Mailing Systems Technology Nov/Dec 2019

Page 1










DEPARTMENTS 05 Editor's Note

Looking Ahead to 2020 By Amanda Armendariz

06 Real-Life Management It’s the Manager! By Wes Friesen



08 Software Byte

USPS Launches Market Test for Plus One By Jeff Peoples

10 Inkjet Info Mailers in the World of New Print Technology By Pat McGrew

11 Guest Column



The Importance of Archiving Your Postal Data

By Leo Raymond and Tom Glassman

12 The Trenches


Is Postal Banking the Answer?

By Mike Porter

16 The State of the Industry, Part Two The second installment of our annual survey takes a look at our readers’ challenges in managing their mail centers, their views of the USPS, and more.

By Amanda Armendariz

20 Infusing Your Mailing Business with Data Defender DNA

12 questions every company needs to ask if they hope to prevent a data breach.

By Scott Stephens

26 Top 10 Questions for Equipment Vendors

If purchasing new equipment is on your to-do list for 2020, you’ll want to be armed with these inquiries during the vetting process.

By Mark M. Fallon

28 2020: The Future Is the New Now

Embarking on a new decade brings both excitement and uncertainty, especially where the mailing industry is concerned.

By Kathleen Siviter

14 Guest Column

Enterprise Output Management Systems Update

By Gina Ferrara

15 Connecting Point

The Importance of Millennials for Direct Mail

By Chris Lien

SPONSORED CONTENT 23 Set Yourself Up for Success — Choosing the Right Software for Your Business 24 Short-Run Envelopes — Faster and More Profitable 25 How Installing an Integrated Print MIS Turned Around Unprofitable Growth



EDITOR’S NOTE VOLUME 32, ISSUE 7 MAGAZINE STAFF President Chad Griepentrog Publisher Ken Waddell Editor Amanda Armendariz Editorial Director Allison Lloyd Contributing Writers Mark M. Fallon, Gina Ferrara, Wes Friesen, Tom Glassman, Chris Lien, Pat McGrew, Jeff Peoples, Mike Porter, Leo Raymond, Kathleen Siviter, Scott Stephens Audience Development Manager Rachel Chapman Advertising Ken Waddell 608.235.2212


Design Kelli Cooke RB Publishing 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 ©2019 by RB Publishing All rights reserved. Nothing may be reproduced in whole or in part without written permission from the publisher. Any correspondence sent to Mailing Systems Technology, RB Publishing or its staff becomes property of RB Publishing. The articles in this magazine represent the views of the authors and not those of RB Publishing or Mailing Systems Technology. RB Publishing and/or Mailing Systems Technology expressly disclaim any liability for the products or services sold or otherwise endorsed by advertisers or authors included in this magazine. MAILING SYSTEMS TECHNOLOGY (ISSN 1088-2677) [Volume 32 Issue 7] is published seven times per year (January/February, Annual Industry Buyer’s Guide, March/April, May/June, July/August, September/October, November/December) by RB Publishing,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


020 should be an eventful year for the mailing industry. Of course, eventful doesn’t necessarily mean positive. Most industry experts breathed a sigh of relief when the United States elected to remain in the Universal Postal Union earlier this fall, but the agreement reached means that the US will be allowed to self-declare rates come mid-2020, and many other countries will follow suit eventually, which means most mailers are expecting higher prices for their international mail pieces. Additionally, Postmaster General Megan J. Brennan will be retiring come 2020, and it’s unclear as of now what her retirement means for the strategic direction of the Postal Service. The USPS recently released its FY 2019 report, in which it noted that total volume of mail and packages delivered during the year declined by 3.8 billion pieces (2.6%), and this downturn was largely driven by First-Class Mail declines of 1.8 billion pieces (3.1%) and Marketing Mail declines of 1.6 billion pieces (2.1%). As in years past, package volume grew, albeit only slightly at 16 million pieces, or 0.3%. Luckily, the growth in revenue from this segment still offset the loss resulting from the declines in First-Class Mail and Market-

ing Mail. It’s likely that whoever takes the helm after PMG Brennan’s retirement will implement new strategies to grow this portion of the USPS business, although he or she will likely face some difficulties in doing so. The gig economy has allowed several companies to implement independent drivers for some of their package deliveries, which diverts funds from the USPS package division. Additionally, as we discussed in the last issue of Mailing Systems Technology, Amazon is ramping up its franchise delivery system, which could have significant impacts on the USPS bottom line. The Postal Service is estimated to have delivered 40-60% of Amazon’s US packages. If the e-commerce giant can now rely on its own network, it could cause a decline in the one area the USPS feels it can reasonably depend on for its future sustainability. So, 2020 will be an interesting year for the mailing industry. Stay up to date with us, as we’ll always keep you informed of the latest news and happenings. As always, thanks for reading Mailing Systems Technology. | NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2019



and continually assessing and fine-tuning expectations as circumstances change.




hat is the single biggest factor in the long-term success of an organization or team? The Gallup organization has spent over 30 years researching what drives success and, in the process, interviewed over 10 million people to find the answer. Turns out, the number one factor in success is the manager! For all of us that are in management roles (or aspire to be), Gallup’s findings are sobering and challenging. The good news is there are a number of tools available to help us be better managers and, in turn, help our teams achieve greater long-term success. One such tool is the highly regarded Gallup Q12 survey instrument. The Q12 survey covers 12 crucial elements that are needed to build an engaging and productive workplace culture. Q12 is based on extensive research and been proven to be reliable and valid. Over 30 million people in 198 different countries have taken the survey. I have used the survey with virtually every team I have ever been involved with, and I encourage you to do likewise.

2) You can choose to have responses be anonymous or require respondents to include their names. I have done both ways and feel it’s a case-by-case judgment call. 3) I suggest you invite respondents to write a short description explaining their answers if they wish. 4) I typically would add two to three open-ended questions to the end of the survey to gather additional feedback. Questions to consider include: “What do you feel are the strengths of the team?”, “What ideas do you have to make the team even more successful?”, and “What is one area you feel the team needs to improve?” 5) Follow-up is important. I suggest you summarize the results of the survey and share with your team. You can highlight and capitalize on the perceived strengths of the team, as well as single out the one or two weakest areas to participatively work with the team to make improvements. Follow-up builds trust, earns respect, and will help your team take future surveys seriously because they know they will be acted on.

How to Use the Q12 Survey Sometimes an organization will hire Gallup to administer the survey for all the teams within the organization, which is great if your parent organization sponsors the survey. Apart from that, many individual teams will administer the survey themselves. If you self-administer, following are some considerations I have found: 1) You can use a “Yes” or “No” choice for responses, which is the simplest approach. Alternatively, you may want to use a five-point scale.

Now let’s examine each of the 12 questions on the Q12 Survey:


#1: I know what is expected of me at work. Clarifying expectations is considered the most basic and fundamental employee need. The most effective managers define and discuss the explicit and implicit expectations for each employee and for the team. Best practices include involving employees in setting expectations, providing frequent formal and informal feedback on performance versus the expectations,

#2: I have the material and equipment I need to do my work right. This element is the strongest indicator of job stress. The best managers ask employees what they need, and after vetting, advocate for the funding to meet the needs. The best managers are transparent about what they can and cannot provide, but also resourceful and creative to get employees what they need to be successful. #3: At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day. Giving employees the opportunity to work in their areas of strength boosts employee attraction, engagement, and retention. The best managers know their employees’ strengths and position them so they are engaged and provide value to the organization. #4: In the last seven days, I have received recognition or praise for doing good work. Employee recognition motivates, drives performance, and makes employees feel valued and less likely to leave. The most effective managers promote a recognition-rich environment with praise coming from multiple sources (peers, customers, management) at multiple times. #5: My supervisor, or someone at work, seems to care about me as a person. Employees need to know that someone is concerned about them as people first and as employees second. Employees are more than a number or glorified widget makers. The best managers know their employees, acknowledge achievements, have performance and development conversations, and show they value and respect their employees. #6: There is someone at work who encourages my development. Gallup data shows that the number-one reason that employees leave a job is a lack of development and career growth (especially among Millennials!). The best managers take personal responsibility for developing their employees through ongoing development conversations, creating opportunities to learn and grow, supporting learning of new or enhanced skills, and, in some cases, providing mentors. #7: At work, my opinions seem to count. All employees appreciate having a voice on matters that affect them, especially Millen-

nials. The best managers solicit input and ideas from their employees and are active listeners. They also provide open and honest feedback on ideas and suggestions, advocating and pursuing the good ones and tactfully dealing with unfeasible ones. #8: The mission or purpose of my organization makes me feel my job is important. Employees want to feel that what they do adds value to stakeholders and the world in some way. The best managers help their employees understand the value they create and how they fit in the bigger picture. #9: My associates or fellow employees are committed to doing quality work. Trusting your co-workers to share your commitment to quality is essential to excellent team performance. The best managers deal with poor performers and work at ensuring that all team members are committed to individual and team quality. #10: I have a best (good) friend at work. This is the most controversial of the 12 questions. But research has demonstrated

that it’s important for employees to feel connected to others and have at least one close friend at work for mutual encouragement and support. The best managers recognize that people want to build meaningful friendships at work, and they should create situations for employees to get to know each other. I found that having some team meetings focused on relationship building, in addition to having at least one off-site team day annually, are helpful.

and more efficiently, have higher morale, and are more likely to stay with the organization. I resonate with Richard Branson’s philosophy to, “Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to.” The best managers create individual learning and growth opportunities. I have found that having individual learning plans that are updated and reviewed regularly are great tools to support learning and growth. 

