Page 1









TOGETHER Anaheim California Anaheim Convention Center May 17-20, 2015

With Strength now comes Growth! The 2015 National Postal Forum is uniting the power of mailing & shipping to create growth opportunities for all. Join us in Anaheim California and experience the 2015 NPF and Growing Together!

E DUCATION • 130+ Educational Workshops • USPS Leadership Sessions • Networking Events • Innovative Exhibit Hall • And much more! Experience it all! Register today at







Editor's Note Springing into Efficiency

By Amanda Armendariz


Real Life Management

Your Attitude Is Contagious; Is Yours Worth Catching? By Wes Friesen


Software Byte

Intelligent Marketing By Bill Jamieson



Intro to International Mail

Staying Ahead of International Mail and Shipping Regulations By Krish Iyer

Lowering the Cost of Your Mail Center By David Day


The Trenches

Is Mail Moving from the Back Room? By Mike Porter

18 The Best Ways to Reduce Postage Costs

A resource guide for any mailing professional looking for some breathing room in their budget. By Adam Lewenberg

22 2015: The New Year Has the Promise of Change By Jessica Lowrance


Postal Affairs

USPS Sends Mixed Signals with April Price Increase By Kim Mauch


Direct Marketing 101

Making Sense of the Marketing Services Provider Transformation By John Foley Jr.


Direct Mail Evolution

How to Innovate in a Dying Industry By Joy Gendusa

24 Managing, Developing, And Recruiting Your Teams — Why Bother? By James Mullan



26 No Dedicated Mail Center? No Problem!

Smaller operations can now get big efficiencies. By Tom Ryan

the Impact of 28 Minimizing Dimensional Weight Pricing

As more and more mailers are taking on shipping duties as well, ignoring these changes in Dim Weight pricing could be detrimental to one’s bottom line. By Jack Walsh


VOLUME 28, ISSUE 2 MAGAZINE STAFF Publisher Marll Thiede Editor Amanda Armendariz Contributing Writers David Day, John Foley, Jr., Wes Friesen, Joy Gendusa, Krish Iyer, Bill Jamieson, Adam Lewenberg, Jessica Lowrance, Kim Mauch, James Mullan, Mike Porter, Tom Ryan Audience Development Manager Rachel Chapman Advertising 608-442-5064 Ken Waddell Design Kelli Cooke RB Publishing Inc. 2901 International Lane Madison WI 53704-3128 Tel: 608.241.8777 Fax: 608.241.8666 Email: SUBSCIRBE Subscribe online at Subscriptions are free to qualified recipients: $20 per year to all others in the United States. Subscription rate for Canada or Mexico is $40 per year, and for elsewhere outside of the United States is $45. Back issue rate is $5. Send subscriptions to: Mailing Systems Technology, PO Box 259098, Madison WI 53725-9098 Call 608.241.8777 Fax 608.241.8666 E-mail Online at REPRINT SALES ReprintPro 949.702.5390 All material in this magazine is copyrighted ©2015 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.

SPRINGING INTO EFFICIENCY WITH AMANDA ARMENDARIZ It seems odd to me to be writing this editor’s note for the March/April issue and knowing that this issue is not the one going to the National Postal Forum. For as long as I’ve been editor at Mailing Systems Technology, March (and occasionally April) has meant two things; the advent of warmer weather, and preparing for our attendance at the National Postal Forum. So it feels a little strange realizing that the National Postal Forum is still two months away as of the time of this writing, and May/June, not March/April, will be our show issue. That doesn’t mean, however, that we are not incredibly proud of our March/April issue, nor does it mean this issue is one you should pass by. The entire issue is dedicated to the theme of cutting costs while maximizing your mailing operation’s efficiency. We know, we know; it sounds like a tall order. But it’s a tall order that we’ve achieved, so if you’re feeling overwhelmed with your responsibilities as a mail center professional, we hope that some of the information in this issue will help ease the burden. And if you haven’t already made your plans to attend the National Postal Forum, the good thing about it being later in the year is, you still have time! We’d love for you to stop by our booth (#112) and say hello. Let us know what you love about Mailing Systems Technology, and if there is anything you’d like to see more of. We look forward to chatting with you! 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 28, Issue 2] is published six times per year, (January/February, March Buyers’ Resource, March/April, May/June, September/October, November/December) by RB Publishing Inc., 2901 International Lane, Suite 100, Madison WI 53704-3128, 608-241-8777. Periodical postage paid at Madison WI and additional offices. POSTMASTER Send address changes to: Mailing Systems Technology PO Box 259098 Madison WI 53725-9098 | MARCH-APRIL-2015



By Wes Friesen



ur attitude as leaders is very important. Why? Our attitude may be the single biggest factor that determines our individual success (or lack thereof). Winston Churchill emphasized the importance of our attitude when he said, “Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.” The attitude we display at work will greatly influence the success level of our teams. Our attitude speaks more than our words as John Maxwell emphasized by saying “People may hear your words, but they feel your attitude.” Colin Powell adds, “I think whether you're having setbacks or not, the role of a leader is to always display a winning attitude”.

Tracy wisely says, “You cannot control what happens to you, but you can control your attitude toward what happens to you, an in that, you will be mastering change rather than allowing it to master you.”


Be positive, proactive and seize the day. There are two kinds of people in the world — positive people and negative people. Optimistic, positive people spring out of bed in the morning and say “Good morning, Lord!” Pessimistic, negative people pull the covers over their heads and moan “Good Lord, it’s morning again!” What kind of person are you? I agree with Thomas Jefferson when he said, “Nothing can stop the man (or

“Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude” Zig Ziglar, motivational speaker and writer. Developing and maintaining a positive and optimistic attitude will greatly benefit us — and our teams. How can we develop and keep our attitude positive and inspiring to others? Keep reading for some ideas that can help.

12 Keys to Having a Positive Attitude Following is a list of 12 key principles that can help us develop and maintain positive attitudes. I suggest reviewing the list, and then selecting a few to intentionally take to heart and put into practice:


Understand that attitude is a choice. Chuck Swindoll was right on target when he said, “the remarkable thing is, we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day.” Brian



woman) with the right mental attitude from achieving his (her) goal; nothing on earth can help the man (or woman) with the wrong mental attitude.”


Keep an attitude of gratitude. Being grateful for what we have will help keep us positive. I try to regularly say a prayer of thanks for the relationships, roles and responsibilities that I am privileged to have and for the life experiences that come my way. We all have lots to be thankful for don’t we? Marcus Cicero emphasized that “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.”


Wait for worry. One study found that only 8% of the things we worry about come true. In the long run, problems

look smaller. Nido Qubein encourages us to “Cultivate the art of looking at events in their proper relationship to your whole life. Often something appears for the moment to be a tragedy, but it becomes only a minor annoyance when taken in the context of your total life.”


Have goals and visualize success. Identifying and working towards worthy goals — and taking time to celebrate progress along the way — will help keep our attitude positive. Having goals helps us be successful as Earl Nightingale emphasizes when he said, “People with goals succeed because they know where they’re going.” It’s important to visualize the successful realization of our goals. The quote from Henry Ford applies where he said, “Whether you say you can or say you can’t — you are right either way.”


Embrace changes. Change is the one thing that we can count on — and in many cases change is needed to make things better. Try to see change as good and work to help changes achieve positive results.


Play the hand you are dealt. You can’t control who your parents were, or how much money your family had or any physical shortcomings you were born with. But remember that the cards we were dealt are less important than how we play our hand. Booker T. Washington encourages us by saying, “Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome.”


Don’t be afraid to take risks. To be successful at life we must take some calculated risks and enjoy the successes and learn from the failures. Theodore Roosevelt said “It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.” And hockey

great Wayne Gretzky reminds us that he missed every shot he did not take.


Don’t let mistakes and failures get you down. Do you make mistakes? Welcome to the human race. Making mistakes and experiencing temporary failures are perhaps the best teachers for us. The key is to analyze and reflect on our mistakes and failures and then apply the lessons learned.


View problems as opportunities. When problems arise we can let them get us down, or we can step up and look for ways to resolve them and make life better. Work related problems normally need resolution, and by keeping positive and embracing the challenge to make bet-

ter we often can work problems through. It’s also healthy to realize that we can’t fix everything in the world around us. I like Saint Francis of Assisi’s classic serenity prayer: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to the change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”


Try to find something good in everything. Positive people look for the good in whatever life brings their way. Abraham Lincoln said “We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.”


Remember that 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 our energy, stamina and emotional well-being — and help us be more positive and 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.

Want more principles on cultivating a winning attitude? Scan here or check the homepage of Mailing Systems Technology!

