent consulting firm with no alliances with any vendor. I did, however, sell these units and run the national product line for one of the two main suppliers in the tabletop space, so I have a good grasp of what these systems entail. The inserter market is broken out into three segments, primarily based on mail volumes, as you can see from the chart to the right. Here are the items you need to consider when selecting the right system: 1. Monthly Volume – All units have a specific maximum monthly volume they can process. In my experience, most organizations do not come close to this number, but it needs to be looked at. Service contracts may become void if these volumes are exceeded, and you could experience increased service calls and downtime.

2. Machine Speed – Many units are compared based on speeds that run from 900-33,000 pieces per hour. Keep in mind that this is the cycle speed and that actual outputs will depend on many factors, such as number of pieces being inserted, the complexity of your applications, as well as stalls and paper reloads. As a rule of thumb, cut down these speeds by 30% to derive what you can expect in your environment. 3. Mail Piece Requirements – This is the most important item in selecting a unit. Make sure you know the following about your mailings: a. How many sheets? – Individual sheet feeders can typically pull multiple pieces, but oftentimes this is not how the documents are prepared. Let’s say you have an invoice and a separate advertising piece. Typically, these are not printed in the same run and would require a second sheet feeder to process into the envelope. b. How many inserts? – Inserts are items that do not require folding such as a return envelope or small adver-

tising pieces. These typically need to be loaded into separate designated feeders, although some tabletop units have interchangeable feeders. c. Do you need intelligence? – I know this sounds funny, but many units can be configured with a scanner that can read markings on the printed documents. These markings are either optical marks (OMR) or barcodes that tell the inserter how many pieces to collate together prior to folding and inserting. This is very important for organizations sending out invoices and statements that could have varying page lengths. It also provides a higher level of security that the document is not getting into the wrong envelope. d. How does it collate? – If you have multiple pages being pulled from one feeder, you need to make sure that the unit will collate them prior to folding. Most units do this, but it is something you need to validate. Otherwise, each page could fold individually, making it difficult for the customer to read. Also, if you are adding inserts, are they nested within the document or outside of the fold on its own? e. Where is the address? – If you are using window envelopes, you need to make sure your unit can do the right fold to be able to get the address into the right spot. Most of the time, the address is at the top of the document so it is not an issue. The problem comes when the address is on the

bottom panel, as you will see at times with accounts payable and payroll checks. Higher end units will be able to accommodate these types of documents by turning them in the unit. For other models, you can order reverse flap envelopes (where the opening is on the bottom vs. the top) but these can be more expensive. f. Do your material sizes meet the vendor requirements? – The majority of media going through these systems are standard size paper and envelopes, but they can work with different size materials. Have the vendor test your samples to make sure they run and are within the unit’s specifications. This is imperative with the envelopes. The flap, opening, and design can have huge impact on how well the unit performs. Also, you typically need at least ½” of clearance (¼” on each side) between the document and the envelope, so when the machine opens the flap, the piece can slide in easily. The biggest offender of this is invitation-style envelopes, which may be custom and often do not meet standard specifications. 4. Location Requirements – Make sure that the physical requirements of the unit you select will work in your environment. Consider these items prior to ordering a unit: a. Will the unit fit in my space? – These systems can get large, and you need to make sure your room can hanMailingSystemsTechnology.com | JULY-AUGUST 2017

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dle the unit. Add a few extra feet for space for loading and unloading paper and envelopes when operating. b. What will the unit sit on? – Smaller units are flexible, but medium and larger systems may require their own customized table. This is because they are heavy and need a good support system that will not sway when the unit is running. Also, these tables may be on casters so the unit can be wheeled back when serviced. Since these units are tall, make sure your table can be adjusted to the right height to making it workable for your staff. c. How much noise will it make? – These systems are running mail at thousands of pieces per hour and can get loud. I do not recommend putting them near a reception desk. Also, make sure that the location will not disturb nearby staff. 5. Mail Run Data File Compliant (MRDF) – One of the biggest trends in the inserter market is moving production features into the tabletop space. The one that everyone should consider for applications with sensitive information is the ability to use MRDF files. To do this, you need a software program that is formatting your documents with barcodes that can be read on the inserter. A file from this software is electronically fed to the inserter. When the mail is being run through the inserter, the barcode on the page is being scanned and matched to the data file. The inserter now knows which piece is being inserted and, if there is a stall, what reprints are needed. These systems are also able to validate that every envelope has been completed accurately. There is now a file that shows proof of what happened in the inserter and can be used for compliance and quality control. You can compare this to inserting done without these files, where all the inserter knows is the number of pages to insert based on scanning a barcode. 6. In-Line Envelope Printing – Window envelopes are the standard for any personalized mail because it is easy and inexpensive. Up until now, only high-end production units had the ability to put an in-line envelope printer at the end of the inserter. This is changing, and two of the vendors are now adding these features 42

