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ARE YOU READY FOR NEW PRINT-MAIL EQUIPMENT? PAGE 14

MARCH - APRIL 2019

MailingSystemsTechnology.com

A LOOK AT WHY

a Data Hygiene Program Is Paramount to the Success of Your Operation PAGE 18

KEEPING MAIL RELEVANT: HOW TO MERGE YOUR PHYSICAL AND DIGITAL STRATEGIES PAGE 28

FULL-SERVICE DISCOUNTS INCREASE FOR MARKETING MAIL IN 2019: ARE YOU PREPARED? PAGE 10


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TABLE OF CONTENTS

MARCH - APRIL 2019 | VOLUME 32 ISSUE 2

DEPARTMENTS 05 Editor's Note

Getting into the Swing of Things By Amanda Armendariz

06 Real-Life Management Culture: Driver of Success or Failure!

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By Wes Friesen

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08 Connecting Point

The USPS’ Annual (Non)-Compliance Report: The Continuing Freefall of Flats Cost Coverage By Anita Pursley

10 Software Byte

Full-Service Discounts Increase for Marketing Mail in 2019

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24

By Jeff Peoples

11 Inkjet Info

Tariffs in the Print Industry: 2019

FEATURES

By Colin McMahon

12 Is It Time for a New Inserter?

It's not always clear when it's time for new equipment. Here are the questions to ask and the steps to take if you do decide a purchase is in your future. By Mike Porter

18 Finding Gold in Your Data

A look at why a data hygiene program is paramount to the success of your mail operation.

By Gary A. Seitz

20 Time to Reexamine Your Presort Agreement There are numerous benefits to utilizing a presort provider, and now, with the rate changes that took place in January, the perks are even greater. By Adam Lewenberg

24 2018 Canadian Mail Updates

Canada experienced some major changes last year, but mail is still as valued by Canadians as ever. By Kristi Kanitz

MARCH-APRIL 2019 | MailingSystemsTechnology.com

14 Are You Ready to Buy Print-Mail Equipment?

26 Is Your Data Safe?

Understanding and implementing data security policy audits can be time-consuming, but it's a critical task. By Mark Fallon

28 Merging Physical and Digital Communication Strategies

Hard-copy mail still works — and it works even better when paired with a digital strategy. Here’s how to knock your communication strategies out of the park. By Scott Scheidenhelm

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EDITOR’S NOTE VOLUME 32, ISSUE 2 MAGAZINE STAFF President Chad Griepentrog Publisher Ken Waddell Editor Amanda Armendariz amanda.c@rbpub.com Editorial Director Allison Lloyd allison.l@rbpub.com Contributing Writers Mark Fallon, Wes Friesen, Kristi Kanitz, Adam Lewenberg, Colin McMahon, Jeff Peoples, Mike Porter, Anita Pursley, Scott Scheidenhelm, Gary A. Seitz Audience Development Manager Rachel Chapman rachel@rbpub.com Advertising Ken Waddell 608.235.2212 ken.w@rbpub.com Design Kelli Cooke

GETTING INTO THE SWING OF THINGS BY AMANDA ARMENDARIZ

RB Publishing Inc. PO Box 259098 Madison WI 53725-9098 Tel: 608.241.8777 Fax: 608.241.8666 Email: rbpub@rbpub.com SUBSCIRBE Subscribe online at MailingSystemsTechnology.com. Subscriptions are free to qualified recipients: $20 per year to all others in the United States. Subscription rate for Canada or Mexico is $40 per year, and for elsewhere outside of the United States is $45. Back issue rate is $5. SEND SUBSCRIPTIONS TO: Mailing Systems Technology, PO Box 259098, Madison WI 53725-9098 Call 608.241.8777 Fax 608.241.8666 E-mail rachel@rbpub.com Online at MailingSystemsTechnology.com. REPRINT SALES ReprintPro 949.702.5390 www.ReprintPros.com All material in this magazine is copyrighted ©2019 by RB Publishing Inc. All rights reserved. Nothing may be reproduced in whole or in part without written permission from the publisher. Any correspondence sent to Mailing Systems Technology, RB Publishing Inc. or its staff becomes property of RB Publishing Inc. The articles in this magazine represent the views of the authors and not those of RB Publishing Inc. or Mailing Systems Technology. RB Publishing Inc. and/or Mailing Systems Technology expressly disclaim any liability for the products or services sold or otherwise endorsed by advertisers or authors included in this magazine. MAILING SYSTEMS TECHNOLOGY (ISSN 1088-2677) [Volume 32 Issue 2] is published seven times per year (January/February, Annual Industry Buyer’s Guide, March/April, May/June, July/August, September/October, November/December) by RB Publishing Inc.,PO Box 259098 Madison WI 537259098, 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

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t’s hard to believe that we’re already almost a quarter of the way through 2019 (although, as I look out my window and see two feet of snow with a current temperature of 17 degrees, it certainly doesn’t feel like it). But regardless of whatever crazy weather is going on in my neck of the woods, 2019 is indeed well underway, so there are some important things mailers need to be aware of in order to ensure this year is successful. First things first: Registration is already open for some of the 2019 USPS promotions. These promotions will allow you to save up to two percent on your postage costs — no small number! And the registration timeframe for those that are not already open will be here before we know it, so if you need to make any changes or modifications to your mail pieces in order to take advantage of these offerings, now is the time to sit down with all the relevant departments to figure out what steps need to be taken. Second, some significant changes have already taken place this year. Mailers know, of course, about the rate increase that took effect at the end of January, but what some people may not be aware of is how this change had a significant effect on partnerships with

presort providers. Now, depending on the types and classes of mail you regularly send, utilizing a presort provider could save you even more. Adam Lewenberg goes into this more in-depth in his article on page 20. Third, if you are one of those mailers that regularly sends out more and more of their content as packages, you’ll want to be aware of some changes that the USPS has decided on with regards to package prices. One of the most notable changes relates to a major expansion in dimensional weight pricing. We’ll be covering this more in the coming months, as the change doesn’t take place until the end of June, but this is certainly something you’ll want to keep your eye on. Fourth, the National Postal Forum will be here before we know it, and we certainly hope you’re making plans to attend this show. NPF continues to be a valuable industry resource for mailers, so we’d love to see you there. As always, thanks for reading Mailing Systems Technology!

MailingSystemsTechnology.com | MARCH-APRIL 2019

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REAL-LIFE MANAGEMENT

CULTURE: DRIVER OF SUCCESS OR FAILURE! BY WES FRIESEN

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eveloping a positive culture for an organization or team is critical for our success. What is culture, exactly? Organization expert Richard Daft defines culture as, “The set of values, norms, guiding beliefs, and understandings that is shared by members of an organization and taught to new members as the correct way to think, feel, and behave.” A number of studies have shown a positive relationship between culture and performance. Adam Grant is a prominent organizational psychologist, and he sums up his research by saying, “The culture of a workplace — an organization’s values, norms, and practices — has a huge impact on our happiness and success.” So, how do we intentionally build a culture that will create greater happiness for our employees and greater success for our teams? Let’s explore important tips to help build the great culture that drives the success we desire. Tips to Build A Great Culture 1. Be intentional. Great cultures that generate high performance do not develop by accident. Great cultures are created as a result of intentional efforts, including planful changes and consistent follow-through. 2. Clarify what’s important to organizational (team) success. Clarifying the mission (why the team exists/its purpose), vision (what’s the future desired state?), and values (what are our core values that we aspire to?) is a good starting place in developing your desired culture. Articulating specific goals and the strategies to help achieve the goals is also important. When clarifying what matters, it should be our desire to add value to our key

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stakeholders, which are the investors (stockholders), customers, and employees. Research and experience show one factor that especially motivates people is being provided with an opportunity to serve and add value to customers and employees. 3. Define and explain the key values. The importance of values has already been mentioned, but what are some of the most important values we want to emphasize? There is no one magic list of desirable values that all teams should aspire to live. But following are a few values that various researchers and experts say contribute to a great culture and team success: } Integrity. Virtually all people value integrity, and multiple surveys support this priority. Integrity (always doing the right thing even if it costs) is a value that should be expressed, but is best taught by consistent actions by leaders and other influencers. } Adaptability & Flexibility. We live in a changing world, and to be successful, we need to be adaptable. We have seen the sad fate of organizations that are not adaptable to changes in factors such as customer preferences and technology (Toys ‘R Us and Sears are recent examples of this). Another important value is flexibility. Employees (and customers!) appreciate flexibility to help meet their needs. Regus reports a 70% increase in productivity for companies that have moved to flexible working practices. Yes, we need to have policies and procedures in place to avoid chaos and promote efficiency, consistency, and provide compliance. But, there are times when we can and should be flexible when it benefits a customer or

employee and does no harm to our organization. I agree with President Franklin Roosevelt’s statement that, “Rules are not necessarily sacred, principles are.” } Collaboration. No individual by herself can be a lasting success. It takes a team effort to accomplish anything worthwhile. Valuing and practicing collaboration within and across teams will help lead to the success we desire. } Customer Orientation. No organization or team can exist without customers (whether internal and/or external). Focusing on serving customers well is crucial to help our teams not only survive, but thrive. } Results Orientation. At the end of the day, organizations and teams exist to get results for its key stakeholders. Emphasizing the bottom line results we seek is important. Equally or even more important is to also emphasize how we pursue the results we seek. } People (Employees) First. Almost every leader would agree with the statement that employees are the most valuable resource of the organization. I love the sentiment expressed by Andrew Carnegie (who owned the equivalent of several billion dollars of factories and equipment) when he stated, “Take away my people but leave my factories and soon grass will grow on the factory floor. Take away my factories but leave my people and soon we will have a new and better factory!” But when it comes to putting people first, talk is cheap; we need action. There is a wide range of practical ways to show employees we value them — including respecting work-life balance, compensating fairly, and providing growth and development opportunities. A recent Career Builder survey found the top two drivers employees valued were flexible schedules and recognition. Anne Mulchay, former CEO of Xerox, emphasized, “Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person — not just an employee — are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled. Satisfied employees mean satisfied customers, which leads to profitability.” 4. Provide linkages to employees on how they contribute to team success. Leadership expert Frances Hesselbein wisely observed, “People want to feel that what they do makes a difference.” From my experience and based on recent