Wes Friesen, MBA, CMDSM, MDC, EMCM, MCOM, CBA, CBF, ICP, CCM,CMA, CM, CFM, APP, PHR is the Manager of Billing, Credit and Payments for Portland General Electric, a utility in Portland, Oregon that serves over 830,000 customers. Wes leads his teams with the able assistance of Supervisors Eric Houger, Jan DeMeire, Heidi Fouts and Matt McHill. Check out his personal web-site for free information ( He can be contacted at | MARCH-APRIL-2015



By Bill Jamieson



ighty billion advertising pieces travel through the United States Postal Service each year for a good reason. Direct mail marketing is still a great way to find and reach a specific target audience and an important part of effective multichannel strategies. The modern day mailer understands a complete, correct, and current name and address is vital for compliance and maximum delivery rates. Marketers understand that analytics are important for segmenting specific targets and providing information that allows for personalizing messages. However, many mailers and marketers fail to utilize the tools available to measure the success or failure of their direct mail campaign. The intelligent marketer will continually adjust their advertising based on delivery time, delivery performance, and response metrics.

Delivery Time The USPS IMB Tracing data uses operational codes to define a mail piece scan event. A scan event happens each time an Intelligent Mail barcoded mail piece passes through USPS automation equipment. These real time codes can be used by intelligent marketers to increase the visibility of their mail as it travels through the USPS. Using a “stop the clock” scan event, mail tracking software can predict the delivery time of a message. Being able to predict delivery times allows multi-channel marketers to coordinate other channels of advertising (e.g. email, internet, and phone) around direct mail. Predictability of delivery allows the intelligent marketer the ability to accurately time offers with

lifecycle events (e.g. births, marriages, and moving) and promotional offers (e.g. weekend and holiday sales).

Delivery Performance Most mail tracking software record the first scan, or “start the clock” scan, to calculate the number of days the mail piece is in the system. High quality mail tracking software combines the first scan with historical data and USPS services standards to create visibility into slow moving or lost mail pieces. The intelligent marketer can then drill down to the last scan event to find where the delay is. This information can be used to show the USPS the problem and get your mail moving again, before any negative impact to the campaign response.

Response Rate Unfortunately, many businesses will run a direct mail or multichannel campaign and never get a true read on which combination of offer, message, channel, and timing drove the most sales. This results in a lot of wasted dollars and lost opportunities. The intelligent marketer will stagger multichannel messaging so that they can leverage response analytics to adjust their campaign based on which segments and messages are responding best. Response rates for direct mail can be captured in a number of ways. For example, personalized URL (pURL) linked to a personalized web page can be associated with the mail piece recipient, and placed directly on the advertising piece. This pURL is tracked when the web page is visited, indicating that a specific mail piece

generated a response. Similarly, a QR code can be placed on the mail piece, that when scanned by a mobile device, will tie that mail piece directly to a response. A phone number can be placed on the mail piece and be manually tracked back to the campaign. There is even some technology that can use customized phone numbers to identify who is calling and tie that to the campaign. The intelligent marketer knows that reply mail can attract consumers that are not tech-savvy and can show results almost as quickly as the QR code and pURL. The reply piece that uses a unique Intelligent Mail barcode will generate a response as soon as it is scanned by the USPS automation equipment. This results in a response that is days earlier than tradition reply mail. Software that has inbound and outbound mail tracking capability can associate the outbound mail piece to the inbound scan to show very timely response rates. Direct mail marketing is a great way to find and reach a specific target audience and an important part of effective multichannel strategies. Combining direct mail with technology allows the intelligent marketer the ability to continuously test the market and improve their campaign response. Campaign measurement is the critical step, that when overlooked leads to less than optimal results. Let your Data Marketing Services provider help show you how technology can track and maximize the return on your marketing spend.¾

Bill Jamieson is Senior Product Manager, BCC Software. He can be reached at or 585.272.9130 ext 3388. Visit for more information.




By Krish Iyer



ne of the most exasperating aspects of international mailing and shipping for US-based companies is that customers cannot send anything anywhere. Certain restrictions apply, as they say in the fine print of many business offers. Local protectionism for domestic industries, political considerations, the threat of disease or preempting potentially illegal activities are just a few of the plausible reasons certain items cannot be freely shipped or mailed. Exasperation compounds with foreign ministerial decisions that seem to lack logic (in the US) affecting the flow of merchandise country to country.

Avoid Potential Headaches For reasons Americans may not fully appreciate, horror comic books, unpopped popcorn and blue ice (a home remedy for treatment of minor injuries that solidifies in a freezer) create a panoply of intrinsic headaches for domestic mailers and shippers. This list of some of the more unusual prohibited items (at the time of this writing) for importation into certain key trading markets will be helpful to every US-based mailer and shipper. A partial roster, by country, includes: £ Australia: flammable nightwear, pine cones, unpopped popcorn and honey £ Canada: switchblade knives £ China: matches, play money, collectible coins and stamps, blue ice, printed materials and literature considered political by nature £ France: Internet modems for personal use, chocolate, vitamins

Never assume that you can mail or ship items overseas because they can be mailed or shipped in the US, even items that you might consider benign in nature. £ United Kingdom: horror comic books and material for printing them, eggs, dried meat and jerky-style products, foreign-prison-made goods, soil and straw

Never Assume These details are important to US mailers and shippers for the simple fact that many items commonly shipped within the United States are prohibited for importation into other countries. Failure to comply with this concept could result in delayed or returned shipments, fines and penalties and even a personal ban on importation into a market by a foreign customs authority. Never assume that you can mail or ship items overseas because they can be mailed or shipped in the US, even items that you might consider benign in nature. The key question: How do you know if your item is prohibited or restricted?

Information Resources There are plenty of resources that can tell you if you can send an unsigned credit card from the US to India (you can’t) as well as other specific and necessary pieces of

mailing and shipping information. Consult with a licensed customhouse broker to determine if you can send an item to a particular country or if there is a limit on the quantity. If there is a quantity restriction, a broker might be able to petition a customs authority or consulate for the right documentation and recipient vetting so the item can be imported.

DIY Search There is also a self-help solution. Take advantage of the free or low-cost resources available through the Department of Commerce (, the International Trade Administration ( and US Customs and Border Protection (www. All three of these information sources provide extensive expertise on exporting from the US.

Remember This Keep in mind that international mailing and shipping rules and regulations can — and do — change often. It is your responsibility to keep current on prohibitions and restrictions if you want to mail or ship successfully overseas. ¾

Krish Iyer is Director, Product Marketing, Shipping Solutions for Neopost USA. Neopost USA provides mailing, business communication management and shipping hardware and software solutions. As businesses increasingly move to digital communications, Neopost USA continues to help its customers communicate via traditional mail, digital communications or parcels. For more information about Neopost USA, visit | MARCH-APRIL-2015



By Mike Porter



here seem to be hints of a change in the way organizations are thinking about their customer communications these days. After decades of efforts to drive costs out of document applications like bills, statements, notices, and claims, there are a few companies beginning to look upon customer communications as more of a strategy and less like an unavoidable cost center. Industry-leading corporations are taking an interest in how they can connect customer communications across the enterprise to overall customer satisfaction, customer retention, and expenses. This is a big shift in focus.

You Are Here — Finding the Start Isn’t Simple Just getting a handle on what a corporation is doing today with customer communications is a challenge. Finding the right resources that can effectively accumulate the data across departmental boundaries, understand multiple processes, and assess what it all means is tough for most corporations. There are political barriers, budgetary concerns, and territory protectionism that must be overcome. Besides disparity in document-generating software, differences among customer communications produced by a corporation can include regulatory compliance requirements, volumes, triggers, and scheduling. Traditionally, communications tend to be focused on departmental objectives rather than aligned with an overall customer relationship plan.

Most Organizations Probably Aren’t Ready I suspect that for every company integrating their customer communications into

a comprehensive business strategy there are many more corporations that see this objective as functionally and financially impossible. Implementing a sweeping comprehensive strategy all at once may be a goal that is out of reach. Their customer communications landscape is a mess. That doesn’t mean companies should give up and do nothing to integrate their communications into a customer relationship strategy. It might be done in pieces and perhaps implementation won’t be completely integrated on day one. But with a strategy in place, a centralized set of resources, and formation of an internal compliance authority almost any company can make great strides.

municate with customers. Charting all the message workflows to and from customers can fill the walls of a conference room — maybe more than one. Yet gaining an understanding of the current state is essential. Companies should assess their current status before evaluating new software, making decisions about outsourcing, or stepping up print suppression efforts. There are likely to be some easily-realized cost savings revealed by a corporate-wide customer communications assessment. Savings from applying quick-hit fixes can help secure executive support for further steps corporations can take to begin using customer communications as part of a comprehensive customer relationship strategy.