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into lower end systems. The benefits of this feature are: a. You can use closed-face envelopes that can be less expensive b. You can have more flexibility over your documents because you do not need the inside address to line up to a window. c. You can make the piece look more personal with different fonts, sizes, and messages d. It can provide significantly more flexibility in what you are able to send. 7. Latest Features – Do you need the latest features included in your system? a. Touch screen user interfaces that are simpler for the operators and provide increased features. b. Network connectivity to the inserter that allows diagnostics, software updates, and data exchanges to monitor activity remotely. c. Web services – The vendors are trying to increase the flexibility of their solutions and provide ways to do the following: i. Data Enhancement – This could be as simple as adding barcodes to your document to be read on the inserter or redesigning the document to optimize print and postage. ii. Routing Print – By manipulating the print file, software can send the documents to the inserter, to a different location closer to the final destination, to third-party mail service providers, or via e-delivery. iii. Data Storage – With the print file, they can now store each final piece as a separate PDF that can be retrieved on premise or off. This could help reduce items that need to be mailed or can work with your e-delivery objectives. 8. System Complexity – Make sure the unit is simple for your staff to run or that the vendor provides detailed training with future resources made available as needed. 9. Financial Considerations – These are the main items to consider to make sure you get the best deal on your system: a. Bid Between Two Vendors – You will always get the best rate when you leverage your purchasing power between two players. In some cases,

they may be selling similar machines branded under different names. b. Purchase vs. Lease – Under normal use, these systems can last longer than a typical three to five-year lease period, and you may save money overall with a purchase. On the other hand, the vendors may have more flexibility in pricing around leases. It is a good idea to get pricing for both and compare over your time horizon. c. New or Remanufactured – You may want to consider remanufactured units if they are updated by the original equipment manufacturer and have a documented process for rebuilding. Validate that you will receive the same warranties and maintenance agreements as you would with new equipment. 10.Vendor Support – Once these units are set up in your operation, they are relied on, and disruptions in service can create huge internal bottlenecks. I have a customer whose only job is 30,000 statements at the end of the month. If the machine goes down, it can significantly impact their cash flow. Make sure that you get references from other local customers from your supplier and inquire on the service response times and ongoing support history. Hopefully this article was a helpful reference guide on what to look for when selecting an inserting system. After working with thousands of customers, these are the main areas that made the difference to our clients and got them the system that was right for their needs. ¾

ADAM LEWENBERG, CMDSS, MDC, President of Postal Advocate Inc., runs the largest provider of Mail Audit and Recovery services in the United States and Canada. They manage the biggest mail equipment fleet in the world and their mission is to help organizations with multi-locations reduce mail related expenses, recover lost postage funds, and simplify visibility and oversight. Since 2013, they have helped their clients save an average of 60% and over $30 million on equipment, avoidable fees, and lost postage. He can be reached at 617.372.6853 or adam. lewenberg@postaladvocate.com.


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ADDRESSES AND DISCRETE

GRID SYSTEMS As mailers, you know how critical clean addresses are to successful delivery. Could a Geographic Information System go even further?

By Merry Law and Pierre Rossouw

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I

dentifying a location has always been useful to people — from ancient evidence of local inhabitants identifying locales by naturally occurring landmarks to the naming a major roadways and city gates to the instituting of street names and building numbers. For thousands of years, many identifications were local, but some were known over great distances. Over the course of history, addresses developed in cities and towns and expanded out to more rural areas. This is continuing today in less-developed areas around the world. The first government-sponsored addresses were used for taxation and policing. They were only later used for the delivery of mail, in part because mail delivery to ordinary citizens is a relatively recent occurrence, with the concept of service to all a yet-unrealized one. Postal systems as we know them today are around 300-400 years old, much more recent than addresses. (Messengers and couriers, some governmental and some private, have existed for much longer. The locations of communities, families, and individuals, particularly those important to their communities, were known before the existence of addresses.) As postal systems and addresses developed, the posts took a larger and larger role in defining addresses. The affinity makes sense: an address allows for the identification of a delivery point for the post. Technology, at whatever stage of development, played a role in both delivery logistics and in address developments.

