Mailing Systems Technology May/June 2020

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MAY - JUNE 2020








DEPARTMENTS 05 Editor's Note

A Long Road Ahead? By Amanda Armendariz

06 Real-Life Management We Are Better Together! By Wes Friesen



08 The Trenches

6 Ways to Disrupt a Document Production Workflow

By Mike Porter

10 Inkjet Info

The Role of Inkjet in Printing & Mailing Equipment By Eve Padula

12 Software Byte



By Angelo Anagnostopoulos

16 Three Pitfalls Every Effective Mail Center Should Avoid By Bruce E. Little

18 Is it Time to Review Your Data Security Plans? Security is always a critical concern, but in the current environment, it’s more vital than ever.

By Scott Stephens


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By Jeff Peoples

13 Think About It

FEATURES 14 Enhance Your Multichannel Marketing Campaign with USPS Informed Delivery Data

CAPS to EPS Migration

20 The Science Behind Matching

Deterministic or probabilistic matching? Why an approach combining the two could be optimal.

By Ken Kucera

22 Can Innovative and Holistic Leadership Help the USPS Weather the Storm? By Kathleen Siviter

28 Business Continuity: The Best Mailing & Shipping Solutions for a Remote Workforce By Adam Lewenberg

SPONSORED CONTENT 25 The Right Equipment for the Right Job

EDITOR’S NOTE VOLUME 33, ISSUE 3 MAGAZINE STAFF President Chad Griepentrog Publisher Ken Waddell Editor Amanda Armendariz Contributing Writers Angelo Anagnostopoulos, Wes Friesen, Ken Kucera, Adam Lewenberg, Bruce E. Little, Eve Padula, Jeff Peoples, Mike Porter, Kathleen Siviter, Scott Stephens Audience Development Manager Rachel Chapman Advertising Ken Waddell 608.235.2212 Design Kelli Cooke

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

SUBSCIRBE Subscribe online at Subscriptions are free to qualified recipients: $20 per year to all others in the United States. Subscription rate for Canada or Mexico is $40 per year, and for elsewhere outside of the United States is $45. Back issue rate is $5. SEND SUBSCRIPTIONS TO: Mailing Systems Technology, PO Box 259098, Madison WI 53725-9098 Call 608.241.8777 Fax 608.241.8666 E-mail Online at REPRINT SALES ReprintPro 949.702.5390 All material in this magazine is copyrighted ©2020 by MadMen3 All rights reserved. Nothing may be reproduced in whole or in part without written permission from the publisher. Any correspondence sent to Mailing Systems Technology, MadMen3 or its staff becomes property of MadMen3. The articles in this magazine represent the views of the authors and not those of MadMen3 or Mailing Systems Technology. MadMen3 and/or Mailing Systems Technology expressly disclaim any liability for the products or services sold or otherwise endorsed by advertisers or authors included in this magazine. MAILING SYSTEMS TECHNOLOGY (ISSN 1088-2677) [Volume 33 Issue 3] is published six times per year (January/February, March/April, May/June, July/August, September/October, November/December) by MadMen3, PO Box 259098 Madison WI 53725-9098, 608-241-8777. Periodical postage paid at Madison WI and additional offices. POSTMASTER Send address changes to: Mailing Systems Technology PO Box 259098 Madison WI 53725-9098



he USPS released its second-quarter results from FY2020 shortly before I wrote this editor’s note, and as is so often the case with news concerning the Postal Service’s financials, the news appears to be a mixed bag. On the bright side, total revenue for this period was $17.8 billion, an increase of $348 million compared to the same period last year. Compared to Q2 in 2019, First-Class Mail revenue increased by $89 million (1.4%), despite a volume decline of 29 million pieces (0.2%), and revenue from shipping and packages increased by $386 million compared to this time last year. On the downside, much of the increase in FirstClass Mail was from one-time mailings of the 2020 US Census; the Postal Service noted in its release that had these pieces not been in the mail stream, revenue from this segment would have been down. Marketing Mail saw a decline of $94 million and a decrease of 604 million pieces. The impact of COVID-19 was not largely evident in these results, given that most of the major economic events associated with the pandemic started occurring in mid-March, and Q2 ended on March 31. Experts predict the negative impact of this global pandemic on the Postal Service’s fiscal results to be much more pronounced in Q3 and Q4; some say that the impact could still be felt 18 months from now, which certainly puts the USPS in a precarious position. Postmaster General Megan J. Brennan emphasized this in the press release, saying, “Although the pandemic did not have

significant impact on our financial condition in our second quarter, we anticipate that our business will suffer potentially dire consequences for the remainder of the year, and we are already feeling those impacts during the last half of March. At a time when America needs the Postal Service more than ever, the pandemic is starting to have a significant effect on our business with mail volumes plummeting as a result of the pandemic.” A new Postmaster General, Louis DeJoy, was announced right before we went to print with this issue. He is stepping in at a unsettling time, and the industry will likely be waiting with bated breath to see what initiatives he implements to help the Postal Service weather this storm. Of course, many fixes for the USPS financial situation also require Congressional reform, and given that it is an election year, it is doubtful that any progress will be made in this sector. Yet, it is not all doom and gloom. Given the trust that most Americans have in the mail, it is likely that physical mail will play an important role in this election cycle, injecting much-needed volume into the mail stream. And once the election is over, I’m hopeful that Congress can move forward on the pressing issue of postal reform. The United States Postal Service is a valuable, critical American institution; it cannot be allowed to fail. As always, thanks for reading Mailing Systems Technology. | MAY-JUNE 2020





istory shows — and we know — that we are better together! By working well together, we can truly accomplish more than we can as individuals. Mother Teresa wisely said, “I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot; together we can do great things.” Helen Keller cut to the chase by stating, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” By working together, we can pool our collective strengths, wisdom, intelligence, skills, talents, and experiences. By working well together, we can cover for a teammate that is temporarily down by life circumstances... and can support each other when dealing with a crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic. By working together, we can experience true synergy, where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts! Ways to Work Better Together The end goal of being better together is to create team collaboration — cultivating a teamwork-focused environment. Experts say — and research shows — that when we create an atmosphere where our team members feel safe, valued, and able to share their ideas and solutions, they become more creative, effective, innovative, and productive. Research from Salesforce found that:  99.1% of employees prefer an open, honest, and collaborative working environment  89% of employees felt a lack of collaboration is responsible for workplace failures  < 50% of employees feel that their employers provide a collaborative environment 6

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So, how do you go about cultivating team collaboration? Here are five key ways: 1. Collaborative Leaders. Leaders set the tone and model what is most important to the team. Collaborative leaders are inclusive in their behaviors and set an example worth emulating. An “inclusive leader” is someone who:  Makes team members feel valued  Ensures equal and respectful treatment of all team members  Gives team members a sense of belonging  Is both confident about, and inspired by, the team’s work  Respects all people regardless of background Research conducted by the Harvard Business Review found that inclusive leaders who fit this description bring about measurable change to a team’s performance and mindset. The results show that teams with inclusive leaders are:  29% more likely to report behaving collaboratively  17% more likely to report they are high performing  20% more likely to say they make high-quality decisions  10% more consistent at coming to work 2. Shared Mindset and Common Purpose. Leaders can model and encourage a mindset that we need each other, and avoid the “us versus them” thinking that can creep in. Participatively establishing an inspiring common purpose can stimulate the sense of working together we covet. Clarifying our mission (why

the team exists), vision (picture of our desired future), and values (what do we believe is important) provides the foundation for a common purpose. Adding specific SMART goals and the strategies to achieve them rounds out the common purpose we need. 3. Make Giving a Priority. I recently read Adam Grant’s book Give and Take, which provides scientific evidence to back up the importance of giving. Grant shows that the workplace is made up of three types of people: 1. Takers: those looking to receive from others 2. Matchers: those looking to reciprocate as much as they receive (and no more) 3. Givers: those who share without expectation According to his research, teams that are made up of givers tend to be more productive, creative, and collaborative. Why? Givers do not see success as a zero-sum game. Instead, they look at their teams as one unit who can benefit from the free-flow of information, advice, and support. “Givers,” Grant writes, “get to the top without cutting others down… expanding the pie that benefits themselves and the people around them … in groups of givers, it may be true that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.” His findings are backed up by research from the University of Western Australia. In a study of teams working toward a common goal, they found that interdependence and the willingness to share were vital to a team’s success. In teams where individuals were self-involved and not forthcoming with helpful information, teamwork broke down to an unproductive level, and they eventually became unsuccessful in reaching their objectives. Although the individual maybe stood out, the team fell apart and did not reach their goals. In contrast, the teams that focused on giving, teamwork, and collaboration were dramatically more productive and able to reach their goals. 4. Create Psychological Safety. Psychological safety is when team members feel they can safely and without negative consequences share their thoughts, ideas, advice, opinions, and mistakes. Executive and author Timothy Clark

describes it as “a condition in which you feel (1) included, (2) safe to learn, (3) safe to contribute, and (4) safe to challenge the status quo — all without fear of being embarrassed, marginalized, or punished in some way.” It can also be defined as a shared belief that the team is safe for interpersonal risk taking. In psychologically safe teams, team members feel accepted and respected. Google’s Project Aristotle study revealed the keys to their most productive and inventive teams. Surprisingly, the top teams were not the A-teams composed of their top scientists, but B-teams which contained people not considered the smartest or most knowledgeable. The top performing teams had the best sense of connection between team members (fostered by interest in teammates’ ideas, empathy, and emotional intelligence) and also a feeling of psychological and emotional safety. Team members feeling safe to take risks and be vulnerable in front of each other was “far and away the most important dynamic that set successful teams apart.”