Start Small and Build

An Opportunity for Corporate Document Centers

Even small changes can make a positive impact on customer relationships. By eliminating conflicting messages to customers, which prompt them to call customer service more often, companies can raise customer satisfaction levels while simultaneously lowering call volumes. Improving breadth, accuracy, and timeliness of customer activity data can prevent generation of inappropriate offers, thereby reducing the number of customer complaints and improving the ROI of campaigns. If regulatory compliance has been a problem, then moves to standardize and re-use pre-approved legal language across multiple documents and departments can make the documents more understandable for customers and also reduce a company’s exposure to violations or fines. Most companies would be surprised to learn of all the different ways they com-

Will this new emphasis elevate the back-office status of customer communications to a level on par with other critical business functions? That remains to be seen. There are signs that, for some companies, there is more interest in the strategic aspects of documents and customer communications than ever before. At a time when companies are shifting their focus from high-volume, low-value documents to lower volumes with high value, corporate interest in strategic customer communications is a welcome trend. It seems that taking advantage of the technology available in document production to create and track variable messages in multiple formats is a strategy document center managers should not only adopt but actively publicize among corporate decision-makers. ¾

Mike Porter is President of Print/Mail Consultants, a firm that helps companies lower costs, develop future strategies, and improve quality in their document operations. Connect with Mike directly at Or visit and sign up for Practical Stuff, a free newsletter for document print and mail professionals.




By Kim Mauch



he next postage increase, set for April 26, averages 1.966% across all classes of mail for market dominant mail, with higher increases for competitive services like Priority Mail. Within the market dominant price filing, the actual rates applied within each mail class vary from a 25% rate reduction to a 19.8% increase. These differences, intentionally or unintentionally, send a message to mailers about how to prepare their mail going forward. Here are a few of the takeaways from the price filing.

bugs have been worked out. It remains to be seen how reduced pricing will drive more volume, or efficiencies, through this equipment.

Modified FSS Prep and Pricing

Periodicals Costs Shift

Mandatory FSS preparation started early in 2014. Even with that change USPS is trying to encourage mailers to prepare more mail for FSS processing. In 2014, pieces prepared for FSS essentially received the rates they would have without FSS preparation. In 2015, USPS introduces new FSS rates, which are generally lower than their non-FSS counterparts. In short, mailers who mail to areas with FSS machines will benefit from lower rates, while those unlucky enough to send to non-FSS areas will be stuck with the higher automation prices for that part of their mail. With the new option to exclude High Density and High Density Plus pieces from FSS, it’s unlikely that mailers will include these pieces in FSS prep. While the lower FSS piece pricing will encourage more automation mailers to FSS, this exception will push more carrier route mail out of FSS. USPS has had trouble justifying the costs of FSS equipment, personnel training and processing. Most carriers have not been a fan of this new system, even after many of the

Periodicals has been struggling with cost coverage since its inception with current revenue covering just over 75% of the processing costs. While the average In-County and Outside County prices stayed close to the 1.966% CPI limit, within each category the prices shifted dramatically. Overall, the pound rate for advertising and editorial costs dropped, while the bundle and pallet charges increased significantly. This change is likely due to the high cost for handling bundles. With such a significant shift in costs, it seems reasonable that Periodicals mailers would attempt to fill bundles and pallets as full as possible to limit postage costs. However, with many Periodicals, cost isn’t the main factor — delivery time is. Time will tell if this will drive preparation changes and ultimately, more cost coverage.

First-Class automation mailers will be hit with almost an additional percentage price increase.

Other Pricing Signals The price of the “Forever” stamp did not increase, which gave USPS latitude to increase prices for presorted First-Class

Mail higher than the 1.966% average. This allows USPS to sidestep a potentially sticky issue of reducing the price of a stamp for the first time in recent memory. However, First-Class automation mailers will be hit with almost an additional percentage price increase. This, coupled with service standard changes for First-Class, gives these mailers less service for a higher cost for a mail class that is already losing volume. Within many mail classes, the prices for the most finely sorted mail, such as 5-digit prices, went up the most. In contrast, for many years, mailers were told that this mail was cheapest to process, and efficiencies here provided the structure for work-share discounts. Higher 5-digit and automation prices could signal a change in the cost for processing this mail or that USPS is ready to phase out work sharing discounts, or that it is trying to maximize revenue from its highest volume mail. At this time, it’s unclear whether USPS is attempting to make a statement with the 2015 price increase. Without a recent comprehensive costing study we won’t know whether the new prices are representative of the processing costs. Time will tell if these changes drive changes in mail preparation, or drive more volume out of the mail. ¾

Kim Mauch is a subject matter expert in mailing preparation and submission at Satori Software. Contact her at | MARCH-APRIL-2015





he following is an excerpt from my book, “Business Transformation: A New Path to Profit for the Mailing and Fulfillment Industries.” To read the full book, or to contact me directly with any questions, comments, or feedback, please email me at JohnF@interlinkONE. com — I’d love to connect with you! Mail is not going away, nor is the need to centrally aggregate products and materials for efficient distribution. But, for many companies in these industries, profit margins are smaller, the number of clients is dwindling, and projects are fewer, farther between — and when you do land them, they are often much smaller than in the past. These dynamics are driven by the fact that the use of print, and thus direct mail, in the marketing mix has changed drastically in recent years. Marketers and other buyers of print have many other options to choose from when they are creating projects to communicate with others — whether it is drawing traffic into a trade show booth or event, communicating important information to employees, or encouraging consumers to buy retail products. And, they are taking advantage of those alternatives, often to the detriment of print. Budgets are not larger in most cases, especially coming off of a recession. Budgets are simply being reallocated. What once might have been printed and mailed is either not printed at all, or produced in much smaller quantities, on demand, and directed at very segmented audiences to eliminate waste, keep information more current, and to produce communications that are more relevant. This means shorter runs of different versions targeted at specific market segments, or even one-to-one personalized communications directed at specific individuals.

This is not doom and gloom for the print and mail industries, however. It is just another iteration of an industry that 12


has been successful and resilient since the days of Pony Express. It’s just that the transition is happening faster than ever, and that requires businesses to stay agile, reacting quickly to market changes — or better yet, proactively leading customers to new products, services, and capabilities that will benefit both parties. This time of change actually presents a huge opportunity for providers of mailing and fulfillment services to augment their offerings with the related products and services that make sense for their businesses and for their customer base… marketing services.

describes an increasing majority of buyers of mailing services.

Online Ordering Having an inviting and easy-to-use online ordering solution is the first step in making your business more accessible in today’s buyers of business communications — some of whom are obviously still buying mailing and fulfillment services. It also opens the door to allowing customers to maintain an online catalog of items that can be repetitively ordered, even modified, before shipping or mailing, as well as to upload files for ad hoc on-demand

You will receive far greater benefits by focusing on selling services, including multi-channel marketing campaigns that include multiple mailings and other channels. And, many mailers and fulfillment operations are standing up to the challenge. The most overt sign of this transformation is the many customer-facing web ordering systems that can be found by visiting print service provider websites. On the flip side, it is also telling how many mailing services websites proudly tout their fast, high-volume services and adeptness with CASS certification and list hygiene. The good news is they can be found on the web (possibly); the bad news is their websites are often static, electronic brochures about their company and are not inviting to the buyer who has limited time, limited knowledge about the industry, and wants to buy mailing services quickly, efficiently, and online. And don’t kid yourself… that

printing. It also begins to allow mailing and fulfillment companies to more easily add new products and services. Perhaps you might partner with a provider of promotional products and add them to the mix. Can users choose from a variety of designs for postcards that you not only print but mail for them, based on mailing lists they have ordered from you? They should also have the option to acquire and/or upload email lists, using you as an email service provider. Or, maybe it is simply the ability for customers to access and download information in electronic format to be distributed or printed in small quantities locally. If you can do these things, you are on our way to becoming a marketing services provider.

From that point, the service offerings become more complex, but they can be added in easy, manageable phases as you begin to gain more experience with combining printed and non-printed media into integrated, cross-media campaigns, lead generation programs, literature fulfillment, and more. Whoa! Wait a minute! Let’s read that again. No, I haven’t thrown you a curve ball. With the right infrastructure, it is actually that easy to take the next step, and the step after that, and the step after that toward becoming a full-scale provider of marketing services. Of course, online ordering is a tactic that is an important part of the overall marketing services strategy. You do not want to simply sell one mailing. You will receive far greater benefits by focusing on selling ser-

vices, including multi-channel marketing campaigns that include multiple mailings and other channels. If you see someone order one postcard mailing from your store, don’t be afraid to ask if there’s more behind that order. Be advised that it is not a good idea to call yourself a marketing services provider before you are ready. Having an online storefront is a step in the right direction, but it is not a full transformation. Mailing and fulfillment companies who are not properly prepared, not properly staffed, and not properly trained in marketing and who try to sell marketing services may demonstrate a lack of knowledge that could potentially damage the credibility of all. With that said, though, online storefronts are rap-

idly becoming a non-negotiable. You have to have one, but it needs a plan and it should ultimately carry you beyond basic services, into the ability to offer many additional and innovative products and services as well. I personally never fell in love with the term “web-to-print.” I believe we should be thinking about it in terms of “web-to-anything.” Your website should allow for any type of request, whether it is for a marketing campaign, a print order, or even an email blast. Enjoy the excerpt? Contact me directly at to receive a free copy of the complete book! ¾

John Foley, Jr. is the CEO of interlinkONE and Grow Socially. John and his team provide a unique software application specifically designed for mailing and fulfillment companies to execute multi-channel marketing campaigns. They also consult with companies in the industry on sales and marketing techniques, write strategic online marketing plans to get them on a path to marketing success. Learn more about John at, and his companies at and | MARCH-APRIL-2015



By Joy Gendusa



n my last piece for Mailing Systems Technology, I wrote about my own experience as a reseller of DirectMail2.0’s trademark product: an integrated direct mail campaign that includes phone call tracking, mail tracking, and an automatic online follow-up system from Google — all trackable from a clean, easyto-use online dashboard. I talked about how this product added over $1 million in revenue to my business over a 12-month period. And I talked about some of the other fantastic benefits it bestowed upon my clients and myself as well. But today I want to turn the focus back on the company itself, and tell the story of how DirectMail2.0’s creative problem solving once again resulted in a product innovation our entire industry can benefit from.

