Mailing Systems Technology March/April 2023

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Editor's Note

The Power of Paper

Real-Life Management

Twelve Habits of Highly Effective Managers

Inkjet Info

Navigating Marketing Challenges in an Age of Data Overload

By Karen Kimerer

10 Postal Insights

The “Pivotal Year”

By Leo Raymond

11 Intro to International Mail Ransomware Attack Stops All Outbound Mail from Royal Mail By Merry Law

12 The Trenches Can You Make Mail Better? By Mike Porter SPONSORED

24 Inkjet: Take Your Mail Pieces to the Next Level

FEATURES 14 Personalization: The Gateway to Hybrid Working for Print and Mail By Jonathan
16 CASS Cycle O: “O” Is for Opportunity Examining the Latest Developments and Key Factors Driving Change By Adam Collinson 18 The Postal Service Reform Act of 2022 –One Year Later By Kathleen Siviter 20 "Hello, Ground Advantage, My Old Friend. I've Come to Ship with You Again." By
Understanding Your Mailer Scorecard and Avoiding Common Mistakes
26 Second Annual Megan J. Brennan Award Presented to USPS IG 28 Going Paperless Doesn’t Equal Going Green Printers and Mailers Need to Band Together to Showcase the Power of Paper
Gordon Glazer 22
By Anna Klein
By Kathi



President Chad Griepentrog

Publisher Ken Waddell

Editor Amanda Armendariz

Contributing Writers

Adam Collinson, Wes Friesen, Gordon Glazer, Karen Kimerer, Anna Klein, Merry Law, Jonathan Malone-McGrew, Mike Porter, Leo Raymond, Kathi Rowzie, Kathleen Siviter

Audience Development Manager Rachel Chapman

Advertising Ken Waddell 608.235.2212

Design Kelli Cooke

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

Fax: 608.241.8666



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(ISSN 1088-2677) [Volume 36 Issue 2] is published six times per year (January/February, March/April, May/June, July/August, September/October, November/December) by MadMen3 PO Box 259098 Madison WI 53725-9098, 608-241-8777. Periodical postage paid at Madison WI and additional offices.


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It seems fitting that for our Inkjet Summit show issue, we’re focused on the power of paper. After all, printers and mailers know the incredible importance of this hard-copy communication piece. It stands out in our memories in a way that digital information simply cannot, due to the overload we receive of the latter. And incorporating the latest inkjet technologies allows printers and mailers to take their pieces to the next level, achieving greater customer engagement and retention in the process.

The value of the printed mail piece and the opportunities it provides cannot be overlooked. Even at its most basic, people are likely going to examine a standard postcard they receive in their mailbox more closely than they are going to read one of 250 promotional emails that show up in their inbox (and, let’s be honest, most of these are often deleted without ever being opened). But there are a myriad of opportunities to make your mail

piece stand out even more, causing it to be a driver of change for your consumers. From personalization, to marketing messages tailored to generational preferences, there are a multitude of ways to make your customer communication piece catch the eye of your recipient. And utilizing the latest inkjet solutions puts your mail piece that much ahead of your competition’s.

As we put the finishing touches on this issue, we are looking ahead to May and the National Postal Forum. I hope to meet many of you at that event; I’d love to hear from our readers regarding the challenges and opportunities they are facing in today’s environment!

As always, thanks for staying connected with Mailing Systems Technology. | MARCH-APRIL 2023 5


Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, “Sow a thought and you reap an act; sow an act and you reap a habit; sow a habit and you reap a character; sow a character and you reap a destiny.”

Right in the middle of the quotation is the importance of our habits. A habit is “an acquired mode of behavior that has become our common practice.” Our habits mold our character and ultimately determine our destiny in the world. Want to further develop your character and transform into a highly effective person and manager? Intentionally pursuing and building worthwhile habits is the key.

Here are 12 habits of highly effective managers. This is not an exhaustive list — but these will build a strong foundation on your road to increased management and personal effectiveness:

Habit #1: Expanding Self-Awareness Having a high level of Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is essential to being an effective manager — and EQ starts with having accurate self-awareness. Self-awareness can help us gain self-control and be helpful to people around us — not hurtful. Some tools to help expand our self-awareness include: getting feedback from others, such as using 360 degree surveys; having a mentor to speak to; and constantly seeking feedback from others on how we are doing.

Habit #2: Pursue Continuous Learning and Continuous Improvement

Are you a perfect manager and person? Me neither! What we can do is commit ourselves to being lifelong learners and seek to continuously improve ourselves

as managers and as human beings. This includes being open to new ideas from our team members and others. I have been inspired by this quote from Dr. Martin Luther King: “I may not be the man I want to be; I may not be the man I ought to be; I may not be the man I can be; but praise God, I’m not the man I once was.”

Habit #3: Always Do the Right Thing

Too many people have been victimized by the unethical behavior of those in leadership roles. Remember Enron? My co-workers and I at Portland General will never forget — we were owned by Enron at time of their bankruptcy and our retirement savings were decimated. You may have your own story of being victimized by unethical behavior. Mark Twain said, “Always do what is right. It will gratify half of mankind and astound the other.” My former Pastor Loren Fischer taught, “It’s always right to do right” — and I agree.

Habit #4: Be Results AND Relationship Oriented As leaders we are expected to get results — and we should. At the same time, building positive relationships is the right thing to do — and it leads to great results. One tool to help build relationships is to consistently practice the 3 Rs with people. Recognize people for who they are and what they do; Reward people for individual and team achievements; and show people Respect — everybody wants to be respected (as the classic Aretha Franklin song emphasizes!)

Habit #5: Admit and Accept Mistakes

I sometimes make mistakes; how about you? The reality is that we are all human,

and sometimes we mess up. When we try to hide or rationalize our mistakes, we lose respect. When we own up to our mistakes, we gain respect. We also model a behavior that supports a psychologically safe environment where our team members can own their mistakes — then we can all learn from them and improve in the future. After all, perhaps the best learning experience is to make a mistake and then learn and grow from it.

Habit #6: Communicate Well One important aspect of communicating well is to always communicate the reason why. We know that nearly every organization is going through changes for a variety of causes (e.g., technological disruptions, increased competition, financial challenges, etc.) And only four in 10 US employees strongly agree that the mission or purpose of their company makes them feel their job is important. This means that most employees are at least a little unsure about how their work fits into the “big picture.” So, when big changes are required, many employees lack motivation. It’s the manager who is ultimately responsible for making that connection and explaining the why and the big picture fit.

We also need to communicate frequently — to share information, ask questions, and listen and show people we care about them. Sadly, Gallup finds that only 20% of US employees strongly agree that they have had a conversation with their manager in the last six months about the steps they can take to reach their goals.

Habit #7: Achieve Big Goals One Small Step at a Time I remember a grade school friend telling me the following riddle: “Question: how do you eat an elephant? Answer: one bite at a time.” Get the point? We need to set long-term visions and big goals for ourselves and our teams. And we need to break down the journey towards the vision and goals into manageable steps that inspire others to move forward.

Habit #8: See the Glass as Half-Full Are you normally a pessimist or an optimist? Studies have shown that the most effective leaders are strong optimists. Being optimistic does not mean that we ignore the half of the glass that is empty. It does mean we are thankful for the half that is full, and we work together to fill the rest of the glass as best we can.

Habit #9: Look for the Win-Win Effective managers don’t get locked into


specific positions, but rather look for ways to meet interests of themselves and others so everybody gets something (a “win-win” versus a “win-lose”).

Habit #10: Spend Much Time in Quadrant 2 Stephen Covey popularized the importance of intentionally spending significant time doing “Important, Not Urgent” items. These include things like building relationships, reading and other learning activities, planning and thinking, exercise, etc. To spend more time in Quadrant 2, we need to spend less time in Quadrants 3 & 4 (i.e. “Urgent, Not Important” and “Not Urgent, Not Important”) activities like watching TV, social media, playing video games, and spending time doing things that add no value to our lives or the lives of others.