#11: In the last six months, someone at work has talked to me about progress. Employees want to know where they stand and if they are doing good work and meeting expectations. The best managers provide regular feedback, including positive expressions of appreciation. The best managers view themselves as “coaches” that are there to help support and encourage, and not “policemen” that are there to punish.

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.

#12: This last year, I have had opportunities to learn and grow. Research has shown that when employees feel they are learning and growing, they work harder | NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2019





n August 13, the United States Postal Service (USPS) filed a notice with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) of its intent to test-market a new product called Plus One. This is an experimental product that is being test-marketed as of October 1, 2019. The USPS plans to run the market test for a period of two years, although this could vary depending on the success of the test. What Is Plus One? Plus One is an addressed advertising card that may be mailed as an add-on piece with a USPS Marketing Mail letter “marriage mail” envelope containing multiple advertising pieces. Marriage mail is a service provided by third-party providers who combine advertisements from multiple businesses into a single mail piece. The goal of this new product is to offer smalland medium-sized businesses (primary users of marriage mail) an expanded, affordable channel to market through the mail. This will benefit mail service providers by providing another service to retain and grow business, and benefit the USPS by expanding its customer base.



Plus One Requirements The new Plus One test product has a number of requirements:  The host piece to which the Plus One piece is added must be mailed as a commercial automation USPS Marketing Mail Saturation marriage mail letter. A minimum of 90% of the mailing must be Saturation sorted; the remainder may be High Density or High Density Plus.  All mailings must be entered at the Destination Sectional Center Facility (DSCF).

 The Plus One add-on card must be part of the same mailing as the host piece, addressed to the same delivery points.  The Plus One advertiser must also advertise or have advertised within marriage mailings.  Only one Plus One card is allowed for each delivery point within the mailing.  A full automation address with Intelligent Mail barcode (IMb) must be included on both the host piece and the Plus One add-on.  The Plus One card may measure up to six inches by 9.5 inches, must be at least 0.009 inch thick, and must meet USPS Marketing Mail Letter design standards. Test Market Pricing and Areas The USPS is test-marketing several different price points for this new product; the price points vary based on geographic regions of the country. To facilitate this, the USPS has divided the US into four sections: West (including Alaska and Hawaii), South, Midwest, and Northeast. Price points were randomly assigned to each geographic region: West = 8.5¢ per piece Northeast = 9.0¢ per piece Midwest = 9.5¢ per piece South = 10¢ per piece The USPS hopes that this test marketing will provide insights regarding a final price point for this product should they decide to make it permanent. Preparing Plus One Mailings Essentially, the Plus One mail pieces are treated like a Detached Address Label (DAL). For purposes of preparing the

Resources The USPS filing document, along with an Excel workbook outlining the three-digit ZIP Codes for each geographic test area, may be found on the Postal Regulatory Commission website at The PostalPro website also contains a dedicated landing page for the Plus One market test at, which includes a requirements document, FAQs, regional pricing information, and sample tray tags and pallet markers.

The Plus One pieces will be considered “undocumented pieces” due to the fact that although they are barcoded, no Mail.dat file (eDoc) is submitted for those pieces. mail, mailers will need to process two presorts for these mailings: one for the host piece and another for the Plus One pieces. It is important to note that not every delivery address within the marriage mailing will necessarily receive a Plus One piece. For example, if a lawn service company wishes to promote their services using Plus One, they obviously would not want to deliver these pieces to non-homeowners, such as apartment dwellers. Since the Plus One

pieces must be trayed and palletized separately from the host pieces, and the tray tags and pallet placards for the Plus One portion of the mailing must contain a “PLUS ONE” printed designation, the only practical way to accommodate this is to run two different presorts. It is also important to note that although a Mail.dat file may be generated as part of the presort process for the Plus One portion of the mailing, only the Mail.dat file for the host piece portion

of the mailing is uploaded to PostalOne! The Mail.dat files for these mailings must contain a Special Fees Record (SFR), and that must be populated with a type “A” fee. PostalOne! will then apply the Plus One fee to Line 36 (Special Service) of the postage statements. The Plus One pieces will be considered “undocumented pieces” due to the fact that although they are barcoded, no Mail.dat file (eDoc) is submitted for those pieces. PostalOne! will not include these pieces in the undocumented error threshold calculations.  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. | NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2019





ailing technology constantly evolves as new features and functions are introduced to the equipment used to scan, process, insert, meter, and lodge mail pieces as they enter the mail stream. It is important to keep up with the changes to keep the mail moving as efficiently as possible, especially when it comes to upgrading software and keeping up with firmware updates to the systems that control the paper handling, inserting, and sorting. While it is easy to focus on that equipment, the printing technology components are also important. When it comes to what printing technology you use today, where do you stand? We’re not referring to the document printers that create the bills, statements, postcards, and letter mail, but rather the marking technology that is part of the mailing process. Have you considered an upgrade? There is some great technology that has come into the market in the last decade that makes it possible to add barcodes and marketing content to the outside of envelopes. And not just in black ink, but with spotcolor and full-color solutions that allow you to create a customer experience that is consistent with what is inside the envelope. These printing solutions are sometimes integrated into the inserting



engines, but there are many that can be added to existing machines with the help of integrators. If you do not offer custom printing on the outside of the envelope today, this is a great time to investigate the technology available. It’s possible that you may not even offer any printing on the outside of envelopes at all, especially if your production flow is based on window envelopes. Alternatively, you may offer address printing only. If you offer no printing at all, you will be starting at square one, as printing on the outside of the envelope will require the addition of printing technology to your mailing line. If you offer address printing, you may still need to upgrade your technology to offer custom messaging on the outside of the envelope. And, in all cases, if you choose to upgrade to full color on the outside of the envelope, you should expect to be upgrading your workflow as well as the printing technology components. As you consider upgrading your printing processes, start by reviewing your current workflow and mailing systems to determine what could be added with the least disruption to your current environment. Talk to your mailing systems vendors to see what they offer, what the costs are, and what the timeframes might be if you choose to add new capability

to your existing systems. But, don’t stop there. Take the next step and look outside your four walls to see what is on offer from other vendors and integrators. And, while you are talking to potential partners, remember to discuss the workflow tools needed to enable the process. While you are investigating, remember that printing technology comes in many shapes and sizes. You might choose to buy a fully integrated system or a do-it-yourself one, buying components that your team integrates. Inkjet print technology is the most common for this application, and there are many choices. There are options for ink technology, with dye-based inks and pigmented inks the most common. Depending on the types of envelopes you typically process, you might find one or the other more appropriate based on the advice of your vendor partners. Once you have a sense of the technical requirements, talk to your current clients to test their appetite for adding custom messages and images to their mailings. Remember that the USPS offers promotional discounts during the year for adding enhancements to the mail. Linking your capabilities for full-color envelope enhancement to postal discounts could be a win-win for you and your clients. Another selling point is the increasing interest in the customer experience in all communication channels. Adding color images and messaging to the outside of the envelope helps to enrich the communication experience. Especially in the case of regulated communication, it can help to identify to the recipient why they should open the envelope and engage with the communication inside. For marketing communication, it can tease the promise of information on the inside to draw the recipient into a deeper need to open the envelope. The new world of print technology means that print options for mailers have expanded. Even if you are printing on the outside of the envelope today, this is a good time to update your understanding of what is possible and lay a course for adding more enhancement to the products you offer to your clients.  Pat McGrew is Senior Director Production Software & Services, Keypoint Intelligence / InfoTrends.




ecently, we were asked how long it is necessary to retain data. This, of course, begged the question, what data? The answer in all cases is: all the files that would be needed to recreate all aspects of a job. Job data is more than just the mail.dat or mail.xml file that’s uploaded to the USPS. Think through all the parts of producing a job: what would be needed to review or recreate it? In a Lean process, a mail producer has documented its processes and therefore has the ability to rebuild a job — and that starts with the original data file. In turn, there would be versioned data files and a variety of reports and related documents. When there’s more segmentation and versioning of files, both the starting data file and the incremental files are needed. Here are the documents that should be retained: 1. Original data file and all versions, including the final data file

2. 3. 4. 5.

6. 7.



Versioned copies of the printed matter Presort, post-sort, ad logistics reports Mail.dat or Mail.xml If taking additional discounts associated with a promotion, a picture of the finished mail piece as proof of what was mailed NCOA certificates and DSF run reports All correspondence with the client related to work order, piece proofs, and change approvals All correspondence with the USPS regarding the pieces’ or mailing’s eligibility for the rate claimed or a promotion All postage statements and supporting documents.