research, her statement rings true. I also agree with Ken and Scott Blanchard’s advice, “Connect the dots between individual roles and the goals of the organization. When people see that connection, they get a lot of energy out of work. They feel the importance, dignity, and meaning of their job.” 5. Implement performance culture tools. Here are some tools we can use to help develop the desired culture:  Symbolic Reminders. These are visible artifacts that reinforce desired behaviors and values. Examples are posters, pictures, and other wall hangings promoting key values, behaviors, and objectives; thank you notes from customers; rewards like trophies and plaques; and anything else that provides a visual reminder of what is important and/or past successes.  Keystone Behaviors. These are desired behaviors that we want to encourage and reinforce. Examples include empowering employees by reducing the number of approvals needed for decisions, promoting collaboration by making it easier to work across teams, and building personal relationships by

following the advice of Richard Branson (Founder of Virgin Group), “There is no magic formula for great company culture. The key is just to treat your staff how you would like to be treated.” 6. Recognize and reward good behavior and performance. Research shows actions and behaviors that are reinforced (recognized and rewarded) get repeated; actions ignored for extended periods tend to cease. Dale Carnegie wisely said, “People work for money, but go the extra mile for recognition, praise, and rewards.” Research over the years has led to the development of what some have called the “Greatest Management Principle in the World” — you get what you reward. Sincere, regular, and positive recognition and rewarding of desired behaviors is common sense — but not common practice. A Gallup poll of thousands of employees found that 65% claimed to have received no praise or recognition the past year! 7. Celebrate successes and have fun on the journey. A cardinal principle I constantly emphasize is “success breeds success.” The most extensive research project I have ever found on high-perform-

ing teams (involving 237 organizations and 2.5 million employees!) found three key ingredients that these teams shared: a strong sense of achievement, the ability to value and make room to have some fun, and a strong sense of camaraderie. Here is a closing inspiring quote that speaks to the importance of our culture. Louis Gerstner, former CEO of IBM said, “I came to see, in my time at IBM, that culture isn’t just one aspect of the game, it is the game. In the end, an organization is nothing more than the collective capacity of its people to create value.” My best to you as you pursue a culture that will drive your teams to even higher level of success!  Wes Friesen (MBA, EMCM, CMDSM, MCOM, MDC, OSPC, CCE, CBF, CBA ICP, CMA, CFM, CM, APP, PHR, CTP) is a proven leader and developer of high-performing teams and has extensive experience in both the corporate and non-profit worlds. He is also an award-winning university instructor and speaker and is the President of Solomon Training and Development, which provides leadership, management and team building training. His book, Your Team Can Soar! has 42 valuable lessons that will inspire you. Wes can be contacted at wesmfriesen@gmail.com or at 971.806.0812.

MailingSystemsTechnology.com | MARCH-APRIL 2019

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CONNECTING POINT

THE USPS’ ANNUAL (NON)-COMPLIANCE REPORT: THE CONTINUING FREEFALL OF FLATS COST COVERAGE BY ANITA PURSLEY

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omewhat in jest, I often refer to the Postal Service’s Annual Compliance Report (ACR) as the Annual “Non-compliance” Report. It’s not quite fair to ignore all the positive and insightful information contained in the report, but for it to be a catalyst for improvement, it is important to focus on the areas that are non-compliant. In fact, in the FY2013 Annual Compliance Determination (ACD), the Commission adopted a different approach in their reporting that focuses primarily on compliance issues. It may have been around the same time that they began using the term “non-compensatory” products. Each year, the Postal Service is required to publish its ACR to the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) within 90 days of the end of the fiscal year. In turn, the PRC has 90 days to issue its ACD. This annual, afterthe-fact review is required by the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA) and focuses primarily on financial transparency and compliance with pricing and service performance standards. At the center of the ACR and ACD, highlights include attributable cost for classes and products, workshare passthroughs, service performance, and 8

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customer satisfaction. For purposes of this article, the focal point will be on flats cost coverage, namely Periodicals and Marketing (Standard) Mail flats. In general, rates that fail to cover a product’s attributable costs are subject to more scrutiny because any shortfalls may shift burdens onto other mailers. Periodicals Since the first ACD under PAEA (FY2007), Periodicals cost coverage has dropped from 83.1% to 69.3% in FY2017. The FY2018 ACR reveals further decline, to an alarming 67.54%. Despite operational directives, the PRC has not given any specific instructions to raise Periodical rates, other than to use its pricing flexibility within the price cap to mitigate the revenue shortfall. In the case of Periodicals, the Postal Service is somewhat limited since there are only two products within the class, in-county and outside county. Unlike Marketing Mail, the Postal Service does not separate mail processing costs for carrier route-presorted Periodicals from other presorted Periodicals, such as five-digit and three-digit, because they are not separate products. They do, however, have

flexibility in choosing which behavior (mail preparation) they wish to encourage. Most recently, the Postal Service has chosen to encourage preparation of carrier route pallets. Very rarely does a magazine title have enough density on its own to accomplish this, so publishers look to mail service providers to co-mail their titles with other publications. Marketing (Standard) Mail Flats Since the FY2008 ACD, Standard (Marketing) Mail flats cost coverage has dropped from 94.4% to 74.0% in FY 2017 (USPS did not submit data that was aligned with the new product designations until FY 2008). It’s important to note that flats, sometimes referred to as non-carrier route, are the less finely presorted residual pieces within Marketing Mail. In the FY2018 ACR (the ACD has not been released as of this writing), the Postal Service reports a cost coverage of 68.6%, representing a 13.4% increase in cost per piece, despite an increase in per-piece revenue of 5.1%. The Postal Service states that, “the increase in cost was likely [emphasis ours] due in part to movement of flats volume to high-density flats. Based on feedback from industry representatives, which is supported by volume trends, flats volume has migrated from the flats and carrier route products into high-density flats because of comailing.” Likely? Isn’t that the behavior the Postal Service has encouraged through its own rate design? What Is the Solution? So, what is the answer (above CPI rate increases, that is)? Efforts to streamline operations, capture efficiency, and reduce costs have not come to fruition. The Postal Service has increased Marketing Mail flats prices by CPI multiplied by 1.05 every year since 2015. Back then, the Postal Service argued that a two-year outlook for scheduling above-CPI price increases for Standard Mail flats was appropriate because the Commission’s review of the system for regulating rates and classes for market dominant products was slated to begin in FY 2017. It appears that the Postal Service hoped the PRC would rule in their favor and eliminate the price cap. Regardless, raising Marketing Mail flats rates above CPI has not improved cost coverage.


New USPS Proposal During a recent user group meeting, the Postal Service revealed that they are evaluating the idea of combining flats, carrier route, and high-density flats into one product, referred to as non-saturation flats. Years ago, I recall hashing out this idea amongst a group of catalogers. Why is flats a product all its own? Do mailers choose this product on its own merit or is it, as described above, the residual portion of a mailing? The answer is the latter. On the surface, combining carrier route and non-carrier route made sense. However, the catalogers opted not to put forth this proposal despite the well above 100% cost coverage of the combined product. Why? They feared that, over time, the entire product would be underwater and the risk was too great. So here we are, years later, and the idea has resurfaced. If approved, what is the combined cost coverage?

The Postal Service’s own data shows a dismal 88% cost coverage for the proposed non-saturation flats product — exactly what the catalogers feared would happen. Who knows where this proposal will go, but most agree that it just masks the real problem. As evidenced by the ACR data, costs of processing Periodicals and less-finely presorted Marketing Mail flats continue to rise with no clear solution in sight. Where Do We Go from Here? Maybe it’s time for the Postal Service to unveil its performance issues with the Flats Sequencing System (FSS). No one can blame postal officials for the decision to go down this path. The purchases were made when the industry was healthy and flats volume was rising. Will it ever work now with a much smaller base of volume that is still declining? Most industry pundits deem it not likely.

My own belief is that the Postal Service would earn a great deal of respect by being forthright about the plight of the FSS machines. Those of us in the private industry have witnessed many well thought out plans or purchases that eventually failed. Tough decisions must be made. I would like to see the Postal Service appoint a flats champion, or “Czar,” to take ownership of processing flats. Let’s work together to come up with a new plan. I know, it’s easier said than done, but what other choice do we have?  As Senior Manager of Industry Affairs at BCC Software, Anita Pursley is entrenched in major industry events and associations, representing BCC Software and advocating on behalf of its customers. She has a breadth of industry experience and expertise, including serving for two years as the Industry Co-Chair of the Postmaster General’s Mailers’ Technical Advisory Committee (MTAC) and similar roles at some of the industry’s largest and most influential companies.