5. Supportive Systems and Processes. Having the right systems and processes in place is crucial to maximizing team performance and working together well. This includes maintaining a reward system that reinforces good performance and living the team’s values; an information system that provides access to the data needed for the work; an educational system that offers training and development; and last — but not least — ability to secure the resources required to do the job, such as funding and technological assistance. While no team ever gets everything it wants, we can head off a lot of problems by taking the time to get the essential pieces in place that our teams need to be successful. 6. Follow Lencioni’s Five Key Behaviors. Patrick Lencioni, in his classic and bestselling book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, emphasizes five specific behaviors to maximize teamwork and team performance. These five behaviors build upon each other and include: vulnerability-based trust, healthy conflict, active commitment, peer-to-peer accountability, and a focus on results.

Former LinkedIn CEO Reid Hoffman asserted, “No matter how brilliant your mind or strategy, if you’re playing a solo game, you’ll always lose out to a team.” Baseball legend Babe Ruth observed, “The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club won’t be worth a dime.” Bottom line: We are better together!  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, and give you practical pointers to help you — and your team — soar to new heights of performance. Wes can be contacted at wesmfriesen@gmail. com or at 971.806.0812. | MAY-JUNE 2020





ocument production workflows can be fragile things. The process of creating printed documents from data acquisition to depositing mail at the post office is frequently a series of complex unconnected steps. Anything could go wrong — and sometimes it does! Automation helps alleviate some of the issues, but producing mail in most shops still relies on humans to perform certain functions in specific ways at the right times. That’s usually where problems occur. Being in the service provider business for over 20 years, and working as a consultant for almost as long, I’ve witnessed some well-managed mail production processes grind to a halt. In most cases, that’s a good thing. Though stomping on the brakes is painful, it’s much better than unknowingly putting thousands of bad documents into the mailstream. Here are six situations I’ve observed that can halt production. Slack Quality Control Procedures In a good number of cases, a problem revealed in the latter stages of the production workflow, such as mail inserting, can be traced back to an upstream error that should have been caught if existing quality control steps had been performed. A good example is when documents are printed on the wrong paper stock or in the wrong orientation. This error occurs most often in organizations running cut sheet printers. I’ve seen jobs printed on the wrong side of the paper, printed upside down (usually on perforated blank forms), or printed on the wrong forms. After start8

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ing a job, printer operators are supposed to compare the output to a print sample in a provided job jacket. If quality control is skipped, the error might not be noticed until attempting to fold and insert the documents into envelopes. By then, it’s too late to rerun and still make the deadline. Faulty Inventory Control This issue can cause jobs to be pulled off the inserter if the warehouse contains insufficient quantities of outside envelopes, inserts, or reply envelopes. I’ve seen this happen when leftover stock is returned to the warehouse and stored in the wrong location. When the job is run the next time, the warehouseman stages the envelopes or inserts for the inserter operators, who don’t discover they are short of materials until they open a carton and find the contents are meant for a different job. Envelope and preprinted form cartons frequently all look the same. A sample is sometimes glued to the ends of the cartons, but many materials are similar, with only a division name or a PO box in the return address distinguishing one from another. Restocking errors are easy to make, distorting physical inventory counts. Material doesn’t get reordered and an eventual shortage occurs. Data Manipulation Data files present lots of opportunities for mistakes that can cause production control analysts to stop, back up, and rerun job steps. With high volume jobs, the time it takes to recover from human mistakes can put service level agreements in jeopardy.

I’ve seen many operations where parts of the data processes are automated and other parts are not. For instance, clients may send data files to a print/mail service provider via FTP where the information resides in a hot folder. An automated process watching the folder takes the data and performs the next step, such as reformatting, standardizing, or deduping. To get the next process in the workflow underway, however, requires a person to start up an application, such as CASS processing or presorting, and point the software to the appropriate file. A momentary lack of attention or distraction can cause an employee to process an old data file or mistake one client’s file for another. The results of data manipulation errors may be noticed when record counts don’t match expected results, but it’s not always easy for the staff to spot problems of this nature. If a company makes a data error and fails to perform quality control procedures, print/mail service providers will put the faulty documents in the mail. The result is an expensive and embarrassing mailing disaster that triggers an emergency rerun. Wrong Settings Another data-related problem occurs when employees use the right files, but the wrong settings. A classic mistake is one made during the presort process. Using the wrong settings file can cause the software to associate mail with the wrong permit or calculate improper mail tray breaks, based on the envelope thickness specified in the presort software. This error probably won’t be discovered until an inserter operator notices their mail trays are only partially full. Outdated or Missing Documentation Documentation can create problems that halt production or cause reruns. I’ve seen cases where companies didn’t replace print and envelope samples or update other operating procedures when the jobs changed. Everything ran smoothly until a key employee, who knew of the changes and didn’t rely on the documentation, was absent. The operator filling in for a vacationing co-worker checked the documentation, saw the job didn’t match, and stopped processing. The operator did the right thing, but the delay wouldn’t have happened if the documentation had been kept current. Inserting Errors I was visiting the in-plant mail operations

center for a financial institution. They were inserting variable-page account statements. At the end of the job, they discovered the envelope count provided by the inserting equipment didn’t match the control total. This told them an envelope was double-stuffed. The company’s procedure was to set the job aside and alert the quality control team. The team had two hours to find the double-stuffed envelope by manual inspection and weighing the envelopes. If they couldn’t find the error buried somewhere in the completed mail trays, the entire job was shredded, re-printed, and inserted again. Because the errors weren’t discovered at the time they happened, the quality control process didn’t reveal the cause of the problem. The double-stuffed envelope could have been caused by a machine read error at the inserter, pages could have been out of sequence, or a page could have been missing. It was impossible for the company to know if they had a printing problem, an operator problem, or an inserting equipment problem. As a result, they had no opportunity to correct it and the errors continued to disrupt production from time to time.

The obvious response was to abandon batch balancing and use a camera system on the inserter and file-based processing to identify such errors and stop the machine, which is what we recommended. After adding a camera system, double-stuffed envelopes will cause the inserting machine to stop. Operators remove the suspected errant mail pieces and resume production with minimal interruption. Any time humans intervene to enable document production workflows, production-impeding mistakes can occur. Complete automation isn’t an option for many print/mail production shops, so they must develop tests and processes at every job step. Continuously verifying all critical job aspects is the only way to avoid conditions that cause major disruptions or reruns. Limiting quality control to be performed only after jobs are complete makes it difficult to recover from the occasional human error that happens upstream. Production workflow disruptions cost money because of several things:  Machine operators are idle when production halts and their employers pay

   

overtime wages to make up for the interruption. Staffers spend time investigating the issues and fixing them Reruns consume paper, envelopes, ink, and toner Service providers pay penalties for missing SLA deadlines Late mail that misses the presort cutoff time gets sent directly to the post office, increasing the postage costs

Print/mail operations can reduce the number of disruptions by automating the workflow whenever possible, reducing the chances of human error. Make sure quality control processes are established, and consistently remind employees to perform them. Review the entire workflow to spot steps vulnerable to mishaps and make the changes necessary to reduce risk.  Mike Porter at Print/Mail Consultants helps his clients meet the challenges they encounter in document operations and creates informational content for vendors and service providers in the document industry. Follow @PMCmike on Twitter, send a connection request on LinkedIn, or contact Mike directly at | MAY-JUNE 2020





he fast pace of today’s digital world might lead some to believe that printed direct mail is falling to the wayside, but highspeed inkjet technology is creating new opportunities for print. This is particularly the case as many consumers — even digital natives — are experiencing “digital fatigue” because they are inundated with emails, texts, and other digital messages. Some consumers have grown tired of exclusively digital communications, and ongoing concerns about data security have made people wary of digital engagements. As a result, traditional print-based communications can actually be more effective and enable businesses to stand apart from their competitors. Why Inkjet? Over the past decade, inkjet printing has become an increasingly important component of printing and mailing solutions. The market has expanded beyond low-resolution monochrome inkjet imprinting heads for addressing and personalization to include high-speed, fullpage, color inkjet printing systems. This evolution can largely be attributed to a perfect storm of higher resolution printhead technology, advanced ink formulations, the expansion of inkjet-suitable papers, and expanded drying technologies that combined to foster the development of cost-effective, high-speed digital printing systems that are ideal for direct mail and other promotional applications. Today’s faster inkjet systems enhance operations capacity, while the higher resolutions make inkjet devices appropriate for an ever-wider range of applications. 10