THE INITIAL PRODUCT Since my company was the beta test for DirectMail2.0, I had a unique perspective into how the company responded to the initial results from the campaigns using their product. At first, there was much rejoicing, which was warranted, because the results were fantastic. (One of my clients went from an average of 83 new clients per month to 154 JUST by implementing DirectMail2.0!) But DirectMail2.0 didn’t stop there. Their marketing geniuses saw a huge potential to help medical professionals see even BIGGER gains from this system, so they adapted and made a change…

THE PIVOT Here’s the thing with medical professionals: you can’t order a mailing list for “people that

need a dentist right now.” (A real bummer, I know!) The best way for dentists, general physicians and other docs to bring in new patients is to target people surrounding their practice. It’s so much more effective for medical professionals, as DirectMail2.0 tested and concluded, to get EVERYONE to see the online ads rather than only those who visited the website.

ize the need for innovation in our industry. Here’s the process DirectMail2.0 used to innovate:

So what happened? The New Patient Edition of DirectMail2.0 swaps out the Google follow-up feature with a geo-targeted banner ad campaign that targets the same area as the postcard campaign and is timed to begin when the postcards arrive. So instead of website visitors seeing the follow-up banner ads, everyone that gets the postcard sees the banner ads. This dramatically boosts the visibility of the campaign in order to increase call-ins and web visitors.

2. Identify a problem.

And it worked! Here are a couple results… £ Fontenot Family Dentistry brought in 81 new patients and $33,568 in immediate revenue £ Prairie Hawk Dental brought in 112 new patients and $48,741 in immediate revenue Conclusion: DirectMail2.0: New Patient Edition is proven to help medical professionals reach the same level of amazing results that other industries get with standard DirectMail2.0.

THE TAKEAWAY I love this story, because I think it’s a kind of roadmap that all of us can follow as we (some sooner than others) begin to real-

1. Track everything. They had tracking systems in place to gather all the data they needed to evaluate the success of their product. This is the base for successful innovation.

They were able to analyze the data and zero in on the problem area.

3. Form a theory. Once they knew the problem, they could begin to float theories about what was causing it, and they worked their way down to one that they thought fit best.

4. Test. They didn’t stop with their gut-feeling theory. They tested the theory by introducing a new pilot product that remedied what they thought the problem was.

5. Evaluate the results. They used their tracking systems to gather all the data they needed to evaluate the success of the new product. In this case it worked, but if it hadn’t, they would’ve just gone back to step 3 and formed a new theory!

Using this logical-but-profound method, we can all begin to identify the shortcomings in our industry and produce new products and services that solve those problems. So now it’s time to go forth and get our industry booming again! ¾

Joy Gendusa is the Founder and CEO of PostcardMania, a fully-integrated marketing firm specializing in direct mail. She used postcards to grow PostcardMania from just a phone and computer to a $22million enterprise in less than a decade. Visit www. for more information.



IMPROVE YOUR MAILINGS TODAY! Speed. Savings. Accuracy. Mail On. Send mail more accurately and save. Getting your mail out the door on time and accurately shouldn’t be a daily challenge. With the latest DI Series inserter technology from Pitney Bowes, you can give your mail added security and accuracy while helping you finish mailings faster.


IMb Alone Can’t Verify Delivery Mailstream Intelligence combines a Strategic National Seeding Network with the power of the Intelligent Mail Barcode. You can target in-home delivery with pin point accuracy while planning for future mailings with current and historical data. See how the unpredictability of the USPS is affecting your client’s direct mail investment.

Pitney Bowes 877.822.0996

US Monitor Paul Ercolino, President

Is Toner Killing Your Profit?

Automate Direct Mail Finishing!

Produce brilliant, sharp text and images with the Mach 5 Digital Color Printer from Rena. Powered by Memjet technology, create full color envelopes twice as fast, at a third of the cost of the competition. Perfect for short runs and on demand printing yet also built to sustain long print jobs.

8 Processes in one system with just one operator? Correct. Mailstream II offers high profit potential for mail finishing with its compact footprint, low cost basis, and multitude of functions. Trim, slit, score, and perforate, card tipping, remoistenable glue, folding and glue closures to meet postal requirements are all completed in one pass. Each system can be customized to meet specific applications and needs.

Rena USA 888.444.7362

Rollem 800.272.4381

High-Speed Inline Stamping Bases

Introducing mail. Simplified.

Postmatic’s line of high-speed, inline stamping bases and stamping attachments are the mailing industry’s premier solution to cost-effective stamp affixing. Benefits include; reduced operator cost compared to affixing with a tabber, speeds in excess of 18,000 per hour with precision-accuracy, and a convincing return-on-investment. Postmatic Inc., Affixing Integrity and Innovation for over 40 years.

Automate and simplify the processing of all sizes of mail and gain complete creative control over the advertising messages that appear on your envelope with the Connect+ Series Mailing System.

Postmatic (888) 784-6046

Pitney Bowes 877.822.0996

By David Day


Why workflow is key to maximizing inkjet technology — and, subsequently, the success of your customer communications.


he operations manager’s mantra is two-fold. First, lower costs, and second, increase productivity. In the ideal world, we can accomplish both at the same time. The answer is to work with your print streams. Below are just a few of the areas you can mine for gold from your print streams and save money while increasing the value of your customer communications and increase your productivity: } Maximize postal discounts } Utilize full color } Take advantage of postal discounts for use of color } Balance your print to maximize productivity



} Concatenate jobs for greater throughput } Manage jobs for post-printing operations } Reduce costly inventory The key to effective use of your operations is workflow. This was echoed many times at the Inkjet Summit attended by many inkjet end-users and prospective inkjet users. Workflow is sometimes confused or explained by the term ADF (Automated Document Factory). ADF has various meanings depending on who you talk to. I prefer to use the term AOM (Automated Output Management) when talking about workflow. After all, workflow starts at the data (or at least at the print file). The end-users I talked with all indicated

that workflow is critical to maximizing inkjet technology. Effective workflow isn’t just a wish, it is a requirement for effective use of high-speed inkjet technology, whether you are looking at (or already have) monochrome or full color Inkjet Printers for your operation. With the speed of inkjet it is important to complete a thorough analysis of your workflow and job-size. By using workflow tools when you adjust your print to match the printer capacity, you gain production and quality attributes. Print job sizes may or may not have been balanced to match the roll size. Stopping and starting your printer for roll changes takes time and the cost is lost productivity. In the monochrome world, combining and merging like job-types eliminates costly production stops. Your post-print operations might require smaller job sizes and in the past print and post-print operations have used the same job size. Today, you can combine the jobs for greater printer productivity while having the ability to break the job to smaller sub-

sets for post-print production, all while maintaining integrity and the required Mail Run Data Files (MRDF), or equivalent, and tracking and compliance. Larger print runs (passed to your postal discounting software) can yield greater mail density and reduce your postal spend. Maintaining the proper mail.dat or mail.xml files can be maximized and yield these savings.

can be substantial until you sit down with your IT department and realize the time and cost in redevelopment of legacy applications. All is not lost! You can have the ability to use your existing legacy applications and jobs and let them work with your print streams to accomplish all the above. Middleware (or print-stream transformations and enhancements) can help you co-mingle jobs; manage the “logos” and “letterhead” for each job to create a large job consisting of previous smaller jobs. Basically, we are talking about implementing a plain paper factory or, in other words, creating jobs of the right size to take advantage of the speed and throughput of the inkjet printers. The challenge is to keep track of each sub-job to make sure all the documents are accounted for. Again, this is where an Automated Output Management (AOM) is used to automate the processes with complete accountability. And let’s not forget, in many organizations, there are disparate Print Data Languages (PDLs) created by a hybrid of legacy systems. By utilizing these tools, mailers are able to standardize

