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A LOOK AT THE 2017 USPS PRICE CHANGE PAGE 11

MODERNIZING CUSTOMER COMMUNICATIONS MANAGEMENT WITH THE CLOUD PAGE 24

MAIL TRACKING & REPORTING: A SERIOUS OPPORTUNITY FOR MAILERS PAGE 26

HOW DO YOU SEE THE

OF MAIL? PAGE 14


Why Inkjet, Why NearStar? Do you want to implement newer ink jet production printers but have to wait for the resources and time to get application changes made? Let us take your current legacy application print output (AFP, LCDS, PS, PDF, HP-PCL, database exports, XML, etc.) and transform it for your specific printer and post printer requirements } Lower operational costs } Faster time to implementation } Add/Replace intelligent mail inserter and finishing bar codes } Implement automatic reprint process for damaged mail } Support for mixed printer environment for migration of applications from traditional cut-sheet to Inkjet with bi-directional capabilities } Capture accounting and tracking statistics from your print and post print equipment for total print shop reconciliation

NearStar: When you need a Complete Solution! Contact us today to learn more please on how to add newer technologies without waiting for upstream application changes. Contact us at sales@nearstar.com, www.nearstar.com.


TABLE OF CONTENTS

NOVEMBER - DECEMBER 2016 | VOLUME 29 ISSUE 6

FEATURES

DEPARTMENTS/COLUMNS 05

Editor's Note

Preparing for 2017 By Amanda Armendariz

06

Real Life Management

Goal Setting: Our Key to a Better Future By Wes Friesen

08

Mail & Technology Merge The State of Shipping: One Man’s Opinion By Vincent DeAngelis

14 2016 Annual Survey: Part Two

A closer look into the USPS, the industry, and the state of mail. By Amanda Armendariz

09

Connecting Point

Touch the Intangible in 2017 By Chris Lien

10

Direct Mail Evolution

Turn Direct Mail Doubters into Repeat Customers By Joy Gendusa

20 The Future of PC Postage — the Untold Story By Adam Lewenberg

24

11

Postal Affairs

USPS Tries Something New with 2017 Price Change By Kim Mauch

Modernizing Customer Communications Management in the Cloud By Patrick Brand

12

The Trenches

10 Hidden Things That Could Be Affecting Your Productivity By Mike Porter

30

26 Mail Tracking and Reporting: The Next Customer Expectation By Mark Rheaume

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28 Presenting a Better Business Case By Mark M. Fallon

Say What?


EDITOR'S NOTE

VOLUME 29, ISSUE 6 MAGAZINE STAFF Publisher Ken Waddell

PREPARING FOR 2017

Editor Amanda Armendariz amanda.c@rbpub.com Editorial Director Allison Lloyd allison.l@rbpub.com Contributing Writers Patrick Brand, Vincent DeAngelis, Mark M. Fallon, Wes Friesen, Joy Gendusa, Adam Lewenberg, Chris Lien, Kim Mauch, Mike Porter, Mark Rheaume

WITH AMANDA ARMENDARIZ

Audience Development Manager Rachel Chapman rachel@rbpub.com Advertising Ken Waddell (o) 608.442.5064 (m) 608.235.2212 ken.w@rbpub.com Design Kelli Cooke RB Publishing Inc. 2901 International Lane Madison WI 53704-3128 Tel: 608.241.8777 Fax: 608.241.8666 Email: rbpub@rbpub.com SUBSCIRBE Subscribe online at www.MailingSystemsTechnology.com. Subscriptions are free to qualified recipients: $20 per year to all others in the United States. Subscription rate for Canada or Mexico is $40 per year, and for elsewhere outside of the United States is $45. Back issue rate is $5. Send subscriptions to: Mailing Systems Technology, PO Box 259098, Madison WI 53725-9098 Call 608.241.8777 Fax 608.241.8666 E-mail rachel@rbpub.com Online at www.MailingSystemsTechnology.com. REPRINT SALES ReprintPro 949.702.5390 www.ReprintPros.com All material in this magazine is copyrighted ©2016 by RB Publishing Inc. All rights reserved. Nothing may be reproduced in whole or in part without written permission from the publisher. Any correspondence sent to Mailing Systems Technology, RB Publishing Inc. or its staff becomes property of RB Publishing Inc.

Once again, a new year is almost upon us, and once again, it’s time to take what we learned in 2016 and apply it to our goals for 2017. For most of us, a new year always brings a sense of optimism, a clean slate, and the chance to improve our personal and professional lives. And while I understand that sometimes it can be hard to stay positive about the mail industry — our very livelihood — I am hopeful that 2017 will be a good year for us. There are several things that mailers can do in order to increase the effectiveness and profitability of their mailing operation in the new year. One of the biggest avenues for growth and savings is by taking advantage of the USPS promotions. Easy to implement, these promotions can help reduce postage costs while simultaneously increasing the importance of mail among consumers. Yet according to our annual survey, not even half of the respondents are planning on taking part in these promotions. This is puzzling. Any chance that mailers have to both reduce costs and increase the amount of mail in the mail stream is a win for all involved — the mailers themselves, the USPS, and the consumers. Not to mention, mail has been shown to be trusted more as a communication method than its digital counterparts. For organizations looking to cement customer loyalty and improve satisfaction, mail is an avenue that deserves a closer look. Mail volumes may not be at the levels they once were, but mail is a communication vehicle that is here to stay. Wishing you a profitable and prosperous 2017! As always, thanks for reading Mailing Systems Technology.

The articles in this magazine represent the views of the authors and not those of RB Publishing Inc. or Mailing Systems Technology. RB Publishing Inc. and/or Mailing Systems Technology expressly disclaim any liability for the products or services sold or otherwise endorsed by advertisers or authors included in this magazine. MAILING SYSTEMS TECHNOLOGY (ISSN 1088-2677) [Volume 29 Issue 6] is published six times per year, (January/February, Annual Industry Buyer’s Guide, March/April, May/June, September/October, November/December) by RB Publishing Inc., 2901 International Lane, Suite 100, Madison WI 53704-3128, 608-241-8777. Periodical postage paid at Madison WI and additional offices. POSTMASTER Send address changes to: Mailing Systems Technology PO Box 259098 Madison WI 53725-9098

MailingSystemsTechnology.com | NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2016

5


REAL LIFE MANAGEMENT

By Wes Friesen

GOAL SETTING: OUR KEY TO A BETTER FUTURE

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o you want both you and your team to rise to new levels of achievement and success? Embracing goal setting may be the tool you need. Goal setting is the process of developing outcomes (goals) that serve as the aim of an individual or team’s actions. Goal setting costs little but is a very valuable means to accomplish the end result of greater success. Setting goals increases motivation. Muhammad Ali illustrated this by saying, “What keeps me going is goals.” Multiple studies concluded that giving people specific goals to achieve, rather than telling them to do their best, increases their motivation. Setting goals increases achievement. Brian Tracy emphasizes this point when he stated, “Goals are the fuel in the furnace of achievement.” Earl Nightingale adds support when he said, “People with goals succeed because they know where they are going.” Many studies show that setting goals increases success rates in a wide variety of settings.