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Production inkjet equipment can often enable improved productivity and reduced operating costs, enabling print service providers (PSPs) to better serve their clients. Even more importantly, each new generation of technological investments has brought a wealth of new capabilities that can help create market differentiation. There are many reasons to invest in new technologies, faster turnaround times, increased personalization, and lower costs. High-speed inkjet technology can accommodate all these reasons and more, enabling PSPs to bring more of their work in-house (see Figure 1). Higher resolution has been one of the keys to the widespread adoption of production inkjet for printing and mailing equipment. In mailing applications, inkjet

was first used for adding addresses and codes. Relatively low resolution and narrow inkjet heads (one or two inches wide) were suitable for these purposes. As resolution increased, these narrow imprinting heads could be used to add graphic elements like maps and linework. As the printheads improved, companies developed monochrome and color inkjet systems that were capable of printing entire pages, even in multi-up configuration. In the transactional print market, this enabled something that PSPs had been desiring for years — the elimination of pre-printed forms, which made it possible to produce crisp text, graphics, and images in full color on white paper in a single pass. This was described as “white paper in, full color out.” The earliest high-speed inkjet implementations were limited in the types of paper they could easily support. Over time, however, inkjet became more common for high-speed digital printing of transactional documents, direct mail, books, and other documents. At the same time, the range of suitable paper weights, coating types, and brightness variances were also improving. Contributing to the expansion in paper options are solutions to prime the paper prior to printing (either by the paper mill or on-site by the PSP). This is typically seen as the preferred option for printing on commercial coated paper stocks whose glossy surface makes it difficult for the water-based inkjet inks to adhere. The cost of production combined with better speeds, improved paper availability, and

Figure 1: Benefits of High-Speed Inkjet

Figure 2: Full Color Improves Engagement

increased resolution have enabled inkjet to emerge as the new norm. High-speed inkjet equipment enables the efficient production of full-color direct mail, and research has consistently shown that the presence of color can increase response rates and deliver a better overall customer experience. According to Keypoint Intelligence —InfoTrends’ most recent marketing communications survey, the use of full color was the single most important technique that prompted consumers to engage with a printed direct mail piece (see Figure 2). Like full color, personalization is another benefit that can be enabled by high-speed inkjet equipment. Keypoint Intelligence’s consumer research confirms that personalized content can make a difference. In fact, over 52% of consumer respondents agreed that they spent much more time reviewing printed direct mail that was personalized and relevant for them. In addition, when consumers were asked about the factors that prompted them to read/review printed pieces, personalized and relevant content was the most popular response (see Figure 3). The use of personalization continues to pick up pace as marketers seek better ways to capture attention, build brand awareness, and drive sales revenues. Delivering the right content to the right audience, in the preferred channel, at the right time, in the right context can promote desired consumer actions (e.g., making a purchase, donating, or signing up).

High-speed inkjet systems bring a unique value to direct mail because they enable the production of affordable high-value personalization, short runs, and versioning. Inkjet technology can affordably deliver the customized direct mail communications that will engage an audience. The Bottom Line Even in today’s digital age, high-speed inkjet printing systems are helping to take printed direct mail to a new level. Printed communications remain an important component of the media channel mix,

and high-speed inkjet technology makes it easier than ever to create relevant and engaging pieces that will drive response rates and improve business results. Today’s consumers have come to expect relevant communications that are consistent with their needs, and inkjet technology makes it possible to accommodate these changing preferences.  Eve Padula is a Senior Editor/Writer for Keypoint Intelligence – InfoTrends’ Production Services with a focus on Business Development Strategies, Customer Communications, and Wide Format.

Figure 3: Personalization Gets Noticed! | MAY-JUNE 2020





f you are one of the mailers still using the Centralized Account Processing System (CAPS), you need to switch over to the new Enterprise Payment System (EPS) soon, as the USPS has started closing permits linked to CAPS accounts. The USPS has sent outreach letters and emails to customers still using permits linked to CAPS accounts who mail letters and flats products. The USPS wants to migrate these clients to EPS, which has enhanced security. What Is EPS? The USPS has developed a more modern system to centralize postage payments. The Enterprise Payment System may be used to pay for First-Class Mail, letters, cards, and flats, Priority Mail, First-Class Package Service, USPS Marketing Mail, letters, flats, and parcels, Electronic Verification System (eVS), Parcel Select, Media Mail, Library Mail, Bound Printed Matter, Periodicals, International Products, Business Reply Mail (BRM), and Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM), submitted via hard copy, eDoc (Mail.dat/Mail. XML), Postal Wizard, or the Intelligent Mail small business (IMsb) Tool, PO Box, Caller & Reserve Services (EPOBOL), and Address Quality Products (AEC, AECII and ACS). Eligible permit types include Permit Imprint, Metered, Pre-cancelled Stamps, Periodicals (CPP/PP), Postage Due, and Business Reply. Transition from CAPS to EPS If you are an existing CAPS user, these accounts do not automatically transition to the EPS program. To begin your migration to EPS, users should follow the enrollment process, as outlined on the PostalPro website (https://postalpro. EPS allows users to select one of four payment methods:


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 Trust (Retail Deposit): Funds may be deposited at designated retail units, with options of check, cash, or money order for deposits.  Trust (Fedwire): Funds may be sent via wire transfer from your bank account.  Trust (ACH Credit): Funds may be electronically transferred via ACH Credit from your bank account.  ACH Debit: Funds may be withdrawn from your bank account via ACH Debit As with CAPS, users will need to link your postal permits and publications to your Enterprise Payment Account (EPA). Users will also need to work with your mail service providers (MSPs) to provide them with your new EPA number and make any necessary changes. What About Products EPS Does Not Support? There are some products that EPS does not yet support, although the USPS is working on adding support for those products soon. Any products unsupported by the EPS system may still be funded using CAPS until such time as those products are brought under the EPS umbrella. In the meantime, mailers should be switching over all supported products to EPS and keep their CAPS account only for EPS unsupported products. Products not currently

supported include Parcel Return Service (PRS), PC Postage, Scan Based Payment (SBP), Merchandise Return Service (MRS), Official Mail Accounting System (OMAS), Premium Forwarding Service Commercial (PFSC), Share Mail, and Intelligent Mail barcode Accounting (IMbA). Customers utilizing these products will continue to be supported through CAPS. If you have questions on this, you should contact the PostalOne! Help Desk at 1-800-522-9085 or What Is the Migration Process? Customers with no activity within the last 12 months through their CAPS permit have had those permits closed as of April 19, 2020. CAPS accounts with remaining balances should contact the CAPS Service Center at 650-377-1334 or email to request a refund. Customers who have active debit and active trust permits with a Business Customer Gateway (BCG) account had until May 1, 2020 to migrate to EPS, after which date those permits were closed. For active CAPS trust account customers who do NOT have a BCG account, they have until August 1, 2020 to migrate to EPS, after which date the CAPS account will be closed. Also effective August 1, 2020, CAPS debit account permits will no longer be funded as the CAPS account will be closed. In the case of both the trust and debit accounts, customers need to create an EPS account and link their permits in order to prevent and impacts on mail acceptance. Jeff Peoples is founder, president, and CEO at Window Book. With over 30 years of innovative postal solutions that make using the Postal Service easier and more profitable for mailers and shippers, he has done presentations at industry events, GraphExpo, MAILCOM, the National Postal Forum, Postal Customer Council meetings, Harvard Business Expert Forum, and other industry and direct marketing events.

Resources The USPS provides a number of reference materials for EPS, including the EPS landing page at, a listing of available retail deposit locations, and an Enterprise Payment System Migration Fact Sheet. You can also call 877-672-0007 or email for assistance.