The key to effective use of your operations is workflow. When you migrate to full color inkjet production, you can start to merge non-like jobs since you are now able to overlay the letterhead and logos of each document type on the fly, garnering even greater efficiency and cost savings. Don’t forget the added bonus of the elimination of costly inventory and time to change paper stock between jobs. Additionally, you should consider the second ounce rides for free discount; any householding you accomplish can add even more to the bottom line. All of this sounds great and the savings

on the PDL of their choice (AFP, IJPDS or PDF, for example) and take full advantage of their new hardware purchase. The path to inkjet has a lot of upsides for companies that print High-Volume Transactional Output (HVTO) or, as many of us call it, customer communications. And with the proper tool set the process of implementing inkjet can be smooth, more economical and improve many business processes and results within your organization. It is easy to maximize your investment in inkjet technology with the right tools and the know-how to mine the gold. ¾ DAVID DAY brings over 32 years of experience in the document management & mail industry. As an active member of Xplor for over 17 years, David frequently presents at local and global Xplor meetings. He has also been a guest speaker at various company user and industry groups. David, Product Marketing Manager at Crawford Technologies, is responsible for worldwide sales of their Automated Output Management solutions. He works with customers, prospects, sales and product development to identify customer requirements, evaluate solutions and make product recommendations. | MARCH-APRIL-2015


By Adam Lewenberg

THE BEST WAYS TO REDUCE POSTAGE COSTS A resource guide for any mailing professional looking for some breathing room in their budget.


his article is designed to be a high-level resource guide where you can access links to more in-depth information on different ways to save money around mail. With all of the programs offered by the USPS, it can be daunting to know if you are capturing all of the savings available. This guide will give you a simple way to know what options exist and where you can go to get more information. We are going to focus on the most applicable domestic savings options that should be easy to implement in your organization. For many of you this may be a review, but hopefully the structure will make it easy to find savings that can help reduce costs for the future. Author’s Note: The USPS has proposed a small increase for April 2015 that at the time this article was written had not yet been approved and was not included in the rates below.

Letters and Flats Barcoding your Mailings — (Up to 80% Savings!) Postage savings is the main reason most companies barcode their mailings (See the 18


chart in Figure 1). As the mail piece gets larger or the customer completes work share steps, the savings can increase dramatically. Also, since 2012, the second ounce is free with all First-Class Mail — Automation and Presorted. This can allow mailers to add extra marketing information at no additional postage costs! Mailers who are sending similar, non-personalized pieces, can get bigger discounts using Standard Mail. This is designed for a newsletter or a solicitation where every piece is the same and the customer can live with a slightly slower delivery (as opposed to items like invoices, statements and checks, which have to go First-Class Mail because every piece is slightly different or has personal information). Check out the Standard Mail Eligibility test provided by the USPS to see what class your mailing qualifies.

Pros to barcoding: It saves you postage, cleans addresses prior to sending, keeps track of customer moves, and processes

mailings with automatic sorting and forms creation, not to mention faster delivery.

Cons to Barcoding — Software and hardware costs, many steps to barcoding that require resources, taking mail to the USPS, and keeping software up to date. Additional Ways to Reduce Costs with Barcoding: } Density — The more pieces you have going to a specific area, the better the rates. } Destination Entry Discounts — For Standard Mail, you can get deeper discounts (Up to $.044 per piece for Letters (under 3.3 oz) and up to $.216 for flats (over 3.3 oz) by delivering it to the Destination Delivery Unit (DDU), Destination Sectional Center (DSCF) or Destination Network Distribution Center (DNDC).) This is great for mailers with a local mail list. Services are also available that can transport mail throughout the country to help you qualify. } Intelligent Mail Barcodes — For mailers using this barcode, there is an additional $.001 (Standard Mail) and $.003 (FirstClass Mail) discount that can be applied.

Figure 1 Single Piece Rates

Automation Mail with Barcodes

Mail Piece Examples

First-Class Mail Retail Single Piece

First-Class Mail Metered Single Piece

Typical Presort Service — First-Class Mail

First-Class Mail — Automation

Standard Mail — Automation

Standard Mail Non ProfitAutomation

1 Ounce #10 Envelope







2 Ounce Newsletter (6X9)







8 Ounce Flat (9X12)







Post Card







The USPS had tried to mandate this barcode last year but it is still optional. This barcode offers a lot of value on top of the rate discounts (tracking of mail, free move updates, better reporting) that should be explored. } Presort Services — Many companies want the benefits of automation and barcodes but cannot cost effectively manage it inside their operation. These providers have one or several sorters that are similar to what the USPS uses in its facilities. Presort providers work on a savings split arrangement with the customer and USPS.

Class or Service



First-Class Mail Automation

Standard Mail Automation

Standard Mail Eligibility Test

Folding Your Flats If you are sending out light weight items in flat sized envelopes (9X12 or 10X13) you may be able to save by folding them in half into 6X9 envelopes or in thirds into #10’s. The savings is significant in four ways (See Figure 2). 1. The postage savings is huge because you are changing from a Flat to a Letter category. 2. The envelope costs are much less expensive. 3. The envelopes are lighter. 4. If you barcode your mail or use a presort service, the second ounce is free!

Parcels and Expedited Mail Commercial Base and Commercial Plus — (Up to 62% Savings!) There are additional discounts of up to 62% off the retail rates, for mailers who submit their pieces through PC Postage, Click-N-Ship (, or an electronic manifest with a permit imprint. These rates are available for Priority Mail, Priority Mail Express Mail, and First-Class Mail Package Service. It is important to note that up until January 24, 2015 you could get the Commercial Base rates through a postage meter but now the USPS is requiring that these items be submitted electronically through one of the methods above so they can maintain full package level detail on every item (See figure 3).

Commercial Base — 6-55% discount for single piece rates that you can get for all of your packages. Commercial Plus — This is an additional 1-52% discount (over Commercial Base Rates) if the specific volumes below are met. } Express Mail — 5,000 pieces in the previous four quarters and have a customer commitment agreement with the USPS. } Priority Mail — 5,000 at one time or 50,000 total pieces in the previous calendar year, and who have a customer commitment agreement with USPS. } First-Class Mail Package Services — There is a Plus service but the rates can be higher than the Base rates. It is typically designed for mailers who want to send parcels at First-Class rates for 13-15.999 ounce items, which would otherwise need to be sent Priority Mail.

Note: To reach the Commercial Plus volumes, it can be for your combined usage across multiple locations.

Additional Savings — Commercial Plus has a rate for .5 lbs. for Priority Mail starting at $4.58 compared to Retail and Base pricing, which starts at 1 LB at $5.75 and $5.05.

Figure 2

Here are the minimum requirements to barcode your mailings: } Pieces — At least 500 pieces for FirstClass Mail or 200 pieces for Standard Mail. } Software — Need software that meets all USPS certifications. } Permits — Need to have at least one permit from the USPS. } Preparation — All mailings must have barcodes on each piece, be sorted, placed in trays with tray tags, have reports attached and brought to the USPS for processing.

There are two different rate tiers and the savings are based on the package weight and zone:


Flat Envelope

Letter Envelope — Example 6X9 or #10

First Class Mail Flat — Large Envelope

First Class Mail Letter — 6X9 Envelope (Metered)

Typical Presort Service — First-Class Mail Letter

First-Class Mail — Automation Letter




















Weight Assumptions — Paper = .16 Ounces, Flat = .6 Ounces, 6X9 Envelope = .3 Ounces | MARCH-APRIL-2015


Electronic Confirmation Services — Up to 100% Savings! The USPS has different levels of tracking available with prices based on service levels. The three that we will discuss are Return Receipt used for Certified Mail, Delivery and Signature Confirmation. Inside each of these categories they have a Retail and Electronic rates. } The retail fee can be purchased at your local Post Office or you can get supplies that can be used in your office through a postage meter. } The electronic fee is for mailers who purchase postage online (for example, using Click-N-Ship) or are capable of sending and receiving electronic files of their Figure 4

Special Services



Certified Mail


Return Receipt



First-Class Package Services parcels



Package Services



Priority Mail



Signature Confirmation



USPS Tracking

Class or Service



Priority Mail Commercial Base



Return Receipt

Signature Confirmation



Commercial Base

Commercial Plus

Priority Mail

Rates based on Zone

Rates based on Zone

Rates based on Zone













Priority Mail Express 1LB












shipments. Postage Meter vendors will typically offer this function as an optional item at an additional fee. PC Postage providers can also provide this service. The savings for Electronic Confirmation can be significant as you will see in Figure 4. A Certified Mail with Electronic Return Receipt will cost $4.65 instead of $6.00 ($1.35 Savings!). Also, every Priority Mail and First-Class Package Service can have Electronic Delivery Confirmation for free!

Additional Savings Ideas

Priority Mail Express Commercial Base

Class or Service

Figure 3



Here are some additional strategies for you to consider helping lower postage and shipping costs. 1. Compare USPS Rates to the Private Carriers — USPS may be able to provide faster delivery (to specific zones) at lower costs for light weight items (less than 10 lbs) and should be shopped regardless of your discount. Here are the main reasons why: a. The private carriers typically have a base rate that they do not go below. When you take this rate, plus the additional fees for residential, delivery area surcharge, fuel surcharge, address corrections and Saturday delivery, USPS may be a bargain. b. The USPS has amazing rates on light weight packages less than 13 ounces ($2.32-4.12 vs. most private carriers that start over $5.00). No one can typically come close to these rates, which is why the main e-tailers will typically send these items through the Post Office. This is especially true now that USPS Tracking can be added for free! c. When comparing Ground and Three Day service to USPS Priority Mail, many areas will get faster delivery. d. Packaging is free for Priority Mail with special rates for flat rate boxes.