Habit #11: Enjoy the Journey Management (and life!) is a journey — filled with both positive and negative experiences. The journey will be much more pleasant and we will go farther if we learn to laugh and be thankful. A Yiddish proverb says, “What soap is to the body, laughter is to the soul.” Studies have

shown that laughter makes us physically and emotionally healthier — and more fun to be around, too. Find a funny friend, enjoy a funny TV show or movie — and just laugh! Being thankful is also important. The reality is that we all have much to be thankful for, and our lives will be more joyful and productive if we learn to develop an “attitude of gratitude.”

Habit #12: Remember — Your Health Is Your Wealth Gandhi said, “It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.” Living a healthy lifestyle will increase your energy, stamina, and emotional well-being — and help us be more effective in all that we do. A holistic healthy lifestyle includes developing and using our mental capabilities (read a good book lately or taken a class just for the learning?). We are also spiritual beings, and finding faith and serving others can nourish our spiritual health.

Let me leave you with a challenge to not settle for mediocrity, but to get in the game and go for management excellence. Listen to this classic President Teddy Roosevelt quote: “It is not

the critic who counts, nor the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doers of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly… who spends himself in a worthy cause.” 

Wes Friesen (MBA, EMCM, CMDSM, MCOM, MDC, OSPC, CCE, CBF, CBA, ICP, CMA, CFM, CM, APP, PHR, CTP) is a proven leader and developer of high-performing teams and has extensive experience in both the corporate and non-profit worlds. He is also an award-winning university instructor and speaker, and is the President of Solomon Training and Development, which provides leadership, management and team building training. He serves as the Industry Co-Chair of the Greater Portland PCC. His book, Your Team Can Soar!, has 42 valuable lessons that will inspire you and give you practical pointers to help you — and your team — soar to new heights of performance. Wes can be contacted at wesmfriesen@gmail. com or at 971.806.0812. | MARCH-APRIL 2023 7


Let’s face it — marketing without data would require companies to rely solely on instincts and anecdotal evidence to promote their brands. This approach would likely lead to a disconnect with their audience and produce ineffective marketing campaigns. Therefore, data analytics is essential in modern marketing. It enables marketers to make more informed decisions about their strategies by providing valuable insights into customer demographics, interests, and behaviors. In addition, marketers can better understand what resonates most with their target audience by analyzing data from various sources, such as direct mail campaigns, website traffic, email campaigns, and social media interactions.

As marketers intensify their efforts in 2023, they must remain mindful of today’s staggering volumes of data. Although the integration of marketing and data has proved to be a winning combination for many businesses, it’s important to understand that data overload is real. This article explores the

challenges that direct marketers face with data management and how they are working to address them.

Digital Means More Data

Data is crucial for decision-making in today’s business world. Fortunately for

marketers, the rise of digital technologies means that there is now an abundance of information about the consumers and markets they want to serve. It’s well known that digital marketing channels like social media, email, and websites make it possible to track and analyze customer interactions in real time. When used properly, this type of feedback means that companies can make quick adjustments to become more competitive. This is great for brands that only use digital marketing channels, but collective research has consistently shown that most businesses also use direct mail. In fact, Keypoint Intelligence’s most recent Direct Marketing Communications survey reveals that the split of marketing spend between digital and direct mail is almost equivalent (see Figure 1).

As marketers continue to compete for mindshare, they must find a way to put that print to work so they can get the most from their investment. After all, it’s quite difficult to measure engagement with static mail. As a result, it’s no surprise that according to the same study mentioned above, nearly 70% of marketers are integrating a digital call to action with their printed direct mail. The primary drivers are a need to measure campaign effectiveness and a desire to improve the overall customer experience.

Figure 1: Direct Mail vs. Digital Marketing Spend

Will the Real King Please Stand Up?

Some would argue that “content is king,” but it’s difficult for marketers to know what type of content works and when it should be used without data. The phrase “data is king” reflects the growing recognition that data-driven insights and analytics play a vital role in determining business outcomes.

Even so, data (howsoever necessary) can be problematic on just about every level — simply getting names and addresses right is a business in itself. Add to that customer preferences about where they want to receive their messages along with tracking results across multiple channels, and the challenges can be monumental. Tasked with everything from segmenting data to ensuring security and privacy, today’s marketers really have their hands full. If asked where they retrieve their data, a good number of marketers will admit that they work from multiple databases. Even with the ability to integrate and cross-reference one list to another, pulling from numerous sources can put data integrity at risk. As such, marketers recognize the value of having access to the best tools and technologies.

Figure 2 provides a closer look at some common investments. When respondents

were asked which investments had the most impact, marketers assigned the highest importance to data collection tools and dashboards for reports and analytics.

Every Challenge Brings an Opportunity

Without question, we know that marketers rely on data to make informed decisions about where to allocate their budgets, gain insight into customer preferences, and determine where they need to adjust their strategies to optimize their efforts. As mail volumes return to pre-pandemic levels and the blend of marketing channels continues to grow, data analytics will only become more complex. This means that businesses of all sizes will need access to specialized skills and solutions to remain competitive.

As the print and mail industry incorporates a digital-first mindset, service providers must seek opportunities to fill the gaps in their clients’ operations. Offering a listening ear is a good place to start. Conversations might incorporate a few of the challenges mentioned in this article, then tested to determine how they compare with your customers’ environments. If the gap is wide enough, develop a strategy to become the

resource of choice when it comes to data and marketing. With careful investments in talent and technology, revenues in the future might come from different sources.

The Bottom Line

As we move into the future, marketing will continue its evolution to include more automation, hyper-personalization, and channel integration. Data will remain a constant, as it is required for brands to make important decisions about optimizing their marketing spend and driving real business results. Collecting the right data and then using it correctly remains a challenge for firms of all sizes. There has never been a more important time for marketers to consider investing in time and technology to improve data management. 

Karen Kimerer of Keypoint Intelligence has experienced the many challenges of expanding current market opportunities and securing new business. She has developed a systematic approach to these opportunities, addressing the unique requirements of becoming a leader in our changing industry. She is well-versed in 1:1 marketing, web-to-print, direct mail, book publishing, supply chain management, data segmentation, channel integration, and photo products. | MARCH-APRIL 2023 9
Although the integration of marketing and data has proved to be a winning combination for many businesses, it’s important to understand that data overload is real.
Figure 2: Importance of Technological Investments


As 2022 came to a close, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy was interviewed by Government Executive to get his opinions about progress in implementing his 10-year Plan.

For DeJoy, 2023 is the “Year of Implementation” when many of the operational changes he’s been planning finally are put in place and, presumably, begin to deliver the efficiencies and cost savings that he promised in his Plan.


Whether the steps toward implementation are as nailed down as might be expected is another matter. As he told the reporter, “A lot of people say they don’t know exactly what we’re doing. Well, neither do I.” DeJoy was quoted as saying he’s going to “make a lot of mistakes,” explaining those as simply because he’s “willing to adapt.” Not exactly confidence-building comments from a PMG who preaches “precision” and brooks no disagreement.

DeJoy rests his comfort with mistakes on the level of visibility in postal operations he now believes is in place. As he assured Government Executive about expected mistakes,

“We also have visibility, we catch them now, and we react to them. And that was not here. And that’s the beginning of a

well run operational services organization. That’s what I’m most proud of.”

As much as having a way to catch and correct mistakes might be a useful resource to have, some might argue that a less headstrong leader would be more deliberate in advance rather than simply driving forward impatiently, hoping to fix errors on the fly that had been funded by ratepayers.

Time for Results

The writer characterized 2023 appropriately as “a pivotal year” for DeJoy’s Plan as it enters its third year.