All the above should be produced or retained electronically and then compressed into an electronic job folder that can be easily restored. Computer storage is inexpensive, and archiving this information equates to a business insurance policy. The mail producer is accountable to both

the client and the USPS, so a complete set of archived job data is both protection if the client questions the job, and a defense if there are problems with the USPS. Speaking of the USPS, many mailers have encountered problems when undocumented mail or other errors are reported on the Mailer Scorecard. To research or defend against alleged errors, the mailer would need data that might go back 120 days or more. In case of an assessment, the easiest way to prove rate eligibility or postage payment is by showing the mail.dat submittal and scan events against those records. The mail.dat file includes piece level details, tray and sack information, and skid or container information. Scan events can show when scanning started and on how many machines the pieces were processed. Too many scans would suggest the pieces became “loop mail,” which could cause an assessment that would be refuted only if the mail producer had archived the relevant data. How long should the mail producer keep data? The archived data should be retained and available for at least one year, but three years is recommended. To ensure its security, the archive should be encrypted and a copy stored off-site, perhaps on a cloud site. In most cases, there might never be a need to retrieve archived data, but you never know. The USPS might investigate a complaint that a mailing wasn’t eligible for a rate, or a client might allege the mailing wasn’t properly prepared because response rates were poor, or a client simply needs a copy because their own data files have been corrupted. In these situations, the value of having complete archived data will be apparent.  Leo Raymond is Owner and Managing Director at Mailers Hub LLC. Tom Glassman is Services Engineer, Ricoh USA. | NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2019





he Postal Service’s financial woes are well known. The problems are complex, but some say postal banking could be a new revenue stream that helps the USPS out of its money problems. Banking has been a role the US Postal Service has played before. The Postal Savings System existed between 1911 and 1967. This service filled a need when immigration to the US was booming. Immigrants came from cultures where banking at the post office was commonplace, and they felt comfortable with a similar arrangement in their new home. Postal banking was a widely used service during this time. During the depression, citizens lost confidence in banks, which also contributed to the Post Office’s reputation as an attractive and convenient place to save. The US government backed deposits in the Postal Savings System. Banks didn’t insure deposits until 1933, when the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) was established to safeguard depositor funds. By the time the Post Office discontinued the system 12


in 1967, deposits had declined significantly from their post-World War II peak. Points in Favor Proponents in favor of restoring USPS banking services point to a portion of the US population unserved by traditional banks. Estimates for the number of un-banked people reach as high as seven percent of the population. This group doesn’t have savings or checking accounts. They rely on high-cost alternatives like check-cashing companies to handle financial transactions. Another 20% may be under-banked. When they have a financial need, this group patronizes services like payday loans or car-title lenders, who charge enormous fees and sky-high interest rates. A postal bank would give low-income consumers an alternative to predatory lenders where they can spend up to 10% of their annual income in fees and interest. Relief from these high-cost financial service providers would make a difference in the lives of families and individuals struggling to get by. The

geographic distribution of post offices and the large number of locations also addresses the flight of conventional bank branches from impoverished neighborhoods. With postal banking, the Postal Service’s commitment to universal mail service would extend to consumer banking access. Another argument for postal banking addresses rural and remote communities. A full-service bank branch needs a certain density of population to make it profitable. Some areas in the US are “bank deserts” where bank branches have closed and no workable alternative exists. The US Postal Service already has facilities in 13,000 communities with less than 2,500 residents. It need not spend money on separate buildings or added employees to handle banking transactions in rural areas. Points Opposed The established banking community is against a postal bank. Besides a natural aversion to competition, they warn the government and potential depositors to be wary of entrusting their money to an organization having its own financial troubles. Others believe a brick and mortar approach ignores mobile banking trends. Much of the non-banking population today owns mobile phones. If mobilizing services solves the banking problem for low-income residents, perhaps postal banking needn’t be part of the solution. Big concerns for the USPS as a money lender should be risk, defaults, and collections. All lenders face these issues. The USPS would be no different. One might predict they’d have an even bigger problem than conventional lenders. A typical USPS loan recipient would be a low-income borrower, perhaps living paycheck to paycheck. Default risk would be elevated and should trigger higher interest rates, but the target population needs to break out of the high interest payday loan cycle. Lending money at rates below the level dictated by the risk might end up costing the USPS more money than it generates.

Options and Considerations Finally, there’s the USPS image to consider. Consumers have long rated the US Postal Service as the nation’s most-admired government entity. If postal banking forces them into the debt-collection business, that reputation may take a beating. Another government entity that collects money from citizens through wage garnishment and repossession is the IRS. They are decidedly unpopular among the citizenry. The USPS could suffer the same fate, turning public opinion against them and encouraging political adversaries to be more aggressive about privatization.

valuable currency today, and the USPS has a ton of it. What if Informed Delivery included opt-in and opt-out buttons for the scanned mail pieces? Would mailers pay the USPS to notify them when a recipient on their list doesn’t want to receive their catalog or other direct mail marketing piece anymore? It seems it would be less expensive to pay the Postal Service for this information and drop names from mailing lists than to continue mailing to uninterested consumers. Informed Delivery might even provide consumers an easy way to provide marketer-requested feedback. Does the

Instead of banking or other retailoriented activities, the US Postal Service should look for ways to monetize the information it is collecting about mail, logistics, or consumer preferences. If the US Postal Service were to get into the banking business, it might consider exploiting its location advantages. The USPS could allow existing financial institutions to lease space in selected post office buildings. Banks would agree with the government about rates, fees, lending criteria, risk assessment, collection, and levels of service. The USPS would collect lease payments, but leave financial operations to the banks. Monetizing Existing Data Instead of banking or other retail-oriented activities, the US Postal Service should look for ways to monetize the information it is collecting about mail, logistics, or consumer preferences. Data is the most

catalog come too often? Is it a duplicate? Has the consumer lost interest in the products? Is there another product category more appropriate? Does the consumer only shop online? Marketers might use information like this to direct their future marketing efforts and would pay a reasonable fee for the data, perhaps on an annual subscription basis. The USPS would automatically collect and transmit the information to subscribed marketers about their mail. After developing the system, costs would be minimal. The USPS can make money by helping mailers be more efficient and by keeping mail relevant. That’s a tough sell because sometimes it means assisting with a decrease in volume, where postage is the primary income source. But aren’t we

heading towards a time when lower mail volume is the new normal anyway? Rather than concentrating only on promotions and projects aimed at preserving or increasing mail volumes, maybe it is time to broaden the scope. A more diverse set of income-producing activities could stabilize the future of the US Postal Service. Data Collection and Transmission Besides mail-related data, perhaps the Postal Service could take advantage of its mobile workforce as data collectors. Delivery vehicles and drivers are in every neighborhood, six days a week. The USPS already equips vehicles with GPS devices that feed data to Informed Visibility. Information about the physical environment in which the postal carriers operate would be of value to other organizations. Data collection and transmission would be billable services. Utility companies, cities, counties, and private companies might have use for meter reading, status updates on road conditions, overgrown trees, or road sign damage. Postal employees would acquire data via cameras, carrier reports, or by tracking route deviations that indicate detours and road construction. It seems to me the USPS could be more vigorous about reacting to the ways its business is changing. It has done this in the past with many automation implementations. Shrinking postage sales will challenge the US Postal Service to earn the revenue it needs to continue providing a much needed service to businesses and citizens. Making money from something other than postage will prevent the USPS from having to raise rates to levels that encourage mailers to lessen their dependence on postal mail.  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 | NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2019





nterprise output management systems (EOMS) are the backbone of print production and are critical for streamlining operations, improving print productivity, tracking communications at the piece level, meeting strict service level agreements (SLAs), and monitoring the status of all production jobs across multiple sites. EOMS were historically used solely to manage the production of printed communications. However, today, these solutions offer enhanced workflow and additional output capabilities to meet consumer expectations for digital delivery. In the past, EOMS solutions were acquired to manage multiple print devices by combining and splitting print jobs to optimize utilization of print hardware. Fax and other electronic delivery capabilities, such as email or SMS text messages, were a low priority compared to print management functionality. Today, in order to communicate with customers electronically, organizations are looking for solutions that can provide multi-channel delivery for high-value customer communications in order to keep up with consumer expectations and remain competitive in the industry. All EOMS offer the same basic production management features, such as:  Page Description Language (PDL) File Ingestion: The ability to ingest a wide variety of PDL files, such as PDF, PostScript, AFP, PCL, HTML, XML, CSV, ASCII, and Metacode. Many enterprises generate customer communications using a variety of document composition tools. This capability expedites the onboarding process and streamlines 14


production without the need for the enterprise to convert applications to a preferred composition tool. PDL Transformation: Converting the format of input files received to another output format, such as converting from AFP format to PDF or to PCL. It is typical for service providers to have print equipment from more than one manufacturer. PDL transformations allow print output files to be directed to different devices as needed. Print Queue Management: The ability to schedule print jobs and monitor print queues, establish print job priority, and balance printer workloads. Job Grouping: Combining multiple jobs together based on like attributes to facilitate longer print runs and fewer machine setups, or to increase pre-sort postal densities to reduce postage expense. Job Splitting or Merging: Manipulation of data streams to consolidate print jobs or split a single job across multiple print engines for better resource utilization. Print File Modification/Document Re-Engineering: The ability to edit print files by inserting or deleting text, adding or replacing barcodes, removing or adding pages to a document, adding print overlays, swapping out images, adding color to monochrome documents, and creating banners, headers, and footers for print job files. This allows for document enhancements to be made without the need to go back to the original composition software to make changes. Reprint Capability: Documents that are archived can be retrieved and