Class or Service



Media Mail

Library Rates

Bound Printed Matter

2. Consider Media Mail, Library Rate and Bound Printed Matter for printed material and DVDs. If you can live with the three-to-eight day expected delivery time, these services may be a huge win. You can ship one pound starting at around $2 and 10 lbs. starting at $3.54! You need to pay special attention to the type of material you are sending (as well as where it is going with Library Rate) to make sure it qualifies. ¾ ADAM LEWENBERG, CMDSS, MDC, President of Postal Advocate Inc., runs the largest Mail Audit and Recover firm in the United States. Their mission is to help entities with large numbers of locations reduce mail related expenses, recover lost postage funds, and simplify visibility and oversight. In 2013 and 2014, they helped their clients save an average of 60% and over $12 million on equipment, fees and lost postage. He can be reached at 617.372.6853 or



Get addresses right every time.

Instant Gratification Printing

ConnectRight Mailer integrates powerful correction capabilities with USPS presort services in a simple to use, intuitive format. Process mailing lists with a single click. Ensure the best postage rates possible. And do it all with one powerful solution.

The Rena Mach X Digital Color Label Printer is the perfect production solution for efficient modern label printing needs. Produce brilliant full color images on rolls or fanfold stock using Memjet inkjet technology. Do away with that old label stock that is outdated by printing short runs on demand.

Pitney Bowes 877.822.0996

Rena USA 888.444.7362



By Jessica Lowrance


irework displays, parties and champagne usually help us usher in the new year. As we continue to make our way through 2015, it will be no different. But the fireworks and parties will be centered on new chairmen and retirements; on an era of new postal leadership and saying goodbye to old friends. Change is not always slow, and it is not always bad. New leadership could bring a fresh perspective that could revive a mature industry through meaningful reform. Active listening, positive engagement of all interested parties, and partnership are foundations to building a secure postal infrastructure that meets the nation’s needs, while continuing to grow business communication and commerce through the mail.



The challenges the postal industry faces in 2015 are no less significant than those of 2014, but with new leadership in place at the Postal Service, the Postal Regulatory Commission, and Senate and House committees, the industry has the opportunity to do something it did not do in 2014 — CHANGE. Regardless of whether change is openly accepted or thrust upon us, it still happens. The ability to manage our reactions to this inevitability is what sets us apart from others. So let us celebrate the accomplishments of those that are leaving us this year: } Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe of the U.S. Postal Service } Chairman Darrell Issa of the House Oversight Committee

} Chairman Thomas Carper of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs } Chairman Ruth Goldway of the Postal Regulatory Commission . . . and roll out the red carpet to welcome these new leaders: } Postmaster General Megan Brennan of the U.S. Postal Service } Acting Chairman Robert Taub at the Postal Regulatory Commission } Chairman Ron Johnson of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs } Confirmation of Commissioner Nanci Langley and Commissioner Tony Hammond to the Postal Regulatory Commission

facing the nation’s postal system are not for the light-hearted; it involves a complicated web of policy issues couple with basic business needs. These needs can no longer go unnoticed due to the large financial losses the Postal Service continues to experience, and will continue to do so in the future. As the debate over postal reform takes place in Congress, there are discussions that need to occur at the Postal Regulatory Commission that could have lasting impacts on the Postal Service’s products and services. A reoccurring exchange between the Commission, the Postal Service, and the mailing industry is the need to examine the systems that underpin today’s postal costing. It has long been argued that the Postal Service needs to revamp its costing systems to better reflect the realities of usage and access by business mailers. With the introduction of the Intelligent Mail barcode, the Postal Service tracks every mail product throughout its network providing unsurpassed visibility into postal operations. Now the Postal Service has the business intelligence and analytical tools to leverage costing information that can lead to a change in how costs are tracked, measured, and reported.

Although some new faces grace postal leadership, many have been within industry circles for quite some time. Acting Chairman Taub has been with the Commission since October 2011, while Vice Chairman Hammond served on the Commission from 2002-2011 and again from 2012-2013. Commissioner Langley has been elected to her second term this past December 2014. Both House and Senate committee chairmen Jason Chaffetz and Ron Johnson have served on their respective committees during the last Congress. A benefit to having individuals that have been involved previously with postal issues is that the learning curve will not be as steep as for someone who is brand new to the postal arena. The complex issues and challenges

In 2015, the entire industry needs to continue to explore ways to take advantage of this newfound mail visibility and expand its potential uses into re-examining postal costing. There also needs to be an examination of the communication between the Postal Service and the industry. It is imperative that multiple communication channels be established to convey new information, as well as updates to postal strategy. Although the Postal Service has several communication vehicles in place today, the emphasis to use them is not as strong as it once was. With the announcement that Corporate Communication will report directly to the new Postmaster General, the industry is hopeful that this means more direct messages and information will be forthcoming. Although some would like to paint the Postal Service and its future in dire straits, it simply is not true. The postal infrastructure and the nation’s need for it may be changing, but the demand for consistent, reliable, and predictable delivery of mail, and more recently packages, has not. All stakeholders need to realize that the Postal Service and what it offers will continue to be needed well into the future. How we solve the issues of today will greatly affect the services of tomorrow. Before the industry looks to Congress, or the Postal Regulatory Commission, or the Postal Service, we must first be able to define what we NEED, not what we WANT from a postal network. Outside of the reliable delivery of mail and affordable prices, what else does your company NEED? Is it transparent costing? Unchanged service standards? Six-day delivery? As you answer these questions and ask some of your own, keep in mind that everything comes at a cost. But are you willing to pay the price your NEEDS will cost? Defining these NEEDS will be the ultimate challenge for 2015. ¾

As the debate over postal reform takes place in Congress, there are discussions that need to occur at the Postal Regulatory Commission that could have lasting impacts on the Postal Service’s products and services. With increased mail visibility, the USPS can optimize its operational information to accurately measure automated mail flows and begin to replace manual sampling with real-time information. These improvements will supply the Postal Service with near real-time handling data for letters, flats, handling units, and containers, as well as information regarding air and surface transportation. The system will capture and build the nesting associations necessary to maintain end-to-end operational visibility, while processing this data immediately upon receipt will provide mail users and postal managers with real-time mail tracking information.

JESSICA LOWRANCE, CAE, is Executive Vice President, Association for Postal Commerce. | MARCH-APRIL-2015




anagers understand the value of empowering their workers. Not only are customers better served when workers have the responsibility to address their immediate needs, it also frees up managers to pursue other important tasks that only they can do. Teams not only have the potential to make better decisions, but they can also make faster decisions. Because team members are closest to the problems and to one another, they can skip unnecessary communication channels. The first important item that you need to consider when setting up a team is what kind of team to create. All teams need managerial support to operate successful24


ly in the business environment. There are basically three types of teams that exist today: Formal, Informal, and Self-Managed. Formal: These teams are usually put together by the management team and are asked to achieve specific goals. Task forces: Assembled on a temporary basis to address specific problems or issues. Committees: Long-term or permanent teams created to perform an ongoing, specific organizational task. Command: Consist of a manager or supervisor and all the employees who report directly to that person. Informal: These are usually teams that come together through casual associations of employees that spontaneously seem to

develop within a company’s structure. They have no specific tasks assigned by management but are important to companies due to the following reasons: They provide a way for employees to get information outside of formal, management communication channels. They also provide a safe outlet for employees to let off steam about issues that concern them and to find solutions to problems by discussing them with employees from other parts of the organization that are unimpeded by the walls of the formal organization Self-Managed: These teams combine the attributes of both formal and informal teams. They are small groups that are made up of people from different parts of the organization. They manage themselves, are

By James P. Mullan empowered to act, and most importantly are multifunctional. Self-managing teams usually rise to the challenge and make major contributions to the success of their organizations.

So Why Develop Your Employees? Some people confuse training with development. Training usually refers to teaching workers the short-term skills they need to know right now to do their jobs. Development usually refers to teaching employees the kinds of long-term skills they’ll need in the future as they progress in their careers. Developing your employees is an excellent idea for the following reasons: } Employees who work smarter are better employees. } Someone has to be prepared to step into your shoes. } Your employees win, and so does your organization. } Your employees are worth your time and money. } The challenge stimulates your employees. } Have you ever wondered why your employees continue to mess up assignments that you know they can perform?

Employee Development The managers and employees’ role is to identify areas where development can help make them better and more productive workers and then to relay this information to their managers. Have a frank discussion regarding their strengths and weaknesses. Your main goal here is to identify areas the employee can leverage. Focus most of your development efforts and dollars on these opportunities. The next step in the employee-development process is to determine the current state of your employee’s skills and talents. Assessing your employees provides you with a guide for your development efforts. A career development plan is an agreement between you and your employee that spells out exactly what formal support they will receive to develop their skills and when they will receive it. Be sure to provide the support that you agreed to provide.