Goal Setting Guidelines Zig Ziglar emphasized the importance of goal setting by advising, “A goal properly set is halfway reached.” There have been a number of research projects that provide us with the guidelines to make goal setting work for us. Research tells us: 1. Set challenging yet attainable goals. More difficult goals lead to higher performance than do easy goals — as long as the goal is seen as realistic and attainable. Michelangelo observed, “The greater danger for most of us isn’t that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.” For example, assume you are currently producing five widgets per day. A goal of producing six per day may motivate you to work a little smarter and/or harder to reach 6

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“The victory of success is half won when you are in the habit of setting and achieving goals.” — Brian Tracy the goal. However a goal of 10 widgets may be considered impossible to achieve and discourage you.

are insufficient for the task, we will lack the confidence to work hard to achieve the goal.

2. Set specific goals. Specific goals are more likely to lead to higher performance than goals that are vague or very general. Research indicates that specific goals, such as producing six widgets per day, are more motivational than a general “Do your best” goal.

5. Clarify goal priorities. People appreciate expectations that are clear as to which goals should be accomplished and which goals are of the highest priority. It is valuable to explain the “why” behind the goal priorities and to emphasize the benefits of meeting the goal. In explaining the why, I found it useful to tie back to benefits to one or more of our key stakeholders: investors, customers, employees, and the community.

3. Provide feedback on goal accomplishment. People like to know where they stand and whether they are on course or off course in their efforts. Getting specific feedback on our actual results versus the goal can encourage us to step up our efforts if we are running behind the goal. Or if the feedback shows we are meeting or exceeding the goal, we will be motivated to keep up the good work. 4. Build goal acceptance and commitment. People work harder for goals they accept and believe in; they resist goals forced regarding them. Remember the key principle, “Change imposed is change opposed.” Participating in the goal setting process helps build acceptance and commitment — the all important “buy in.” Research shows that we must be able to accomplish the goals and feel confident regarding those abilities. In our widget example, if we have a goal to produce 10 per day, but we believe that our abilities

6. Reward goal accomplishment. Motivational expert Bob Nelson counsels, “You get what you reward. Be clear about what you want to get and systematically reward it.” By rewarding positive accomplishments, we are increasing the probability of future positive accomplishments. Remember the principle that “success breeds success.”

Set SMART Goals A SMART goal is a helpful acrostic that defines characteristics of good goals. A SMART goal is: Specific Measurable Ambitious yet Attainable Relevant Time specific


Let me share some examples of SMART goals. Assume you are a mail professional and want to expand your knowledge and further your career. A SMART goal could be to “Pass the CMDSM certification by March 31, 2017.” As I am writing this, I am teaching a cohort of university students who have a SMART goal to “Graduate with a B.S. degree in Business Administration from George Fox University by December 17, 2016.”

their achievement. One such study by Dr. Gail Matthews, a psychology professor at Dominican University in California, included a wide range of 267 professionals. Those professionals that wrote their goals down were 42% more likely to achieve them! Adding accountability worked even better. Those who translated their goals into actions, made a commitment to a friend, and provided weekly progress reports increased goal achievement by 78%!

Put Goals in Writing

Have an Action Plan

Writing the goals down gives them more importance and formalizes the agreement. Studies have shown that writing down goals increases the probability of

Setting goals is very important, and to make our goals a reality, we need to have action plans to ensure achievement of the goals. Tom Landry emphasized this by say-

ing, “Setting a goal is not the main thing. It is deciding how you will go about achieving it and staying with that plan”. Involve your team members in building action plans — you will gain their ownership and end up with better quality plans. As we know, often the best ideas come from the people on the front lines doing the work, not those of us in management roles that are not as close to the action. In closing, remember the Yogi Berra quote, “If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.” I wish you well as you set goals and action plans for yourself and your team, then enjoy celebrating progress as you experience even more success! ¾

Wes Friesen is a proven leader and developer of high-performing teams. Wes and his teams have earned multiple awards from a variety of organizations over the years. He has extensive experience in leadership and management roles, in both the business and non-profit worlds. He is also an accomplished university instructor and conference speaker. His book, Your Team Can Soar! Powerful Lessons to Help You Lead and Develop High Performing Teams, can be ordered from Xulonpress.com/bookstore or wesfriesen.com

MailingSystemsTechnology.com | NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2016

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MAIL & TECHNOLOGY MERGE

By Vincent DeAngelis

THE STATE OF SHIPPING: ONE MAN’S OPINION

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few weeks back, I was signing a couple of hundred letters to Congress urging members to review and enact legislation that would allow the United States Postal Service to improve efficiency, manage prefunded healthcare, and streamline operations in order to function as a competitive business and continue to provide worldclass postal services to the citizens of the United States. Alas, I digress; perhaps a column for another day. Back to the letters. Halfway through my Friday marathon signing session, my favorite pen ran out of ink. Since this pen was given to me by my mother and, as such, is very dear to me, I needed to purchase a replacement cartridge as opposed to disposing of it. I went online to a couple of office supply websites for retailers and began searching for the cartridge my pen takes. After navigating through a few web pages and coming up blank, I decided to see if Amazon carried it. As one would suspect, there it was. I ordered this $11.59 refill and, as an Amazon Prime member, I was informed that my two-day delivery would arrive on Sunday. Sure enough, on a Sunday, mid-morning, a USPS vehicle arrived at my mailbox to deliver my ballpoint pen refill. Shortly thereafter, I get a notification on my phone that the USPS has delivered my Amazon order to my mailbox. This got me thinking about the state of shopping and shipping in our country. My first thought was that the “Amazonation” (copyrighted 10/11/16 by VJD) of shipping is the latest event to showcase the USPS as a world-class provider of shipping services.

A Boost to E-Commerce? By now, we are all aware of the enhancements that the Postal Service has made to its shipping products and related infrastructure: enhanced visibility that gets as many as 11 scans per package on average, improvements to its transportation network, increases in service scores, its cost structure (which has an ounce-based service), and improvements to its website and mobile app to name a few. But the more I thought about it, I realized that the USPS could very well be fueling the growth we have seen in commerce. Has its role of universal service provider, which, in part, mandates that it deliver to every household every day, given a boost to the growing lower-value segment of the e-commerce industry? Does seeing a USPS truck pull up to your house on a Sunday enhance that consumer’s impression? Recent studies have shown that if delivery preference was left to consumers, they would choose the Postal Service as their delivery service of choice over the other parcel delivery companies. The same study shows that this choice is given to the consumer less than 25% of the time. Influencing Purchase Behavior It is quite evident that the landscape of shopping is changing due to a myriad of reasons. Consumers are time-stressed. Ordering items online, once the domain for mail order, the hard-to-find, and bigger-ticket purchases, has moved down-market to everyday items that we choose to buy online and have delivered as opposed to stopping to pick up.

I recently reviewed my order history for the last year. It showed that 80% of my online purchases were for less than $20, and a majority of those were less than $10. For me, many of those purchases occurred on a Thursday or Friday. Knowing that the USPS would deliver me these nice-to-have-but-not-need-to-have items on a Saturday or Sunday influenced my purchase behavior. A Strong Postal Service Is Critical This brings me back to the need for the ballpoint pen refill. We have just emerged from a political season where the leaders of our country seemed to talk about everything besides what’s good for the country. A strong and vibrant United States Postal Service is as critical for the country today as it was when the Continental Congress appointed the country’s first Postmaster General in 1775. If you support your family, as I do, by being part of this $1.4 trillion industry, I recommend that you put pen to paper and strongly encourage that those who represent you take the action needed that ensures a strong future for the Postal Service and our industry. Perhaps you can even hand it to the carrier when he or she is delivering a package on a Sunday. ¾

Vincent DeAngelis is Vice President, Postal Relations, and Shipping Product Management, Neopost USA. Neopost USA provides hardware and software to mailers and shippers of all sizes. Neopost-brand solutions enable businesses to send and receive physical mail, digital documents, and traceable packages. More importantly, Neopost solutions help our customers connect with their customers by establishing individualized, one-to-one business relationships. Visit www.neopostusa.com for more information.