Over the course of those centuries, the height of delivery technology moved from horses to drones and manual sorting of mail to automated sorting with machineread address and barcodes. Computers have, and will continue to have, a major impact in the development of address and delivery logistics. Where We Are Now All countries have postal service, which is regulated and often owned by the government. Under an initiative of the Universal Postal Union, attention has been given to the “unaddressed,” that portion of the world’s population that does not have an address. One might choose to include — or to exclude — those in countries where all mail delivery is at a post office, whether over the counter or to a post office box. While the number of unaddressed is disputed, the assertion that the number is substantial is not. It probably lies somewhere between 1.8 and two billion people. Since addresses began in individual countries, many different ways of accomplishing the goal of providing unique addresses to postal delivery points exist. Some designate buildings by distance from an intersection of streets, others number buildings along a designated street, and still others use a unique number within a postal code. These last are often combined with street names to make them easier for residents and visitors to find. All of these systems can be supplemented by additional instructions, such as building, door, floor, or apartment designations, to add precision and aid in routing.

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Under an initiative of the Universal Postal Union, attention has been given to the “unaddressed,” that portion of the world’s population that does not have an address. While the number of unaddressed is disputed, the assertion that the number is substantial is not. It probably lies somewhere between 1.8 and two billion people.

The traditional development of postal addresses has been funded and done by national governments or government agents. It can be a lengthy, expensive, and complex process that involves mapping the county to identifying buildings and roads, creating a logical way of identifying those buildings and roads (often by names or numbers), assigning the names and numbers to all the buildings and roads, putting up signs with those names and numbers, and, finally, making residents aware of the new addresses and encouraging (or insisting on) their use. This very expensive process cannot be afforded by all countries, so other approaches may be used. There are often points of conflict along the way among various groups involved or interested in the process and the final addresses. Adding to the difficulty, each potential postal delivery point needs a unique address — a unique combination of all the items that might be part of an address. So the same street name and building number or the same post office box number might exist in other towns or post offices or postal codes, but it should exist only once in that town or post office or postal code or some combination of them. It must also include all the information necessary to deliver mail to the person or organization addressed. More than one building (residences or offices) may be on the same parcel of land and share the same postal address, requiring supplemental information to determine the delivery point — building names or other

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designations. In a large office or apartment building, supplementary information — an apartment, suite, door, or floor number — may be needed to determine the specific postal delivery point for a particular person or organization. This principle of uniqueness allows for unambiguous determination of the postal delivery point for each item of addressed mail. But it has other uses. Emergency services — police, fire, and ambulances — can determine where to go from the address. Private delivery services and visitors can find a residence or business. Utility services, such as water or electricity, can determine the service location. Visitors, including tourists, can more easily find their destinations. In many countries, an address is needed to register with the government to obtain an identity card or a driving license or to vote. As digital and computerized geographic identification and navigational systems become more common, these need to be more unambiguous, as these systems are exceptionally exacting about uniqueness of data and formality of the data’s structuring. It is useful for some, but not necessary for all, of these that the addresses have a logical structure. In particular, if a person is looking to find the building numbered 135 on a street designated as 23, it is helpful is street 23 is between streets numbered 22 and 24 and that building 135 is between or across from buildings 134 and 136. There may be intervening streets with names rather than numbers or buildings with

sub-designations like 134b. This logical structure of proximity indicators allows for a person to find an address that has not been previously visited, whether that person is delivering pizza or visiting a relative at a new home. Geographic Information System (GIS) and Geocodes A database of addresses could make use of a more random distribution of the address numbers used in the above example. Each address can be associated with a geocode, whether latitude and longitude or one of the many systems based on latitude and longitude. This would provide the logical structure to determine location of the addresses, but it does not allow for navigation or routing unless all routes are included, which move into GIS. Routing is essential for delivery of services and goods, such as mail. Furthermore, a person, such as a visitor or tourist, who did not have access to the database information might be unable to find an address. A more sophisticated Geographic Information System (GIS) with addresses and geographic information could go further than simply providing the location. Depending on the information included, GIS can assist with route planning, utility and school locations, and planning for expansion of emergency services. A number of geocode systems have been developed that provide a short designator for the geographic location of a structure. Some geocodes provide a sufficiently precise location to designate a light post or a fire hydrant; others define larger areas of the size of a house or building. The differences in the size of the defined area are the granularity resolution, with finer granularity defining a smaller area. These systems are based on latitude and longitude but create a code that has fewer digits than the number of digits in latitude and longitude, making the code easier for a person to remember or type into a device or on a form. This code can describe the precise location of a house or a stop sign or other structure. However, addressing in multilevel structures with geocodes cannot be done in a way that is satisfactory for precise identification of an apartment or office within a multi-level building. Databases and humans, though, have few issues. Over the past couple of decades, an increasing number of these systems have been developed. They divide the