reprinted as well as exception files from the insertion process.  House-holding: The ability to group documents from multiple jobs together for insertion into a single envelope for a given address. Our research indicates that while numerous technology enhancements have been made in the areas of print transformation, workflow, and multi-channel delivery, and many clients are approaching transactional communications from a “digital-first” mindset, printed communications still continue to be a critical and valuable component of multi-channel delivery. Consumers still open and read their postal mail and trust the communications that are delivered to their mailbox. Consumer expectations for digital delivery increased due to these advancements in technology. Today, organizations that are unable to communicate to their customers in the customer’s channel of choice run the risk of losing out to their competitors; therefore, multi-channel delivery of high-value transactional communications is critical to maintaining consumer loyalty. The results of Madison Advisors’ research back in 2010 revealed that although demand for multi-channel communications was increasing, few of the solution providers offered strong support for email and SMS message delivery. Today, our research finds that most of the solution providers have integrated email and SMS capabilities as a part of their solutions. The last decade has witnessed several new developments in the marketplace for enterprise output management. Changes in technology and increased consumer expectation for digital delivery have driven this already mature market to respond by developing capabilities to support additional channels for electronic delivery. Other improvements include sophisticated workflows that can be designed easily through a graphical user interface and robust print transformation capabilities, all of which help streamline print production operations and allow service providers to increase their value proposition beyond print and mail.  Gina Ferrara is Senior Analyst at Madison Advisors. Connect with Madison Advisors at www., on LinkedIn at www., or on Twitter @madison_advisor.




hile not labeled as the “Greatest Generation,” Millennials are certainly a demographic group that is top of mind for any astute direct marketer. But what do we know about this demographic, and how do they relate to the mailing industry? The first step to understanding the importance of Millennials when it comes to direct mail is to understand who they are. Millennials range in age from 21 to 38 and comprise a fourth of the US population. A key factor in the growing success of direct mail for this demographic is largely due to a phenomenon called digital fatigue; Millennials are so weary of the daily digital deluge that they are beginning to move away from actively monitoring their digital devices. Because they are bombarded with emails every day, many Millennials have implemented email filtering rules to avoid overflowing inboxes and have become accustomed to simply ignoring most of the digital marketing completely. In fact, 50% of Millennials ignore digital ads, while only 15% ignore direct mail pieces. They may have thousands of unread email messages they will never look at, but they touch every piece of direct mail sent to them. Millennials Have Money and Spend It Making up half of the US workforce, Millennials are experiencing rapid career growth and account for $1.3 trillion in

annual purchasing power — which is why it is so essential to understand how to effectively market to them. Millennials not only have money, but they spend it, too. In general, they tend to spend more on comforts and conveniences as compared to prior generations. They also value experiences and events and tend to be frequent travelers. When it comes to shopping, the USPS Office of Inspector General reports that Millennials are responsive to Marketing Mail, with 62% of Millennials saying they had visited a store in the past month based on information received in the mail. Additionally, according to the Pew Research Center in 2016, 82% of US births were from Millennial women. These women may have received plenty of gifts for the baby, but as their children grow, they will need to be shopping for toddlers whose clothing and shoe sizes change rapidly. Direct marketers should be aware of this opportunity for impactful marketing. Millennials and the Mail Millennials are individuals with clear postal passion. According to a 2016 study by Quad/Graphics Inc., 90% of Millennials see direct mail messaging as reliable, and 57% have made purchases based on direct mail. Millennials also spend more time with their mail than older generations, and the USPS reports that they are more likely to open, read, and keep

most of the mail types they receive when compared to Gen X and Baby Boomers. For example, Millennials spend on average 4.4 minutes sorting their mail and 7.2 minutes opening and reading, whereas Baby Boomers average 2.9 and 6.5 minutes respectively. Additionally, Millennials have a fondness for coupons, and they are more likely to read through coupon booklets than older generations, with 77% reading through them more than half of the time they receive them. Millennials on the Move Millennials are a key factor in the continued success of direct marketing mail, which is why it is more paramount than ever to understand how to market to them. However, Millennials move differently than previous generations. They seldom file a Change of Address (COA) with the USPS, making standard compliance efforts such as NCOALink less reliable. Investing in address quality services that take you beyond standard compliance are worth the effort to get the correct address. Personalized Marketing Is Key Though it is clear that Millennials will respond to traditional marketing methods, it can’t be the same as it’s always been. While Millennials are more likely to shop at stores from companies that advertise to them through the mail, they crave authenticity and transparency from businesses they frequent. Marketing to Millennials requires more personalized data, targeted messaging, and strategically timed multichannel messaging. Thankfully, today’s market provides many solutions and on-demand access to critical services to assist marketers as they continue to focus on this important demographic.  Chris Lien is the president of BCC Software and has been active in the mailing industry for over 25 years. During that time, he authored several software solutions utilizing Mail.dat for electronic auditing, distribution and logistics planning, palletization, and electronic postage payment. He has been heavily involved in industry associations such as the Association for Postal Commerce, Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers, Idealliance, and has previously served as industry Chair of the Postmaster General’s Mailers’ Technical Advisory Committee (MTAC). | NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2019


THE STATE OF THE INDUSTRY, PART TWO The second installment of our annual survey takes a look at our readers’ challenges in managing their mail centers, their views of the USPS, and more.

By Amanda Armendariz

2019 was quite the year for the mail industry. One of the most notable incidents was the last-minute decision of the United States to remain in the Universal Postal Union (under different terms), despite many industry experts expecting that the US would withdraw. Many in our industry breathed a huge sigh of relief at this, given the uncertainty that a withdrawal would have caused with respect to prices and services. Of course, given that the US can now self-declare rates as of July 2020, there is still some uncertainty regarding new pricing, but many in the industry feel that remaining in the UPU was the correct decision nonetheless. In addition, the USPS Board of Governors reached a quorum, and the Postal Service will have a new Postmaster General after PMG Megan Brennan retires early in 2020. There are

a lot of changes happening in our industry, and it will be interesting to see if any progress is made with respect to postal reform in the wake of this. Luckily, this year’s survey has a lot of positives, such as the increase in the number of our respondents utilizing USPS programs like Informed Delivery, Informed Visibility, and postage-saving promotions. The more people utilizing the power of mail, the better, and these USPS programs can offer additional benefits to those already taking advantage of hard copy mail. I look forward to seeing what the 2020 survey results look like. As always, thanks to everyone who took the time to complete this survey; we couldn’t do this without you!

USPS Performance, Programs, and Current Events The USPS continues to get mostly positive reviews from our respondents; not even three percent rated its performance as “poor.”


The number of our respondents who feel “very confident” that the USPS is doing the best it can to rectify its financial issues rose compared to last year’s number, while the number who felt “not at all confident” basically stayed the same. In the face of Postmaster General Megan Brennan’s upcoming retirement, it will be interesting to see what effect a new PMG will have on our respondents’ answers when we pose this question next year.



Very confident



Somewhat confident


Not at all








When it comes to issues with the Postal Service, our respondents’ number-one problem is inconsistency, followed by the fact that regulations can be confusing and burdensome. These two issues snagged the top two spots in last year’s survey, as well.

Address corrections Communication/information Delivery accuracy

0.0% 4.88%


We utilize IV but haven’t seen any concrete results yet.


We have not yet started utilizing IV, but plan to.


We do not plan to utilize this offering.


Mail acceptance




Postal personnel




Regulations confusing or burdensome

We utilize IV and have found that it allows us to better time our multi-channel marketing efforts.


Flexibility Hours of operation

For Informed Visibility (IV), we are seeing a similar trend to ID (evidenced in the chart below), and, for a couple of the questions, identical percentages. Last year, 45% of respondents reported that they did not utilize IV and had no plans to start. This year, that number went down to 27%. Likewise, the number of respondents who do not currently use this program but plan to went up from 25% in 2018 to 37% this year.

Other 50






Returned mail


Supplies availability


Timely delivery






The number of respondents who reported using Informed Delivery (ID) and seeing positive results from it doubled compared to last year, and the number of people who use ID, even if they don’t know if they have seen any positive results from it, has gone up slightly as well. The percentage of respondents who reported that they have no plans to utilize ID has gone down dramatically, from 37% last year to 22% in 2019. It’s encouraging that more people are using this program (or plan to); hopefully the USPS can get any kinks that have been reported ironed out so that satisfaction with this program continues to grow. We use ID, and we’ve seen great results from our customers! We participate in ID, but I don’t know that we’ve seen any concrete results from it. We do not yet participate in ID, but we plan to.


26.83% 20







36.59% 30







We don’t take part in ID, and we have no plans to. Other | NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2019


Last year, a full 70% of respondents reported that they did not take part in USPS postage-saving promotions, even when offered (there was a time period of no promotions due to the USPS lacking an active Board of Governors). This year, the number who said they don’t take part went down significantly.