So far, DeJoy’s only widely acknowledged success is the use of his political connections to secure passage of the Postal Reform At of 2022.

Conversely, outside his finance department, there’s little support for his strategy of improving USPS finances by aggressively raising prices. Though DeJoy had promised to be “judicious” in using the greater pricing authority provided by a 2020 Postal Regulatory Commission decision, few would agree that’s what’s happened. Echoing what may be the opinion of most ratepayers, PostCom President Mike Plunkett commented, “That’s not my definition of judicious.”

As the article noted, despite vowing to cut costs and grow revenue, many in the

mailing community fear DeJoy’s myopic push for revenue (not cost reduction) is driving away business. As Plunkett noted, “Any improvement from the financials so far has come through rate increases.”


In other interviews, DeJoy has expressed a belief that the loss of hard-copy mail is inevitable, saying he’s “not going to chase it.” Those whose business depends on such mail may rightly find it disturbing that the head of an organization generating most of its income from hard-copy mail has written it off as not deserving of effort to preserve it. Instead, DeJoy believes his agency’s financial future rests on packages.

He also sees cost savings in “improving facility conditions, making the flow of mail more logical, rerouting letter carriers... to consolidated sorting centers, adding equipment to boost package processing capacity and generally shifting from a scattered network to a fully integrated one.”

Though DeJoy admits the transformation “will take years” he says it “will get underway in earnest in 2023.” However, as the article’s writer noted,

“There remain serious questions about whether his reforms will produce the savings he has promised — previous efforts to consolidate facilities led USPS to perform worse while realizing just a tiny fraction of the cost reductions it had anticipated.”

The article concluded that DeJoy sees his work as defining his legacy.

“If he pulls it off, if he can cut inefficiencies while boosting on-time mail delivery and eliminating annual deficits, it will go a long way to reversing the narrative that has defined much of his tenure. If he fails, it could cement his reputation as a conservative, private sector magnate incapable of recognizing USPS’ value as a public service.”

What DeJoy may not realize — or care about — is that if his Plan fails, it’s the commercial mailing industry, postal ratepayers, and average customers who will be left to deal with the results. His reputation may suffer, but the people who depend on mail and the USPS for their livelihoods likely will suffer more. 

10 MARCH-APRIL 2023 |
Leo Raymond is Owner and Managing Director at Mailers Hub LLC. This content is based on information from the Mailers Hub enewsletter. He can be reached at


Royal Mail, the UK’s designated postal operator, announced a cyber incident January 11, halting all outbound international mail. It took a few days before the extent and cause of the attack were disclosed. The ransomware attack is attributed to the LockBit cartel, a Russian-linked group. As Advance Electronic Data (AED) is required for packages moving between countries, data systems for international mail dispatch have become necessary to the flow of mail internationally. While the exact details of this attack are not publicly available, the Royal Mail is cooperating with security authorities. Inbound mail from other countries was subject to “slight delays,” and domestic mail within the UK was not affected. Royal Mail stopped accepting all mail bound for foreign countries from customers.

On January 18, Royal Mail was able to send a “limited number” of outbound items using a work-around created to overcome the dispatch problems. As of 7 PM January 19 in the UK, letters not requiring a customs declaration were

accepted to foreign addresses. They continued to request that customers not mail packages to other countries for about two weeks. As of Monday, January 23, Royal Mail was able to resume dispatch of letters and packages to an increasing number of countries. Royal Mail is slowly returning to full international operation.

The ransomware attack and suspension of international outbound mail follows a number of one-day strikes that caused delivery delays in the last months of 2022. The net cost of the strikes to Royal Mail is around £200 million (about $248 million), according to financial reports. Strikes by the Communications Workers Union (CWU) will continue into 2023, with the first one on February 16. The UK has a liberalized postal sector, allowing competition in domestic and international mail services. Customers have moved to Royal Mail’s competitors during the disruptions.

Royal Mail’s history goes back to the 1600s, with occasional name changes over the years. A government department for most of its history, it became a government-owned statutory corporation

in 1969 and a public limited company in 2000. In 2006, Royal Mail lost the 350years monopoly on mail services. In 2013, shares in Royal Mail began trading on the stock exchange, with a great deal of controversy. Accusations appeared that the government mishandled the initial offering, as the share price increased after the initial sale. Controversy continued into 2015 when the government disposed of its remaining 30% stake in Royal Mail. Through 2019 and into 2020, Royal Mail was trading below the issue price and was demoted from the FTSE 100 in 2022.

Like the USPS, Royal Mail has had continuing financial losses. Both face serious challenges from decreasing mail volumes; both were relieved of their pension debt by legislative action leading to better-looking financial statements. Unlike Royal Mail, the USPS is a government corporation and retains its domestic mail monopoly. The Royal Mail ransomware attack raises further questions about its future.

The suspension of international mail acceptance and dispatch has led to substantial costs to businesses, particularly smaller businesses. Some businesses have reported a lack of tracking information resulting in concerns for potentially lost articles. Refunds for late and undelivered orders have, of course, increased. Items sent to service suppliers in other countries for repair or refurbishment were held by Royal Mail, creating inventory and customer service problems. Order processing backlogs are having an effect on ongoing company operations. The ultimate cost will be difficult to determine.

As we all know, the number of attacks by hackers has been increasing year to year. Postal operators in developed and developing countries, with networks accessed by hundreds of thousands of mailers, are particularly vulnerable and must guard against intrusion. The Royal Mail ransomware attack is a warning to us all. 

Merry Law is President of WorldVu LLC and the editor of Guide to Worldwide Postal-Code and Address Formats. She is a member of the UPU’s Addressing Work Group and of the U.S. International Postal and Delivery Services Federal Advisory Committee. | MARCH-APRIL 2023 11 INTRO TO INTERNATIONAL MAIL


As a print/mail service provider or in-house print/mail facility, your company probably does a great job. You make sure the mail you prepare meets postal regulations, goes out on time, and qualifies for the lowest postage rates appropriate for your mailings. Is that enough? Should you be satisfied with doing those basic things, or is there a chance to do something more? How can you improve the mail you send on behalf of your internal and external clients?

Professionals in the mailing business tend to focus on the manufacturing aspects of mail. This is necessary because high-volume mail is very much a manufacturing process. Efficient and accurate mail processing is critical if transactional or marketing mail is to produce the results your customers want. But maybe it’s worthwhile to take a look at what you’re mailing and to whom you send it. Think beyond the mechanical aspects of mail and envision steps you can take to change the impact of the mail pieces you distribute. What can

you do to help customers use the mail to meet their business objectives?

No Real Barriers

The tools to make mail better already exist. We have access to the data behind the mail pieces, even if it’s necessary to extract it from the print files. Mailers can also enhance mailing files with additional data if it enables more effective communication. We can segment, personalize, and filter to make sure each mail piece has a good chance to be successful. We can track the mail, include it in a multi-channel communication strategy, and more.

Better Targeting

One way mail service providers can make mail better is with improved targeting and segmentation. This applies mostly to marketing mail but can be beneficial for transactional mail as well, with transpromo messages. Raise the ROI of a mail campaign by making sure each mail piece you create is delivered to an individual that matches the profile of

the desired audience. The criteria for targeted content will be different for every application.

I can recall working with an electric utility company that would repeatedly send mail to foreign addresses. That made sense for some messages to customers who lived in Europe but owned property in the local area. It made little sense for mailings promoting local in-person events that would be over before the mail reached the foreign recipients, like a lightbulb exchange or a community concert.

Document Effectiveness

Another area where you might improve the mail is with the design of the mail piece itself. Is it easy to read? Do critical elements like due dates and amounts stand out? Is there a clear call to action? Would the addition of graphics or charts improve comprehension, increase engagement, or enhance the customer experience? Are you enclosing return envelopes for individuals enrolled in autopay? Is there extra space for promotional, informational, or educational messages?