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CONNECTING POINT

By Chris Lien

TOUCH THE INTANGIBLE IN 2017

A

t the 2016 National Postal Forum, Harris Diamond, the Chairman and CEO of McCann Worldgroup, shared that Americans spend an average of 25 minutes a day with mail. This “mail moment” is an important opportunity for direct marketers. Bridging the high-touch value of direct mail to the high-tech experience opens up a world of new benefits. As an industry, we know the tangible hardware and technology behind delivering top-performing mail pieces. The time is now to become better educated about the power of the intangible technologies that are so critical to effective direct communications. Data Quality and Data Exchange The importance of getting the right message to the right person begins with having the right information. With the changes to the USPS Mailer Scorecard and other Postal Service regulatory changes, the onus for having good data quality is increasingly being put on the service provider (aka eDoc submitter). There are many tangible tools and services available to correct data — ranging from compliance-focused solutions to leveraging additional data for deeper discounts. These all have tangible benefits like reduced postage and higher delivery rates. Yet, printers and mailers often miss the critical opportunity to send address data that has been processed back to the list owner. When marketers incorporate this data back into their databases and use it to drive decisions for their next campaign, they see greater ROI from direct marketing and continue to keep direct mail as an important component of their multi-channel campaigns.

Brand Identity Using the postal promotions calendar, mail owners can leverage the full impact of their brand colors and graphics. For example, the Personalized Color Transpromo Promotion offers mailers a two percent discount when they produce transactional mail like bills and statements with personal offers, printed in color, that are directly targeted at the recipient. This direct benefit enables mail pieces to touch the intangible by extending marketing into every customer touchpoint. It is an opportunity to delight customers with unique messaging that draws on the brand imagery that marketers have worked hard to cultivate. But as Paul Abdool, Vice President of Enterprise Solutions at Solimar Systems, notes, it isn’t without effort. “The transpromo promotion was a larger effort than people first thought,” says Abdool, “but the effort and the investment pays for itself fairly quickly if you can pull it together. “Once you get the promo going and the discounts are coming in, there’s benefits across the board,” he continues. “It also benefits the USPS First-Class Mail from a preservation perspective.” Software and Technology Solutions The backbone of operations has to be technology and software solutions that allow your business to be agile and responsive. Printers and mailers can see tangible results, like Mike Libby at Perinton Publishing did, when these systems are working in harmony. Libby, a mailing service provider with over two decades of experience, recouped over $8,000 annually in just man-hour savings after investing in a software upgrade. That tangible advantage is further enhanced with a series of intangible

benefits that can be more difficult to measure. In his words, “I’m not certain how to measure the financial impact of reducing errors, increasing reliability and repeat-ability, and meeting aggressive customer timelines. I consider it invaluable.” Perinton Publishing’s investment in technology and process came with another intangible benefit. They are one of fewer than 70 USPS Full-Service Certified Mail Service Providers in the country. This puts them on the same list as some of the most prominent mailers in the US and provides an intangible competitive advantage that certainly has had tangible results. By maximizing automation, printers and mailers can create optimized workflows. The money saved on labor can be re-invested into ways the customers can see more ROI for their direct mail advertising dollar. Intangibles like these are fueling advancements in mail design, deliverability, and response. By recognizing the importance of these intangibles, you can bring in new revenues streams, increase workplace efficiency, help ensure compliance, and make your services more valuable to the end client. In this new column, I will show you that through tangible and intangible “connecting points,” you can not only become a more educated representative of the industry, but also a more profitable mailer. ¾

Web Exclusive: Visit MailingSystemsTechnology.com/ ImprovingWorkflow for more ideas on optimizing your mail operation.

Chris Lien is the president of BCC Software and has been active in the mailing industry for over 20 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, EPICOMM, Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers, and Idealliance.

MailingSystemsTechnology.com | NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2016

9


DIRECT MAIL EVOLUTION

By Joy Gendusa

TURN DIRECT MAIL DOUBTERS INTO REPEAT CUSTOMERS

I

f I had a dime for every small business owner I’ve seen try direct mail, only to quickly throw up their hands and declare that it didn’t work, I’d have a mountain of dimes. I’m guessing that you would, too. The worst part? For some of those folks, their direct mail marketing actually did bring more leads (even revenue) into their business! They just didn’t know it. Why, you may ask? Because they didn’t systematically track their campaigns. When marketers track their results, they can see it working. Seeing is believing! Tracking turns direct mail doubters into direct mail devotees — in other words, it turns them into reordering and referring customers! Now the question is: How can you help your clients track their results? From super low-tech tools to fully automated systems, let’s talk about some of the tracking options that will help your clients see for themselves how effective we know direct mail can be! Provide unique marketing codes for each campaign Promo or discount codes are an easy, timetested way for businesses to monitor their marketing efforts. It’s as simple as adding a code to the design — but they’re not perfect. Your clients need to remember to ask their customers for the code, and their customers have to remember to share it. This leaves a lot of room for human error, the result of which can be inaccurate data. As we all know, bad data can do more harm than good.

If your client thinks their mail piece isn’t pulling (when it actually is) and they stop their campaign, they lose customers — and potentially, so do you. Create coordinating landing pages for every mailing Custom landing pages not only help your clients track leads and web traffic generated by their direct mail, they also can help them convert more of them into sales! A landing page designed to follow a specific mail piece tells visitors they’re in the right place and gives them more information about the topic they’re interested in. We always recommend businesses include the URL for a dedicated landing page on their marketing materials. By sending prospects to the homepage, they force them to dig around for what they’re looking for — a major roadblock to sales. Once a landing page is set up, your clients can see how many people are being driven there using the free web analytics service Google Analytics. The downside? Depending on how many different campaigns your clients run, they could potentially be building dozens of separate landing pages. Add Google follow-up ads to their direct mail piece Google follow-up ads (also called remarketing or retargeting) offer two benefits — tracking and enhanced lead generation. More than 95% of prospects interested in your clients’ products and services will visit their website before calling or visiting. If those visitors leave without

taking your client’s desired action (buying, filling out a form, etc.), your client’s banner ad FOLLOWS them around the internet, across millions of sites in the Google network. These online ads remind your client’s prospects of their interest and direct them to go back to the website — and, according to cmo.com, they can boost response by up to 400%! Not only will your client get more leads (an obvious sign their marketing is working!), but Google will show them exactly how many people went to their website and are now seeing their online ads. Include a call tracking number on every piece Call tracking shows your clients a number of things: } How many calls a campaign generates } What number is calling them } What time of day they receive the most calls } The duration of those calls } How their receptionist and salespeople handle those calls Your client’s call tracking number can be local or toll-free, and it rings directly into their business — but it gets tracked and recorded! One of our clients started offering call tracking and Google follow-up ads to their customers and they saw a 70% uptick in reorders within the first 12 months! ¾

Joy Gendusa is the Founder and CEO of DirectMail2.0, a fully integrated marketing solution for the clients of printers/mailers that combines the proven success of direct mail with in-demand features like online advertising and automated campaign tracking. Visit www.directmail2point0.com or call 800.956.4129 today!