MailingSystemsTechnology.com | MARCH-APRIL 2019

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SOFTWARE BYTE

FULL-SERVICE DISCOUNTS INCREASE FOR MARKETING MAIL IN 2019 BY JEFF PEOPLES

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his may be one of the bestkept secrets of 2019. Why? The United States Postal Service (USPS) has been surprisingly low-key about the increase in Full-Service discounts for USPS Marketing Mail (formerly Standard Mail). This increase is a pretty big deal, and many mailers may not even be aware that it was implemented on January 27 of this year. If you’ve already implemented Full-Service for 100% of your mail, great — you are all set to take advantage of the increased discounts. If you have not yet implemented Full-Service, or have only done so for FirstClass Mail or some other portion of your mail, pay attention! The Full-Service discounts for USPS Marketing Mail increased to the same level as the discounts for First-Class Mail, effective January 27. That’s right — the Full-Service discount for USPS Marketing Mail went from $1.00 per thousand to $3.00 per thousand! Reasons to Implement Full-Service Aside from this increase in the discount, there are numerous other reasons for you to implement Full-Service if you have not already done so (or have only partially done so). First, you are currently missing out on Full-Service discounts. Before you scoff

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at what those discounts are, consider how much money you’ve already passed up by waiting even this long — and how that money could be used to offset some or all of any investment you need to make to get into Full-Service mailing. The new 2019 discounts are $3/1,000 pieces for First-Class Mail and for USPS Marketing Mail. The Full-Service discount for Periodicals Mail remains at $1/1,000 pieces. Perhaps still not huge for smaller mailers, but something is better than nothing, and you get better service with that discount, too. We already know the USPS is increasing prices, so this is one way of helping alleviate the pain of some of that increase, as well. You’ll also have access to better mail delivery service — a “secret” benefit mailers may not take into consideration when contemplating the move to Full-Service. One of the reasons the Intelligent Mail program was created was to be able to provide more accurate and timely ways to measure USPS delivery performance. As the old saying goes, what gets measured gets improved, and Full-Service mail is no different. Since this mail is inherently more visible — with unique barcodes on pieces, trays, and pallets — it’s easier for the Postal Service to see any processing or delivery trouble spots and fix them quickly. Full-Service

mail gets better service delivery, a benefit many mailers are ignoring. This reason alone may be worth completely converting all your mail to Full-Service. Third, knowledge is power. There is a vast amount of data in the Intelligent Mail barcodes, not to mention all the data in those Mail.dat files that you use for eDoc. Find out how you can capture and use all that data to automate or otherwise improve functions in your mailing operation. Big Data and those who use it will have the competitive advantage moving forward… don’t lose your clients to a smarter mailer. You’ll also have access to valuable data such as IMb Tracing data, Start-TheClock data, and Address Change Service (ACS) data, as this is currently provided for free as part of Intelligent Mail Full-Service. Granted, the data from the USPS is pretty raw in format, but there are plenty of service providers out there who can help you turn that raw data into usable information. And, if you’re a mail service provider (MSP), you may even be able to monetize the provision of this information to your clients. The USPS is offering six promotion/ incentive programs for 2019 that require Full-Service for participation. And some of these promotions are quite lucrative! The trick is you need to use at least some elements of Intelligent Mail Full-Service, such as Intelligent Mail barcodes on the mail pieces and submitting eDoc to PostalOne!, in order to be eligible for these promotions. Resources The USPS has published numerous documents for the January 2019 price change, all available on the PostalPro website. Because the USPS has been very quiet about this Full-Service discount increase for USPS Marketing Mail, you really have to look at the postage statements to see it. Check with your software providers to make sure your mailing software has been updated to take advantage of this higher discount for USPS Marketing Mail, and for the upcoming promotion programs offered in 2019.  Jeff Peoples is President, Founder, and CEO, Window Book, Inc. He has presented at industry events, GraphExpo, MAILCOM, the National Postal Forum, Postal Customer Council meetings, Harvard Business Expert Forum, and other industry and direct marketing events.


INKJET INFO one-year exemption at the end of January 2019. It should be noted that some US-based steel and aluminum manufacturers are counter-petitioning the government to keep companies impacted by the tariffs, as this has created a business growth situation for them.

TARIFFS IN THE PRINT INDUSTRY: 2019 BY COLIN MCMAHON

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he print industry is experiencing many changes, including the growing demand for mass customization and increased competition from an increasingly digital landscape. While the forecasts for digital printing are positive in many segments, and competition from other channels is a relevant concern in many segments of print, there is another factor that has the potential to influence profitability and revenue growth: tariffs. The United States is in the midst of complicated trade negotiations, resulting in a series of new tariffs on imported goods from specific countries. While the print industry should not be concerned with all these tariffs, one in particular has the potential to impact print service providers (PSPs) that use lithographic printing plates. Understanding the Aluminum and Steel Tariffs Tariffs are nothing new. As a part of a legislative act passed in 1962, the President of the United States is granted the power to impose trade restrictions on foreign powers under a defined set of circumstances. The current administration began levying tariffs in early 2018, with a 10% aluminum and 25% steel tariff. This tariff originally only applied to certain countries, like China,

but was expanded in March 2018 to include Canada, the EU, and Mexico.

The Evolving Nature of Tariffs Tariffs are a complicated external factor that can impact market stability. The lifespan is different for each tariff, and some have already ended. This includes a tariff on uncoated groundwood imported from Canada, which adversely impacted the US newsprint industry. Removal of the tariff was petitioned by a number of forces, including the Printing Industries of America (PIA), and overturned. Many of the forces behind the repeal of the Canadian tariff are currently pushing for the ease of the steel and aluminum trade restrictions but, to date, have been ineffective. Lisbeth Lyons, PIA’s Vice President, Government & External Affairs, has cautioned that the Canadian uncoated groundwood victory was an uncommon development, and that PSPs cannot reasonably expect the steel and aluminum tariffs to be resolved so quickly. Unfortunately, progress on trade negotiations between the US and the EU is slow. In October 2018, one EU official said that trade talks had not even reached the “prework” stage. Since then, no major milestones have been reported. Given this static nature, PSPs cannot expect a resolution to the steel and aluminum tariff situation in the near future — at least not as it relates to the EU. For now, the tariffs remain a shaky reality that is expected to impact the US print industry in 2019. 

The United States is in the midst of complicated trade negotiations, resulting in a series of new tariffs on imported goods from specific countries. This expansion began to impact pricing on print commodity items like printing plates, as well as hardware components used in building and repairing printing equipment. Many PSPs get their lithographic plates from the EU due to the quality of their materials and their ability to produce high-end printed products. As a result, companies like Agfa, Fujifilm, Southern Lithoplate, and Kodak are among those affected. They began passing along price increases during late 2018. These organizations are currently requesting exemption from the tariffs, with Kodak and Fujifilm being granted a

Colin McMahon is a Research Analyst at Keypoint Intelligence — InfoTrends. He primarily supports the Business Development Strategies and Customer Communications advisory services. He creates or refines much of InfoTrends’ content, including forecasts, industry analysis, and research reports. He also assists with the editing and formatting process for many deliverables. MailingSystemsTechnology.com | MARCH-APRIL 2019

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By Mike Porter

IS IT TIME FOR A NEW INSERTER?

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hen should you buy new inserting equipment? That’s an excellent question. Don’t automatically assume new inserters are the best solution for problems you might have in the mail center. New machines are sometimes the right strategy, but it’s not always the case. I recommend my clients look at all parts of their document production workflow before they decide on a major investment like new inserting gear. Problems affecting productivity and accuracy, two of the issues often cited by new equipment seekers, won’t necessarily go away when you install a new inserter. Even worse, a faster machine might mask the real problems and delay your efforts in correcting them. I’ve even seen cases where materials that ran perfectly on old equipment caused so many jams on faster devices the throughput actually decreased. That’s why a complete investigation should be the first step. First, Analyze Idle Time When a mailing operation is unhappy about inserting, the first thing I look for is excessive downtime. If machines aren’t running, rated speeds don’t matter. It’s important to track down exactly why the machines are not operating at capacity. Inserters can be idle more often than they should for a variety of reasons. Many of them have little to do with the equipment:  Burdensome balancing, logging, and reporting procedures  Waiting for materials

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 Operator duties like retrieving pallets from the warehouse or breaking down cardboard for recycling  Extra time between jobs spent smoking, chatting, or checking social media  Too many small jobs  Lack of space to stage materials efficiently, requiring long walks to replenish supplies  Lots of product variation among jobs, demanding constant machine adjustments  Certain jobs run slow or cause excessive jams If any of these conditions are present, it pays to fix them before going on an inserting machine shopping tour. Once you have optimized the operation, the answer to the new equipment question will then be obvious. Ideas for Workflow Improvement Reorganizing jobs or combining several small jobs can cut time spent on changeovers, stock movement, and end-of-job reconciliation. Envelope or insert design modifications can eliminate excessive jams and allow jobs to run with fewer operator interventions. Here are a few other ideas that can make inserting more productive:  Standardize address block locations on the documents and switch to a common outbound envelope  Give warehouse staff access to job scheduling data so they can stage materials before they are needed  Remove end-of-job reconciliation duties from machine operator tasks

 Assign empty carton removal and recycling to a roaming employee that services all inserting stations  Switch from inserts to onserts, allowing removal of some insert feeders and shortening the document travel distance on the machines If improvements like these boost productivity enough, it may be possible to postpone equipment upgrades. What if You Can’t Fix the Workflow? Operations can’t always correct the underlying conditions causing poor productivity or low quality. Some job attributes may be out of their control. New job requirements or volume increases may exceed the abilities of current inserting equipment. The only way to satisfy the needs of an important customer might be installing an inserter better suited for the work performed. New requirements are often the driving force behind a quest for upgraded inserting equipment. Perhaps new jobs, such as those with variable page counts or sensitive documents like hospital bills, make document integrity and tracking a must-have. Operations can bolt on such capabilities. But if other factors are at play, purchasing a new inserter with built-in integrity like double-feed detectors and integrated cameras to track documents might be a better choice. If high page-count jobs are coming in, a new machine that operators can quickly change over to 6x9 envelopes or flats, besides #10


envelopes, could be the right answer. If space is an issue, and there’s no room for a separate large-envelope machine, a combo-style solution might be the only choice. Lately, many mail centers have considered upgrading inserters after changing to fast-running inkjet printing platforms. Old machines that aren’t swift enough to keep up with the new printers can be a bottleneck. Here are some good reasons operations might invest in new inserting equipment:  Add automated changeover to lessen inter-job idle time  Integrate error detection and document integrity to automate end-of-job reconciliation  Satisfy customer demands for visibility with robust reporting  Save on space, maintenance, and labor by running folded mail and flats on the same machine  Match machine speeds and capabilities to materials and service-level agreement (SLA) requirements  Lessen downtime and service costs caused by excessive breakdowns  Upgrade inserters to keep up with faster inkjet printing speeds