The number of respondents who view direct mail as a trusted communication method that delivers great results went up compared to last year, while the number who said that they think mail will eventually go by the wayside stayed the same.


Direct mail is a trusted communication method, and we’ve gotten great results from it. I’m undecided; I think mail is important, but we don’t get the results we used to.




I think we’ll eventually abandon mail and focus solely on our digital efforts. Other The elimination of Saturday delivery hasn’t been discussed as much lately as it used to be, but some believe the option should still be on the table in an effort to help the USPS balance its budget. Compared to last year’s survey, the number of people who thought that Saturday delivery should be eliminated went down considerably.




No, Saturday delivery should not be eliminated. Mail delivery on Saturday should be eliminated, but package delivery should not. All Saturday delivery should cease.

Many industry experts expected that the United States would withdraw from the Universal Postal Union (UPU) in October, based on comments made last year by President Trump. However, at the UPU Extraordinary Congress, held in Geneva, Switzerland, in late September, a withdrawal was averted and mutually agreeable terms were decided. The majority of our respondents believe it’s a good thing we did not withdraw from the UPU, although a large number also admitted that since they do not mail internationally very often, they didn’t look too deeply into what the effects of withdrawal would be.

I’m glad the US remained in the UPU; the service disruptions and pricing uncertainty would have been hard for our organization to handle. I’m undecided; we don’t mail internationally very often, so I didn’t look into what the effects of withdrawal would be. I think we should have withdrawn from the UPU.

Do you feel that the USPS is taking the correct steps to change how it does business in the face of an increasingly digital communications environment?









Do you think there will be any advances made in 2020 with respect to postal reform?





Do you expect there to be any significant changes (especially with regards to the USPS promotions) now that the Board of Governors has reached a quorum?

The number of respondents who reported that the economy has had no effect on their purchasing power went up to 53%, compared to 47% last year. 60

22.50% 50


45.0% 40

32.50% 30 Yes, I anticipate there will be changes to the promotions (different types, more promotions, etc.).

26.32% 20

No, I don’t think there will be any significant changes. I’m undecided.




Mail Center Management No effect

This year, compliance with postal regulations and volume spikes/changes were tied for the number-one issue our respondents face in managing their mail centers.

Compliance with postal regulations

Freeze on purchasing all or most products Freeze on purchasing some products Allowed purchases to decrease operating costs Other


Customer relations


Facility is inadequate



Inadequate equipment/Equipment maintenance 5.13% Personnel issues (motivation, attendance, hiring, etc.)


Productivity or efficiency


Relationship with USPS employees


Safety and security




Time management


Timely delivery of mail


Training of staff




Understanding/support of upper management


Volume spikes/changes Workload Other


If your purchasing abilities were restricted, at what point do you anticipate being able to buy for your mail center again?



28% 20

24% 20% 12%




17.95% 0.00% 12.82%

Sometime yet in 2019

Third quarter 2020

First quarter 2020

Fourth quarter 2020

Second quarter 2020



By Scott Stephens

INFUSING YOUR MAILING BUSINESS WITH DATA DEFENDER DNA 12 questions every company needs to ask if they hope to prevent a data breach.


he headline in USA Today blared, “2019 on track to be worst year ever for data breaches.” There were more than 3,800 breaches reported in the first half of the year, a 52% increase from last year. That’s the bad news. The worse — and, frankly, scary — news is that it only takes one breach to seriously impact your mailing business. One mailing company was hit in late 2018 by a simple ransomware trojan. One bad click from a user resulted in a potential compromise affecting up to 700 companies and 1.2 million individuals nationwide, added to days of lost business and weeks of expensive recovery efforts. Months later, the effects still linger. We all know that mailing and outsourcing clients increasingly require costly external audits and adherence to strict standards such as NIST 800-53 and HITRUST to protect personally identifiable information (PII) and protected health information (PHI). But



those standards are really only the starting point, and in fact, they are little more than checklists if there isn’t a serious company-wide effort to infuse what I call “data defender DNA” into your organization. This infusion starts at the top and flows down to every aspect of the production and IT chain. One example of this, and a good starting point for getting the message out, is creating and empowering an incident response team (IRT). You can find plenty of templates for writing a decent data breach and risk mitigation plan, but those templates don’t get into the nitty-gritty where they need to be. Your IRT can be the springboard to giving your company data defender DNA. Based on my experience, here are 12 questions every company should ask and answer to best avoid the nightmare of a breach.


Is your IT staff getting enough notifications?

If your IT and network staff aren’t getting daily threat messages that need a response, you’re probably not prepared enough. Most incidents happen without your organization knowing it. Either the alarm was never sounded, or nobody was looking when it did. Avoiding complacency requires an attitude of security awareness. Don’t outsource this — your data defender DNA protects your organization. Find out what trips your security monitors and test these conditions regularly.


Do you have a server dedicated to logging events? Is your IT staff constantly requesting more storage and more equipment dedicated to collecting and maintaining logs? It is good to ask them why. It is important, if not critical, to log everything. If it can be logged, it should be logged. Every file you receive, every connection to your server, every touch of an application, every update — log them all.

Ensure your vendors and their software are configured for proper logging. And make sure someone is looking at the logs by consolidating them into one server. It’s no longer enough to simply install an intrusion defense system (IDS) to look for internal threats and a unified threat management device (UTM) to replace your aging network firewalls. People who are well-versed in the technology and design of your specific system should actively manage these devices, validate their configurations on a regular basis, and respond in real-time to events.


Do you ever hear “it was no big deal?” “It was no big deal” is a major red flag. Every incident is potentially a big deal and your IRT needs to determine if it really resulted in a breach. In the transactional mailing business, a misplaced critical document can be a risk for privacy or a HIPAA breach — nobody stops looking until the missing document or mail piece is located. Dealing with data, we must find every detail related to the incident and determine if it did or could have resulted in improper disclosure.

The worse — and, frankly, scary — news is that it only takes one breach to seriously impact your mailing business.


Can every member of your IRT name all the other members? The IRT isn’t just a list of names for a plan that never gets exercised. If everything is going too smoothly, it could be masking some deeper problems. Establish a quick mailing list for your IRT and test it frequently. Have the IRT get together in physical or phone meetings regularly so they know how to reach each other quickly. Think how many well-known breaches could have been avoided if the people who knew about an incident could have reached their counterparts faster.


Does every computer user know what to do if an incident occurs? A user may have clicked a link in a phishing email, or someone may have tried to penetrate your network security. Your first actions must be to isolate and limit the problem. Unplug the systems in question. Take them offline. Block your network access. If a client experiences a breach, block them so their problem doesn’t become yours. Formally write up every incident and train every single computer user in your organization on how to report it. The process should be accessible and as easy as a phone call. Every user should know how to unplug their computer from the network, or — at minimum — turn the system off if an unexpected link is clicked or evidence of a breach shows up. Data defender DNA must be infused at every level.


Does your IRT know whom to contact in every department, and does every department know who the IRT is and what they do? Your IRT needs to know whom to contact in every department, and possess the authority to bring in external experts, your cyber insurance carrier, law enforcement, or your legal counsel. Waiting for long approval processes doesn’t make for good risk mitigation.


Have you reviewed your severity categorization rules recently? Severity categories must be reviewed frequently, as the nature of data breaches is always changing. Trojans, malware, ransomware, and viruses that spread are always considered critical. But what about thumbdrives, wireless access points, or text messages? If you have installed new software, review your severity rules — and set up logging to enforce them.


Do you know who to contact if the breach is credit card-related (PCIDSS) or healthcare-related (HIPAA)? When a breach occurs is not the time to be assembling this data. Have it ready and available, and most importantly, available outside your regular IT/ERP systems. When an incident occurs, assume you won’t have access to your internal systems.


Do you know the penalties for failing to notify required agencies or clients?

For example, the federal HITECH law has potential fines as high as $250,000 per incident for failure to meet notification standards. Your insurance carrier may deny your claim if you fail to report a breach according to their requirements. Always know, and revisit frequently to update, the specific rules and regulations that apply to you and your clients.


Are you continually learning, or just retraining? You probably conduct annual security training for your employees. Make sure this is more than just an hour spent retraining using last year’s material. Always use every incident and every new development as an opportunity for learning. If you haven’t invested in a phishing simulator for testing, this is a tool you shouldn’t ignore. Your security is only as strong as your weakest user reading a malicious email. It is important to never stop testing and never stop learning. If there are lessons learned, incorporate them into your incident response and risk mitigation plan. Here are two more questions that should be easy to answer:


Do you have a readily available list of your clients, what data they own, and whom to notify in case of a breach?


Does your cyber insurance carrier have special instructions on whom to contact and when to contact them?