The Postal Service has been dedicating a lot of time and effort into getting the retail industry to take advantage of [Informed Delivery]. For example, coupon functionality has been added. Consumers are able to use coupons in the ID program simply by walking into a store and showing the coupon from a phone. Another industry that the Postal Service believes can benefit from this program is government entities, specifically when it comes to voting by mail. — ANGELO ANAGNOSTOPOULOS

Document production workflows can be fragile things. The process of creating printed documents from data acquisition to depositing mail at the post office is frequently a series of complex unconnected steps. Anything could go wrong — and sometimes it does! Automation helps alleviate some of the issues, but producing mail in most shops still relies on humans to perform certain functions in specific ways at the right times. That’s usually where problems occur. — MIKE PORTER

If people are working remotely, how are they going to receive incoming mail that could be crucial for them doing their job? There are new tools around digital mail that can make this easy and more efficient even when not in quarantine. The basic premise on how this works is that as mail comes in, it is scanned into a software package that can electronically route the documents to where they need to go. It does this by OCR technology that can transpose the printed document to text that can now be processed in a more efficient manner.

Understanding how matching works is important in evaluating your data quality requirements and selecting the right tools for the job. Employing both deterministic and probabilistic matching methods, the best software generates results consistent with your requirements for data matching, duplicate recognition, and data consolidation.

Waiting until something happens to develop appropriate response procedures is a recipe for disaster, and business continuity and disaster recovery plans should be in place well in advance of an emergency. What’s more, they should be reviewed and updated on an annual basis. When reviewing contingency plans, remove and replace any team members who have moved on from the company and make sure the updated contact information for every member of the incident command is included.







If you haven’t already incorporated the United States Postal Service’s Informed Delivery (ID) program into your operations, there’s no time like the present. This offering helps gain exposure for your brand when utilized in your multichannel marketing campaigns. The ID program allows you to marry physical mail campaigns with a digital aspect, allowing multiple touchpoints and keeping your message in front of your audience at all times. Scientific research shows an increase in response and a greater ROI. Advantages of Informed Delivery ID lets eligible residential consumers digitally preview mail pieces before they arrive and manage scheduled packages. The USPS created the program as a way to stay relevant in the digital age and improve the value of mail. Mailers have the opportunity to place targeted offers and ads inside of Informed Delivery emails, which creates new opportunities for mailers to engage with potential or existing customers, generating multiple touchpoints. Letters, postcards, and flat-sized pieces are all eligible for Informed Delivery. A majority of letters and postcards are eligible because they are automation com-

patible and will get an image capture once scanned through the USPS mail sorting equipment. For flats, most USPS processing equipment does not currently provision images. If you want an image to be shown, you will have to provide the representative image to the Postal Service as well as a link if you want to drive the customer to your website. As you’ll see in the image on the next page, different industries can benefit from using Informed Delivery. The Postal Service has been dedicating a lot of time and effort into getting the retail industry to take advantage of this program. For example, coupon functionality has been added. Consumers are able to use coupons in the ID program simply by walking into a store and showing the coupon from a phone. Another industry that the Postal Service believes can benefit from this program is government entities, specifically when it comes to voting by mail. Getting Started When you go to set up a campaign, you have to go through a number of different steps. First, you need to choose the dates that you want images to be used and provide the mail piece information

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Business Objectives



• Subscription Renewal • Seller Registration

and supplemental content. With the supplemental content, you can also provide a replacement image. Additionally, you can provide a ride-along image, also known as a call-to-action, and a targeted URL. The URL will allow the person viewing it to click on it and be redirected to your website. The Benefits and Qualifications Beginning September 1, 2020, and ending November 30, 2020, any mailings that qualify for participation in the Informed Delivery promotion will receive a two percent discount on postage. That is a significant opportunity, especially when sending high volumes of mail. First-Class Mail, Marketing Mail, and non-profit mail are all eligible for the promotion. So, what is required for participation? Registration is the first step. This can be done on the USPS Business Customer Gateway; alternatively, you can auto-enroll through the use of the e-Documentation submitted for postage payment. Typically, mail service providers can assist with the auto-enroll process. One thing to know is that only mailings submitted electronically qualify for the discounts. The campaign must be created prior to induction.


• Policy Bundling • Claim Submissions

Mailers should also be aware that the timing is critical. For instance, if you are using the portal, campaigns must be submitted no later than noon, Eastern time, the day prior to the campaign start day. Postal campaigns must be submitted and campaign files must be fully processed by midnight the day prior to the campaign start date. If these timeline requirements aren’t met, the campaign submission will fail, resulting in issues getting the discounts and in getting your Informed Delivery images and links delivered. The other big part of qualifying is that the marketing content to be used in the Informed Delivery campaign needs to be approved by the Postal Service before submitting any mailings intended to be included in the promotion. To get this approval, you must submit an image file of your proposed content to the promotion office. The USPS is going to be looking for a strong call-to-action within the images you’re submitting. If you’re using a representative image, they’re going to be looking to ensure that there’s a strong resemblance between that image and the physical mail piece that you’re using. They will be checking to make sure you are not encouraging a switch to receive future correspondence electronically. They have also employed technology to make sure that URLs that are provided go to a site that is safe for the consumer. Considerations There’s a lot to consider when putting campaigns together and applying for the promotion. First, Informed Delivery only supports creating campaigns at the Mailer ID-level or using IMb serial ranges.

• Voter Registration • Civic Engagement

If you’re creating a multi-version job, you’ll need to make sure that the IMb ranges are sequential and contiguous for each of the versions. At this point in time, the Postal Service doesn’t support individual IMb-level image replacements or PURLs. Also, the campaign window is limited to a maximum of 45 days. The promotion needs to be consumer-focused, as Informed Delivery is not available yet for business addresses. The Postal Service will be monitoring all the mailings where the promotion was applied, ensuring that all qualifications were met successfully. They may remove discounts if any of the requirements are not met; for example, not enough consumer addresses in the file, there were no hits to Informed Delivery participants, or failure to get exact images pre-approved. Bright Side of Today’s Climate Since many people are working from home due to COVID-19, Informed Delivery subscriptions are going up at an accelerated pace. This is a great time to check this program out if you have not already done so.  Angelo Anagnostopoulos, VP Postal Affairs at GrayHair Software, partners with GrayHair’s clients to help them maximize their postal operations, develop compliance best practices, and provide guidance on a wide variety of postal issues and regulations. He sits on major postal industry groups, including the Mailers’ Technical Advisory Committee (MTAC) and is currently the industry leader for Enterprise Analytics and Data Usage. For more information on how to leverage Informed Delivery and get the most out of your data, visit | MAY-JUNE 2020




ll across America, mail centers are functioning beyond their limits. No one could have ever predicted that the business of deliverables and receivables would be as crucial to the maintenance of society as they are in this moment. As the nation continues to shelter in their homes, many have chosen to use mail-order services as their primary method of procuring goods. This trend has created a tsunami of packages and parcels for mail centers to manage. While some mail centers have flourished during this time, others are struggling to keep up. Though many factors may be cause for a mail center to underperform, one reason seems to be the most common: those mail centers aren’t as efficient as they need to be. Efficiency is a broad term that can easily be misused and misunderstood. So many businesses equate efficiency with the act of stripping away resources and focusing solely on mission-critical activities. Companies should instead focus on simplifying processes and streamlining operations. This endeavor requires key stakeholders to identify steps within their processes that 16

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can be improved. For mail centers, it’s as simple as avoiding a few common pitfalls.

feature to assign activities for multiple departments, instead of just one or two.

Don’t Settle for Basic Software Solutions Package tracking systems have proven to be an invaluable tool for maintaining mail and inventory visibility; it’s one of many tracking features that are often bundled together in logistics software packages designed to increase efficiencies in workflow. Unfortunately, many companies make the mistake of choosing a software package that is too basic to service all of their business functions. It’s best to determine the full logistical needs of your company long before you make a purchase. After you gain a thorough understanding of your company’s needs, it will be easier for you to make a sound software decision. Once you purchase your software, learn how to optimize each of its functions. To get the most from your software, you must leverage all of your platform’s functionalities to automate several processes within your facility. Use your package tracking software to track visitors, or use your task management

Don’t Overlook Integrations Time should be your business’s most precious commodity. Every time you have to step out of your home software to perform a task, time is lost; this also means that extra time must be devoted to training employees to use multiple programs instead of one multifunctional platform. For these reasons, companies must stay up to date on any new updates or integrations for their software. New integrations often provide a better or simpler way of performing tasks. For instance, instead of using dedicated software for each one of your major carriers (USPS, Fed-Ex, UPS, etc.), seek a software add-on that allows you to perform carrier program functions from within your platform (i.e., desktop shipping). You might also consider integrating your package tracking software with your company’s ERP system, allowing the receiving department to tie together the purchase order, tracking number, and paid voucher for comprehensive purchase visibility and accountability.