Every Situation Is Different I’ve yet to visit a mailing operation that didn’t have something unique about it. There’s no standard answer to whether fixing the workflow, refurbishing old equipment, or replacing the inserters is the right response to a perceived inserting issue. It is tempting to solve inserting concerns by tossing out the old gear and installing the latest and greatest machines. Who doesn’t like to work with the best equipment available? That new equipment is fantastic. It makes the old unintelligent swing arm inserters seem quaint. But guess what? Many of those old machines are still generating mail every single day. If maintenance and repairs are under control or downtime is manageable, maybe they don’t need replacing. If an operation has upgraded their legacy equip-

ment by adding cameras, new feeders, or inline printers, the machines may still adequately perform the tasks required of them. When the workflows have been optimized and the materials fine-tuned, and inserting equipment still isn’t meeting customer requirements, then it is time to talk to vendor salespeople. Research the various machines available and compare the investments to your budget. Ask questions. Get referrals. Ship material to the factory for testing. When you’ve evaluated the choices and made your decision, bring in the new gear. Mike Porter at Print/Mail Consultants helps his clients meet the challenges they encounter in document operations. Follow @PMCmike on Twitter, send a connection request on LinkedIn, or contact Mike directly at mporter@ printmailconsultants.com.

Looking for new equipment? Turn the page to check out a number of potential solution partners in the print-mail industry.

MailingSystemsTechnology.com | MARCH-APRIL 2019

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 ARE YOU READY TO BUY NEW PRINT-MAIL EQUIPMENT? Improve your workflow, quality, and production with the following solutions. 14

JANUARY-FEBRUARY MARCH-APRIL 2019 | MailingSystemsTechnology.com 2019 | MailingSystemsTechnology.com

When reading Mike Porter’s article on the previous page, were you nodding along, thinking, “Yes, yes, I’ve tried all those fixes, but it’s clear that it’s simply time to upgrade our equipment”? If so, then please check out the solution providers on the following pages. These names are backed by a proven commitment to their customers and the industry, so if one of them seems like a good fit, reach out and start the conversation.


CLEAR IMAGE TECHNOLOGIES

Clear Image Technologies is a company focused on affordable, reliable camera solutions for the direct mail industry. We understand that each mailer’s needs are different and that one large, complex system is more than many companies need. Our goal is to provide user-friendly, scalable, camera alternatives. All of our products are modular. In 2007, seeing the need for an affordable alternative to hand checking or hand inserting match mailings, we developed the Picture Perfect Match System. This visual match system, retrofitted to a customer’s existing inserter, displays images of the mail components on a monitor and allows the operator to visually inspect to ensure match integrity. This provided a low cost, semi-automated system to companies with medium-volume match mailings. Upgrades include:  Optical character recognition – Read Alpha/Numeric characters.  Barcode recognition – Read Data Matrix, QR, IMB and a variety of 1D barcodes.  Image Capture – Capture an image of each piece as a .jpg file.  Read and Print. Using our reading technology, inc.jet’s printing software and HP print technology, we can insert, match and print in one pass. The OCR and barcode reading can be used for mail matching, sequence checking, lot number verification, end of process verification. These upgrades will stop the machine and provide a report at the end of the job. The Picture Perfect Match System has been installed on Bell and Howell, Inscerco, some Flowmasters, some Buhrs inserters and HP Indigo printers. www.clearimagetechnologies.com

EAM-MOSCA CORPORATION

Why Choose Mosca Strapping Systems? EAM-Mosca Corporation provides high-performance strapping system solutions to a number of industries, including graphic arts, mailing, and fulfillment. Mosca combines innovative equipment with strapping materials and customer support programs that help customers meet their performance and productivity goals. Headquartered in Pennsylvania, the company offers many of its strapping systems for the

mailing industry through full-service distributors and direct sales. Ideal for low-volume applications, the ROM-Fusion, Mosca’s entry-level walk-up bundler features a thermostatically controlled heat-weld sealing system and Mosca’s DC brushless direct drive technology. It offers speed (50 cycles/minute) and simplicity for cost-conscious users. The Fusion has been proven in many demanding applications and features many of the same components and features of Mosca’s more advanced offerings. Mosca’s ROMP-6B-Sonixs, with its proprietary ultrasonic sealer proven to reduce noise, wear, lubrication, and maintenance requirements, has been used successfully by the USPS and private mailing houses. This high-speed (up to 40 tubs/minute), automatic bundler with belt conveyor is ideal for tubs in busy facilities. Also available with heat sealer. The USP-2/Traymaster straps automatically at speeds of up to 30 trays per minute, without tray-turning or transfer accessories. The system has an excellent reputation while operating in extremely high-cycle, high-speed environments. 400+ installations in mailing rooms and USPS facilities with many units regularly strapping over one million trays annually. Please contact us about productivity enhancing systems for your operation. Check out our full range of systems for mail and package processing at www. eammosca.com or call 1.800.456.3420. Email: info@eammosca.com.

ENGINEERING INNOVATION, INC.

Since 2006, Engineering Innovation, Inc. (Eii) has established itself as a leader in the development of automated equipment for pre-sort mailing applications inside the likes of commercial mail houses and parcel-handling businesses. Eii offers manifesting solutions for letters, flats, and parcels. Eii has acquired a unique expertise in postal regulations, along with a depth of experience in site-specific process evaluation to optimize each client’s mail throughput and destination accuracy. Eii is best known as the creator of the EZ-Flats™ System that simplifies presorting USPS First Class Flats for “bundle-based” discounts. Using the patented Dynamic Sort™ Mail Sorting Process, the EZ-Flats™ Premium can significantly reduce the time and cost associated with sorting and pro-

cessing flats. Engineering Innovation has also developed solutions that meet the USPS requirements for IMpb (Intelligent Mail Package Barcode) and handle key parcel related mail classes, including both “single-piece” and presorted. Eii equipment solutions also include: The Champ™ Mail Processor for generating postal savings on a variety of mail classes; LightSort Sort-to-Light, enables efficient sorting by eliminating manual tasks; and the EZ-WorkDesk™ and Chameleon™ Parcel Sortation platforms for high speed processing of parcels for induction into both shipping and postal distribution networks. www.eii-online.com

FLUENCE AUTOMATION

Fluence Automation was formed in 2017 and is the former Sorting and Parcels division of Bell and Howell. In 2018, Fluence acquired POST-IS, a parcels automation company. Over the last 30+ years, the people and products that are now part of Fluence have earned a strong position in the commercial sorting segment, and delivered numerous systems for various entities, including the USPS®, the US Government, other national posts, mailing service providers (MSPs), various parcels automation entities, and many Fortune 500 companies in various segments. We have a broad range of specialized technologies to address challenges in various applications, ranging from outbound and inbound mail and parcels automation, high performance imaging and OCR, and high-speed linerless labeling solutions. We pioneered the use of multi-line optical character recognition (MLOCR) technology in high-speed mail sorting and this has evolved over the years to our current SABRE imaging platform. Our Criterion Apex and Elevate mail sorters are well known for reliable high-performance sorting. Our NetSort software handles a wide range of mail/ parcels classes. Our parcels systems (ParcelMgr systems, Raptor labeler, and Small Parcel Sorter) offer high-performance imaging with optical character recognition (OCR), labelling, conveying and sorting, backed by one of the best service teams in the industry. At Fluence, we look forward to continuing to serve our long-term mail sorting customers in the best manner possible, while advancing automation solutions in parcels and Vote by Mail, and growing our footprint in software and services. www.fluenceautomation.com MailingSystemsTechnology.com | MARCH-APRIL 2019

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GRAPH-TECH USA

Graph-Tech USA (GTUS®) is a privately-owned printer and system controller technology company based in Fort Pierce Florida. GTUS® manufactures cutting edge products like our eZ-Inkjet industrial printer (high-resolution 600dpi native) UV inkjet and SuperTracker tracking and inkjet controller. These products are central to the system solutions that we have developed for the print industry. Over the past 17 years, GTUS® has developed and built systems that are cutting edge, that utilize the best technology available for many different applications. We have developed systems for high-speed mail addressing – MailRunner; systems for card personalization with our TotalMag magnetic encoding, labeling, high-res printing, camera verification, carrier and card affixing – RoadRunner; industrial printers from 2 to over 30 inches for web presses and lottery applications – eZ-Inkjet and Raptor; Open contactless dual interface RFID encoding systems for encoding and verification of RFID/NFC/ EMV – EMVRunner. GTUS® prides itself on the fact that we have developed all of these systems inhouse and we own all our technology. For this reason, we are able to build systems that are very powerful yet economical, and we are completely dedicated to the success of our customers and their satisfaction with our solutions and service. GTUS® has developed custom systems for printing on almost every imaginable substrate, including plastic and paper cards, pharmaceutical packaging, lottery tickets, bingo sheets, cold foil printing, addressing for mailing, license plates, product labels, tickets, checks and even printing on the edge of computer enclosures and wood panel substrates. For more information please visit www. graphtech.us or email sales@graphtech.us or give us a call at 772.569.0066. Imagine the Possibilities.