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POSTAL AFFAIRS

By Kim Mauch

USPS TRIES SOMETHING NEW WITH 2017 PRICE CHANGE

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n October, USPS released the price and structure changes for both market dominant and competitive products. If approved by the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC), the changes will go into effect on January 22, 2017. By reading through the lines, we can deduce some interesting new directions from the Postal Service. Pricing Overview: Winners and Losers Prices for market dominant mail classes like First-Class and Standard Mail can only be raised up to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) cap, along with any unused cap authority from previous price increases. As such, the prices for these mail classes will increase an average of around 0.8%. This amount may seem insignificant, but with USPS operating costs rising, every bit counts. For First-Class Mail, the big losers are mailers sending flats or retail-priced letters. The price of a stamp is back up to 49 cents, while the cost for residual single-piece mail will drop a half cent. Volume mailers will also be able to send letters up to 3.5 ounces at the one-ounce rate. For First-Class Mail, volume mailers appear to be the clear winners. Standard Mail will be rebranded to “Marketing Mail” in an attempt to modernize this product. This name change will have a long implementation period but will start with the postage statement. Prices for high-density/saturation and carrier route flats will be going down, while all other rates will be raising slightly. The maximum weight for flats paying piece rates will increase from 3.3 ounces to four ounces.

Another interesting item in the filing is how drop ship discounts are calculated. According to a recent workshare analysis, these discounts were much higher than the efficiencies gained by USPS. Mailers who deposit their mail at DSCF and DNDC locations will see their discounts shrink a bit, and they will continue to see this discount shrink in the subsequent price changes until it is in line with postal efficiencies. FSS Pricing Structure Change FSS has been an ongoing struggle for USPS. The Flats Sequencing System, introduced in 2008, promised efficiencies for processing and delivery of flats, but at a huge cost. Early reports of damaged mail pieces and longer delivery times did not help industry adoption. FSS preparation was mandated for FSS zones in 2014, but mailers could pay the same price they had without FSS preparation. In 2015, USPS established specific prices for flats destined for FSS zones. This new price was much higher for mailers who had enough volume or saturation to get Carrier Route rates, but lower than most other rates. Many mailers saw this as a de facto price increase and threatened to use other delivery methods for FSS areas. Some Standard mailers reduced their mailings to FSS zones as well. In 2017, FSS pieces will revert back to the original prices, giving larger volume mailers some relief. USPS noted that volume to FSS zones was disproportionately lower after the 2015 prices were enacted. This change could drive up volume going to FSS locations, along with incenting co-mail preparation in FSS zones. The Postal Ser-

vice wants to add more ZIP Codes to FSS processing, so this change will likely enable that without much industry pushback. USPS Listening to Industry? Throughout the rate filing, USPS noted mailing trends and mailer feedback on specific mailing products, which indicates that postal leadership are listening to what mailers are saying with words or dollars. But most interesting for me was how early the USPS posted this information for industry review. While the official filings were in mid-October, mailers started getting key insights into the changes as early as March. At the 2016 National Postal Forum, most, if not all, of these changes were proposed, and USPS kept the dialogue going throughout the summer. In an unprecedented move, they posted the changes, complete with Domestic Mail Manual (DMM) edits and postage statements, weeks before the language was officially posted to the PRC. This helped vendors and mailers to analyze and critique the changes early, likely avoiding the usual last-minute panic over the holidays as clarifications are released. Overall, the initial handling of this rate case has been very positive. ¾

This will be Kim’s last column for Mailing Systems Technology. We’d like to thank her for all of her contributions over the years; she will be missed!

Kim Mauch is a subject matter expert in mailing preparation and submission at Satori Software. Contact her at kmauch@satorisoftware.com.

MailingSystemsTechnology.com | NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2016

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THE TRENCHES

By Mike Porter

10 HIDDEN THINGS THAT COULD BE AFFECTING YOUR PRODUCTIVITY

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he reasons for unsatisfactory throughput numbers are as varied as the document operations experiencing them. Every shop is different and so are the remedies, but they aren’t always easy to spot. Managers and people working on the jobs every day are too close to the problems to see the solutions. Sometimes they don’t even see the problems at all. Here are a few things I’ve encountered over the years that affect how much mail an operation can produce in a day. Recognizing these conditions in your operation and fixing them can result in better throughput and lower costs. Poorly Running Material We have a tendency to blame the machinery when jams and misfeeds result in frequent stops and starts, but the real culprit might be the material. Some problem areas are jams in the printers, double feeds, crooked folding, envelope feeding, insertion, flap opening, flap closing, sealing, metering, and stacking. Stock Shortages Running out of material because of damage, reruns, or an unexpected spike in volume can force operations to pull partial jobs off of equipment until new stock arrives. I’ve seen jobs sit in limbo for hours waiting on an answer about the ETA for enough material to finish the work. USPS Cutoff Times Most shops halt production in the afternoon and concentrate on getting mail prepared and into the hands of the US Postal Service or a presort vendor in time for same-day processing. Shortening the time required for day-end activities results in more pieces included in daily shipments. Automation or simply building pallets throughout the day can be helpful in this situation.

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Job Changeover Statistics or plain old observation may tell you if idle time between jobs is impacting production more than it should. Look for ways to shorten those time-consuming intervals and eliminate as many changeovers as possible. That might include tactics such as automating balancing procedures

down to the warehouse to fetch materials for the next job, moving pallets around in their workspace, or attending to waste disposal. In my observations, these activities often lead to diversions like excess smoke breaks, snacks, checking on the weather from the loading dock, or seeing what friends are up to on Facebook. It

Depending on the schedule of how the print is produced, it may be more efficient to mail two or three documents to the same person in a single envelope than mailing them separately. or re-ordering jobs so those with identical characteristics process sequentially. Poor Utilization Running a big job on a single machine, while other compatible equipment sits idle, limits productivity. Splitting jobs can be tricky, though. Use piece-tracking software to prevent mistakes like printing a batch twice or missing a batch entirely. Inefficient Operator Duties Machine operators should spend most of their time running the equipment. Unfortunately, the job description for many machine operators includes wandering

doesn’t take long for a business to lose 10,000 pieces of productivity between jobs while the operator is away on an unofficial break. Offline Operations Some shops still fold their primary documents and/or apply postage offline. Adding inline feeder/folders and postage meters to the inserters (or switching to permit mail) can cut out several staging, transport, and record-keeping steps. Excess Pages Regardless of your equipment’s speed, every page transported through the


machinery eats up time. Printing and inserting operations can gain an incredible amount of productive run time by eliminating pages from the jobs. Forms developers aren’t always thinking about document production logistics when they design those pages. I had a client once whose forms designers changed a document and unwittingly added so many pages to the daily print run it would take more than 24 hours to print them! Print service providers still operating on the fee-per-page pricing model see a strategy to drop pages as unacceptable. However, there may be ways to reduce page counts and simultaneously add value for customers, a good strategy for customer retention.

Combine Mailings Document re-engineering software can combine separate print streams, sort the pages into account number sequence, change the inserter control marks, and modify page numbering so the formerly separate documents can be mailed in a single envelope. Depending on the schedule of how the print is produced, it may be more efficient to mail two or three documents to the same person in a single envelope than mailing them separately. With higher weight limits now on FirstClass Mail, this strategy has become even more appealing if circumstances permit.

reasons for upgrading printing or finishing gear such as enhanced tracking and control, new functionality, or speed. But if managers don’t address conditions hampering productivity before installing a new machine, they will still be present after the equipment swap. Higher throughput promised by faster equipment may not be fully achieved until these items are handled. ¾

Web Exclusive:

Visit MailingSystemsTechnology.com/ FixingProductivityProblems for more ideas on improving your productivity.