entire globe into a grid and are called a discrete global grid or, sometimes, discrete squares. The grid sections can be of equal size or have equal angles. The scientific community investigating natural occurrences has preferred an equal size grid, while many of those applying grids to geocoding structures have preferred equal angles. Since the earth is not flat, any representation using Euclidian geometric structures will make accommodations that introduce some error. Some (usually small) degree of error is accepted by the scientific community for the advantages of the representation. Although the term “squares” is sometimes used, the sections making up the grid are not technically squares with four right angles (90°) and four equal sides. They may be trapezoids (in the US, trapezium in the UK) or pentagons or some other polyhedron. A Geocode Is a Location, but Is It a Postal Address? Both a geocode and an address indicate a point on the surface of the world. This basic, shared commonality has led to the suggestion that geocodes could solve the problem of addressing for those areas lacking street or building addresses. Proponents argue the codes created in various discrete global grid schemas could be more easily generated for any area

than other types of addresses; that these codes are easier to remember; and that they are more scientific. To many others, this seems like a solution looking for a problem to solve. With the use of computer mapping and GIS, the cost and difficulty of creating addresses for an area or a country have both lessened, and traditional addresses do not seem to tax the memories of residents. Finally, whether geocodes are more scientific is not the issue; it is whether they are more useful and practical than addresses. The scope of an address enables and caters to far more than any current geocode. A geocode refers to a theoretical (but not always correct in the real world) point on the 2-D surface of the earth, which is a subset of the natural environment and theoretically static. Addressing can also cater to the built environment, which can be multi-dimensional, and may have sub-delivery point identifiers; is dynamic; and is not necessarily fixed. Demographics are not constant; people come, move, and go. Current geocodes proposed as addresses for postal use do not currently meet all the needs of postal address at this time. They would need, at a minimum, to be supplemented by the same additional information as other types of addresses — floor, door, apartment, suite, or building designation.

Some geocodes provide a sufficiently precise location to designate a light post or a fire hydrant; others define larger areas of the size of a house or building. These systems are based on latitude and longitude but create a code that has fewer digits than the number of digits in latitude and longitude, making the code easier for a person to remember or type into a device or on a form.

This could be done, but it removes some of the supposed advantages of geocodes as a complete solution. In short, geocodes have many disadvantages. They are not easily understood by an individual without assistance from a computer mapping application, requiring an electronic device or, at the very least, a printed map to determine the location of each code. They may be as prone to human error as more traditional systems, with numbers transposed or words misspelled. With more traditional addresses, the other information may allow an error to be rectified. (For example, there may be no number 543 on that street, but there is a 534.) Finally, some, but not all, of these code systems are proprietary and cannot be used without paying a fee. As addresses are part of the national infrastructure, it is important for a national government or its designated postal operator to own the data and control it. This can be impossible with a proprietary system. Once addresses are developed and deployed, the completion of the many details for sorting of mail items for forwarding and delivery and delivery route planning is required. Since these need to be considered in the development of addresses, some preliminary planning should have occurred before the completion of the address development and deployment. The regular and efficient delivery to all those addresses requires continuous updating to the requirements for sorting and delivery, as the routes change with the expansion or contraction of population over time. This may present greater and ongoing challenges than the planning and deployment of addresses. ¾

PIERRE ROSSOUW is a professional systems engineer providing independent consulting specialist services to governments and private sector institutions, mainly in Sub-Saharan Africa. This specialization largely concerns address systems design, location coding systems, and international address and geolocation standards compliance. MERRY LAW, President of WorldVu LLC, is editor of the authoritative Guide to Worldwide Postal-Code and Address Formats and author of Best Practices for International Mailings.  She is a member of the Universal Postal Union POC Addressing Work Group and of the U.S. International Postal and Delivery Services Federal Advisory Committee.

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Mailing Systems Technology July/August 2017  

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