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KERN

In the ever-changing mailing fulfillment industry, there have been significant changes over the years, specifically the last decade. The industry landscape has reshaped and required growth in new technologies as well as new product 16

MARCH-APRIL 2019 | MailingSystemsTechnology.com

lines. Amidst these changes, there has remained a constant, and that is Kern. While other vendors may see the industry as shrinking and feel the need to reallocate corporate dollars, or even sell, Kern has decided to do the opposite and invest more, pushing them to be the industry leader in speed, versatility, quality, and much more. Kern’s core competency has been, and will continue to be, production mail. But Kern has not stopped there, with rapid growth in production card systems, with the introduction of new equipment in both the smart terminal and packaging product lines, and with expanding software products to reach any company’s technology needs. For over 70 years, Kern has been proud of the Swiss-made precision put into every module. This has helped make the K3600 High Speed Inserting System the fastest in the industry at 27,000 pieces per hour. This has also helped the K1600 Compact Multi-Format Inserting System reach the fastest changeovers from 6x9 to flats over the competition. And this Swiss precision and accuracy, coupled with the unmatched excellence of their service support, has allowed Kern to offer a 10-year guarantee of production grade output. Whenever any company is looking to advance their mail center, the question shouldn’t be why Kern, the question should be, why look anywhere else? www.kerncan.com

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KIRK-RUDY, INC.

Since 1967, Kirk-Rudy has manufactured innovative solutions for the mailing, printing, and packaging industries. From their state of the art 100,000 sq. ft. factory just north of Atlanta, GA, a complete product line of feeders, transport bases, conveyors, inkjet printers, inserters, labelers, tabbers, sorting, stacking, tip-on, pickn-place, folders, bump turns, drying and camera vision systems are engineered and produced with the highest standards of quality and value. Modular in design, all of Kirk-Rudy’s equipment can be combined to form complete system solutions from end to end. Their team of mechanical engineers can custom configure any machine to exact specifications providing equipment that will produce the greatest ROI.

Harry Kirk’s principle of “Build a better machine, and it will sell itself” has been Kirk-Rudy’s mission since day one. A highly experienced and dedicated team work together every day designing and manufacturing the highest quality mailing and printing equipment used by the world’s top companies. All of Kirk-Rudy’s equipment is sold through a world-wide network of authorized dealers who have been factory trained on sales and service and fully supported by the factory. With Kirk-Rudy’s customer satisfaction guarantee, all the guesswork is removed from choosing the right equipment. Ask anyone who owns their equipment and they will tell you, “Nothing is built like a Kirk-Rudy.” www.kirkrudy.com

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NPI

NPI… Efficiency through Innovation. It is this commitment that has made NPI a prominent figure in the mail and parcel automation industry since 1977. NPI dominates in the field with leading-edge sorter technology, which is shown in the products they offer to their customers. NPI’s “Customer First” policy has resulted in sorter installations throughout the world. Each year, NPI continues to expand its visibility in the market with progressive, efficiently designed sorters. Headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas, they manufacture high-quality, affordable sorters that are equipped with the most current technology. NPI’s diverse customer base includes post offices to print shops, banks to insurance companies. Whatever the application, letters, flats, parcels, incoming or outgoing, NPI is able to offer you a solution. Please visit our website at www.npisorters.com or email michelle@npisorters.com. You can also give us a call at 214.634.2288.

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OKI DATA

OKI’s next-generation ProColor™ Digital Envelope Print Systems provide the capability to go beyond traditional, four-color printing by integrating white toner technology that delivers cost-effective, color-rich text and graphics for envelopes of any size. With OKI’s Digital Envelope Print Systems, you’re able to print short runs


efficiently and economically. Print any size envelope up to 13” wide without sacrificing quality or color — equal to what you’d get with the more expensive, cumbersome offset printing presses — but for much less. OKI’s ProColor™ Digital Envelope Print Systems can differentiate and define your business by offering: the opportunity to accommodate short runs, without incurring additional set-up costs and printing expense; the ability to offer variable data printing for personalization and customization at rated engine speed; simplified job set-up and increased production levels; incredibly sharp text and rich, saturated press-like colors; the ability to handle a wide range of envelope sizes (A2 to 13” x 15”); the ability to support a broad range of media sizes (3” x 5” cards up to 52” banners); support of up to 360gsm with ease and simplicity; a straight-through paper path for increased performance and production; and the optional Fiery® C9 expands color management and supports VDP formats. OKI’s ProColor™ Digital Envelope Print Systems will transcend your envelope printing experience through industry-best white toner technology, versatile print applications, easy-to-use equipment, efficient processes and color-rich, unique output. Trust OKI’s line of ProColor™ Digital Envelope Print Systems top-of-the-line LED envelope printing solutions to open new revenue opportunities for your business. www.oki.com/us

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OPEX

OPEX® Corporation started in the mailroom, so why look any further when it comes to implementing your digital mailroom solution? The Forgotten Cost of Document Capture The information in your mail is critical to your business. In most mail centers, incoming mail must be sorted manually, contents removed from sealed envelopes and prepped before the scanning can start. With a Falcon® scanning workstation, a single operator can scan your mail’s contents at the earliest point of entry, providing instant access to the most critical information for your business. Make Your Mail Center More Efficient Minimizing multiple sorts, prep, paper handling, and other manual tasks improves efficiency and also results in superior integ-

rity, accountability, and overall productivity. Mail Matrix® redefines the capabilities, functionality, and performance of the mail center. With optional printer/labeler, Mail Matrix & OPEX Tracker™ turns any envelope into an accountable and trackable mail piece. Falcon® STS™ Is Leading The Digital Mail Revolution The STS allows mail centers to scan mail, directly apply barcodes, and deliver images to end users. The end user decides what should be done with each item — i.e., scan and deliver electronically, hold for pick-up, or destroy. Those mail pieces are then sorted on STS per specific instructions from the end user. Mail that is approved by the end user to be opened and scanned can quickly and easily be processed on the Falcon STS with Rapid Extraction Desk and delivered electronically. It’s the mail they need. The way they want it. Delivered wherever they are. www.opex.com

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TRITEK TECHNOLOGIES

For 35 years, Jim Malatesta has recognized that no two mail rooms are the same. The president and owner of Tritek Technologies made it his company’s mission to provide custom built mailing equipment as well as unparalleled software to each one of his customers. No matter the mailroom’s available space, the types or sizes or thicknesses of mail, the desired applications for processing, all of Tritek’s mail processing equipment is perfectly designed and installed with the customers’ needs the number one priority. Postcards, letters, flats, magazines, polywrapped pieces, and parcels are seamlessly processed on Tritek equipment in companies around the world. Tritek is constantly developing new technology that solves challenging issues in mail processing. The ability to process every type of mail piece using Tritek’s proprietary products and software is key to customers’ success by having accountability and drastically improving mail operations’ bottom lines. Early this year, Tritek proudly introduced the OASIS, a revolutionary mail sorter and document imaging product that automatically processes mail pieces as well as opens and scans mailed documents — on the same machine, simultaneously. “I am confident that 2019 will be an excit-

ing 35th anniversary year for Tritek and our customers,” said Mr. Malatesta. “We are committed to continue developing leading-edge, innovative technology and practices that enhance our customers’ mail processing applications.” www.tritektech.com

FEATURED PRINT-MAIL EQUIPMENT COMPANIES CLEAR IMAGE TECHNOLOGIES www.clearimagetechnologies.com EAM-MOSCA CORPORATION www.eammosca.com ENGINEERING INNOVATION, INC. www.eii-online.com FLUENCE AUTOMATION www.fluenceautomation.com GRAPH-TECH USA www.graphtech.us KERN www.kerncan.com KIRK-RUDY, INC. www.kirkrudy.com NPI

www.npisorters.com

OKI DATA www.oki.com/us OPEX www.opex.com TRITEK TECHNOLOGIES www.tritektech.com

MailingSystemsTechnology.com | MARCH-APRIL 2019

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FINDING GOLD IN YOUR DATA By Gary A. Seitz

A look at why a data hygiene program is paramount to the success of your mail operation.

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our data contains nuggets of gold; the important part is knowing how to look for it, find it, and use it. Your data may be able to reveal critical business insights, such as how to cut costs and reduce expenses, find new customers, increase revenue, increase customer retention, or determine the lifetime value of each customer. These insights are highly valuable when planning the marketing of products and services. Over 95% of executives believe data is integral to business strategy — unfortunately, they also believe that 33% or more of their customer and prospect data is inaccurate. This undermines a business’s ability to provide excellent customer service and expand their sales and marketing efforts. To reach customers and prospects, accurate contact data is essential, from name and address to phone and email. When contact data is badly managed, marketing programs are wasted, results are poor, customer relationships are damaged, and it reflects badly on the image of your company. Many organizations are finally understanding and addressing this need (pardon our pun). Data quality is now top of mind,

and marketers are focusing on contact management. The Cause Sound business practices require executives to find the root cause of the issue. In most cases, data quality issues begin with human error. Despite advances in automation, data is still manually typed into computers, user interfaces, and web applications every day. Sometimes it’s entered internally by sales or customer service, and other times directly from your customer. Whatever the case, these inaccuracies are from people who simply make a mistake — they mistype or misspell. When on the phone, these errors may even come from a misunderstanding of key words. Other times, transposed characters and digits (especially in a house number or ZIP Code) can be entered incorrectly; something like a number or address component is left out; or the right value is entered, but in the wrong space. Some data is intentionally entered incorrectly. How often do people give incomplete or inaccurate information to safeguard their privacy, or simply to get something free? You’d be surprised how often that theme