I redesigned one high-volume document for a client that resulted in a 30% reduction in the number of printed pages while maintaining readability and compliance with regulatory guidelines. All we did was adjust the margins, orient the content in columns, and reduce the font size. The jobs printed faster, inserted faster, and saved the company money on paper, ink, and processing fees. Not a single customer complained.

Multi-Channel Integration

Are your bill-print clients convincing their customers to convert to paperless bills? What happens if customers don’t open their notification emails within a prescribed period? You might suggest to your clients that you send paper bills to the ebill non-openers and improve their cash flow. The same method can apply to email marketing campaigns. Have your client set a trigger in their CRM or marketing automation system to send you data on prospects that haven’t opened the last four marketing emails they sent. You can enroll these non-responders in a series of direct mail postcards and re-establish a connection with a prospective customer for your clients!

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While we’re on the subject of connecting digital and physical communication channels, examine the mail you’re sending for your clients. See if adding a QR code will enhance the messaging on the direct mail marketing piece, correspondence, or transactional document. Help your clients take advantage of the power of multi-channel in a simple and low-cost way.

Postal Promotions

Another way to improve how your clients use the mail is by helping them qualify for the USPS promotions that lower mailing costs with postage discounts of up to five percent. Learn about the promotions here in Mailing Systems Technology or at

Tracking and Statistics

Once the mail leaves your facility, you can still add value by tracking the mail

for your clients. Use data provided by the USPS Informed Visibility program and schedule client meetings to show them the delivery statistics for their mail. If they aren’t familiar with the tracking functionality enabled by the intelligent mail barcode, you will impress them.

These are just a few of the ways you can make mail better for your internal or external clients. Once you concentrate on the mission of the mail you’re sending, more ideas will become obvious. Your efforts to improve mail’s performance can generate new revenue opportunities that make up for the lower mail volumes some of these strategies create. If you’re adding value, you deserve to be paid. Outsource service providers will distinguish their companies from the competition by making mail better, and in-house mail operations will enhance their standing within the organization. 

Mike Porter at Print/Mail Consultants helps his clients meet the challenges they encounter in document operations and creates informational content for vendors and service providers in the document industry. Follow @PMCmike on Twitter, send a connection request on LinkedIn, or contact Mike directly at
Once the mail leaves your facility, you can still add value by tracking the mail for your clients.


The idea of personalization is not new. When I think of the tradition of personalizing goods, I think back to monogrammed towels, robes, and suitcases, or an anniversary gift that celebrates a milestone. There is just that special feeling when you have something personalized for you, whether it’s an item or a service. It is those warm and fuzzy feelings that give personalization power in business communications and consumer promotions.

There is a long tradition around the world of personalization; it is even evident in print and mail in-plants or

service providers (often referred to as print service providers or PSPs). Before we let the train leave the station, let’s define what the print and mail industry means by personalization. This definition also applies to digital communications creation and the delivery industry (e.g., email, push notifications, SMS, portal messages).

A good starting point is with Merriam-Webster, an old favorite since 1828:


: to make personal or individual specifically : to mark as the property of a particular person // personalized stationery

For print and mail (and digital channels), personalization can come in many

forms. What we often think of first is the personalization of the salutation. For example, “Dear Jonathan,” as opposed to “Dear Valued Customer,”. This is a basic form of personalization, but it is not the only form. Personalization may come in the form of offers that speak to a recipient’s lifestyle and interests or the images, colors, and references included in the messaging. Connecting a customer to resources near them is part of creating relevant and personalized communications, especially in transactional, direct, and marketing mail. Customization is another way to describe what is being offered when differentiating it from your standard name personalization.

Forbes published an article in 2020 sharing 50 statistics they believe show the power of personalization and how

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it impacts decision-making. For print and mail providers, there are a few that stand out and drive home why paying attention to personalization can create an uplift in Return on Investment (ROI).

80% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase from a brand that provides personalized experiences.

- Epsilon

63% of consumers will stop buying from brands that use poor personalization tactics. - Smart Insights

66% of consumers say encountering content that isn’t personalized would stop them from making a purchase.

- CMO by Adobe

89% of digital businesses are investing in personalization. - Forrester

88% of marketers say their biggest driver in personalization is to deliver a better customer experience. - Evergage

80% of companies report seeing an uplift since implementing personalization.

- Econsultancy

95% of companies that saw 3x ROI from their personalization efforts increased profitability in the year after their personalization efforts. - Monetate

That is just seven out of the 50 stats that Forbes shared in their article right before the challenges we all experienced in 2020. However, there are conversations today that suggest that these market behaviors not only hold true but may also be elevated. The takeaway is that personalization has proven value to both recipients and businesses providing goods and services. For printers and mailers, this is a great time to take an assessment of your offerings. How many offerings to your customers offer personalization?

Adding in personalization doesn’t just happen with a touch of a button. It adds more complexity to print and mail work and requires additional coordination when dovetailing print and mail with digitally delivered communications and experiences. It is important to

evaluate what your current workflows are today for creating work, accepting work, onboarding work, make-ready and prepress, postal optimization and presort, production, finishing and delivery.

To gain the most business success from personalization as a print and mail service provider, analysis of best practices prove that there need to be tools in place to help move work from manual processes to software solutions that can be automated, providing monitoring, tracking, and reporting. These solutions can range from composition systems that help you create personalized content for print and mail to Web-to-Print (W2P) solutions that let you accept print-ready work.

that has leveraged both postal optimization solutions and print production workflow solutions to achieve increased postal discounts and take 3,000 minutes out of their production process each day. To make that more relatable, that is 50 hours a day and represents the ability to reallocate multiple employees to higher-value and more business-critical tasks. Today, it is also a way to mitigate risk around labor issues, reduce the costs of producing finishing goods, and sustain a flexible hybrid workforce.

When you have the solutions in place to make personalization part of the business practice, your organization is primed to also make hybrid or remote working sustainable. If you follow best practices to track that work so you always know where it is and when it is complete, hybrid and remote work become less problematic as your customer jobs become more variable and personalized.

The key is looking a bit deeper. Do you have a solution that is marrying your in-house produced or composed work to print-ready work coming in through a W2P channel? If you leverage a Print MIS, how does it talk to your preflight and prepress operations? Following along that same thought, how are postal presort, address cleansing, and postal optimization managed and automated? Now, carry that through the production, finishing, and delivery processes. This is important because the more variable or unique each piece is, the more crucial it becomes to know where each piece in a larger job is and if it was indeed produced and delivered.

Having grown up in the software side of the print industry, I have seen firsthand how software solutions can create lift in print and mail businesses. The ROI boost can be considerable. For example, I work with a print and mailer

One customer I have worked with prints and mails for many departments of a State government. As they began to offer more services, including for personalization and customization options, they were faced with the long-term prospects of workers who were not going to return to the offices in some of the departments. This drove a requirement to be able to request print, get updates on the progression of submitted work, and know when it was complete and delivered. And, it needed to be available to people on-site and offsite — the hybrid workplace challenge.

While personalization doesn’t require automation and visibility, it makes it possible to run super-optimized workflows that can be managed in a meaningful way for print and mail businesses. Optimized and automated processes that have visibility solutions connected to them may make hybrid and remote working possible for print and mail environments that might not have seemed practical in the past. The result is a powerful set of business processes that drive increased revenue, boost employee morale, and increase customer satisfaction.  | MARCH-APRIL 2023 15
Jonathan Malone-McGrew is Senior Director of Engagement, Solimar Systems.
The takeaway is that personalization has proven value to both recipients and businesses providing goods and services.

Let's start with the basics. USPS CASS (Coding Accuracy Support System) certified software has the primary purpose of standardizing the addresses to USPS standards and determining the current ZIP, ZIP+4, and Delivery Point information used in the Intelligent Mail Barcode. With its additional built-in processes, CASS updates addresses that have been renamed or renumbered, adds secondary address information for businesses, evaluates the address's accuracy, and provides additional, useful information about the address.