Equipment Upgrades Document operations managers have good

Mike Porter is President of Print/Mail Consultants, a firm that helps document centers operate efficiently today and prepare for the business challenges of tomorrow. Visit www.printmailconsultants.com and sign up for Practical Stuff — a free newsletter featuring tips, trends, and commentary of interest to customer communication professionals.

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 1, 2016 4. Issue Frequency .................................................................Jan-Feb, Buyers Resource, Mar-Apr, May-June, Sept-Oct, Nov-Dec 5. No. Of Issues Published Annually .....................................6 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) 2901 International Lane, Suite 100, Madison, Dane County, WI 53704-3128 Contact Person ............................................................ Rachel Chapman, (608)442-5082 8. Complete Mailing Address of the Headquarters of General Business Offices of the Publisher (Not Printer) ....... 2901 International Lane, Suite 100, Madison, WI 53704-3128 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., 2901 International Lane, Suite 100, Madison, WI 53704-3128 Editor (Name and Complete Mailing Address) ..................Amanda Armendariz, RB Publishing Inc., 2901 International Lane, Suite 100, Madison, WI 53704-3128 Managing Editor (Name and Complete Mailing Address).......... Amanda Armendariz, RB Publishing Inc., 2901 International Lane, Suite 100, Madison, WI 53704-3128 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 Marll Thiede ........................................................... RB Publishing Inc., 2901 International Lane, Ste. 100, Madison WI 53704-3128 Ron Brent ............................................................... RB Publishing Inc., 2901 International Lane, Ste. 100, Madison WI 53704-3128 Gregory Rice .......................................................... Executive Management, Inc. 2901 International Lane, 2nd Floor Madison WI 53704-3128 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. 13. Publication........................................................................................Mailing Systems Technology 14. Issue Date for Circulation Data ............................................ May-June 2016 15. Extent and Nature of Circulation ......................................... B2B - Controlled a. Total No. Copies (Net Press Run).........................25,763 .......................... 28,030 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) .....23,781 ........................... 27,421 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)] ..................................23,781 ........................... 27,421 d. Nonrequested Distribution (By Mail and Outside the Mail) 1. Outside-County as Stated on Form 3541 ..........1,366 ...............................551 2. In-County as Stated on Form 3541 ...................... 0 .....................................0 3. Other Classes Mailed Through the USPS ............ 24 ...................................28 4. Nonrequested Copies Distributed Outside the Mail ............................. 558 ...................................0 e. Total Nonrequested Distribution ..........................1,949 ...............................579 f. Total Distribution (Sum of 15c and 15e) .............25,729 ........................... 28,000 g. Copies not Distributed (See instructions to Publishers #4 (page #3) ............................................................................ 34 ...................................30 h. Total (Sum of 15f and g) ......................................25,763 ........................... 28,030 i. Percent Paid and/or Requested Circulation (15c/fx100) ......................................................... 92.43%.......................... 97.93% 16. Electronic Copy Circulation ..............................................................................Yes a. Requested and Paid Electronic Copies .................... 14,647 ........................ 13,647 b.Total Requested and paid Print Copies (Line 15c) + Requested/Paid Electronic Copies (Line 16a) .... .................... 38,428 ................................ 41,068 c.Total Requested Copy Distribution (Line 15f) + Requested/Paid Electronic Copies (Line 16a) ......................... 40,376 ................................ 41,647 d.Percent paid and/or Requested Circulation (Both Print & Electronic Copies) (16b divided by 16c x 100) .........................................95.17% ...................... 98.61% 17. Publication of Statement of Ownership for a Requester Publication is required and will be printed in the November-December 2016 issue of this publication. 18. Signature and Title of Editor, Publisher, Business Manager or Owner: Rachel Chapman, Audience Development Manager, / September 1, 2016 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

MailingSystemsTechnology.com | NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2016

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2016 ANNUAL SURVEY: PART TWO A closer look into the USPS, the industry, and the state of mail.

By Amanda Armendariz

A

s always, I’d like to start out by giving a huge “thank you” to those of you who participated in our survey. Year after year, it’s gratifying to see how mailing professionals view the happenings in our industry.

The United States Postal Service is a wonderful American institution that goes above and beyond to deliver mail and packages to every resident of the United States. With its unique setup where it acts, in many ways, as a business but still is subject to governing bodies like the Postal Regulatory Commission, it is often frustrating to some of us that the USPS’s hands are tied when it comes to factors like setting prices, changing regulations, and the like. So it’s refreshing to see that over half of our respondents (a full 55%) rated the USPS service as good. I understand that at times, it can seem like facilities are being closed in order to accommodate cost-cutting measures brought on by the attempt to reduce the impact of the pre-funding requirements, and the local post offices are sometimes short-staffed due to cutbacks.

We all know that can have a negative impact on the service performance. But I truly believe that the USPS is, overall, an organization that serves our citizens well. That’s not to say there can’t be improvement, of course. A full 26% of respondents listed their biggest issue with the USPS as the regulations being confusing or burdensome. Clarifying these regulations and making them easier for the public to understand, as well as providing more customer service when mailers have questions, could go a long way to improving mailers’ interactions with the USPS. And of course, our survey also touches on a variety of factors that are out of the USPS’s control, at least directly: the increasing use of digital communications (and the corresponding decrease in hard-copy mail), environmental aspects related to physical mail pieces, and more. Take a look and see how your opinions align with your peers!

Opinions on the USPS How would you rate the performance of the USPS? 6% 5%

34%

How worried are you about the USPS not being able to meet its financial obligations if some drastic changes (such as eliminating the pre-funding requirements, etc.) are not made?

23.5% 33.7%

Somewhat worried

55%

14

Very worried Not worried; mail will always be around

Excellent

Fair

Good

Poor

NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2016 | MailingSystemsTechnology.com

42.9%


Do you think the USPS is making the correct moves in changing how it does business to respond to the increase in electronic communications and the economy?

57.6% YES

30.3% NO

12.1% OTHER

As someone who deals with mail on a professional level on a daily basis, I have to agree with the majority. The USPS was faced with a daunting task with the overwhelming adoption of digital communications by businesses and personal mailers. But the steps it is taking by implementing such measures as Informed Visibility and Informed Delivery, which reinforce the value of physical mail in a digital world, is indeed encouraging.

“Don’t fix it [the USPS] if it isn’t broken.” Augmented reality (which is, as the USPS states, “a technology that enables mobile devices to superimpose related, digital content on top of a real-world view... It essentially adds a digital layer of information on top of realworld images”) has been a topic of discussion at industry shows, such as the National Postal Forum, the last couple of years. Have you heard of augmented reality?

41%

“The USPS should have freedom to run itself like a business. But better.”

Yes No

59%

What is your #1 issue with the USPS? Address corrections

3.0%

Communication/information

5.0%

Delivery accuracy

7.0%

Flexibility

2.0%

Hours of operation

5.0%

Inconsistency

40

38.8%

36.5% 30

15.0%

Mail acceptance

3.0%

Pickups/drop-offs

1.0%

Postal personnel

6.0%

Rates/pricing

7.0%

Regulations confusing or burdensome

If you have heard of augmented reality, what are your opinions on it?