park character from Orlando appears in web-based requests and forms. The Solutions Most companies that have enjoyed an increase in sales and profits manage their data quality strategy centrally, by a single director. We call them a “data steward”. These data stewards are empowered to oversee the systems and standards for data collection — from providing input on the layout and design of the entry forms to the format of the captured data. They play an integral role in the selection and use of software tools. They also take the lead in the development and governance of rules and standards, and provide training to all internal teams. (We endorse the use of USPS Pub. 28 for address collection and input standards.) Finally, they often work with outside experts such as mail service providers (MSPs) who support your address data quality with software and solutions tailored to your application. Impacting Quality Prior to Mailing There are a multitude of sources to assist your data quality after collection, as well as prior to using it, to market your products

and services to customers and prospects. It can come from software you can acquire or assistance from industry experts. The process starts with properly mapping and converting data to a standard. If you are utilizing an MSP, it’s important that whether you provide a single source file or multiple files from various departments (accounting, CRM, sales, rented lists, etc.), all information is consolidated into a common format that contains all of the contact data necessary for your marketing campaign: company name, contact name, title, multiple address lines (with primary and secondary addresses), ZIP Code, email address, and phone. The USPS CASS and DPV tools are used to validate each address down to the house number when assigning a ZIP+4, while also standardizing all of your address elements to USPS standards (i.e., correcting street name formats and spelling). If a ZIP+4 Code can’t be assigned, then something is wrong with your address, and it probably shouldn’t be mailed. SuiteLink and Apartment Append are database tools that enhance your addresses to correct or append key secondary information to your addresses. These ensure improved delivery and better matching during NCOA and merge/purge processing. NCOA is a file of individuals, families, and business that have recently moved. The USPS requires that you use a Move Update tool within 95 days of your mailing, and the most common of these is NCOA. While this can be a quarterly process for database hygiene, we recommend it prior to every mail marketing campaign. More importantly, ask your MSP for a file of match movers, and be sure to apply these as an update to your database. Many businesses fail to complete this critical process. Proprietary COA databases also enhance your databases. These are change-of-

address files compiled from catalogers, magazines, and financial institutions that increase the level of COA match by two to five percent beyond NCOA. Merge/purge is a process to identify duplicates within your database, either by individual name or by family last name, depending on the type of mailing. Advanced matching logic identifies nicknames (such as William and Bill) and names with dual addresses (such as someone with both a P.O. Box and a conventional address), which prevents wasted expense and tarnishing your image by sending multiples to the same person. While we’re on the topic of your reputation as a mailer, sending mail to someone who is recently deceased is painful for the actual receiver. Sending to someone long deceased is detrimental to your reputation. Be a compassionate mailer! We also recommend periodic use of deceased coding to remove these records from your marketing database. Conclusion There will still be remaining data quality issues — people move and don’t tell the USPS, they change jobs, and you never truly can fix the fact that people will still continue to make mistakes entering data. A data quality initiative takes time and diligence — but the payoff can be as good as gold. Start by assigning a data steward, seek expertise from fellow industry experts, and get going. While these tools aren’t the end-all, be-all to impacting your data quality, they’ll add much more value to your business intelligence.  Gary A Seitz is Vice President of C.TRAC Direct in Cleveland, OH and has been a frequent presenter on UAA mail at the NPF and PCCs around the country for more than 35 years. Gary can be reached at GSeitz@ ctracdirect.com or by calling 216.251.2500 x 4985. MailingSystemsTechnology.com | MARCH-APRIL 2019

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TIME TO REEXAMINE YOUR PRESORT AGREEMENT

There are numerous benefits to utilizing a presort provider, and now, with the rate changes that took place in January, the perks are even greater. By Adam Lewenberg

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he start of the year is always a good time to evaluate your current suppliers and ensure you have the best agreements, terms, and services at the lowest prices. One area that often goes unchecked is the evaluation of your presort services. This is especially important now, since as of January 27, 2019, the letter savings increased by $.025 per piece, making these services significantly more valuable. How Do These Services Work? These providers have sorters that are similar to what the USPS uses in their facilities. These sorters read the address on the mail 20

MARCH-APRIL 2019 | MailingSystemsTechnology.com

piece and spray the barcode on the bottom right. They can then sort the mail into bins depending on where the mail piece is going throughout the country. Presort providers work on a revenue split arrangement with the customer and the USPS. Here is the most common: } First-Class Mail single-piece postage rate $.50 } Rate the customer meters the mail $.459 ($.041 savings) The presort service sorts the mail as deep as they can into the postal system. Hopefully, most will be to the highest sort levels the USPS offers (automated area distribution center — AADC — and five-

digit) at rates of $.383-.459 (Figure 1), and the USPS pays them the difference in a value-added rebate (VAR). This payment by the USPS covers their transportation, operations, and profit. Higher-volume mailers can typically get a larger percentage of the savings as shown in Figure 1. Items that determine your rate are mail volumes, frequency of mailings, density of sent items, machine read rates, and how competitive your local market is with other presort providers. These services have become especially important as the USPS allows all presorted mail up to 3.5 ounces to go at the oneounce rate. This means the three-ounce


invoice you were paying $.80 to mail could be as low as $.412 with a presort service! Do I Have the Best Rates? The main reason anyone uses a presort service is to get better postage rates. There might be some other added value in terms of mail pickup, but these services are in place primarily to save you money on postage. There was just a USPS rate change that should make these presort services significantly more valuable. When you look at Figure 1, you can see that First-Class Mail single-piece metered letters had a $.03 increase, but the corresponding presort rates only increased by $.001-.005. This is $.025-.029 per piece in additional added presort value! The big question is, how is your presort service going to share these savings with you? If you are seeing presort rates increase by more than $.005 per piece, your presort service is making a higher revenue per piece from your mail.

When presort services speak about their value, they will discuss it from the perspective of the savings from the oneounce single-piece letter rate of $.50. The real number to consider is, what is the revenue they are making on a per-piece basis for your mail? This is derived from how much of their mail can be sorted down to the five-digit and AADC rates of $.383-.412 vs. the final rate you are being invoiced. To calculate the rate you are paying, I recommend that you look at a month’s worth of invoices and do the following calculation below. The goal is to get to the rate you are paying for a single letter processed by the presort service.  Metered mail rate – What do you pay for a one-ounce piece of mail going to the presort service?  +/- fee or refund per piece provided by the presort service.  + average additional fee charged per piece. You need to look at any miscellaneous fees tied to the piece (reject fees,

THE BIG QUESTION IS, HOW IS YOUR PRESORT SERVICE GOING TO SHARE THESE SAVINGS WITH YOU? IF YOU ARE SEEING PRESORT RATES INCREASE BY MORE THAN $.005 PER PIECE, YOUR PRESORT SERVICE IS MAKING A HIGHER REVENUE PER PIECE FROM YOUR MAIL.

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Figure 2

processing fees, pickup fees, etc.) and divide them by the total monthly pieces to get an average piece rate. This rate needs to be compared to the single-piece rate of $.50 to quantify your savings using the presort service. It also needs to be compared to the rate the presort service is paying for your mail described above. This is now a baseline to validate if you are maximizing your value with the program and to use to potentially negotiate new rates. Do I Have the Best Service Levels? There are other areas that need to be evaluated around your presort service that can make a big impact in your mail.  Pickup Time – Do we have the best pickup time? Most companies want to schedule for 4-5:00 pm because that is when the mail is complete. Can they accommodate this schedule, or will it need to be earlier based on when their truck is in your area?  Day Delay – Many presort services will require that you date the mail for the next day because they are going to process it that evening and deposit it into the mail in the morning. Mail moving out of the area can make up some of this time based on it being barcoded and sorted, but this does delay local mail. If they are processing mail the same day, what time is it entering the postal system? Some presort services have drop-off times late the following morning that are still considered same-day mail. This can become an issue if this mail is being delayed due to the late drop-offs.  Address Quality Issues – Can the presort provider give you any data on mail that gets changed through their FASTForward system so you can clean up your addresses for the future?  MPTQM Certifications – The best run presort services will have this level of certification that shows they meet the 22

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highest standards in processing and security.  Security Procedures – Since they will be handling your mail, you need to make sure it is processed in a secure environment. As an example, this mail may have financial and medical information that could be harmful if exposed.

the mail is going. In exchange, the USPS offers additional discounts shown in Figure 2 that the presort service will share in for doing the work. The savings on these entry discounts have changed with the 2019 rate change and are better for flats but worse for letters, as you can see from Figure 2.

What Other Classes of Mail Can Be Processed? One of the ways to maximize the value of your presort service is to have different classes of mail processed vs. only First-Class Mail letters. Here are the most common:  First-Class Mail Flats – Many presort services will have flat sorting machines and can process non-handwritten pieces as large as seven to 12 ounces. The client savings and presort service profit is much greater for flats, and, typically, they can have lower thresholds for pickup. It is best to combine your letter and flat volumes when negotiating rates and determining eligibility. It is important to note that the USPS does not offer a VAR for flats like they do for letters. This means that you will need to meter your mail at the lower rates (three- and fivedigit) and the presort service will send you an invoice for the difference of your negotiated rate minus the metered price.  Marketing Mail – This is the fastest growth area in this space because Marketing Mail volumes are remaining constant, whereas First-Class Mail is declining. The model is different because the rate is not based on the sort levels, but on destination entry discounts earned by moving mail closer to its final destination. Most Marketing Mail given to presort services will already be barcoded and trayed by the client. All the presort service is doing is getting it to the right Destination Network Distribution Center (DNDC) or Destination Sectional Center Facility (DSCF) where

What Are Additional Ways to Save Money?  Consider Barcoding Yourself – If you do consistent mailings, you may want to barcode these in-house and not share the savings. Look at the cost of staff, software, hardware, and transportation to make the right decision.  Look at Your Outsourced Mailings – Many organizations will outsource their largest mailings to third parties to print and prepare. In many cases, these mail services will contract directly with a presort service for your mail. They may be marking up the presort rates and making a profit off the postage. You could have your own contract with this presort service that your mail house will use, providing better rates and visibility.  Consider Your National Footprint – You may be using presort providers throughout the US. There may be ways to leverage this volume to either move mail to where you get the best rates or to negotiate national agreements with your presort providers.  Outside Expertise – Third-party consultants may be able to help you get better rates because they can bring their industry expertise in to assist you in negotiating your new agreements. Not only can they help you analyze the items above, but they can develop a strategy to give you greater leverage with new contracts. They can then organize a bid with a defined scope that makes the spends and fees more visible and puts you in more control to make the best future financial agreement.