The CASS requirements used to change yearly as needs and opportunities for improvement justified an update. As we know, there has not been enough of a need for a new Cycle in over 10 years since the last update (CASS Cycle N). As a result, August 1, 2023, is the effective date for the upcoming CASS Cycle O, prompting mailers everywhere to prepare for the changes while remaining hopeful that another postponement isn't in store.

The best practices goalpost for CASS Cycle O is moving massively. New data and capabilities that are part of this update will benefit mailers looking to reduce undeliverable mail, but it will also


Examining the Latest Developments and Key Factors Driving Change

tomer satisfaction. The majority of the changes in Cycle O will address requests from mailers looking for the USPS to provide more information about an address to allow for more intelligent mailing and business decisions.

Note: While the primary changes are in CASS, Cycle O also impacts NCOALink, so those with CASS or NCOALink software will need to upgrade to Cycle O.

What is there to do, and when does it need to be done?

There have been issues causing delays in vendors being able to release Cycle O within the industry's desired timeline. If you have not heard from your vendor regarding the upgrade to Cycle O, ask them! Also, many people who worked on the previous CASS cycle are no longer at their posts, having moved on or retired. Ensure your current team is aware of and educated on what CASS means to your organization.

What if a company still needs to prepare?

The first step is understanding the complexity of the changes so that you can identify which ones matter to your organization. After that, taking preparatory

action requires extensive education, weeks of analysis, and implementation. Some changes will affect all mailers, and others may only impact a few. Cycle O is NOT a one-size-fits-all equation. To prepare appropriately, you must cater to your company's specific CASS needs.

What are the significant updates in CASS Cycle O?

 Updates to coding logic to better reflect the deliverability of specific addresses

 Support for new military addressing conventions

 Additional information available about address-per-mailer generated requests

An essential update in CASS Cycle O is the modification of address validation rules. These rules are designed to improve the accuracy of address information in order to be able to reduce the number of undeliverable mail pieces. The USPS has also included additional data about an address to improve mailers' ability to identify accurate and secure addresses.

How will these updates benefit mailers?

Mailers must use qualified CASS software to qualify for postage discounts. As of

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August 1, the decade-old Cycle N will no longer qualify. However, many enterprise mailers' budgets hinge on those discounts, so losing them is certainly not an option.

or within blocks of Post Offices where the USPS does not deliver to the physical location but provides a free PO Box to be used as the mailing address. Mail pieces addressed to the physical location get delivered to the Post Office, but it is up to local clerks to figure out the right PO BOX.

With Cycle O, additional effort will no longer identify these addresses as qualifying for discounts. Goodbye, discounts! Typically, up to five out of every 1,000 addresses a mailer has is an R777/9 address. The question is: in addition to this physical address, does the mailer also have a corresponding PO Box address? In most cases, no.

One prominent example here is the R777/9 addresses, which, in Cycle O, can fully CASS code and qualify for discounts. These are addresses located in rural areas

A couple of years ago, the USPS stopped accepting Change of Address requests where either the old or new address is an R777/9. The good news? The loss of discounts on R777/9 addresses is the only negative impact of Cycle O. With these updates, deliverability and response rates will improve, and critical moving data will also be available. Not a bad deal. With Cycle O, it will also be easier to identify these records.

As we approach the largest addressing operations milestone that we've seen in more than a decade, I strongly urge mailers to educate, plan, and prepare in order to have a smooth transition. Those in charge of planning and activating requirements early are positioned to save millions of dollars annually in their postal budgets. The worst thing you can do is just do the bare minimum on Cycle O and not take advantage of the new information fields. Then you will essentially be paying more postage because fewer pieces will qualify for discounts (up to half a percent on your total volume). On the other hand, utilizing the new data, mailers will have the ability to reduce their current undeliverable mail by 10+%, leading to savings, increased response rates, and reduced fraud risks. If you don't have a Cycle O plan, it might be time to ask for help. 

Those in charge of planning and activating requirements early are positioned to save millions of dollars annually in their postal budgets.
Adam Collinson is Director of Addressing Intelligence, GrayHair Software.


The Postal Service Reform Act of 2022 (PSRA) was signed into law one year ago, on April 6, 2022. Many people associate the legislation purely with the elimination of the requirement for the USPS to prefund its retiree health benefits, which admittedly was a very significant piece of the legislation, but there are other changes included in the PSRA that mailers should be aware of. And what does the elimination of the prefunding of retiree health benefits actually mean to the USPS and users of the mail? Where are we one year after the legislation was passed, and what is still to come?

Financial Reforms. Let’s start with the financial reforms for USPS contained within the legislation. The PSRA did remove the requirement for USPS to prefund retiree health benefits (which was part of the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006). This had an immediate impact on the USPS in that it had about a $59.6 billion one-time cash benefit since the USPS would no longer have to include billions in prefunding payments as expenses each year.

At the time of the writing of this article, however, there was disagreement on how the USPS should account for this change in its financials — something that most would not think is a significant issue, but the outcome of which could amount to about one percent in additional rate authority for the USPS to use in a July 2023

price change, as well as negative impacts on workshare discounts. If the USPS accounts for the change in one manner, it means nearly one percent in additional rate authority for the density factor in its next price change, whereas if it accounts for the money differently, it would result in the density additional rate authority being zero percent. And because the way the USPS accounts for the money impacts the costs attributed to each product, how that accounting is done will have an impact on workshare discounts. At the time this article was written, there was an ongoing Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) proceeding to decide how the USPS should account for this change from the PSRA.

Other provisions of the PSRA are intended to improve the USPS’s future financial position, including the integration of USPS retirees into Medicare starting in 2025 and elimination of the USPS’s future prepayment requirements; the establishment and implementation by 1/1/25 of a new Postal Service Health Benefits Program (PSHB) for employees, annuitants, and dependents within the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program; a requirement for the PRC to conduct a review of the USPS’s cost attribution guidelines (which are used for budgeting, forecasting, pricing, and product decisions) and make modifications if deemed appropriate (review must be initiated by April 6, 2023); and other changes.

The USPS will still be required to make payments from the Retiree Health Benefits Fund (RHBF) in the future, scheduled to begin in 2026, and the USPS estimates the first payment will be approximately $1.3 billion. OPM estimates the total payments needed between FY2026 and FY2031 to be $10.7 billion, and after that, the USPS will need to make future payments into the fund, reverting back to a “pay as you go” system.

The PSRA also requires the USPS to issue a report to the President, Senate and House Committees charged with USPS oversight every six months for the next five years with information on volumes, the effect of prices on volumes, the status of its USPS Connect program, the use of Priority Mail, and other information.

Public Service Performance Dashboard. As part of the PSRA, the USPS is required to develop a public service performance measurement dashboard to be updated weekly and be searchable by address or ZIP Code. The PSRA requires the new dashboard to be created and maintained within 60 days from when the PRC provides the USPS with requirements and recommendations. The PRC, at the time of this writing, had not yet done so, although it initiated a proceeding and a notice of proposed rulemaking where comments were due October 31, 2022. The PSRA also requires the USPS to establish and provide the PRC with “reasonable” performance

18 MARCH-APRIL 2023 |

targets within 60 days of the start of each Fiscal Year. Other provisions require additional reporting from the USPS on service performance.

Studies on Flats Costs. The PSRA requires the PRC in conjunction with the USPS Office of Inspector General (OIG) to study causes and quantify the effects of possible inefficiencies in the collection, sorting, transportation, and delivery of flats mail. Flats costs have risen over the years, requiring the USPS to implement greater price increases for flats, in accordance with the PRC’s 10-year rate system review rules. The PRC/OIG study must be completed by April 2023, then the USPS has six months to develop a Flats Operation Reform Plan.