Key Elements: Employee Responsibilities: Career de-

Last, But Not Least, Some Great Tips for Recruiting Good People

velopment is the joint responsibility of an employee and his manager. A business can and does pay for training and development opportunities, but so can employees. A good career development plan should include what the employee is doing on her own time. Date of Completion: Plans are no good without a way to schedule the milestones of goal accomplishment and progress. Each learning goal must have a corresponding date of completion. Measuring Goals: You must have a way to measure its completion. Make sure that the standards you use to measure the completion of a learning goal are clear and attainable and that both you and your employees are in full agreement with them. Specific Goals: When you meet with an employee to discuss development plans, you identify specific learning goals. And don’t forget, every employee in your organization can benefit from having learning goals. Resources: After you identify your employee’s learning objectives, you have to decide how he will reach them. Development resources include a wide variety of opportunities that support the development of your employees. Here are some suggestions regarding the development of employees:

As everyone knows, your people are the heart of your business. The better the people you hire, the better business you have. The negative impacts of hiring the wrong candidate can reverberate both inside and outside an organization for years. The time spent up front to find the best candidates will help you avoid the countless hours of trying to straighten out a problem employee at a later date and time. So where can you find the best candidates for your jobs? Internal candidates: The first place to look for candidates is within the organization. If you do your job training and developing employees, you probably have plenty of candidates to consider for your job openings. Personal referrals: Whether from co-workers, professional colleagues, friends, relatives, or neighbors, you can often find great candidates through referrals. Temporary Agencies: Hiring temps, or temporary employees, has become routine for many companies. When you simply have to fill a critical position for a short period of time, temporary agencies are the way to go! Professional Associations: Most professions have their accompanying associations that look out for their interests. Whether you’re in the mail industry (and belong to MSMA or PCC) or records management industry (and belong to ARMA and / or AIIM), you can likely find an affiliated association for whatever you do for a living. Social Media. Although many social networking sites exists, one site deserves your attention: LinkedIn. It is specifically designed to help job seekers network with one another to find new job opportunities. Also consider Twitter (a real-time platform for getting out information to anyone interested in getting it) and company websites. ¾

1. Give employees opportunities to learn and grow. 2. Be a mentor to an employee. 3. Let an employee fill in for you in staff meetings. 4. Assign an employee to a team. 5. Allow employees to pursue and develop any idea they have. 6. Provide employees with a choice of assignments. 7. Send an employee to a seminar on a new topic. 8. Bring an employee with you when you call on customers. 9. Introduce an employee to top managers in your organization and arrange to have her perform special assignments for them. 10. Allow an employee to shadow you during your workday.



NO DEDICATED MAIL CENTER? NO PROBLEM! Smaller operations can now get big efficiencies


mall and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) often do not have dedicated mail centers. Most never did, while some of the larger SMBs had mailrooms they were forced to abandon in order to trim costs. In the absence of dedicated mail personnel, SMB mail handling operations most often fall to the full staff and an office manager, who oversees the operation. For the workers, mail handling is frequently a secondary responsibility, so they come to the job with a minimum amount of knowledge about postal rules and regulations. For some SMBs, this can be a workable solution. But for most companies, it isn’t. The office manager oversees an environment in which mail and packages of varying weights, sizes, and thicknesses are processed virtually every day. In addition, mail volumes are unpredictable and often increase to a point where staff resources are severely strained. The productivity of the entire operation suffers. It’s also difficult to apply cost controls,



or to accurately account for mailing expenses, versus office administration outlays. In these instances, it’s not the size of the company that matters. An organization with one hundred employees and light mail volumes may function without too much trouble. But a company with twenty employees could have a ton of issues in its outbound mail operations. Critical mailing challenges often occur in businesses in the financial services, real estate, education, government, and legal sectors. Although the overall volume of physical mail has decreased for many businesses, the importance of the mail that remains has in fact increased. This is particularly true for organizations that place high reliance on communicating with clients and customers through physical mail. These operations range from insurance firms and government agencies, to direct marketing companies; including e-commerce businesses that market online but still depend on mail and package shipping to fulfill orders. Physical mail also delivers a 30X high-

er response rate than email, perhaps because 73% of consumers prefer it.

Technology to the Rescue Overburdened office managers without mail centers can now address their challenges using technology recently made available to SMBs. These are the automated precision mailing systems, which up until now only large mail center operations have been able to afford. They give office managers the advanced tools they need to dramatically simplify their outgoing mail operations without having to become fulltime mailing experts. In the context of increasingly complex postal rules and guidelines, and staff workers who are unable to keep up with the frequent changes, precision mailing technology delivers some key capabilities. These precise, accurate automated systems can quickly rate mail of varying sizes, automatically weigh mail pieces as they’re being processed, deliver shape-based ratings where necessary, securely seal even thick mail

By Tom Ryan pieces, and print the proper postage. Systems can automatically weigh different sized mail at one piece per second and like-sized mail at two pieces per second. These automated operations free the office staff from the tedious and time-consuming tasks of sorting, weighing, measuring, and manually dealing with different sized mail by hand, one piece at a time. The systems speed up the mail processing and ensure a higher level of accuracy. These functions are particularly needed in office environments where mail and packages of varying weights, sizes, and thicknesses are generated, and where daily mail volumes are often unpredictable. Here are four common operator decisions that can be fully automated by a precision mailing system: 1. determining the postage rate for regular letter mail, which changes between one, two, and three ounces, and with the number of enclosures in the envelope; 2. establishing when a letter’s dimensions make it a Large Letter, which needs to be sent at a different set of rates based on weight; doing this manually requires using a large template for size, then weighing the piece; 3. establishing when a letter’s thickness makes it a Large Letter, no matter what the envelope size; again, without an automated system, this must be done manually; 4. discovering that a mail piece doesn’t meet the weight-thickness-size criteria for the Class selected (the system then notifies the operator to process the piece manually based on the correct information). Using an automated precision mailing system, the operator can conveniently check the different rates for each of the five to 10 classes that might apply depending on the size and contents of the mailing piece. These rates can then be compared against the different levels of service for each class, allowing the mailer to make a more informed decision on which service level delivers the best value. Precision mailing systems can also help mailers access and take advantage of valu-

able extra services, such as recipient signature, secured delivery and tracking. Systems can be set up with these options built in, letting you shop for the service that’s appropriate for the piece — e.g., Certified Mail, Delivery Tracking, COD, or Registered.

Need Custom Printing? Some automated precision mailing systems even offer flexible printing capabilities. In addition to printing the postage, these systems let you print on demand custom, targeted messages in postal red, black, or full color inks. These communications could be marketing offers, legal notifications, or other important — even time critical — customer communications. On-demand printing can deliver impressive ROI benefits. Compared to buying pre-printed envelopes in bulk, printing with the newest technology can save you as much as 5 to 15 cents per piece. These savings also apply when you want to promote something but don’t have a specific envelope for it. Instead of buying more envelopes for that one special promotion, you can use flexible printing technology to print the envelopes instantly at the same time you’re printing the postage. The right message gets on the envelope just before going to the recipient, with no wasted envelopes and no excess envelope inventory to stock. The print-on-demand function is especially convenient for marketers who don’t control the envelope buying process. Now, at the touch of a button, they can influence how the mail looks and how the organization promotes its current products and brand. Prior to flexible printing technology, marketers had to pre-print envelopes in bulk with a standardized logo common to all mailings. That is a very limiting approach to marketing. Instead, precision mailing systems are enabling marketers to produce digital personalization in a physical communication. Research has shown that on-envelope messages consistently boost a mail piece’s open-rate. One survey reported that 69% of respondents are more likely to open a mail piece with color text and graphics on the front before opening pieces with no

headline or graphic. Another study found that 51% of consumers pay more attention to the information they receive when color and personalization are used. Even though automated mailing systems are packed with capabilities, they can be quite simple to operate. Touch screen displays and clear menu prompts help the operator easily set up jobs, make accurate selections, and take advantage of advanced printing features. The user interface is especially important in guiding operators through postal rule changes as they are updated by the system.

Parcel Ready Solutions The United States Postal Service has made significant moves to compete with private carriers in the package shipping arena. The USPS offering has become even more attractive as private carriers implement dimensional rules that the Postal Service does not require. This can result in rate benefits while still providing you with advanced tracking software and competitive delivery commitments. You will have to use the USPS Intelligent Mail Package Barcode (IMpb), but now the latest technology can give you options to create package barcode labels that support Postal requirements. As an SMB mailer, there are two important things to remember: } first, you no longer have to be a large mail center operation to afford the precision mailing technology that can make your operations more efficient; } second, you don’t have to be a mail expert to get the most value out of your mailing operations and take full advantage of USPS special services. If you would like to simplify your mail operations without adding dedicated mail staff and resources, it makes sense to look into the new technology-enabled tools and capabilities now offered by today’s automated precision mailing systems. ¾ TOM RYAN is Director, SMB Global Marketing for Mail Finishing, Pitney Bowes | MARCH-APRIL-2015


By Jack Walsh


As more and more mailers are taking on shipping duties as well, ignoring these changes in Dim Weight pricing could be detrimental to one’s bottom line.


he recent move to expand coverage of dimensional weight pricing by FedEx and UPS has attracted considerable attention from those executives responsible for running fulfillment operations, particularly in companies that ship high volumes of small packages. To adapt to these changes in dimensional weight pricing, fulfillment managers are avidly reassessing options to streamline their packing and shipping operations, such as incorporating cubing software or manifest automation, to minimize shipping penalties for oversized packages. Because no two fulfillment operations are the same, the solution needed will vary from facility to facility. In order to achieve the most cost-efficient solution that delivers the expected ROI, one must understand the key factors relative to dimensional weight pricing as well as assess the optimal automation systems.