Figure 1

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Conclusion With the January 27, 2019 rate increase, presort providers became $.025 per piece more valuable to your organization, and this could be the best time to evaluate that you have the best services in place for the future. The key is to understand how these

providers work to optimize your savings and service levels.  Adam Lewenberg, CMDSS, MDC, President of Postal Advocate Inc., runs the largest mail audit and recovery ďŹ rm in the United States and Canada. They manage the biggest mail equipment eet in the world and their

mission is to help organizations with multiple locations reduce mail-related expenses, recover lost postage funds, and simplify visibility and oversight. Since 2013, they have helped their clients save an average of 60% and over $45 million on equipment, presort, avoidable fees, and lost postage. He can be reached at 617.372.6853 or adam.lewenberg@postaladvocate.com

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2018 CANADIAN MAIL UPDATES By Kristi Kanitz

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ast year was a rather unwelcome roller coaster for mailers to the Canadian market. Canada Post saw great momentum in the first half of the year in marketing mail as well as parcels. The new oversize Neighbourhood Mail product saw excellent results, and the Postal Code Targeting product gained momentum with marketers. This momentum occurred even with the uncertainty among mailers as Canada Post was in negotiations with all its various unions. The biggest negotiations involved the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW), who represent the urban as well as rural/suburban bargaining units. Even with the mounting tensions around negotiations, mail continued to move as normal. Mail movement changed in mid-October when CUPW issued a strike notice. Thus began a series of rotating strikes across Canada. These disruptions eventually took their toll, such as when Canada Post’s largest plant was hit with a two-day shutdown. Mail and parcel delivery ground to a halt. Canada Post had so much product waiting in trailers that it resorted to renting refrigerated trucks to handle the overload. Parking lots at Canada Post were packed with full trailers, and international posts were forced to hold inbound parcels in the busy pre-holiday season. As the economic impact grew and Black Friday purchases looked like they might be delayed until after the holidays, the Canadian government stepped in with back-

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to-work legislation. Five weeks of rotating strikes had all but crippled the postal system and done tremendous economic damage to businesses. With emergency legislation in place, Canada Post was able to get the system back up and running in a remarkably short period of time. Negotiations have gone to arbitration, and the industry is breathing a sigh of relief. Canada Post’s job now is to restore industry and consumer confidence in its mail and parcel delivery. In 2017, Interbrand listed Canada Post as one of Canada’s top 150 most iconic brands. Additionally, Canada Post was 13th on Statistica’s Most Influential Brands in Canada in 2017 — right between the Weather Network and the CBC, Canada’s national broadcaster. Here is hoping 2018 didn’t drop them off the list completely! What’s Happening in the New Year? Pricing and product changes took place in January of 2019, and it is clear that Canada Post is putting their efforts into making mail more attractive to marketers. The biggest change is the drop in minimum volumes for machineable mail for Personalized Mail, Postal Code Targeting, and Publications Mail. The minimum is now set at 100 pieces, down from 400, which is excellent news for mailers. Although that seems a very small amount compared to American job sizes, a federal postal review showed that 94% of Canadians still believe mail is important, and more than 87% open mail

addressed to them. Mail remains essential to commerce in this vast country, including acquisition, fulfillment, and billing. Neighbourhood Mail is a staple in Canadian mailboxes. These are advertising pieces with no name or address; mailers select carrier walks, and pieces are delivered to every address within that walk. From real estate agents soliciting listings to flyers for the nearby grocery store, Neighbourhood Mail is an ideal way to drive business to the largest number of possible customers with the least cost. The addition of the oversize class of Neighbourhood Mail gives marketers even more design space to make the piece pop in the mailbox, and results from 2018 show it has been welcomed by the industry. As an added bonus in 2019, Canada Post is rolling out upgrades to its electronic shipping tools for Neighbourhood Mail. It will have a simplified user interface, fewer data import steps, and better data import handling. The new kid on the block, Postal Code Targeting, has undergone even more changes in 2018 in response to input from the industry. Specifications have changed, and pilots have tested additional features. A hybrid of Neighbourhood Mail (one to many) and Personalized Mail (one to one), Postal Code Targeting is positioned as a uniquely Canadian acquisition tool. Mailers can provide target postal codes, such as their best customer addresses, and Canada Post will provide data back for all points of call within those postal codes.


The data produces a 2D barcode, which is printed on a machineable piece, and the original addresses can be suppressed from the mailing. More tweaks to the product are promised, and the ROI is proving the product’s value as it slowly becomes more known in the direct mail space. And finally: catalogues. Yes, we spell it with a few extra letters, but they are still the same excellent acquisition vehicle as in the US. Although not quite as popular in Canada as they are south of the border, research from Canada Post and others shows that 33% of Canadians make a purchase after receiving a catalogue, either online, in a store, or by telephone. Shoppers spend 109% more on a website after looking at a catalogue received in the mail. In addition to that, about 40% of Canadians keep their catalogues for a minimum of one month. Catalogues drive website visits (25% of recipients) and visits to brick and mortar locations (33% of recipients). This includes millennials, not just the generations that grew up with the Sears Wish Book. Canadian Tire’s Wow Guide has brought new life to catalogues, and other marketers are quickly picking up the trend.

In a world of quickly moving communication, catalogues are an opportunity for consumers to do their window shopping in the comfort of their own home without peering at the screen of a smartphone or having to boot up a computer. A greater emphasis on design and images is attracting the attention of millennials, which opens a new audience for catalogue marketers. Canada Post has recognized the value of catalogues and has made changes over the past two years to make them simpler and less costly to mail. The first change, which was introduced a couple of years ago, is that catalogues can be co-packaged with Publications Mail (periodicals) for the incremental weight only. Previously, there was a separate charge to include catalogues with publications. This has reduced costs to both publishers and catalogue mailers, adding value to both. The second change is to Canada Post’s mini-catalogue acquisition product, which was launched in 2015. With the 2019 pricing updates, Canada Post is taking industry advice and making mini-catalogues a special pricing category, below that of

standard Personalized Mail. With their value as an acquisition tool, this will make mini-catalogues even more economical for mailers to strengthen their brand and engage directly with customers. So please accept our very Canadian “sorry” for the rough ride in 2018. We promise mail will continue to be the valued and valuable marketing product enjoyed by Canadians. Mail is still a crucial element in any marketing campaign to Canadian consumers, and it is great to see Canada Post working to simplify the system and add value to new and existing products. With US$19 billion in Canadian e-commerce purchases, it is definitely worth taking a look north of the border.  Kristi Kanitz is the General Manager of Flagship Software Ltd. and the Chair of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Major Mail Users (NAMMU), the Canadian mailing industry association. Kristi has been in the mailing industry for more than 20 years and is considered an expert in Canadian addressing and Canadian mail. She is a frequent presenter at industry events including the annual National Postal Forum presented by the USPS.

MailingSystemsTechnology.com | MARCH-APRIL 2019

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IS YOUR DATA SAFE? Understanding and implementing data security policy audits | By Mark Fallon

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t seems that every day, there’s a news story about hackers stealing customer information from a computer system. Most publicized cases involve large companies being hacked for credit card information and passwords for millions of people. Small companies are hacked, too, but those stories don’t seem to grab as much attention. Physical mail is fairly secure and is protected by federal laws enforced by the US Postal Service Inspection Service (USPIS). With a heritage that traces back to Benjamin Franklin, the USPIS aggressively pursues criminals who use the mail to defraud victims. Companies and individuals put great trust in a sealed envelope marked “First-Class Mail.” In the past, creating transactional mail documents was performed by companies

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using internal systems. Printers were directly attached to the mainframe computer system. The mail services department was in the same building, if not in the same room. There were tight controls from data to print to insert to delivery to the post office. Today, most companies use a mix of internal and external resources to create mail. Whether the work is outsourced to a print service provider (PSP) or processed by an in-plant operation, data is still shared with external companies. Address standardization and move update solutions are hosted externally, or the vendor sends updates via the internet. Document composition is now offered as a software-as-a-service. Companies need to validate that their data is secured, from the files they send to PSPs, to the data files they exchange with software providers, to the systems

that print and insert the physical documents. That requires conducting regular audits that include documentation review, systems inspection, and testing by the customer and vendors. Before reviewing the components of the audit, ensure you have the right members of the audit team. A good team will include compliance, information technology, purchasing, postal experts and the auditors (internal or external). The information technology members should be specialists on the software and systems being inspected. Documentation is the hallmark of a quality operation. For data security, this extends beyond standard policies and procedures that detail how the systems and programs work. Organizations must demonstrate that their systems are configured to prevent


each piece of equipment. System architecture maps, data encryption methodology, and activity logs will demonstrate the levels of security in place. The testing should be completed using the customer’s files. The entire process should be monitored, including: } Transfer of files to the vendor } Vendor receipt and acknowledgment } File processing, both internal and external } Transfer of (if any) files to the customer } Customer receipt and acknowledgment } File storage (temporary/permanent) } File deletion

unauthorized access — from both internal and external sources. This includes physical access (e.g., dual controls on server rooms) and digital access (e.g., firewalls). Necessary documentation also includes a roster of employees and contractors who are authorized access to the system, event logs (planned and unplanned), and software version control. Backup, business continuity, and disaster recovery plans are additional requirements. Lastly, there should be stated procedures for how data is secured when not in use, and how it is deleted at the required compliance date. The documentation should be supplied in advance of the onsite audit. The team should review for completeness and updates. During the audit, the documents should be compared to what actually occurs — or has occurred in the past. Rosters should be cross-checked with current employee listings, and access controls verified. File properties, including creation date, should be inspected for consistency with storage protocols. Onsite Validation Is Key While much of the information on systems is included in the documentation, the audit team should validate key components onsite.