New Non-Postal Services. Another provision of the PSRA allows the USPS to earn revenue by offering non-postal services in collaboration with state/local/ tribal governments. Examples of such services include hunting/fishing licenses, or other services currently provided by state/ local/tribal governments, as long as they cover their costs, do not detract from core postal services, and are approved by the

USPS Board of Governors. In addition, the PSRA imposes a new requirement that any USPS arrangements to provide property and services to federal agencies must cover their costs. The USPS has been allowed to provide property/services to federal agencies in the past, for example, Passport services for the Dept. of State, but there was no explicit requirement until the PSRA that such arrangements cover their costs.

Integrated Network and Six-Day Delivery. The PSRA requires the USPS to maintain an integrated network for the delivery of Market Dominant and Competitive Products, and codifies six-days-a-week delivery by the USPS with exception for areas where there is an existing policy of delivery less than six days a week. Prior to the PSRA, six-day delivery was mandated by Congress in an annual appropriations bill. Other Requirements. Other requirements included in the PSRA include revisions to the USPS’s transportation selection policy to focus on selecting modes of transportation that provide consistent and reliable service in addition to providing prompt and economical ser-

vices; expanded marketing tools for rural newspapers; changes to PRC funding; and giving the USPS OIG oversight of the PRC Office of Inspector General, which is eliminated.

For More Information. A great resource is the “Primer on Postal Reform” published by the USPS Office of Inspector General (OIG) on December 20, 2022 (https:// pdf) which takes a look at many of the other aspects of the legislation. It also looks at other areas for potential postal reform legislation in the future. 

Kathleen J. Siviter is Asst. Executive Director of the National Association of Presort Mailers (NAPM) as well President of Postal Consulting Services Inc. (PCSi), and she has over 30 years’ experience in the postal industry. She has worked for the U.S. Postal Service, Association for Postal Commerce (PostCom), and others, as well as providing consulting services to a diverse set of clients with interest in the postal industry. She has also worked with PostalVision 2020, an initiative designed to engage stakeholders in discussions about the future of the American postal system. | MARCH-APRIL 2023 19 $BuyingEmpty Production Inkjet Cartridges$ Hewlett Packard Neopost/Quadient Kao Collins Franco Postalia Hasler Videojet Ultimail Think Ink Nutec Code Tech Wolke Data-Pac Get paid the most for your empties, guaranteed! Call 877-355-4219 or visit: You’ll be surprised how much your empty inkjets are worth! FREE RETURN SHIPPING Our painless process makes getting paid easy!

Ground Advantage, My Old Friend.

I’ve Come to Ship with You Again.”

“Arose by any other name would smell as sweet.” William Shakespeare’s words from his iconic play Romeo and Juliet could sum up the proposed name change for the USPS’s Ground Services, including First Class Package Services (FCPS), truly a polished jewel from their “sweet” of services.

FCPS is one of three Ground service offerings that are merging under the new proposed brand “USPS Ground Advantage.” The other two are Parcel Select Ground and Parcel Select Ground Cubic, introduced during last July’s General Rate Increase (GRI). The new service will be a two-to-five day full network service with ounce-based, pound, and cubic pricing options. The Postal Regulatory Committee likely will approve the changes since there is no impact to service or cost. USPS implementation is expected with the foreshadowed July GRI. Yes, another price increase; for me, the question is, will 2023 see a third GRI (think peak surcharge) in October like last year?

Last year, FCPS service standards were changed, with the longer/outer zones no longer hitching rides on commercial flights and instead leveraging their massive ground network. FCPS has little competition, other than itself, as workshare partners leverage the USPS for final-mile delivery using Parcel Select workshare incentives. This pits the USPS Ground Network against private industry, the consolidators. Dropping faster transit options for FCPS created a hole in USPS services that is filled by private competition.

Some clients need the faster two-to-three-day transit times, but don’t want to pay for Priority Mail’s pound-based rates to get it. There is one consolidator that has provided ounce-based two-tothree-day service for quite some time successfully while matching or beating commercially discounted prices.

Note: We’ve heard of internal USPS discussions on offering an ounce-based option to two-to-three day Priority Mail, the other half of their most popular “sweet” of services.

The USPS foreshadowed this announcement in the Jan ’23 GRI. What I didn’t consider was the changing of the name, which certainly caught me off guard. After some thought, it makes sense that, due to the diminished service standards, the service not be referred to as “First Class.” Even a “Business Class” designation doesn’t fit. “Ground Advantage” touts the benefits of a less expensive alternative, one that is more climate-friendly and reflects the changing values of urgency in the supply chain.

Does it really have to arrive in two days? Like the current demise of free return options, consumer values and merchant service offerings are changing, as the memory of pandemic supply chain challenges “ground” us on what’s really important.

During the pandemic, speed was not the issue. Cost wasn’t, either (for larger shippers). Shippers’ focus and goal was to get their packages picked up and delivered. Consumers went to great lengths to source essential goods during rolling lockdowns. Again,

20 MARCH-APRIL 2023 |

it wasn’t speed or cost. Merchants finally wised up, too, with many restricting free returns due to the high cost of restocking, double transit, and packaging costs. With inflation causing consumers to heed discretionary spending, it makes sense to choose more cost-effective options, and “Ground Advantage” is laser-focused on leveraging this trend.

What’s in a name? A product’s name ideally describes the product, services, and benefit. USPS “Ground Advantage” checks all the boxes. Still, I am sad to see the last vestiges of the original service offerings sunsetted: First Class, Second Class, Third Class, and Fourth Class.

It’s All About the Class

We have to go way back to the formation of the American colonies, Thomas Neale’s patent, and the act of 1711 that established the first “letter” class as opposed to the “packet” class that was essentially a thicker letter with four or more pages. In 1765, British Postal law dictated a faster transit service under the “packet” service using scheduled government transatlantic shipping vs. merchant vessels. Fast forward to today’s announcement, “Ground Advantage” is the latest name for non-letter/flat mail. Need faster service? Choose Priority Mail today.

We Need More Class

In 1753, Benjamin Franklin, along with the other deputy Postmaster William Hunter, created a special category for newspapers that eventually became Second Class (Publications). The Postal Reform Act of 1845 did not formally codify service names, but it established definitions and service subcategories that we still see vestiges of today. The “Private Express Statutes” were also enacted at that time to grant the USPS the exclusive right and access to deliver mail, a monopoly they still enjoy today.

Third Class mail was established in the early nineteenth century for non-periodical printed matter. This service later became “Bulk Mail,” transitioned to “Standard Mail,” and then to “Marketing Mail,” which it is known as today.

The Mail Classification Act of 1863 simplified the hundreds of pricing variables into the First, Second, and Third Class. In 1874, further classification changes by Congress introduced pound-based pricing with contentious changes surrounding Publications and Printed Matter and was not passed until 1879. Seems fast compared to today’s recently passed, snail-paced reform. The ink was not dry on the 2006 Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act when stakeholders began efforts to correct structural obligations for retirement and associated healthcare that took 16 years and a united Congress. Welcome the Postal Service Reform Act of 2022.

As part of the reform Act of 1879, the Post Card subclass of First Class was established along with the new Fourth Class, known for the longest time as Parcel Post, and today as Parcel Select. Fourth Class was designed for merchandise but subject to inspection, something both First Class and Priority Mail avoid; after all, class has its privileges.

Goodbye First Class (packages), hello Ground Advantage. A “sweet” new service name for an old friend. 