When a mail center’s processes and tools are centralized, their staff will save time and will have the capacity to take on more prescient issues. Don’t Think Big. Think Critically It’s incredibly important for businesses to think strategically about the hardware and physical space that they use. As the workload of the average mail center increases over time, many companies might be tempted to expand their physical space and purchase needless tools. Instead, companies should take a critical look at the space they have and rethink how they are using it. Increased traffic in mail centers will last well beyond the current moment — and businesses will need to rise to this challenge to stay competitive in a changing market. A great way to get started on that process is to employ the use of virtual mailboxes. So many centers have multiple rows of assigned mailboxes that are under-used. You can gain back space once occupied by the mailboxes and switch to several barcoded file folders, each one representing an individual mailbox. Here’s how it works:

1. The mail center receives mail for an employee or student. 2. The mail center staff inserts the letter into the recipient’s designated folder. 3. The employee scans the barcode on the folder to send an email/text notification to the recipient, saying they received mail. This measure not only saves physical space in your center but is a great way to keep white mail from piling up. Kiosks can also be an effective space-saving measure that mail centers can employ, as it allows employees to virtually request their mail and packages before they arrive. The kiosk enables the mail center’s staff to pull packages/mail before the employee gets to the service counter, thus improving the speed and efficiency of the operation. On a more timely note, kiosks also provide an extra measure of social distance between customers and staff, which creates a safer and healthier experience for both parties. For mail centers, this moment in history is unlike any other. The unprecedented demand caused by the current pandemic has stretched the capacity of mail centers to their limits. With the safety and the via-

bility of employees at stake, it is now more important than ever to optimize each one of your processes and simplify where you can. Use an in-building logistics platform that can accommodate all of your logistical processes in place of several uni-taskers. Let product integrations upgrade your current software and simplify tasks. Allow virtual mailboxes and kiosk systems to create a safe social distance necessary to protect your customers and your staff. If you avoid the pitfalls mentioned above, as well as pursue creative solutions to enhance your operations, you will adequately equip your facility with valuable tools to overcome this challenging moment.  As Vice President of Emerging Markets for SCLogic, Bruce E. Little is responsible for developing international business as well as managing channel partners. He has over 20 years of experience in the mail and package tracking industry. Bruce joined the SCLogic team in 1999 as the Vice President of Channels and has also held the titles of Vice President of Sales and General Manager before becoming the Vice President of Emerging Markets. Bruce has presented at many industry conferences such as NPF, MAILCOM, IFMA World Workplace, NACAS C3X, and NACUMS. | MAY-JUNE 2020


By Scott Stephens

IS IT TIME TO REVIEW YOUR DATA SECURITY PLANS? Security is always a critical concern, but in the current environment, it’s more vital than ever.


hen COVID-19 began to spread beyond the original epicenter in Wuhan, China, calls for social distancing reached a fever pitch. Governments in hardhit areas imposed stay-at-home orders and shuttered non-essential businesses. Faced with a rapidly evolving crisis, the private sector scrambled to implement work-fromhome arrangements while securing their IT systems and data. Inevitably, criminals began to capitalize on security vulnerabilities created by COVID-19. Shortly after the novel coronavirus struck the United States, the Department of Justice reported that fraudsters were sending phishing emails to unwitting recipients pretending to be from the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control. Hackers also capitalized, creating malicious websites and apps that purported to share virus-related information, only to lock devices until payment was rendered. The stakes for securing IT systems are particularly high for companies in financial services, healthcare, and other industries that process highly sensitive information. To ensure that data is safe, adopting


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these five security measures will build an IT security program that has the capacity and resilience to withstand even the most extraordinary of circumstances. Develop, Implement and Maintain Comprehensive, Up-To-Date Contingency Plans Waiting until something happens to develop appropriate response procedures is a recipe for disaster, and business continuity and disaster recovery plans should be in place well in advance of an emergency. What’s more, they should be reviewed and updated on an annual basis. When reviewing contingency plans, remove and replace any team members who have moved on from the company and make sure the updated contact information for every member of the incident command is included. Once the plans have been created and updated, it’s time to test them. At least once a year, bring team members together to work through different emergency scenarios. Use a variety of exercises, from walkthroughs and tabletop exercises to functional tests that give team members hands-on experience reacting to scenarios in real time. Once the exercises are completed, it is good to

conduct a “lessons learned” retrospective. Remember that the point of these exercises is not to pass the test with flying colors, but to identify any vulnerabilities in the program so corrective action can be taken before a real emergency goes down. Train Staff on Security Awareness and Assigned Security Roles Having contingency plans in place won’t be much help unless your staff is trained to implement them the moment a disaster occurs. Employees with assigned emergency response or security roles should be trained on the company’s contingency plans when they receive their assignments and at least annually thereafter. Staff who don’t have assigned security roles still require training in general security awareness. The training program should address common social engineering scenarios. It is not recommended to rely on recycled, one-hour annual trainings either. Base the company’s training on current, real-world situations and include phishing simulations to give staff practice in responding to security incidents. Lastly, familiarize the staff with mobile computing, bring your own device (BYOD), and other security policies.

Implement Security Controls Appropriate to the Work Environment Whether your staff is working from home or coming into the office, the company’s security controls should address the unique requirements of your work environment. If the company is relying on teleworking, implementing robust endpoint protection and a VPN for remote access is essential. Conduct regular reviews of access privileges and suspend or terminate inactive user accounts. When establishing user privileges, grant only the minimum necessary and the least amount of privilege required to perform assigned duties to comply with applicable data privacy requirements like the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Take even greater precautions for users with elevated privileges by adopting ISACA and SSH communication guidelines to properly manage SSH keys. Adopt effective technical safeguards for the IT systems, including proper malware protection, encryption, multi-factor authentication, intrusion detection systems (IDS), firewalls, and 24/7 network monitoring using a layered approach. Establish a multi-layered approach to facility security as well. Restrict access to areas that pro-

cess or store sensitive information and install CCTV, motion detection sensors, and other mechanisms to monitor access. Track User Activity According to a 2019 report by the Ponemon Institute and IBM Security, the amount of time to detect and contain a breach was a massive 279 days! Ideally, the organization will be able to detect an incident well in advance of that, but if an unauthorized party does gain access to the organization’s systems and data, being able to reconstruct their activity will be essential to mitigating breaches and other damage and to preventing future occurrences. To detect and mitigate unauthorized access, log and review access to the organization’s IT systems, networks, and facilities. Anything that can be logged should be logged. If it hasn’t already been done, invest in automated log management tools so that daily reviews of IDS, firewall, and system activity logs can be conducted without overtaxing the IT Department. Build a Resilient Supply Chain An organization’s supply chain is only as strong as its weakest link, so evaluate the

security of the third-party service providers and vendors with the same level of care given to the organization’s own security operations. Check for suppliers who have validated their security programs through independent thirdparty certifications and attestations such as HITRUST, ISO 27001, PCI DSS, and SOC1 and SOC2 reporting. When evaluating suppliers, verify that they have their own contingency plans in place and implement stringent controls if their employees will access your networks, systems, or facilities. It’s often said that emergencies are a true test of character, but they are also a test of the resilience and capacity of a company’s data security program. Knowing what to look for and implementing the appropriate controls will help you survive the next major crisis and bounce back stronger than ever.  Scott Stephens is President of DATAMATX, one of the nation’s largest privately held, full-service providers of printed and electronic billing solutions. For more than 40 years, companies in the financial services, healthcare, insurance and other industries working with DATAMATX have benefited by leveraging the latest in technology and security to enhance the value of every customer communication produced and delivered. Find DATAMATX at | MAY-JUNE 2020




ou might think matching and duplicate data detection is a straightforward exercise, and many times, it is. Want to see if a data file contains duplicate account numbers? That’s easy. A middle-schooler could write a routine that accomplishes this task. It involves no variables other than simple issues like formatting or leading zero suppression. But what if you’re analyzing data files of customer contact information constructed in different time periods, by different organizations, or with different rules? This data may have names, customer behavior, history, and other contact information in various formats. The data values are probably inconsistent from file to file. A standard match routine will not recognize that James Arnold, Jim Arnold, JR Arnold, Ross Arnold, Junior Arnold, and Arnold James could be the same person. For more sophisticated matching, you’ll need software developed by data scientists, and the routines may use the deterministic or probabilistic methods of match detection — or both!