This may include sitting with a member of the organization’s information technology department in front of their computer. The administrator will walk through the required steps to access the system, the firewalls and authentication protocols for preventing malicious access, and any alerts generated due to errors or attacks. A good method for reviewing the system controls is to assume different personas. Review what a standard user encounters when logging on, or what happens if they try to access restricted areas. Show the additional controls assigned to a manager or administrator. Lastly, demonstrate what happens when an unauthorized user attempts to bypass the controls. In the age of piece-level-tracking, webto-print systems, and the Internet of Things (IOT), customer data is also vulnerable on the production floor. Print files and control files contain personal information about the recipient. Equipment is monitored by third parties for performance and service calls. Details on the mail piece, including the recipient’s name and address, are shared and modified by multiple systems for upload to the U.S. Postal Service or a presort provider. The organization must validate that the data remains secure at all steps and on

In most cases, the entire process is automated, with the next step starting without operator action. Set up dual screens to monitor what is happening on both the customer’s and vendor’s systems. Note actual transfer, receipt, and processing times. If possible, take screen shots to create documentation of the audit. Many PSPs merge files from several customers before printing to maximize efficiencies and postal discounts. The vendor needs to demonstrate how they manage the data to protect against a customer accidentally receiving someone else’s information. For vendors who sell cloud-based products or software-as-a-service, an onsite audit isn’t feasible. The equipment and data are often physically located on a server-farm hundreds or thousands of miles away. Work with those providers to develop a remote testing protocol that validates the controls in real-time. Due to the sensitivity of security, especially data and internet security, vendors will be wary about sharing detailed information on their systems. However, the owner of the data bears the greatest risk if the system is compromised. Fines and legal liability can be mitigated if a company can demonstrate adherence to best practices. Well-written contracts define the required controls and scope of audits — for process and data security. Unfortunately, there are people with malevolent intent who will attempt to steal customer data. Organizations and their vendors need to build systems that defend against these attacks. Planned, organized, and documented audits will certify that those systems are working.  Mark M. Fallon is President & CEO of The Berkshire Company, a consulting firm specializing in mail and document processing strategies. You can contact him at mmf@berkshire-company.com, or visit his blogs at www.berkshire-company.com/the-berkshire-company-blog or www.markfallon.com/blog. MailingSystemsTechnology.com | MARCH-APRIL 2019

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MERGING PHYSICAL AND DIGITAL COMMUNICATION STRATEGIES

Hard-copy mail still works — and it works even better when paired with a digital strategy. Here’s how to knock your communication strategies out of the park. By Scott Scheidenhelm

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ven in an age of unprecedented digital connectivity, direct mail continues to be effective. Studies find that audiences’ recall of direct mail is 70% better than their recall of digital ads, and direct mail stimulates 20% more activity in the part of the brain that corresponds with motivation to act than its digital counterparts. However, some studies show that just over one-third of adults take the time to read the mail. Digital channels, meanwhile, allow for instant action, including quick and easy payment of bills and invoices. As a result, communications professionals have recognized that physical and digital communication each bring unique strengths, weaknesses, and best practices. The full-service mail operation of the future undoubtedly hybridizes physical 28

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and digital communication workflows — but is your mail operation onboard? For your communications services to survive and thrive, it’s important to understand how centralized, hybridized workflows can benefit you today, and what you can expect in the future as technology continues to improve. More Capabilities, Without More Headaches Often, established mailing operations are hesitant to add digital capabilities out of fear that they’ll be doubling their communications management workload without necessarily doubling their revenues or responses. However, thanks to technological advancements, today’s mailhouses can seamlessly manage print and digital chan-

nels, often from the same interface, with little added effort. With the right software, composition and imposition need only be done once. Well-selected transform software can intelligently adjust elements to meet channel-specific needs, such as the ability to increase font size for easier viewing in electronic presentment. Similarly, adding or removing channel-specific design elements — such as a digital-only offer to click to pay a bill — is a snap, without requiring time-intensive, manual upstream changes. Whether you want uniform simplicity or per-channel customization, a robust multi-channel workflow solution puts those tools at your fingertips. By centralizing monitoring and management, even delivery itself doesn’t have to become any more complicated. With a


well-integrated, multi-channel workflow management solution, campaigns across channels can automatically progress in sync with one another, so physical mail is sent (or arrives) at the same time emails, text messages, push notifications, or other channels do. The same solution that checks addresses for accuracy, households mail for optimized postal discounts, and fully preps mail for delivery can be used to follow that mail piece’s journey via the USPS so a follow-up email comes at just the right moment. Speaking of delivery, people often ask, “How do I know which channel(s) to use for which recipients?” There are many strategic answers to this question, which can depend on many diverse factors, such as demographics and psychological studies of marketing approaches. Outside consultants can help you identify what works best for your business and your audience. But one great way to decide this question is to simply ask recipients to choose their preferred delivery method. Some of today’s most powerful multi-channel workflow management tools allow users to pre-load audience channel preferences, so when

the time comes to send communications, the software automatically funnels each piece into the appropriate channel. Strong, centralized monitoring and management of multi-channel strategies can help generate more compelling output that results in stronger response rates through a printed piece, while at the same time addressing the growing demand for electronic delivery. By integrating print and digital, today’s printers can tailor the message to the audience in new and exciting ways. While channel preference management can help drive stronger engagement, multi-channel workflow management solutions’ tracking helps provide quantitative ROI. While producing and delivering communications is no small feat, tracking response rates without a solid system in place can be difficult, time-consuming, and even inaccurate. This is another area where mailhouses can be wary of adding digital workflows: If I’m already having trouble keeping track of everything in a channel where I’m an expert (physical mail), why would I want to try to do the same thing, at the same time, in a different channel, where I don’t know as much? It’s an understandable concern, but

it’s also one that multi-channel workflow management software addresses handily. With some modifications to physical response mail intake, and by routing electronic responses through your monitoring and management software, you can track responses and other data from across channels; suddenly, you have a bird’s-eye view of your entire operation. The top-tier software options even allow you to slice and dice that data however you see fit, potentially helping to uncover actionable insights that can help your next campaign perform even better. The Future Brings Clarity As you read this, solutions are being developed and built upon to make multi-channel workflow management and monitoring more comprehensive, more granular, and more accessible. This includes more intensive measurement, visualized in ways that make internal assessment and external presentation equally simple. For example, if a campaign is enjoying incredibly high response rates, workflow management solutions of the near future could provide a visual dashboard. The dashboard can showcase what was different

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about this production process, incorporating information from printers, finishers, the workflow management software itself, and third-party applications. Beyond that, comprehensive data visualization can show how your campaign’s results stack up against an average campaign. This is extremely useful for business intelligence, allowing communicators to glean key lessons for continued success. But it’s also a great selling and customer confidence tool. By making this dashboard information accessible 24/7 via a web portal, you can show customers you stand by your processes and results, while also providing a ready-made platform for highlighting your customers’ ROI. Customers want to work with communicators they feel they can trust, in addition to delivering results. This open-book, easy-to-understand visualization approach to your data can work wonders in both respects. I’m Ready to Merge My Physical and Digital Communications; Now What? If you find the above persuasive, you may be wondering what the most practical next steps are for your business. Well, just like picking a communication channel, there

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is no one-size-fits-all “right” answer. But there are some frequently crucial right questions to ask. They are:  Is there latent demand for digital? Have you already implemented some digital workflows? Do customers ask for them, whether or not you have them? Why or why not? Are your existing digital capabilities underwhelming, undermarketed, or both?  What are my goals for adding digital? Do you want to increase response rates? Slash costs? Drive web traffic?  How do you measure success? Is it in adoption rate — how many, or what percentage of, customers do you expect to choose digital delivery (and/or digital payment)? Is it in fewer pages printed? Is it in the reduction of your operating expenses? Where do you want these metrics to be in six months? 12? 24? 36? It’s important to set these plans out in advance, with incremental milestones, so you can check in on progress and correct course accordingly if you fall short of your performance indicators — or intelligently build on success if you consistently surpass them.  How can I make sure this adds value for my customers’ customers? When devis-

ing and implementing your multi-channel strategy, the central concern should be how audiences interact with your communications. That determines your success, both in terms of campaign effectiveness and your bottom line going into the future as word of your results spreads. By adding digital, are you making interacting with your/your customers’ brands easier, streamlined, more efficient? Electronic delivery of a static document can be an improvement for some audiences, but why not make the most of the channel, with one-click assistance, simple online payment options, and so on? If you’re having trouble coming up with these answers on your own, don’t hesitate to reach out to colleagues or third-party experts to figure out how hybrid workflows can best benefit your business. While adding an entirely new channel — or multiple new channels — can seem daunting at first, when it’s done right, it can drive impressive short-term gains and longevity alike.  Scott Scheidenhelm is Senior Channel Manager, Software and Solutions, Commercial & Industrial Printing Business Group, Ricoh USA, Inc.


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Mailing Systems Technology Mar/Apr 2019  

Mailing Systems Technology Mar/Apr 2019

Mailing Systems Technology Mar/Apr 2019  

Mailing Systems Technology Mar/Apr 2019