26.0%

20

18.8%

10

5.9%

Reliability

0.0%

Returned mail

2.0%

Supplies availability

4.0%

Timely delivery

9.0%

Eh, it’s kind of interesting, but I think once the novelty is lost, people are going to quit using it; it has no real purpose.

Tracking

2.0%

It’s pointless and does nothing to help physical mail.

None

3.0%

I have no opinion on the use of augmented reality on mail pieces.

It’s great; it’s going to really help hard-copy mail remain relevant in a digital world.

MailingSystemsTechnology.com | NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2016

15


If you are responsible for the mail piece design in your organization (or if you are required to give input on the design, even if you do not actually design it yourself), will you push for the use of augmented reality to better engage customers?

Informed Visibility is a USPS program that was launched in the first stages last summer and will allow the USPS to provide visibility of the physical mail piece all the way through the last mile, alerting the sender when the mail piece arrives at the intended address. USPS execs say it will allow marketers to better time other modes of communication to coincide with delivery of a mail piece. What is your opinion on this initiative? 50

16% Yes

46.8%

40

44%

No Not sure

37.2%

30

26% 20

“[The USPS is a] good value for the price we pay.” What is your opinion on the USPS Informed Delivery initiative? (This initiative allows the recipient to get an email showing images of the physical mail pieces that are arriving in their mailbox that day. The USPS states this will allow direct marketers/ retailers/etc. to effectively add digital offers to the physical mail piece.) 40

15%

Wonderful! Especially with the usage of multi-channel communications, this will be a boon for both the USPS and mailers. I’m undecided. I think it’s unnecessary and will not do anything to help the USPS remain relevant in the digital age. I haven’t heard of this initiative. It’s interesting to note that mailers seem to be much more receptive to the Informed Visibility initiative than they are to the Informed Delivery initiative. Perhaps they realize that while Informed Delivery may encourage people to check their mail more often, Informed Visibility allows marketers to actually do something tangible with this information, thereby making it more valuable.

35% 30

26% 20

15%

10

22% 17%

10

It’s a great idea; what a way to get people excited about their mail!

The USPS has announced several promotions that will allow mailers to save money in 2017. Does your organization plan on taking part in any of them?

48% YES

52% NO

I’m undecided; it could have potential, but I’m not sure how useful it will actually be. I don’t think it will make a difference. I haven’t heard of this initiative.

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NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2016 | MailingSystemsTechnology.com

This is surprising to me. Many of these promotions require almost no additional effort but can save substantial money in postage. I thought the adoption rate would be much higher!


Those who are planning on taking advantage of the promotion anticipate doing the following: 60 50

56.5% 50%

40 30 20

26.1%

26.1% 21.7% 15.2% 15.2%

10

Earned Value Reply Mail Promotion Tactile, Sensory, and Interactive Mail Piece Engagement Promotion Emerging and Advanced Technology Promotion Direct Mail Starter Promotion Personalized Color Transpromo Promotion Mobile Shopping Promotion Third Ounce Free

A few years ago, going down to five-day delivery was a hot topic among mailers. However, that option has effectively been taken off the table, especially in light of how many packages the USPS is delivering on Saturdays. Do you think this option needs to be re-visited as a cost-cutting measure?

34.3%

25.3%

40.4%

Yes, going down to five-day delivery would help the USPS get on better financial footing. Undecided. No, the savings would not be significant enough to consider this. I have to agree that going down to five-day delivery would do nothing to help the USPS operations now that the organization is becoming a more popular choice for shippers to use for package delivery. Physical mail piece volumes may be going down (although I agree with others that mail will always be around, in some format), but the package volumes are just going to keep going up — and the USPS is in a perfect position to take advantage of this boon and serve America’s e-commerce market.


What is your #1 challenge in managing your mail facility?

Opinions on the Mail Industry as a Whole

Budget/financial issues

Which best describes your opinion on what your company is doing in terms of mail to be more environmentally friendly?

43.2% 43.2%

13.6%

My company is looking for and acting on all possible ways to be more environmentally responsible. My company is looking for and acting on some ways to be more environmentally responsible, but could do more.

26.2%

Compliance with postal regulations

8.3%

Customer relations

3.6%

Facility is inadequate

1.2%

Inadequate equipment/equipment maintenance

1.2%

Personnel issues (motivation, attendance, hiring, etc.)

8.3%

Productivity or efficiency

6.0%

Relationship with USPS employees

4.8%

Safety and security

0.0%

Scheduling

2.4%

Time management

2.4%

Timely delivery of mail

7.1%

Training staff

6.0%

Turnover

1.2%

Understanding by upper management

7.1%

Volume spikes/changes

6.0%

Workload

3.6%

Other

4.8%

My company is not concerned and is not taking any steps to be environmentally responsible.

On a scale of 1-5, with one being “very” and five being “not at all,” how well-versed do you think your company is on privacy legislation in terms of customer information/data? 50

40

43%

What statement best describes the attitude of management in your company about the mail center?

30

24%

20

13% 10

1

18

2

3

“The issue of poor communication by the USPS is the most frustrating thing for me; too much burden is placed on mailers to learn new regulations/services, and we quite often have to educate the postal workers that process the mail at acceptance facilities.”

60.5%

They understand the importance of mail and respect what we do.

21.0%

They don’t understand the importance of mail but are respectful of what we do.

3%

4%

8.6%

They understand the importance of mail but disrespect what we do.

4

5

9.9%

They don’t understand the importance of mail and are disrespectful of what we do.

NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2016 | MailingSystemsTechnology.com


“The best mail service, bar none, on planet Earth!”

What best describes your attitude about electronic communications?

14% 3.5%

34.9%

47.7%

I embrace e-communications and have taken responsibility at my company to assist in or manage them. .I embrace e-communications but have not done anything at my company to assist in or manage them. I am against e-communications because I am fearful there will not be a job for me in the future. I am against e-communications because I personally like information in hard-copy format.

How has the economy affected purchases of equipment and software for the mail center? No effect

6.3% 23.8%

Quality assurance that makes sense. Dollars and cents, that is. Eliminate manual document testing. Paloma’s Print Perfect solution automates your entire document QA process, ensuring you don’t throw money (and time) out the window. While we can’t print money, Paloma can ensure that your document QA process saves dollars and makes sense.

Freeze on purchasing all or most products

30% 13.8% 26.3%

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

To learn how Print Perfect can save you money and time while reducing document errors, log on to palomaprintproducts.com or call us at 262-618-4125.