Protecting and ensuring compliance for every business today is more than a fulltime job; it requires 24/7 monitoring of all data, networks, and internal processes. The security of your data should be priority-one and it is important to implement the proper protections, whether internally or by partnering with a third-party provider. Without these fundamental controls, there is a definite opportunity for data to be unmonitored, leaving a company open to a multitude of risks that, with the proper planning and processes, can be averted.  Scott Stephens is President, DATAMATX, an organization that provides customized print and electronic document solutions for mission critical customer communications for over 200 clients nationwide. | NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2019



SET YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS — CHOOSING THE RIGHT SOFTWARE FOR YOUR BUSINESS Our industry continues to operate in a state of constant evolution, and the ability to stay up to date has never been more important. As the USPS® continues to innovate and change, so too does the industry at large. The impact is being felt throughout print and mail shops of all sizes. At BCC Software, we know how critical it is to have the right tools to be successful in this industry. After listening to the needs of the market, we have re-vamped our desktop product offerings. Our refined packaging options will better service print and mail shops of all sizes as they continue to adapt and grow. That’s why we are excited to launch our new software package Bulk Mailer® SMB, along with our improved BCC Mail Manager™. Below we share some key tips for industry success, and how our latest technology is designed to meet the unique needs of your business. Areas to Evaluate There are several key areas that warrant evaluation when it comes to succeeding within this industry. One of the most critical is compliance — data quality is a must. Staying in compliance enables

your business to be better protected against costly mistakes, reduces issues such as Undeliverable as Addressed (UAA) mail, and allows you to make every mailpiece count. In order to make sure you’re staying compliant, look to software solutions that provide high quality data services and gain peace of mind knowing your address lists are always up to date with correct information. Another key area to evaluate is making sure your software can keep up with the continual innovation coming from the USPS. Leveraging technology such as Informed Visibility® and Every Door Direct Mail® (EDDM®) has become essential. The software you use should allow you to take full advantage of the latest USPS advancements and promotions. Solutions to Fit Your Needs Bulk Mailer SMB, BCC Software’s newest presort desktop software package, is designed to be a complete offer focused on simplicity and ease of use. Tailored to meet the specific needs of small and medium sized businesses, it provides powerful data quality solutions and

includes CASS™, PAVE™, and NCOALink®. Bulk Mailer SMB also includes intuitive capability to import lists and EDDM, basic versions of palletization, firm bundles for periodicals, automation, and a 5 million record NCOALink FSP subscription. For mailers with more advanced needs, BCC Software’s newly enhanced BCC Mail Manager is a strong solution. The added functionality means BCC Mail Manager now includes all the features listed above, along with the ability to upgrade to more advanced options. This ensures that BCC Mail Manager remains designed for businesses who need state of the art software that enables continued business growth. In addition to these software enhancements, both Bulk Mailer SMB and BCC Mail Manager are available at subscription level pricing. These changes remove the upfront first year cost for new customers and will enable current customers to upgrade and add options to their existing workflow —ensuring the scalability of your operation while continuing to meet the ever-evolving needs of our industry. A Partner You Can Trust At BCC Software, we’re committed to expanded technology and personal support. With over four decades of industry experience, our team of industry experts is active and involved in advocating for the needs of our customers. Backed by unlimited access to our legendary team of certified USPS Mailpiece Design Professionals, BCC Software is the smart choice in postal software. To learn more, visit our website at or by calling 800.624.5234.


SHORT-RUN ENVELOPES — FASTER AND MORE PROFITABLE The Situation: Spectrum Printing, a full-service digital and offset press printing company offering printing, mailing, and direct mail marketing solutions in Tucson, AZ, has seen “a lot of growth and a lot of machines in and out of the shop,” Ken Huizenga, Production Manager of Spectrum Printing, said. One of those changes has been in envelopes wherein the demand for short-run envelopes was growing, and their toner production press could not keep up with the volume. “As our shortrun envelope business began to grow, and the runs were not as short as they used to be… we were constantly getting behind,” Huizenga explained. The challenge was to find a more productive and cost-effective short-run solution. The Solution: For an alternative to production toner systems, Spectrum Printing had their eye on inkjet for over a year. “When the iJetColor Pro came out, we were really excited,” said Huizenga. The iJetColor Pro light-industrial inkjet press, designed for high-volume print and mailing operations, features a vacuum conveyor system to deliver products for personalized, print, and imaging, while maximizing speeds. The iJetColor Pro outputs up to 7,120+ envelopes per hour at production costs of tenths of a penny per piece.

The Results: Spectrum Printing went from producing 1,400 to 6,000 envelopes an hour. The increased output was a “huge production benefit” for Spectrum Printing, allowing them to keep up with their increasing demand while also bringing other jobs back in-house. “We were able to take a lot of the jobs that we farmed out to other printers because we couldn’t handle the volume [and put them] on the iJetColor Pro,” Huizenga explained, which provides Spectrum Printing more control over costs, turnaround time, and quality. Instead of outsourcing, bogging down copiers, or losing time and profit on offset presses for runs between 500 to 5,000 pieces, the iJetColor Pro is both their fast and costeffective solution. Spectrum Printing noticed an improvement in their bottom line due to this increase in production but also due to the low cost per piece. “The ink has lasted a lot longer than we predicted,” Huizenga commented regarding the low usage of ink — which has been affectionately coined by other users as

the “sipping ink” feature, delivering standard mailing and stationery imaging as low as $0.003 per piece. Having experienced notable improvements in envelope production within their first months with the iJetColor Pro light-industrial press, Huizenga stated: “If you’re a mid-range production printer and you’re looking for a robust machine to put in your production line as we were, the iJetColor Pro has proved to be the perfect fit.” The iJetColor Pro is suited for commercial printers who need to print higher volumes (100k+) of full-color, short-run envelopes monthly — and want to do so with the greatest ease and lowest costs.

For more information, visit www.ijetcolor. com/ijetcolor-pro or contact iJetColor by Printware at 800.456.1400 ext 4 or


HOW INSTALLING AN INTEGRATED PRINT MIS TURNED AROUND UNPROFITABLE GROWTH Square One Direct Inc., a $12.5 million marketing communications provider in New Jersey, was experiencing growing revenues but declining profitability. A well-run company that delivers a diverse set of services, Square One had always carefully tracked revenues, profitability, and other metrics. Their staff-driven procedures and basic home-grown MIS consistently worked well. Unfortunately, that ended five years ago. That’s when Square One reached $8 million in revenue. Suddenly, management noticed that costs were increasing more rapidly than revenues. Profitability was declining. No one was sure why. “It was an incredibly frustrating situation,” said Jill Townsend, Partner at Square One. “Sales growth was killing our profits. Something was wrong and we needed to fix it.” Patrick Bolan is the President & CEO at Avanti Systems in Toronto. Avanti develops and markets Slingshot, an advanced, fully-integrated Print MIS system. According to Mr. Bolan, the problem Square One was experiencing wasn’t unusual. “With Square One’s home-grown system, staff were spending considerable time documenting costs for various processes. Their tools and processes showed them where to focus, but they were not specific enough to

identify solutions for improvement.” This inability to be specific was hurting Square One in multiple ways. Every project was costed as a cleansheet design, enabling staff to enter their own numbers. As a result, the links between price and cost did not exist. That made it was impossible to differentiate profitable projects from the unprofitable ones. In addition, human errors that occurred when manually entering numbers were leading to costly errors in purchasing and manufacturing. “Ultimately, Square One simply outgrew its original MIS system. Sales growth, diverse services, volumes, and shift cycles were too complex for Square One’s home-grown approach to MIS.” Once the company recognized its problem it got serious about finding a solution. Managers spent a year-anda-half drilling down into the numbers and assessing solutions from Print MIS providers. They conducted internal reviews of every department and all significant projects. Armed with numbers and insight on key suppliers, they selected Avanti Systems to be their new Print MIS supplier. Eight months later, Square One went live with Slingshot, Avanti’s integrated Print MIS system. Avanti’s Slingshot integrates estimating, purchasing, scheduling, accounting, shop floor data collection,

payroll, shipping, CRM, invoicing, and billing effectively into one system. It provides closed-loop accountability on a consistent basis. Cost centers like flexography require different models and workflows. However, each is handled seamlessly within the Slingshot process. Redundant management tasks are significantly streamlined. “As challenging as the last six months of 2018 were, we saw growth in both sales and profits,” says Townsend. “Captured data is now complete, detailed, and accurate. Errors arising from miscommunications have been reduced. We make informed business decisions on the profitability of any project. Producing fast, accurate, and consistent estimates has generated higher sales. Even better, the same staff now supports more capacity.” Square One has seen an overall 10% increase in total sales with increased profitability. Although some of this growth includes anticipated work from a major client, Square One’s newfound ability to quickly and accurately estimate projects has had a major impact. “I am the biggest proponent of Avanti,” says Townsend. “They have been nothing but supportive. We are not afraid of growth anymore. As far as the support team and the training goes I can’t even imagine what we have done without them.” Says Patrick Bolan of Avanti, “There is a point with all printers when size and complexity overtake existing MIS systems. A fully integrated Print MIS approach is the best way to ensure success into the future.” To learn more: Download the case study at: https:// Watch the Webinar On-demand: https:// webinars-on-demand/


If purchasing new equipment is on your to-do list for 2020, you’ll want to be armed with these inquiries during the vetting process.


successful operation is built around people, process, and technology. In print and mail operations, the equipment used to process inbound and outbound documents is becoming faster, more accurate, and more expensive. Upgrading your systems will mean a significant investment in dollars and other resources. In past articles, we’ve encouraged the use of requests for proposals (RFP) for major purchases. Companies can use the RFP to fully explain their existing situation and challenges, as well as the goals to be met with the new technology. We recommend that our clients provide as much detail as possible about their current operation — volumes, file formats, processing times, paper types, information technology infrastructure, etc. If possible, give vendors physical samples of the “typical” documents in their final form. An operation may be looking at equipment upgrades with existing vendors. Service and pricing have consistently met expectations, and the current equipment is performing well. While an RFP may not be required, managers still need to learn more about the proposed solution.