Gordon Glazer, CMDSM, CMDSS, MDP, MDC is a Senior Consultant, USPS Specialist at Shipware, an innovative parcel audit and consulting firm that helps volume parcel shippers reduce shipping costs 10%-30%. Gordon is a postal industry veteran with 36 years’ experience and is a sought-after speaker and industry thought leader. He welcomes your questions and comments and can be reached at 858.724.0457 or

Business Continuity & | MARCH-APRIL 2023 21
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The Postal Service reporting tool known as the Mailer Scorecard enables eDoc submitters, mail preparers, and mail owners to monitor their mail quality across multiple USPS programs, including Full-Service, Electronic Verification, eInduction, Seamless/Automated Verifications, and Mail Irregularities. It has become an important tool for mail service providers (MSPs) to understand any quality issues the Postal Service is finding with the mail being prepared for clients and to help identify collaboration opportunities to maximize delivery success.

The Mailer Scorecard provides a dashboard view of monthly mailing activity results. (The display defaults to show the current month, with the ability to view the previous 13 months.) Each month’s mailings will be aggregated and the number and percentage of mail pieces that do not meet a specific set of metrics will be displayed on the Mailer Scorecard through a summary page with drill downs into Mail Quality Reports. Scores that exceed established thresholds will be highlighted in red or yellow. Red means a metric exceeds the threshold. Yellow means a metric exceeds 50% of the threshold. Separate Scorecard views are available for eDoc submitters, mail preparers, and mail owners.


At the end of the month, the total of all results is used to determine mail quality. Any metric that exceeds its threshold will be charged an assessment. An automated message is sent on the

eleventh of each month for any assessments due from the previous month.

The full assessment (invoice) for a calendar month reflects the cumulative discrepancies on mail preparation, barcode readability, and mailing address quality errors. However, this can present a challenge for mailer service providers, since the Scorecard reflects all activity throughout the month — not activity by job processed. The charges could reflect different mailings for different mail owners, all combined.

So, what should you do if you receive an invoice, despite your efforts to prevent errors? The mail service provider must unravel a knot of deficits to understand the source of the assessments. Since there can be errors in the invoices, you’ll want to drill down through the Mail Quality Reports available through the Scorecard to verify any errors. You can request a review if you feel any of the penalties are in error.

Some of the common errors you may encounter include:

Undocumented Piece Errors

This type of error is one of the most difficult and potentially costly to understand and research, as undocumented piece ownership is driven by the owner of the mailer identifier (MID) on the mail piece.

When the Postal Service processes your mail piece, it not only reads the mail piece IMb to direct your mail piece to the correct delivery point, but it also uses this scan to confirm payment for mail piece by matching the IMb scan to your eDoc. If the USPS

22 MARCH-APRIL 2023 |

is not able to match the scanned mail piece, the USPS presumes that the mail piece did not have postage paid. There are several reasons you could receive undocumented piece errors, including:

1. The IMb on the mail piece does not match the IMb in the mail. dat PDR or PBC file submitted for payment.

2. The mail pieces scanned by the USPS were removed from the mail.dat (as spoilage) but ended up in the mailstream.

3. Your transportation carrier delivered mail to the USPS earlier than expected, and the mail was processed before payment was made.

4. The IMb on the mail piece was misread by the processing equipment.

5. Mail was submitted during a PostalOne! outage and the appropriate contingency plan wasn’t followed.

Regardless of the cause, the burden of proof is on the MID owner to provide proof of payment.

By/For Errors

These errors occur when mail owners or mail preparers are not identified or are inaccurately identified for mailings of more than 5,000 pieces per day for a single mail owner.

 The “by” validation relates to the mail preparer – The mail preparer is responsible for the preparation and/or submission of the mail to the Postal Service.

 The “for” validation refers to the mail owner – The mail owner is the entity who directly benefits from the mailing, determines such things as the content and count of the mailing, and pays for the postage either directly or through the MSP.

As the MSP, you will need to obtain the mail owner’s CRID, MID, or possibly their permit number to correctly identify them in your eDoc. We suggest validating and ensuring linkage of all postal identifications associated to the mail owners for whom you prepare and/or submit mail. You can validate Postal identifications such as CRID/MID, and Postal Permit through Business customer gateway prior to submission, using the customer validation tool. You can request CRID, MID, and permit information in bulk using the BCG Bulk Search Utility.

Container, Handling Unit, or Piece Uniqueness Errors

All barcodes — IMcb, IMtb, and IMb — must be unique across all mailings from all mailers, for the previous 45 days from the postage statement mail date in eDoc.

Addressing these errors may take the collaboration of a few parties, including the mail owner, the mail preparer, and your presort vendor. You need to understand who will be managing uniqueness, and the other parties must defer to the uniqueness manager when creating content for all barcodes. Make sure all parties involved understand the rules regarding uniqueness. Uniqueness of container and handling unit includes both the MID and serial number, while uniqueness of the mail piece includes the STID, as well as the MID and serial number.

The Mailer Scorecard can be an extremely valuable resource when researching, validating, and addressing any errors you encounter as you work to improve your mail quality. Better quality mail drives more efficient and predictable mail delivery.

If you have questions about using the Mailer Scorecard, reach out to the USPS Business Acceptance Solutions analyst in your area. Contact information for analysts is available on PostalPro.  | MARCH-APRIL 2023 23
Anna Klein is Mail Operations Manager, IWCO.


It’s no secret that in today’s world of data and digital overload, physical mail pieces have a special sort of staying power. Recipients, no matter what generation they fall into, spend more time reading and connecting with their hard copy mail than they do with the hundreds of digital messages they receive every day (most of which are deleted without being read). So, as a mailer, you’ve already got a powerful tool on your hands. Why not take it to the next level by ensuring you use the latest inkjet technologies to truly make your direct mail and transactional mail stand out? The solution providers below would be happy to partner with you as you strive to make your mail as memorable and actionable as possible.

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Kirk-Rudy, Inc. offers several inkjet solutions, depending on your needs. For small to mid-range volumes of mail and variable data, the NetJet, HP cartridge based system, will do the job with a low up-front investment. For mid to high volumes, their UltraJet and Phoenix, piezo based systems, offer greater production speeds at lower operating costs. The HP based KolorJet can produce high speed full color images on envelopes up to 500 #10s per minute. Their new FireJet 4C is a high-quality digital inkjet printer with a 12.75” print width and will produce 18,000 #10 envelopes per hour.

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The Company is Portugal’s third largest exporter, accounting for approximately 1% of GDP. 91% of the Group’s products are sold outside Portugal and shipped to approximately 130 countries, with the U.S.A. at the forefront.

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In early February, Women in Logistics and Delivery Services (WILDS) presented the second annual Megan J. Brennan Award for Excellence to Tammy Whitcomb Hull, Inspector General, United States Postal Service.

“It is such an honor to receive an Award for Excellence, and especially an award named after Megan Brennan, the first female postmaster general,” said IG Whitcomb Hull. “I have so much respect for Megan and the things she accomplished throughout her career. And I also have so much respect for all the women who work at every level in logistics and delivery industries.”

Before she retired from the Postal Service in 2020, Brennan, who was the 74th Postmaster General but the only woman thus far to hold that position, was approached by WILDS with the idea of creating an award that would celebrate women who embody the leadership traits

that Brennan was known for during her time at the USPS. To be considered for this award, the potential recipient must have an appreciation for the employees of her organization, the ability to work collaboratively, and the ability to look at challenges and opportunities in a holistic manner.

Those who know Whitcomb Hull make it clear that she checks all of these boxes and then some.

“During my tenure as Postmaster General, I appreciated the excellent working relationship that Tammy and I maintained,” said Brennan of Ms. Whitcomb Hull’s selection. “Tammy always remained focused on the statutory responsibility of her organization to improve the economy, efficiency, and effectiveness of Postal Service programs, but in fulfilling her important role she also demonstrated a willingness to listen to alternative perspectives and to con-

sider the broader context in our frequent discussions. Her approach invariably led to better results that strengthened the Postal Service for all stakeholders.”