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Deterministic Matching Deterministic matching seeks equal values for data fields from one data record to another. This may sound like the simple account number matching example we mentioned above, but sophisticated deterministic matching uses scoring to decide how strong a match it has made. The software will also account for the presence or absence of data values. This is more sophisticated than a simple byteby-byte comparison. One hundred percent positive matches occur when the values of all inspected data fields are the same in both data records. When data fields exist in both compared records but the values are different, the software will decide the records do not match exactly and will assign a weighted score value depending on the strength of the match. Combined matching and non-matching data fields ultimately control the score for a pair of data records with field-to-field scoring, which uses word or phrase similarity, noise word removal, cross-field

Deterministic or probabilistic matching? Why an approach combining the two could be optimal. comparisons, and weighted scoring of fields contributing to the overall record score. Users decide the thresholds for taking action. If the score falls below the threshold the matching software will not merge the data. High scores may be considered positive matches and cause the data to be combined. Scores in between the high and low thresholds may be tagged for manual review. Probabilistic Matching With probabilistic matching, the software computes a matching score that determines the probability of a match. To use our example from above, matching “James Arnold” with “Jim Arnold” would yield a higher score than matching “James Arnold” with “Junior Arnold”. “Jim” is a common nickname for “James” but “Junior” is not. We can’t rule out the possibility, however, without additional data. If social security numbers for James and Junior are different, the software won’t make the match. Contrarily, if supporting information such as

matching birthdates, spouse names, or street addresses exist, the match score for “Junior Arnold” could rise. Great probabilistic matching software can even unscramble names. If a data record listed a misspelled customer name as “James Anrold” the software would recognize the likely character transposition and score the match to “James Arnold” appropriately. Probabilistic approaches can also remove noise words that can detract from the matching process, allowing the software to identify all the possible matches. To be most effective, the probabilistic method considers many data fields. The more pieces of data the software compares, the more accurate the results. Probabilistic matching is sometimes referred to as “fuzzy matching” because it includes educated guesses, not exact matches. A scoring system helps software avoid matching records where the ambiguity is too high. Great Matching Takes Both In most complex matching scenarios, data scientists combine deterministic and prob-

abilistic matching to make data merging decisions. The two methods complement one another. Laypersons may believe they should rely only on deterministic matches because it’s more of a sure thing, but they do not understand that probabilistic matching methods can add value to a deterministic-based task. Adding probabilistic methods expands the scope of the matching or consolidation project. Consider a case where the primary match criterion is a data field well-suited to deterministic matching, such as an email address. If some data sources do not include email addresses for all records, deterministic-only routines might skip valuable information from that data source. Consequently, an organization might lose data such as internet browsing patterns or customer buying history, simply because the data records containing this information lacked an email address matching the master record. By adding probabilistic matching, the software can compare several data elements, even if the data values vary, and match the records with an acceptable level

of certainty. Important customer data will be retained, allowing the organization to use this information to enhance future customer experiences and run more effective marketing campaigns. Understanding how matching works is important in evaluating your data quality requirements and selecting the right tools for the job. Employing both deterministic and probabilistic matching methods, the best software generates results consistent with your requirements for data matching, duplicate recognition, and data consolidation.  Ken Kucera is the managing principal of Firstlogic Solutions, delivering world-class address and data quality software to data-driven companies across the USA. With 38 years of industry experience, Ken leads the teams that innovate and deliver address correction, data cleansing, data matching and consolidation software at Firstlogic. Ken has been an active member of the National Postal Forum (NPF), Direct Marketing Association (DMA), and the National Etailing & Mailing Organization of America (NEMOA). Reach Ken at or follow him at Twitter @FirstlogicDQ and LinkedIn. | MAY-JUNE 2020


By Kathleen J. Siviter

Can Innovative and Holistic Leadership



or an already financially challenged United States Postal Service, the COVID-19 pandemic is dealing a heavy blow — one that calls for both shortterm and long-term holistic leadership. By the USPS’s own reports, in mid-March, the organization began experiencing significant mail volume declines as a result of the pandemic’s impact on businesses that use the mail. While the USPS has reported significant increases in packages volumes since mid-March — a bright spot in terms of revenue — it could be short-lived.


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Never has there been a more critical need for innovative and holistic leadership around the future of the Postal Service. I use the term “holistic” because there are forces that must work together in terms of leading the USPS both in the short and long term. Looking at “who’s on first” when it comes to USPS leadership can be a complicated exercise — there is no lack of political, regulatory, and appointed USPS “leaders.” So, who is responsible for leading the USPS into the future? Who can make what kinds of changes to help guide the USPS on the best path forward? Let’s take a brief look…

The Postmaster General. As the highest USPS employee position, the Postmaster General leads the USPS and its workforce in its daily operations as well as setting and implementing strategy; this individual is the executive “face” of the Postal Service. The Postmaster General is selected by the USPS Board of Governors, and at the time this article was written, it was just announced that the USPS Board has selected a new Postmaster General, Louis DeJoy. The Postmaster General, like the CEO of a private company, has the ability to set policy and strategy for most facets of

the USPS’s business, within its legislative and regulatory constraints. The Postmaster General takes direction from the Board of Governors on matters where the Board has authority. The USPS Board of Governors. The USPS Board of Governors is designed to be comparable to a board of directors of a publicly held corporation. There are nine Governor positions, and each Governor is appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate for the remainder of the seven-year term they are selected to fill. There can be no more than five of the nine Governors from the same political party. The Postmaster General and Deputy Postmaster General also serve on the Board but do not have all the same voting capabilities. The Board directs the exercise of the powers of the Postal Service, directs and controls its expenditures, reviews its practices, conducts long-range planning, approves officer compensation, and sets policies on all postal matters. The Board also takes up matters such as service standards and capital investments.

At the time this article was written, there were four seated Governors (three Republican and one Democrat), and the other five positions remain vacant (former Governor and Vice Chairman David Williams had just resigned from the Board). The Board still has a quorum (something it operated without for years as vacancies were not filled), and there are currently two Presidential nominations for Governors awaiting Senate confirmation. Congress. Congress is responsible for crafting and implementing the laws that govern how the USPS operates. The requirement for the USPS to deliver mail six days per week, for example, is a law passed each year in Congress as part of broader legislation. The Postal Accountability Enhancement Act (2006) is the current set of comprehensive laws the USPS must operate under — and represented the first comprehensive postal reform bill passed by Congress since the 1970 Postal Reorganization Act (PRA). Within Congress, there are two key committees charged with oversight of the USPS: the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee (HSGAC)

in the Senate, and the House Committee on Oversight and Reform. These committees are where most postal legislation is worked on, then moved to the full House/ Senate for vote and consensus, then ultimately to the President to sign into law. In addition to these two key committees, Congress utilizes the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to conduct research and provide information and recommendations on many areas, including the Postal Service. Several times, the GAO has placed the USPS on its high-risk agency list (where it remains today), and has conducted many studies on aspects of the Postal Service. The President. Starting at the top, the President has power over the USPS’s destiny in some ways. The President can issue Executive Orders, or veto legislation that can impact the laws governing the Postal Service. The most recent example of a Presidential Executive Order related to the USPS was the 2018 order establishing a Presidential Task Force on the Postal Service, which resulted in a December 2018 report, “United States Postal System: A | MAY-JUNE 2020


Sustainable Path Forward.” An example of how the President’s veto powers can impact the USPS is that he reportedly kept the USPS from being included in the CARES stimulus legislation, threatening a veto if the USPS was included. The Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC). The role of the PRC is not an organizational leadership role, but a regulatory oversight role. But through its role, the PRC can approve or deny requests from the USPS around changes to its products/ services, postage prices, and other areas key to its business. And the PRC, in conducting its statutorily required 10-year review of the USPS’s rate cap system, has taken the position that it is within its powers to make significant revisions to the rate system (an ongoing proceeding currently before the PRC), which could have significant impact on the USPS’s policy, pricing, and regulatory strategies. The PRC has five Commissioners nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate. In 2019, three of the Commissioners met the end of their term and were replaced, so there are three relatively new Commissioners on the PRC. So, Who’s on First? The appointment of a new Postmaster General along with maintaining a quorum on the USPS Board of Governors provides an opportunity for innovative changes; there is a great deal that the USPS has the authority to do with support from its Board that does not require Congressional or regulatory change. There are cost-cutting measures and revenue building opportunities that can and should be pursued. The new Postmaster General, Louis DeJoy, brings experience in the postal and logistics sector, as well as an entrepreneurial business background, and is politically connected. To address legislative changes needed to improve the USPS’ long term financial condition (e.g., lifting the retirement health benefits pre-funding requirement, maintaining the existing regulatory price cap over monopoly products, etc.), Congress must act. If long-term changes are needed in the USPS’s business model, that also falls to Congress. But it requires a bipartisan effort in Congress with support from the Administration to move any comprehensive postal reform forward. At the time this article was written, the GAO had just published its latest work on the USPS in response to Congressional request. The report, “U.S. POSTAL SERVICE: Con24

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gressional Action Is Essential to Enable a Sustainable Business Model,” provides research and information on issues related to the USPS business model and makes recommendations to Congress on key areas it should consider. In this writer’s opinion, the likelihood that Congress will work on and pass comprehensive legislative postal reform in 2020 — a Presidential election year — is low. Congress may prefer to give the new Postmaster General the opportunity to assess the organization with fresh eyes (and undoubtedly some USPS organizational changes, since Louis DeJoy is only the fifth Postmaster General in history to come from the private sector, and each of those Postmaster Generals made significant changes to the USPS’s organizational structure and executives). Congress also has a host of larger issues it is dealing with for the remainder of 2020 — such as the economy.