© 2016 Paloma Print Products


BY ADAM LEWENBERG

THE FUTURE OF PC POSTAGE – THE UNTOLD STORY

PC

Postage is one of the fastest growth segments in the mailing industry and is something every type of organization may want to consider to handle at least some or all of their volumes. With advances in technology, as well as changes with the USPS and private carriers, there can be dramatic postage savings and operational efficiencies that may help to optimize processes. What Is PC Postage? This segment is defined as being able to generate letters or packages through your computer without needing a postage meter. For letters and flats, you would print the postage either onto sheets of stamps (ordered through the vendor) directly onto the envelope or with a connected label printer. With packages, the detail is printed on a 4X6 inch label that includes the destination address, return address, and tracking barcode. Most applications are either web-based or have a small application that gets installed on the PC. What Makes Up This Space? There are four main segments of the PC Postage industry, and all of them are growing. 20

NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2016 | MailingSystemsTechnology.com

} Small Business Mailers – This is the largest segment, primarily designed to process letter mail with the occasional package. Think of a small law firm or office that does not want to go to the post office or have a postage meter. } Enterprise Mailers – If your company has 20 or more locations, you may want an easy way to distribute postage. These tools will give you a central dashboard with visibility to all of the mail spends throughout your offices. } Single Location Shipper – Your primary need is to ship packages through the USPS. Most likely you are doing e-commerce, shipping lightweight items to residences. } API Connected Systems – There are over 400 third-party applications that will do a web connection (API) to one of the PC Postage providers to access their rates, label designs, and USPS submission tools. We believe this is the fastest growth area of the PC Postage segment. What Is the Size of This Market? Based on a Freedom of Information Act request to the USPS, as of September 2015, there were 1,552,317 PC Postage users in the US, with an average annual growth rate

of 11% (based on a five-year average). If we compare this to postage meters, there were 1,072,365 users with an average annual decline of five percent. What Is Causing the Growth? There are many factors that are contributing to the growth that we will describe below. on the next page. } Converting from postage meters We have seen a very similar five percent annual drop in USPS non-presort letter-mail categories (shown in Figure 1) that we see with postage meters. This is because companies are moving their larger volumes from print to electronic (email or web presentment) or to in-house or third-party production centers. What is left is day-to-day mail, which may be better suited for lower-cost PC Postage options. We believe that about half of the decline in postage meter users is from companies switching to PC Postage, while the other half is based on lack of need for a solution due to low volumes. } Companies need to add USPS to their shipping rooms Based on the reasons in Figure 2, many companies who used to ship exclusively through one of the


private carriers are adding USPS to their mix. } USPS package volumes are growing Based on a 15% estimated growth in e-commerce, as well as better tracking and delivery commitments from the USPS, package volumes for the core PC Postage categories have grown 111% since 2010. } USPS may have lower rates on lightweight shipments going to residences. If you look at the chart in Figure 2, even if you have a large discount with the private carriers, it may not offset the residential, delivery area, and fuel surcharges imposed by

those carriers. Also, this residential lightweight segment is having the fastest growth through our need to have everything shipped to our homes. } Dimensional Weighing This means if you are shipping something light in a bigger box, the carrier may charge you based on the size of the box vs. the weight of the item. USPS and the expedited carriers all have dimensional weighing policies on items over a cubic foot. The big change occurred in 2015, when the expedited carriers started to assess dimensional rates on all boxes under a cubic foot, while the USPS did

not follow suit. This could drive smaller items to be pushed to being charged at heavier weights, making the USPS even more competitive, as you can see in Figure 3. } Technology changes are driving growth As with the case of many sectors, changes in technology make things easier, and in this industry, this ease is focused on how to ship and process USPS packages. These are the main drivers in this space. } Move to the cloud – All of the vendors in this space are moving their solutions to being cloud-based vs. needing to be installed on a computer. This is easier to implement and maintain.

FIGURE 1 MailingSystemsTechnology.com | NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2016

21


} Low-cost multi carrier tools – In the past, if you wanted to compare different carrier rates easily, you needed to spend thousands on a system that was complex to install and customized strictly to your application. Now, there are multi-carrier cloud-based offerings starting at around $30 per month. These will let you ship USPS and the main expedited carriers from one system that can also have simple interface options to your business platform. We predict that this will be the fastest growth segment because of the need to rate-shop packages. } USPS Click-N-Ship no longer offering discounts — USPS has a web tool where you can set up an account and ship boxes without needing to pay a third party for a PC Postage solution. In January of 2016, the USPS made a change, no longer offering commercial rates through the system and only offering the more expensive retail rates. This is a premium of about eight to 32% based on the weight and distance shipped. We expect many larger Click-N-Ship users will move to paid solutions based on the need for these discounts. } API-connected partners are acting like sales reps for the USPS There are over 400 organizations with APIs connected to the PC Postage providers, and this is growing. At the same time, the USPS is aggressively offering Negotiated Service Agreements in an attempt to get these partners to spread the word about what they can offer. Some of these organizations will share their discounts with the client if they use their tools. This creates

FIGURE 2

FIGURE 3

an industry that is promoting the USPS shipping story and how the Postal Service can help reduce shipping costs. What Does the Future Hold? We believe space will continue to grow with very few headwinds. We know there will always be a need for the convenience of being able

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NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2016 | MailingSystemsTechnology.com

to mail items from your office, and as letter volumes continue to decline, customers will be looking for the least expensive and most flexible solutions. Shipping volumes are going to continue to grow, and the USPS can provide lower costs because it delivers to every address, every day. Finally, the technology will continue to improve, making it easier for customers to rate-shop their different shipping options in the cloud. All of this is designed to help the consumer reduce costs and have more flexible options for their mail and parcels. ¾

ADAM LEWENBERG, CMDSS, MDC, President of Postal Advocate Inc., runs the largest Mail Audit and Recovery firm in the United States and Canada. They manage the largest mail equipment fleet in the world and their mission is to help organizations with multi-locations reduce mail related expenses, recover lost postage funds, and simplify visibility and oversight. Since 2013, they have helped their clients save an average of 57% and over $25 million on equipment, fees, and lost postage. He can be reached at 617.372.6853 or adam.lewenberg@postaladvocate.com.


MODERNIZING

CUSTOMER COMMUNICATIONS MANAGEMENT IN THE CLOUD CCM can be a top operational opportunity for mailers… but only if it’s used correctly.

IN

every business, customer communications are key to success. Getting it right drives the revenue stream and increases customer engagement. Customer communications are also an important way organizations retain customers and get paid. So it shouldn’t be too surprising that Customer Communications Management (CCM) has become a top operational opportunity once again. Readers may remember the dawn of CCM decades

24

NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2016 | MailingSystemsTechnology.com

ago, when the concern was transitioning customer communications data from legacy mainframes to the desktop Windows environment. CCM provided a way to modernize those operations. Now, increasing regulatory demands, supporting mobile and digital channels, and managing recipient delivery preferences are changing the customer communications landscape. Physical mail is often not well-integrated with digital communications, so there is a growing need to unify digital and physical CCM.

MODERNIZING CCM, LEVERAGING THE CLOUD To address these challenges, businesses need solutions to help them more effectively manage all the components of the physical and digital customer communications process. The underpinning of the drive to modernize CCM relies on a couple of key innovations: 1. CCM delivered as a cloud service. Cloudbased means you don’t have to make a big upfront investment; instead, you


By Patrick Brand

only pay for what you use. Putting CCM in the cloud gives you centralized control, the agility to stay up-to-date with technology changes, and the flexibility to meet varying customer communications needs. And an enterprise-wide CCM cloud service can help better manage client communications across increasingly distributed offices and agile work environments. 2. CCM incorporates document management enrichment technology to make the communication more effective. The challenge of modernizing documents created in legacy systems remains significant. Powerful document management enrichment tools that easily enable changes to fully composed documents are becoming available through the cloud in a way that is easier to use and much more affordable. Now organizations of all sizes can simply access and use these powerful tools to enhance the value of the document to increase cross-selling, reduce customer support costs, and get paid faster. 3. The CCM cloud is enabling innovation through the addition of new services like personalized and interactive video to further personalize customer communications, reduce costs, and drive cross-selling. LEVERAGING CLOUD SERVICES TO MODERNIZE CCM STEP 1: Modernize creation. The challenge here is aging document templates and inconsistent branding that’s difficult to change. Poorly designed statements confuse customers who then call for help, resulting in delayed payments and wasted time and money spent on customer support. A good CCM solution can modernize documents by adding color, simplifying design, and unifying branding. Print stream enhancement technology in the cloud makes all this easy to do — statements become more understandable, call volumes go down, and customers pay faster.