In today’s business environment, there may be unexpected changes with our vendor relationships. The last few years have seen mergers, acquisitions, and sales of many companies. Manufacturers, resellers, and maintenance organizations are changing ownership and leadership at an unprecedented pace. Contracts and agreements have to be reexamined along with changing phone numbers and email addresses. In each situation, managers should prepare questions to best understand how the changes will impact their operation. Here are the top 10 questions (and the reason behind them) to ask an equipment vendor: Can you provide a clear description of the proposed solution and how it will meet each of our mandatory requirements? Explain whether any optional item is included in the base price or will require an additional expense.


Rationale: It’s important to have a document that can be shared with procurement and management to secure funding for the new equipment.

Can you provide a clear description of how the proposed solution will work within the current production environment? Clearly identify what modifications (if any) need to be made to support the proposed solution.


Rationale: Some new inkjet printers require higher ceilings and tighter humidity controls. Adjustments to the physical space may be required for new inserters. Those changes need to be understood in order to calculate the complete costs of the new equipment. Could you provide a detailed project plan that covers the building, factory acceptance testing, installation, and acceptance testing of the system, including the identification of staffing, completion dates, deliverables, constraints, etc.? What guarantees will you make in meeting the deliverables of the proposed project plan? For example, will you agree to pay a penalty if the system is not installed and functioning by the proposed date in the project plan?


What is the expected throughput (pieces/images per hour) of the equipment for the applications we run in our operation (as compared to published machine cycle speed)?


Rationale: Most brochures and web pages list the rated speed of the equipment. This is the fastest the machine will run under the best circumstances. Managers need to know how fast the machine will run with their most common applications. Can you provide a detailed description of the hardware, computers, servers, etc.? Include all space, power, air, HVAC, and networking requirements for the equipment.


Rationale: Printers and inserters may require additional power, air, or water than what is in the shop today. In the world of the “Internet of Things” (IOT), most equipment needs to be connected to your internal and external networks for submitting work and maintenance support.

Rationale: The equipment is not sitting on a shelf in a warehouse waiting to be delivered. Buyers may need to provide material — special paper stocks, barcoded output, and envelopes — so the machine can be tested before delivery. For printers, sample print files need to be run before the equipment leaves the factory. Can you please submit clear description of the maintenance, service, and support agreement? The document should include warranties, telephone numbers, hours for standard support, availability for urgent requests, and response times. Provide a description of the parts program, including spares stored onsite with the equipment, as well as nearby parts depots. Provide a description of the escalation process for issues that cannot be resolved through normal service and support.


Rationale: The best equipment runs best when supported by sound maintenance. Managers need clear expectations about what will happen when the printer or inserter stops running. In production environments with tight deadlines, response time is critical. Will you provide a description of how your company measures the effectiveness of the maintenance program,


including any guarantees of minimum equipment production levels and availability? Provide screen shots of key reports and measurement dashboards. Rationale: Managers need to understand how the vendor manages themselves. What does the vendor consider acceptable, and how does that match internal expectations? What innovations is your company planning to introduce in the next one to two years?


Rationale: A new equipment purchase is a substantial investment. Managers need to be prepared for the future and be assured that any pending changes can be applied to the equipment they’re buying today. Can you describe in detail your company’s environmental efforts (present and future) to help reduce and offset the impact of your company’s business activities on the environment? How will the technology you propose help our company’s efforts to reduce energy consumption and reduce the impact of our business activities on the environment?


Rationale: Awareness about environmental impact is important for service providers and in-plant managers. This information is important not only for the approval process, but for selling services — internally or externally — in the future. Can you provide three references, including information for at least one recently completed engagement where a similar solution was provided to the client? For one or two of the references, provide companies in the same geographic area, so a site visit can be scheduled.


Rationale: We learn from each other. Talk to other customers before making a final decision. The print and mail industries are seeing innovative technologies being introduced on a daily basis. Before investing in new equipment, take some time to get these important questions answered.  Mark M. Fallon is President, The Berkshire Company, a consulting firm specializing in mail and document processing strategies. He can be reached at | NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2019


By Kathleen Siviter

2020: THE FUTURE IS THE NEW NOW Embarking on a new decade brings both excitement and uncertainty, especially where the mailing industry is concerned.


or decades, 2020 has been a time marker used for futuristic changes, the rise of technology, human advancement, and more. In 1997, Wired magazine picked 2020 as the year when “humans arrive on Mars.” Popular Mechanics in 1951 predicted that by 2020, every family would have at least one helicopter in their garage. A surgeon in the Royal College of Surgeons of England in 1911 predicted that by 2020, human beings would become one-toed because the small toes were being used less and less as time went on. Arthur C. Clarke, inventor, science writer, and futurist, said that by 2020, we would all live in flying houses that could move anywhere on earth at the owner’s whim.



There have even been radical futuristic predictions about mail, including a 1959 prediction by then-Postmaster General Arthur Summerfield that by 2020, “mail will be delivered within hours from New York to California, to Britain, to India, or Australia by guided missiles.” [There actually was a successful 1959 test of mail delivery via missile where the Navy submarine U.S.S. Barbero used a rocket to send 3,000 letters to political figures; the nuclear warhead was taken out and replaced with mail containers, and the missile was launched towards the Naval Auxiliary Air Station.] But what seemed like a long time in the future is nearly upon us, so let’s take a few moments to reflect on what 2020 likely will

bring, and more importantly, the vision that is needed to take us into 2020 and beyond. Changes in USPS Leadership and Oversight Let’s start by re-capping the recent changes in the Postal Service’s leadership and oversight, which can have a significant impact on its strategic direction in 2020 and beyond. 2019 brought three new governors to the USPS’ Board, as well as three new commissioners on the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC), bringing them to five members each — a full complement for the PRC and five out of the nine USPS governor seats filled, making it a quorum for the first time in years and heralding the

to and grow mail usage (e.g., Informed Delivery, tracking response rates, timing of omnichannel marketing activities, USPS promotions, ballot/election mail tracking, etc.), monitor and improve delivery service performance (e.g., internal USPS diagnostics to track mail movement); reduce costs (e.g., predictive workload analytics, transportation management, Informed Visibility, Move Update, etc.); and improve efficiency (e.g., Mailer Scorecard mail quality data, Mail Irregularity data and reporting, Seamless Acceptance, etc.). The mailing industry has invested heavily in the equipment, systems, and processes to support the provision of Intelligent Mail data, all of which come with a cost to mailers and MSPs. While the USPS provides an IMb Full-Service price incentive to help offset these industry costs, there have been rumblings that the USPS may consider reducing those incentives now that a significant percentage of mail volume is prepared with an IMb. Mailers would argue that the data now provided along with the mail makeup has a high initial and ongoing cost and hope the USPS recognizes this in its long-term pricing strategies.

elimination of the previously created “Temporary Emergency Committee” to govern the Postal Service. In 2019, the USPS also began changes to its strategic planning organization, creating a new Senior Vice President of Finance & Strategy group. The USPS’ Board of Governors, with the addition of three new governors in 2019, also is reportedly undergoing changes to its Strategic Planning Committee leadership. 2019 has also brought changes to the legislative oversight of the Postal Service with the recent death of Rep. Elijah Cummings, who chaired the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, which oversees the Postal Service. A new chair has not yet been named, but will certainly impact the work of the committee on postal-related legislation for the remainder of 2019 and into 2020. The USPS is also formulating a 10-year “financial sustainability” plan at the request of Congress that could include significant changes as the agency tries to stem its losses and control costs moving forward. Lastly, the recent news of the impending retirement in January 2020 of Postmaster

General Megan Brennan means that the Postal Service’s organization itself will undergo significant change in 2020 with new leadership at the top and the likely ripple effect of position changes within the USPS’ leadership team that historically comes with a new Postmaster General. All these changes will shape the strategic planning of the Postal Service in 2020 and beyond, and could bring significant changes in direction. The Future Is in the Data The mailing industry and the Postal Service have changed significantly in the last decade, with the move to implement new technologies and “smart” processes — most of which are dependent on the Intelligent Mail data provided by mailers and mail service providers (MSPs). Data in Intelligent Mail barcodes and electronic documentation uniquely identify mail pieces, handling units (trays/sacks, etc.), containers, and nesting relationships. This Intelligent Mail data is the under-pinning of a long and growing list of Postal Service initiatives designed to add value