USPS has told Congress it predicts a 25% permanent mail volume loss going forward as a result of the pandemic and another recession. But even the USPS is quick to point out that there are many unknown factors looking at the next one to two years, including how long the pandemic will last and its impact on mail, whether the boon that the USPS and other carriers are seeing in package volume will continue and for how long, whether the USPS is provided with Congressional aid, and more. These are tough times for the more than seven million employees in the larger mailing industry — many of which are dependent on the USPS, but there is still hope that the Postal Service piece of the larger supply chain (and the businesses that depend on a strong USPS) can come through the impacts of the pandemic and out the other side. I’ve always been accused of perhaps being too optimistic in life (is there such a thing?) but I’ve seen the mailing industry come through some very tough times. It is a tough, resilient, and adaptable industry with a great deal of passion and innovative thinking that can find opportunities in challenges and adapt to the “new normals” that the next few years may bring. It is my hope that a new Postmaster General, supported by an active Board of Governors, can make innovative changes that will help reduce the USPS’s costs and help build new revenue sources as well as support existing profitable products and services to see the mailing industry through the next couple of years. I also hope that Congress will take up consideration of the longer term changes in the USPS’s business model in a thoughtful and measured way once the crisis of the pandemic is behind us. 

The USPS has told Congress it predicts a 25% permanent mail volume loss going forward as a result of the pandemic and another recession. What About the Impact on the USPS from the Pandemic? At the time this article was written, the USPS had communicated to the White House that it was likely to run short of operating cash by the fall of 2020 unless it received stimulus funds (or by April 2021 if it were able to meet the Treasury’s terms to borrow the additional $10 billion loan authority granted the USPS in the CARES stimulus package). The USPS has seen significant decline in mail volumes as a result of the pandemic and anticipates that trend to continue post-pandemic, particularly assuming that the US will enter a recession similar or worse than the 2008 recession, during and after which the USPS said it experienced a permanent 20% loss of mail volume. The

Kathleen J. Siviter is Asst. Executive Director of the National Association of Presort Mailers (NAPM) as well President of Postal Consulting Services Inc. (PCSi), and she has over 30 years’ experience in the postal industry. She has worked for the U.S. Postal Service, Association for Postal Commerce (PostCom), PostalVision, and others, as well as providing consulting services to a diverse set of clients with interest in the postal industry.


THE RIGHT EQUIPMENT FOR THE RIGHT JOB Now, more than ever, it’s crucial that mailers have the equipment and solutions that will enable them to optimize their print/mail operations while maximizing their ROI. Whether you are looking for sorters, inkjet systems, inserters, printers, or camera systems (just to name a few!), here are eight companies with the options you need to know about before you make a decision.

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. 314.853.5867

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 processing 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™ Tabletop Manifesting System for generating postal savings on a variety of parcel mail classes; EZ-Letters, which optimizes letter sorting in a very small footprint; and the EZ-WorkDesk™ and Chameleon™ Parcel Sortation platforms for high speed processing of parcels for induction into both shipping and postal distribution networks. 800.350.6450 | MAY-JUNE 2020


Passion for innovation is evident in everything we do at Fluence Automation. We call that passion “Fire in the Belly,” and it is the core principle that drives our teams. What do we do at Fluence Automation? We solve problems in the mailing and material handling industries. In the field of postal automation, we have the largest commercial installation base of sorting hardware and software in the United States and throughout Europe and South America. Our customers are banks, financial services providers, mailers, printers, and entrepreneurs looking to move mail and parcels through the postal systems quickly, accurately, and with efficiency. We are also the trusted partner for companies looking to automate handling of parcels. We design, manufacture, and integrate our mate-

rial-handling solutions to meet diverse customer applications. Our parcels sorters are used daily to handle a wide variety of both outgoing and incoming packages. At the core of our solutions is our industry-leading reading technology. As the leader in data capture, recognition, and verification software, our customers read, track, and verify mail and packages daily. And tying our technologies together is our suite of software for machine control and postal submission. Customers entering mail and parcels into the postal streams take advantage of our NetSort software daily to aggregate and report piece and volume data. 888.832.4902

NPI has been designing leading-edge sorting equipment for over 40 years. NPI sets the standard for affordable, high quality, high speed, low maintenance machines, while meeting the highest expectations in automated mail sorting with the industry’s most compact design. Our exclusive technology can be configured into a number of modular designs to meet specific customer requirements for labor efficiency, floor space and cost. Maxim — reaching speeds of up to 40,000 letters per hour OMEGA — a portable MLOCR/ BCR-capable machine run by a single operator VSORT — NPI’s solution to mailers that need capability to sort mailpieces up to 5/8-inch thick. CROSSFIRE SE (patent pending) — NPI’s most advanced sorting system to date; throughput of up to 100,000 mail pieces per hour.

Since 1967 Kirk-Rudy has manufactured innovative solutions for the mailing and printing industries. From their state of the art 100,000 sq. ft. factory just north of Atlanta, GA, a complete product line of feeders, transport bases, conveyors, inkjet printers, inserters, labelers, tabbers, sorting, stacking, tip-on, pick-nplace, folders, bump turns, drying and matching/vision systems are engineered and produced with the highest standards of quality and value. Known for their high quality inkjet systems, Kirk-Rudy has just introduced their newest full color inkjet printer, the FireJet 4C. Using Memjet’s new DuraFlex technology, the FireJet 4C is an all-in-one printing system that combines the heavy-duty transport that Kirk-Rudy is famous for, along with the printing quality, reliability, and simplicity that Memjet is known for. The FireJet 4C offers a


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profitable alternative to the smaller desktop, toner-based digital color printers on the market today, and delivers high-speed color printing at near offset quality for documents, labels, direct mail and packaging. 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. 770.427.4203

NPI equipment currently operates in over 27 countries worldwide providing functionality specific to each country and each customer’s operational requirements. 1.888.821.7678 (SORT)

OKI Data is the leading manufacturer of digital short-run envelope printers in North America with thousands of systems installed in print shops across the country producing millions of envelopes each year. Using digital, toner-based technology, OKI’s C942dp+ can cost-effectively produce runs of one to thousands of envelopes. All while offering the versatility to deliver white images on stationery and dark envelopes, color-on-color on dark envelopes, and high-definition CMYK on white envelopes. OKI believes the C942dp+ will help your shop achieve a powerful return on investment by enabling profitable production no matter the job size. Owners of OKI C942dp+ printers report that by adding white toner capabilities to their envelope portfolio they can tap into new markets and generate new revenue streams. In addition, many find that other jobs run more cost effectively on their OKI printers; like carbonless forms, letter-

head, business cards and large sheets up to 13” x 52”. Operators will appreciate time-saving features such as variable data printing, easy set-up between envelope sizes, flexible thickness support and virtually maintenance free operation. The straight-through paper path reduces jamming, while OKI’s proprietary LED printing technology provides stable, consistent color and performance. To deliver dedicated consultation, onsite support, training and consumables replenishment, OKI printers are sold exclusively through an authorized dealer network. Contact OKI today to learn how your print shop can unleash new profit streams.