Former Postal Regulatory Commission Chair and WILDS co-founder Ruth Goldway concurs. “Tammy Whitcomb Hull is an outstanding leader of a multi-faceted organization… Under her leadership, the IG has provided the highest level of technical analyses and challenged the industry by issuing thought-provoking research. Tammy has demonstrated remarkable resolve and assurance during times of great changes in postal technology, USPS management and legislation. Through it all, she has offered mentorship to others — especially young women — helping them to succeed just as she has.”

Whitcomb Hull was appointed as the third Inspector General of the U.S. Postal Service on November 29, 2018. Prior to this, she served as the Deputy Inspector General from November 2011 to February 2016, and as the Acting Inspector General for the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General (OIG) from February 2016 until her appointment as IG.

The first-ever Megan J. Brennan award was presented to Pritha Mehra, the Chief Information Officer and Executive Vice President of the United States Postal Service, at the end of 2021. 

WILDS is a nonprofit organization created to promote women’s leadership in the postal, delivery, and logistics industries and to address the challenges women and minorities regularly face in these industries. For more information, visit

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2. trusting marketing teams who don’t bother to validate environmental claims, or

3. seeking to save costs by ignoring established environmental marketing standards from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, the Competition Bureau of Canada, the UN Environment Programme, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO 14021), the World Federation of Advertisers and others that say marketers should not make broad, unsubstantiated environmental benefit claims like “green” and “environmentally friendly,” and that all environmental claims must be supported by competent and verifiable scientific evidence.

Growth of Electronic Devices and E-Waste

Many companies continue to encourage (and sometimes force) their customers to switch from paper to electronic communications, using claims that electronic communication is “greener,” “saves trees,” or “protects the planet” as justification. One can only conclude that the CEOs of these companies are either:

1. misinformed about the inherent sustainability of print and paper, the rapidly expanding environmental footprint of digital communication, or both,

There’s no arguing that the use of electronic devices has exploded over the last decade. According to a 2021 study by the Pew Research Center, the vast majority of Americans (85%) now own smartphones, up from just 35% in 2011. Nearly three-quarters of US adults now own desktop or laptop computers, and roughly half now own tablets. This boom has resulted in many advances that make our lives more efficient, productive, and enjoyable. But it has also brought with it serious and increasing environmental, health, and economic consequences.

According to the most recent Global E-waste Monitor (GEM), a record 53.6 million metric tons (Mt) of electronic waste was generated in 2019, up 21% in just five years. For perspective, this e-waste weighed as much as 350 cruise ships the size of the Queen Mary 2, enough to form a line 76 miles long. The GEM describes e-waste as discarded products with a battery or plug. Small electronic equipment, screens and monitors, small IT and telecommunication equipment comprised more than half of global

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Printers and mailers need to band together to showcase the power of paper.

e-waste in 2019. The US and Canada collectively generated 7.7 Mt of electronic waste. That’s 46 lbs. per person, and nearly three times the worldwide per capita generation of 16 lbs.

The report also predicted that global e-waste will reach 74 Mt by 2030, almost a doubling of e-waste in just 16 years. This makes e-waste the world’s fastest-growing waste stream, fueled by higher consumption rates of electric and electronic devices, short device life cycles and few options for repair. Many people now view electronic devices as ultimately disposable, simply discarding them when it’s time for an upgrade. Others may hold on to them, but are unable to find a cost-effective way to repair them.

Little E-Waste Is Recycled

The GEM found that only 17.4% of e-waste was collected and recycled globally in 2019, with only 15% of e-waste in North America recycled. Most e-waste was either dumped or burned rather than being collected for recycling and reuse.

Numerous toxic and hazardous substances are found in electronic equipment and pose severe risk to the environment and human health when not handled in an environmentally sound manner. Recent research cited in the GEM found that unregulated e-waste is associated with increasing numbers of adverse health effects, from birth defects and altered neurodevelopment to DNA damage, adverse cardiovascular and respiratory effects, and cancer.

E-waste also represents a huge economic loss. When electronic devices are simply thrown away, high-value, recoverable materials such as iron, copper, and gold are thrown away with them. “If we cannot recycle electronic waste, we’re not taking back materials into the loop, which means we have to extract new raw materials,” says Vanessa Forti, the lead author of the GEM.

It’s estimated that the value of raw materials in all global e-waste generated in 2019 equaled a staggering $57 billion US, more than the gross domestic product of most countries.

Electronic Communication, Energy Consumption, and Climate Change

The miniaturization of equipment and the “invisibility” of the infrastructures used leads many to underestimate the environmental footprint of digital technology. This phenomenon is reinforced by the widespread availability of services in the cloud, which makes the physical reality of use all the more imperceptible and leads to underestimating the direct environmental impacts of digital technology.

Global tech giant Cisco estimated that by 2023, North America will have 345 million internet users (up from 328 million in 2018), and five billion networked devices/connections (up from three billion in 2018). The US Department of Energy reports that US data centers consumed an estimated 70 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) in 2014, representing about 1.8% of total US electricity consumption, with estimated 2020 consumption at around 73 billion kWh. This energy consumption does not include the energy required to drill and mine for raw materials, build, power, or recharge the devices.

According to The Shift Project, a carbon transition think tank, the energy consumption required for digital technologies is increasing nine percent each year, and the share of digital technology in global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions could double to eight percent by 2025.

The Contrasts Between Electronic and Paper Communications Are Well-Defined

The magnitude of the negative impacts resulting from the use of electronic communication should be cause enough for companies to abandon their unverifiable greenwashing claims that going digital is better for the environment, but the comparison with paper-based communication should seal the deal for those that are committed to responsible marketing practices.

 Paper is made from an infinitely renewable natural resource — trees that are purpose-grown in sustainably managed forests. Contrary to myth that forests are shrinking, US net forest area expanded by approximately 18 million acres between 1990 and 2020 (UN Food and Agriculture Organization, 2020 Global Forest Resources Assessment).

 With a recovery rate of 68%, paper is recycled more than any other material in the US (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – EPA).

 More than half of the energy used to manufacture paper in the US comes from renewable carbon-neutral sources, mostly biomass (American Forest and Paper Association – AF&PA).

 The US pulp and paper industry is responsible for only 0.6% of total US greenhouse gas emissions (U.S. EPA).

 The US paper industry has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by more than 24% since 2005 (AF&PA).

 The water used to manufacture paper in a typical US paper mill is recycled eight to 10 times. It is then cleaned to meet strict federal and state water quality standards and is returned to its source. Most of the rest evaporates back into the environment, with about one percent remaining in the manufactured products (National Council on Air and Stream Improvement – NCASI).

 Approximately 98% of the chemicals used in in the kraft papermaking process are recovered and recycled (NCASI).  | MARCH-APRIL 2023 29
Kathi Rowzie is President, Two Sides North America. This information was originally published on their blog,


postal ratepayers, and average customers who will be left to deal with the results. His reputation may suffer, but the people who depend on mail and the USPS for their livelihoods likely will suffer more.


One way mail service providers can make mail better is with improved targeting and segmentation. This applies mostly to marketing mail but can be beneficial for transactional mail as well, with transpromo messages. Raise the ROI of a mail campaign by making sure each mail piece you create is delivered to an individual that matches the profile of the desired audience. The criteria for targeted content will be different for every application.

As we all know, the number of attacks by hackers has been increasing year to year. Postal operators in developed and developing countries, with networks accessed by hundreds of thousands of mailers, are particularly vulnerable and must guard against intrusion. The Royal Mail ransomware attack is a warning to us all.



Mailers must use qualified CASS software to qualify for postage discounts. As of August 1, the decade-old Cycle N will no longer qualify. However, many enterprise mailers’ budgets hinge on those discounts, so losing them is certainly not an option.

As marketers intensify their efforts in 2023, they must remain mindful of today’s staggering volumes of data. Although the integration of marketing and data has proved to be a winning combination for many businesses, it’s important to understand that data overload is real.

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Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.