Vision Is Needed on USPS Financial Condition and Strategic Direction There are other potential and significant activities that could occur in 2020, such as the PRC’s 10-year review of the CPI rate cap structure, which it began in 2017. In 2018, the PRC issued a set of proposals that met with extensive comment from stakeholders and the USPS, supporting or opposing different elements of the PRC’s proposals. With three new Commissioners coming on board in 2019, there likely has been time needed for them to review and consider all the comments on its proposal, but it is possible that the PRC will issue a revised proposal in late 2019 or in 2020. Implementation time frame is unknown; it could happen as soon as 2020 or perhaps beyond. Many stakeholders are concerned that the Postal Service or the PRC see price increases as a way to return the USPS to profitability. With real competitive alternatives available in lieu of many mail categories, price increases are likely to drive volume out of the system, increasing the share of institutional costs that remaining mail users must pay, which would create a “death spiral” of escalating prices and declining volumes. | NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2019


There are many ways, however, that the Postal Service can reduce its “controllable” costs. Long-term vision, innovation, and willingness to pilot test some new concepts are essential in future USPS leadership if the agency is to succeed in maintaining or growing mail volume, increasing its share of the parcels and returns markets, and reducing its costs through increased workshare models to stabilize its financial condition. The Postal Service should focus on its core mission and strength — last-mile delivery — and look to reduce costs and increase efficiencies through collaboration and partnership opportunities in the first and middle mile. The last-mile “delivery” environment is rapidly changing, in part because of consumer demand for immediacy of delivery, convenience, and reliability. There are constant innovations being seen, redefining even where the “last mile” of tomorrow may be (e.g., at the grocery store or pharmacy) and challenging the USPS in new ways to compete for last-mile delivery.

Other Postal Changes Coming in 2020 If the above were not enough to think about in terms of changes coming in 2020, there are also changes that impact mail preparation and entry, and the day-today operations of mailers and MSPs. The USPS is scheduled to publish proposed rules mandating Seamless Acceptance by 2021, which will be a huge change for those mailers and MSPs not already utilizing the program. The USPS also will implement a new package platform that will bring changes for parcel shippers. The USPS’ price changes taking effect in January 2020 will drive mailer/MSP mail entry and preparation behaviors. July 2020 will bring changes in USPS international prices, which likely will be paired with price increases for inbound international shipments coming from other countries. And these are just the changes coming in 2020 that we know about. There are other unknown possibilities: Will the USPS’ financial pressures cause it to close

Publisher’s Note: The U.S. Postal Service requires the following statement be published for Mailing Systems Technology (Periodicals Class) mailings only. Mailing Systems Technology has had a (Periodicals Class) permit since January 1989. U.S. Postal Service STATEMENT OF OWNERSHIP, MANAGEMENT AND CIRCULATION Required by 39 U.S.C. 3685 1. Publication Title ................................................................Mailing Systems Technology 2. Publication No. .................................................................1088-2677 3. Filing Date ........................................................................September 14, 2019 4. Issue Frequency .................................................................Jan-Feb, Mar-Apr, May-June, Buyers Guide, Jul-Aug, Sept-Oct, Nov-Dec 5. No. Of Issues Published Annually .....................................7 6. Annual Subscription Price (if any) .....................................Free 7. Complete Mailing Address of Known Office of Publication (Street, City, County, State and ZIP + 4)(Not Printer) PO Box 259098, Madison, Dane County, WI 53725-9098 Contact Person ............................................................ Rachel Chapman, (608)446-6200 8. Complete Mailing Address of the Headquarters of General Business Offices of the Publisher (Not Printer) ....... PO Box 259098, Madison, Dane County, WI 53725-9098 9. Full Names and Complete Mailing Address of Publisher, Editor and Managing Editor (Do not leave blank) Publisher (Name and Complete Mailing Address) .............Ken Waddell, RB Publishing Inc., PO Box 259098, Madison, Dane County, WI 53725-9098 Editor (Name and Complete Mailing Address) ..................Amanda Armendariz, RB Publishing Inc., PO Box 259098, Madison, Dane County, WI 53725-9098 Managing Editor (Name and Complete Mailing Address).......... Amanda Armendariz, RB Publishing Inc., PO Box 259098, Madison, Dane County, WI 53725-9098 10. Owner (If the publication is owned by a corporation, give the name and address of the corporation immediately followed by the names and addresses of all stockholders owning or holding 1 percent or more of the total amount of stock. If not owned by a corporation, give the names and addresses of the individual owners. If owned by a partnership, or other unincorporated firm, give its name and address as well as those of each individual owner. If the publication is published by a nonprofit organization, give its name and address). (Do Not Leave Blank). Full Name .............................................................. Complete Mailing Address Chad Griepentrog ....................................................P.O. Box 259098, Madison, WI 53725-9098 Josh Vogt ................................................................ P.O. Box 259098, Madison, WI 53725-9098 Ken Waddell .......................................................... P.O. Box 259098, Madison, WI 53725-9098 11. Known Bondholders, Mortgages and other Security Holders Owning or Holding one Percent or more of Total Amount of Bonds, Mortgages or Other Securities None 12. (Must be completed if the publication title shown in item 1 is a publication published and owned by a non-profit organization). For completion by nonprofit organizations authorized to mail at special rates. The purpose, function and nonprofit status of this organization and the exempt status for federal income tax purposes has not changed during preceding 12 months.



more processing plants or post offices, or make changes in its service standards/ performance? What strategic direction changes might the next Postmaster General and new USPS governors bring? Will postal legislation move forward and if so, what changes will that bring? Will the PRC move forward on its 10-year review and make changes to the USPS rate structure? Stay tuned to find out; 2020 is just around the corner!  Kathleen J. Siviter is Asst. Executive Director of the National Association of Presort Mailers (NAPM) as well President of Postal Consulting Services Inc. (PCSi), and she has over 30 years’ experience in the postal industry. She has worked for the U.S. Postal Service, Association for Postal Commerce (PostCom), and others, as well as providing consulting services to a diverse set of clients with interest in the postal industry. She has also worked with PostalVision 2020, an initiative designed to engage stakeholders in discussions about the future of the American postal system.

13. Publication........................................................................................Mailing Systems Technology 14. Issue Date for Circulation Data ............................................ July-August 2019 15. Extent and Nature of Circulation ......................................... B2B - Controlled a. Total No. Copies (Net Press Run).........................22,977 .......................... 20,520 b. Legitimate Paid and/or Requested Distribution (By Mail and Outside the Mail)

1. Paid Requested Outside-County Mail Subscriptions Stated on Form 3541.

(Include advertiser’s proof and exchange copies) .....20,489 ........................... 19,329 2. Paid Requested In-County Mail Subscriptions Stated on Form 3541. ..................... 0 .....................................0 3. Sales Through Dealers and Carriers, Street Vendors, Counter Sales and Other Non-USPS Paid Distribution .............. 0 .....................................0 4. Other Classes Mailed Through the USPS ............. 0 .....................................0 c. Total Paid and/or Requested Circulation [Sum of 15b (1,2,3 and 4)] ..................................20,489 ........................... 19,329 d. Nonrequested Distribution (By Mail and Outside the Mail) 1. Outside-County as Stated on Form 3541 ........... 621 .................................626 2. In-County as Stated on Form 3541 ...................... 0 .....................................0 3. Other Classes Mailed Through the USPS ............ 30 ...................................29 4. Nonrequested Copies Distributed Outside the Mail ............................1,276 .................................5 e. Total Nonrequested Distribution ..............................1,927 ...............................660 f. Total Distribution (Sum of 15c and 15e) .............22,416 ........................... 19,989 g. Copies not Distributed (See instructions to Publishers #4 (page #3) ........................................................................... 561 .................................531 h. Total (Sum of 15f and g) ......................................22,977 ........................... 20,520 i. Percent Paid and/or Requested Circulation (15c/fx100) .......................................................... 91.4%............................ 96.7% 16. Electronic Copy Circulation ..............................................................................Yes a. Requested and Paid Electronic Copies ..................... 3,987 .......................... 2,770 b.Total Requested and paid Print Copies (Line 15c) + Requested/Paid Electronic Copies (Line 16a) .... .................... 24,476 ................................ 22,099 c.Total Requested Copy Distribution (Line 15f) + Requested/Paid Electronic Copies (Line 16a) ......................... 26,403 ................................ 22,759 d.Percent paid and/or Requested Circulation (Both Print & Electronic Copies) (16b divided by 16c x 100) ..........................................92.7% ........................ 97.1% 17. Publication of Statement of Ownership for a Requester Publication is required and will be printed in the November-December 2019 issue of this publication. 18. Signature and Title of Editor, Publisher, Business Manager or Owner: Rachel Chapman, Audience Development Manager, / September 14, 2019 I certify that all information furnished on this form is true and complete. I understand that anyone who furnishes false or misleading information on this form or who omits material or information requested on the form may be subject to criminal sanctions (including fines and imprisonment) and/or civil sanctions (including civil penalties). PS Form 3526-R, July 2014

Mail Automation Made Easy

A close look at 25 companies with the equipment, software, services, and/or supplies to improve your print-mail quality, production, and workflow

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