To stay competitive, mail operations are constantly looking for ways to do more with less, and nothing helps improve margins like sourcing quality pre-owned or remanufactured equipment. That is exactly what SMS Direct Inc. does best! With over 25,000+ sq. ft of equipment, and the company’s combined 200+ years of mail operations, mechanical, and technical knowledge, as well as their expertise on integration and production enhancement, SMS Direct Inc. is uniquely equipped to offer their customers a perfectly integrated product at a substantial savings in cost, helping to reduce the ever changing “Revenue Per Direct Labor Hour”. SMS Direct Inc. is the largest provider of pre-owned mailing equipment in the US, including (but not limited to): Flowmasters, Feeder/Accumulator/ Folders, Inkjet Addressing Systems,

Friction Feeders, Inserters, Affixers, Bindery and Tabbing Lines. Among the latest new equipment offered includes SMS Direct Inc.’s very own equipment line: The SF1 Feeder/Accumulator/Folder and The SMS Tru-Check verification system. SMS Direct Inc. is proud to be the “Go-To” dealer for the following manufacturers: MCS, Straightshooter, Ameritek, Baumfolder, GMS and Postmatic... And many more! SMS Direct Inc. has locations near Chicago IL and Clearwater FL and is focused and driven to exceed their client’s expectations Please call (815)-524-7700 or visit 972.891.3304

Camera-based Auto-ID systems VICAM 3S is an all-in-one linescan camera setting new standards in data capture for the logistics industry. The camera has an extremely high line frequency and the highest focus range on the market. The high-performance camera offers three major benefits within one unit:  smart — An integrated linuxbased decoding unit onboard the camera enables plug & play operation as a stand-alone system.  small — The compact design, with a width of only 45 cm and around 40% less weight, simplifies the handling and installation.  synchronized — The system reads, processes, and transmits the data whilst the goods pass through and benefits from optimum read results. This includes the secure scanning of barcodes, 2D codes, and characters, irrespective of their orientation on the packages, large letters, or polybags — even damaged or poor quality codes can be read. 502.266.2699 x 203 815.524.7700 | MAY-JUNE 2020






s I am writing this article, we are at the peak of the Covid-19 epidemic and most people have been working remotely for at least a month, without a current end in sight. My days are filled with meetings in the same ways that they were prior to the crisis and our clients are just as engaged, only from a remote setting. I think we all intuitively know that life will never go back to the way that it was for the following two reasons: 1. Even when this is under control, people will rethink the way they interact in public. 2. People can be effective working from home, and many will really like it! Companies will see the benefits of remote workers, including lower real estate costs, reduced commuting times, and increased morale. With this change, organizations will need improved mailing and shipping tools to support this new increasingly remote dynamic.

The most current mailing and shipping solutions that support remote workers have these core benefits:  The ability to access information electronically through the cloud.  The ability to send mail and packages from any computer.  Control over where items print and/or what way the recipient receives the information (print, email, fax, text).  Control incoming mail, including how to electronically route to the right department and recipient.  Simple to implement and maintain with limited to no IT resources required. The best part of all these solutions is they save money, whether this is from postage, equipment, labor, or general efficiency. PC Postage PC postage systems allow you to print postage and stamps from any computer with an internet connection and a local (or network) printer. They will print 4x6 shipping labels onto either regular paper

Figure 1 28

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(to be taped to the item or put into a labelope) or on labels that can be purchased through any office supply store. When printing postage stamps, you can either print directly onto your envelope, or purchase blank sheets of stamps from the PC postage providers, which can be loaded into your printer (this is the most common). There are custom label printers that can be ordered, but they are not required. This is the fastest growth segment of the mailing industry because of the following:  It is inexpensive compared to postage meters, and typical costs range from $10-30 per month.  It is cloud-based and can be accessed from any device. This means it will work from home, while travelling, and in locations without other metering technology.  These offerings are easy to deploy and use; within a week, you can receive your login credentials, a scale, and starter labels. There are simple online tutorials to get you started quickly.  You are given visibility of all history and package tracking statuses.  Mailers can realize significant postage savings. As you can see from Figure 1, the USPS provides extra discounts because the package level detail is being submitted electronically. It is worth noting that some newer postage meters may come with a PC postage subscription to get these rates.  Some systems have multiple carrier options to process UPS/FedEx. Enterprise PC Postage Enterprise PC postage is the same as standard PC postage with the main difference being that multiple locations can be controlled under a central administration license. This offers the following benefits:  Simplicity of onboarding new users.  Reporting on all location and user activities from a central dashboard.  Managing billing for subscriptions, supplies, and postage.  Controlling user access (this includes removing users who are no longer active).  Single sign-on; some systems have this option to link to an active directory to eliminate password management. If you have more than 10 locations using PC postage, we recommend having them controlled through an enterprise license. Multi-Carrier Enterprise Mail and Shipping The main difference here versus Enterprise PC postage is these systems offer more robust rate shopping tools to optimize your carrier spends (UPS, FedEx, USPS, DHL, etc.) across the enterprise. They will let you see the different cost choices by time of expected delivery, allowing your users to make the best choices for every item. They also allow customized rules to be built to control what users see, how you want them to send, and to be able to report on what happened. Most organizations rely on free carrier tools like UPS CampusShip or, but the issue is that the end user only sees the options from that carrier. It will also not easily show the least expensive options like Ground Services in the same screens as the more expensive overnight choices. Multi-carrier enterprise systems can put all carriers and service levels in one place to select the most economical options. Some platforms give the options to print USPS stamps, which can further reduce costs. The question that needs to be asked is, does every item have to go at $5-10 overnight service when a $.50 stamp might be sufficient? The issue for most home office users is that they do not | MAY-JUNE 2020


Figure 2, have the ability to print a USPS stamp, so they use the free, carrier-provided tools that default to these more expensive options. Remote Printing It is not efficient for home office users to print larger mail jobs because they will not have the proper equipment, supplies, and staffing to get them out the door effectively. Organizations will need to be able to send documents to areas with the proper infrastructure. There have been tremendous developments in the technology to do this efficiently and at lower costs. There are two main ways this can be done: Onsite Production Facilities – There is software in place that can create a virtual print driver on the desktop where the job can be created. It can then be sent to a location inside your organization that has the staff, equipment, and support to get the pieces out in a more efficient and lower cost method. This eliminates the need to have mailing equipment scattered throughout your locations when there can be trained staff and higher-level automated solutions in a central location more suited to process this mail. Sent to a Professional Mail Service Provider – Using a similar virtual print driver, the same job could be sent to a third-party company that specializes in this type of work. They will have the infrastructure in place to process your mailings quickly and at the lowest postage costs. Regardless of which model is chosen, there are significant benefits in having mail produced in a central environment.  Postage discounts – As you can see in Figure 2, moving mail from single piece rates to automation with barcodes provides huge savings.  Flexibility with output – Through the newest tools, they give the flexibility on how the item is sent. This can include paper, or electronic client delivery as an email, fax, or text.  Mail moves faster from central automated processes.  Mail tracking capabilities.  Documents are archived for retrieval in a central repository. Incoming Digital Mail If people are working remotely, how are they going to receive incoming mail that could be crucial for them doing their job? There are new tools around digital mail that can make this easy and more efficient even when not in quarantine. The basic premise on how this works is that as mail comes in, it is scanned into a software package that can electronically route the documents to where they need to go. It does this by OCR technology that can transpose the printed document to text that can now be processed in a more efficient manner. In most organizations, 80% of the mail is made up of consistent items going to specific departments. Examples could be pay30

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ments, invoices, or responses to marketing offers. In a paper-based method, someone manually sorts these pieces to the departments, they are transported on a cart to that area, and then the information is key-entered into a system to document their receipt. How does this work when a percentage of your staff is working remotely? A digital mail system will scan these items in at the time they are received. Because the document has been converted from paper to text, keywords are searched that automatically route the electronic document to the right department. Interfaces can be developed to get this information into the system or remote workers can access the electronic files to perform their workflows. For the other 20% of miscellaneous content, the end user can get an email showing them an image of the document with a way to let the system know what needs to happen to the printed item. This allows faster responses and a way for remote workers to access the information. Also, advertising mail can be automatically disposed. Digital Mail Creates Savings from the Following:  Reduces the delivery costs of the physical pieces of mail.  Faster response to incoming items, such as customer requests for information.  Visibility to data and analytics on what is being received for improved tracking.  Elimination of data entry of information because the data can be received electronically. Returned mail would be an example. Instead of needing to key in all of the items that the USPS sends back as “Undeliverable as Addressed,” the system can convert these addresses into an electronic file that can be sent to a specific area where addresses can be checked and updated. There are two core models for implementing this solution.  Buy the scanners and software and run with existing staff.  Hire professional firms who specialize in this to manage the daily incoming mail operations either from a central facility or onsite at your offices. The key to all these tools is they support your staff that is working remotely. They provide better access to information, faster ways to send, at lower costs and with enterprise level visibility. They can all be implemented quickly and with limited IT involvement. The good news is that this new virtual reality of home office workers can now have better tools to run your mailing and shipping functions more efficiently.  Adam Lewenberg, CMDSS, MDC, President of Postal Advocate Inc., runs the largest Mail Audit and Recovery firm in the United States and Canada. They manage the biggest mail equipment fleet in the world and their mission is to help organizations with multi-locations reduce mail and parcel related expenses, recover lost postage funds, and simplify visibility and oversight. Since 2013, they have helped their clients save an average of 58% and over $61 million on equipment, presort, avoidable fees, and lost postage. He can be reached at 617.372.6853 or

Take a closer look at 25 companies with the equipment, software, services, and/or supplies to improve your print-mail quality, production, workflow, and delivery.

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