The Shift to Dimensional Weight Pricing Shipping costs have historically been calculated on the basis of gross weight in pounds, or kilograms for many international shipments. By charging only by weight, lightweight, low-density packages become unprofitable for freight carriers due to the amount of space they take up in the truck, aircraft, ship or railcar in proportion to their actual weight. The shipping of parcels from one location to another requires the need to accurately assess the amount of capacity required to meet shipping demands. All cargo has both a scale weight, or gross weight, and a dimensional weight. By determining dimensions other than, or in addition to gross weight, shippers can pack goods more efficiently and carriers can fill ships, railcars, trucks and airplanes more optimally and profitably. The concept of dimensional weight has been adopted by the transportation industry

worldwide as a uniform means of establishing a minimum charge for the cubic space a package occupies. Dimensional weight is commonly used for invoicing by truck carriers, air freight forwarders, as well as all commercial airlines worldwide. In 2007, DHL, FedEx, United Parcel Service and the United States Postal Service adopted the dimensional weight system for delivering packages by ground services that measure three cubic feet or more in size. FedEx made the decision to go with dimensional weight pricing for all of its FedEx freight offerings and FedEx Ground, changes that took effect on January 1, 2015. As of December 29, 2014, dimensional weight was also used to calculate the billable weight of a shipment on all UPS Ground services. These changes were most likely prompted by years of explosive growth in online commerce — which is expanding at double-digit percentage rates annually — more

so than any other factor. The predominantly small-item, small-quantity e-commerce orders are frequently packaged in oversized boxes for shipping, over-packaging that consumes cubic capacity in trucks at little or no cost to shippers. Delivery trucks cube-out (run out of useful space) before they reach their overall weight limits, resulting in FedEx and UPS needing to operate more trucks to handle the freight, without an increase in revenue.

Calculating Dimensional Weight FedEx and UPS employ a dimensional weight volumetric divisor, which is used to tally the amount of space allocated to a specific shipment. It is derived by multiplying a shipment’s length, width and height, then dividing that figure by its weight, and then dividing it by 166, which is an agreed industry dimensional constant equal to 166 cubic inches. A box 5” x 5” x 5”, for example, would have a space of 125 cubic inches, which divided by the dimensional constant 166, would yield a package that is 0.75 pounds. Any package that is below one dimensional pound would pay actual weight.

A box that is 6” x 6” x 6” would equal 216 cubic inches. Divided by the dimensional constant 166 would produce a package that is 1.3 pounds. FedEx and UPS will round this up to two pounds. A box sized 5.49” x 5.49” x 5.49”, for example, would yield a space of 165.5 cubic inches. Any box that size or smaller would be charged actual weight by FedEx and UPS. Any box larger would be charged dimensional weight. In fact 77.8% of FedEx and UPS ground shipments fall within the 5.5” x 5.5” x 5.5” or larger box size. The same 166 cubic inch dimensional constant applies, as well, to polybags. Polybags measuring more than 12” x 12” x 1” will qualify for dimensional weight pricing. Cost increases for packages assessed at dimensional weight compared to actual weight for ground shipments reach 37% higher cost, and for next-day air shipments 45% higher cost. Until recently, determining a parcel’s dimensional weight or “dim weight”, has been a completely manual process. The traditional method for determining chargeable weight has been limited to using a tape measure to collect dimen-

sions, manually calculating dimensional weight, and then comparing that figure to gross weight. Manual measurements are time-consuming, inaccurate and slow down the workflow. Despite these limitations, manual determination of dimensional weight is still done liberally today in many fulfillment centers.

Cartonization Software vs. a More Integrated Approach This latest shift to dimensional weight pricing by FedEx and UPS has prompted logistics executives in most companies that ship small packages to take a closer look at streamlining and automating their fulfillment operations, or risk significant upcharges in shipping costs. Cartonization software is being viewed as a first point of focus for many fulfillment centers attempting to deal with these changes in dimensional weight, particularly those utilizing manual packing operations. Cartonization software enables predetermined packaging decisions to be implemented based upon business rules, order data and SKU information. Communicating with the warehouse management system (WMS) | MARCH-APRIL-2015


or warehouse control system (WCS), the cartonization software determines optimized packaging based upon the dimensions, weight, fragileness and other factors of the products being shipped. The software directs the packer to use a specific carton size, selecting the smallest size carton for each order. Batches of orders requiring a specific carton size can be generated and allocated to packing lines for those sizes. Cartonization software reduces shipping and packaging costs, and decreases returns. But cartonization software alone will not deliver the optimized throughput needed for a truly streamlined fulfillment system. Order fulfillment must consider all of the dynamics required to balance workloads and efficiently process orders. Managing order fulfillment efficiently requires the right software tools to intelligently optimize the order mix to meet delivery time windows, and ensure a continuous order flow across the pick, pack, and ship processes. Pick, pack and ship processes utilize an array of automatic identification and data capture (AIDC) technology, such as barcode scanners, optical character recognition (OCR) and radio-frequency identification (RFID) to efficiently monitor the flow of goods through picking, sortation, conveying, weighing, dimensioning systems, labeling and packaging. These units need to capture and relay data to and from the WMS or WCS and other material handling equipment (MHE) in the system. In high-volume fulfillment centers this transmitted data can represent millions of process transactions per hour. The control system must be capable of effectively executing these throughput processes with the most efficient cycle times. Such control systems are particularly applicable for e-Commerce fulfillment operations. With its seasonal spikes, and growing SKU counts, online fulfillment creates specific challenges for defining the processes and software requirements to achieve a streamlined operation. Thou-

sands of orders per hour of single-item and multi-SKU orders, a wide variety of product shapes, and the customer-driven demand for the lowest cost transportation method frequently results in throughput slowdowns for Internet fulfillment operations. With the recent changes in dimensional weight pricing, Internet order fulfillment is now even more so under pressure to find the proper balance of picking, packing and shipping technologies that will deliver the most cost-efficient solutions.

sional information on every package being shipped. For high-volume fulfillment centers, an inline checkweigh dimensioner is a very useful addition, as it will weigh each package, capture the package’s dimensions and forward to the shipping carrier which sends a label back to the fulfillment center. A print-and-apply labeler will then automatically apply the appropriate shipping label. This package is now ready to be shipped. The process can be further automated by sorting these packages directly to the dock doors. Each of these functions would then be integrated within a seamless IT interface. If polybags are being used, and more than 1,000 polybags are being filled per day, an automatic bagging station should also be integrated into the system. A well designed bagging system will incorporate an inline scale and automated printer to print the correct manifest directly on the bag. Both automated bagging and carton manifest lines can greatly reduce headcount. A manual carton manifest line typically takes five to six laborers per shift to operate. Manual bagging is close to the same. A properly designed automated system can reduce the operation to one or two operators, and increase throughput at the same time. Fulfillment executives can minimize the impact of dimensional weight pricing now being imposed by FedEx and UPS. For most distribution operations, assessing optimal automation systems will be necessary to achieve the most cost-efficient solution that delivers the expected ROI. ž

Manual measurements are time-consuming, inaccurate and slow down the workflow. Despite these limitations, manual determination of dimensional weight is still done liberally today



Assessing the Correct Move Forward Low-volume fulfillment centers, those shipping less than 1,000 packages per day, should certainly consider implementing cartonization software as the first step in addressing FedEx and UPS volumetric shipping penalties. This is a considerable step up from paper-based, manual fulfillment, providing improved flexibility. This could also be integrated with intelligent picking, such as RF pick-to-cart, with a seamless IT interface Higher volume fulfillment centers, those processing 1,000 to 50,000 or more packages per day, would start with cartonization software, and would benefit from a more automated picking solution, like voice-activated picking or pick-to-light. An automated manifest system should be incorporated, as well as an in-line scales and dimensioners. As part of the change in dimensional weight pricing, FedEx and UPS require that the fulfillment center send them dimen-

JACK WALSH is Director of Sales & Marketing, Cornerstone Automation, LLC. Cornerstone Automation Systems designs, engineers, manufacturers and implements state of the art material handling, packaging and warehouse automation for complete picking, packing and shipping systems. Contact Jack at 972.346.2242, jwalsh@ or

Mailing Systems Technology Mar/Apr 2015  

Mailing Systems Technology Mar/Apr 2015

Mailing Systems Technology Mar/Apr 2015  

Mailing Systems Technology Mar/Apr 2015