STEP 2: Modernize management. Businesses often have different people printing to different devices in different locations, all while using different letterheads, envelopes, and processes for the same kinds of documents! Businesses often find it difficult to manage all their equipment and supplies, keep the lid on costs, and maintain brand quality. And customers become increasingly dissatisfied with inconsistent customer experiences and errors arising from manual processes. Here, a cloud-based CCM solution can get all systems, people, and communications on the same page. It captures all documents from everywhere to anywhere and makes sure they’re funneled through a single system. It lets you centralize and control communications in an ecosystem of quality. STEP 3: Modernize validation. In today’s fast-moving world, it’s a challenge to keep customer mail and email addresses up to date. Yet poor data quality means delivery delays, increased DSO, and undeliverable mail and email costs. When a CCM solution is cloud-based, it’s always up to date with the latest USPS information. It can validate and correct customer data so communications reach the intended recipients. This efficiency reduces undeliverable costs and increases on-time deliveries, cash flow, and customer satisfaction. STEP 4: Modernize production. In producing customer communications, organizations are challenged by the rising costs of printing and assembling mail. Increased regulations put extra pressure on these processes, with bigger consequences for not complying within prescribed timeframes, such as serious fines and litigation costs. Manual processes lead to errors, and when bills are delivered to the wrong recipient, payments are delayed. A good CCM cloud solution can help you mitigate the risk of errors, as well as decrease operating costs by adding quality control technology to the production and assembly of customer communications. Through innovations like file-based process-

ing, clients have complete assurance that every document reaches only the intended recipient. Through the cloud, these advanced software features are now available and affordable to the SMB marketplace. These new CCM solutions also protect and increase your investment in existing equipment and software by enabling centralized production and reducing or eliminating inefficient operations. SaaS allows you to gather information across the organization and make sure all communications are centralized on one system… from everywhere to anywhere. With SaaS-based CCM, a remote office or an employee working from home can generate customer communications that are then funneled through an on-premises, centralized mail center; an off-premises service bureau; or, in some cases, both. STEP 5: Modernizing sending. The challenge happens when an organization’s current platform limitations prevent them from meeting their digital transformation goals. Core platforms can be expensive to change and become quickly outdated. Today, digital email and physical mail are the principal channels of customer communications. But soon those digital channels may include consumer apps, such as Evernote and Dropbox, and social media platforms. The CCM cloud approach ensures that as new digital communication channels become available, they will seamlessly and securely be enabled on the platform. In summary, while we can’t predict the future needs of our clients, we do know that those needs will change rapidly. As leaders in our industry, we need to continuously modernize CCM by putting the tools and platforms in place to meet the uncertain future. As organizations reinvent themselves, modernizing CCM via the cloud is an essential part of the customer engagement toolkit. ¾

PATRICK BRAND is Senior Vice President and General Manager, Global SMB Products and Business Strategy, Pitney Bowes.

MailingSystemsTechnology.com | NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2016

25


MAIL TRACKING AND REPORTING: THE NEXT CUSTOMER EXPECTATION The USPS is shedding its reputation as a provider of un-trackable mail pieces... and this development could be a huge boon for mailers.

By Mark Rheaume

T

he time is now for mail tracking and reporting. The USPS wants to shake its long-standing image as a “black hole” where mail gets lost and cannot be seen until it shows up in the delivery address receptacle. It no longer wants to deal with anecdotal issues related to opinions or subjective criteria that cause friction internally and cause customers to complain about negative interactions with network facilities staff. Instead, the Postal Service has worked

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to create visibility that allows it to correct issues proactively and address them with data-based actions to drive efficiency in its vast network. The platform is called Informed Visibility, and it is delivering a great deal of actionable data to USPS management. USPS execs have also been piloting delivery scans to the mailbox for letter-sized pieces since August of 2015, and that will continue to expand as the Informed Delivery platform continues to deploy. All good news… as long as it is used internally to deliver a more stable and

predictable network where service performance is the primary factor considered. Why Mailers Should Pay Attention Let’s change focus to why all mailers must integrate this service into their operations. The USPS has made the transition and is ready with the data. All mailers search for ways to differentiate their services. Today, the competition we all face is fierce, and without a way to differentiate ourselves, our jobs grow increasingly complex. Mail tracking and reporting is that differentiator.


proactively resolving issues before mail performance is negatively impacted. They can track performance by USPS network facility and develop detailed distribution plans to avoid underperforming facilities. Mail tracking and reporting is the next level of personalization that all customers need and deserve. Mailers can now see how their mail performs through the facilities they use in real time. Marketing and accounting will be your new best friends. Marketing will have the in-home statistics lacking in the past. They will be able to more accurately calculate their ROI for each project and see what issues may be causing delivery issues as they are occurring. Providing them this information will make them your biggest supporter, and (fingers crossed) they will probably even pay for the solution. Accounting departments like cash flow. Tracking incoming mail for them will provide visibility into when payments will arrive. Capturing the “float” more effectively is essential to their operations. Your data and reports make all of this possible, so they will support and pay for the solution as well. Both of these allies are important to you professionally and strengthen your position as the subject matter expert in the organization.

This will not be the case forever. The early adopters who take the opportunity now will benefit. Those who wait will lose business to those already providing the service and will be driven out of business or face significant obstacles. Tracking data adds relevance to mail and reinforce its value as a communication, marketing, and sales tool. People who track their mail will no longer need to wonder about or project “in-home” dates; they will be known. The data available today allows mailers to increase service by

Another Expectation Expectations do not only come from customers. Vendors like the USPS also have expectations. As mailers, we are expected to utilize the data provided. No longer will employees entertain calls about a distinctive white mail piece that has not reached its destination. Even if it is a pallet or pallets of mail, without data to support your claims, the USPS will be slow to help. And who can blame it? Given the enormity of what the USPS does every day, it cannot effectively help without information and data. USPS employees trust the data, so why not use it when resolving issues? You build a stronger relationship and receive full attention throughout the process. In my opinion, our industry will have a new motto when working with the USPS: In God we trust, and in all other things, bring data! But What About… I have heard it all as I talk to people about this. Many report that mail tracking is “too expensive, and my customers are not asking for it.” I am telling you now that it is not expensive. Cost should never be a barrier to entry for this service. There

are services available today for a little as $0.04/thousand pieces. I also tell people that they should not allow this service to be “commoditized” or done as an option. This has happened far too often in our industry. Make it a part of your services that is “baked in” without option. People will value it when they see the reports and information generated. As for customers asking for it: If you wait until they ask, it will be too late! I also hear people telling me that they hear the USPS’s piece scan percentages are low, so what good is the data? All I can say to that is that there are areas where improvements can be made (Flats, particularly) without question. On the other hand, even if the scan percentages are low (say 70%) the data is valuable and much more reliable than the zero visibility you have if you are not tracking your mail. The choice is yours. Do you want to be proactive, productive, and progressive, or do you want to wait and see? In short, stop guessing and start measuring! Build or Buy? Invariably people ask this question. The USPS is very quick to point out that the data is available to everyone for free. Do not mistake this as saying that mail tracking and reporting is free. It is not. The USPS depends on industry to support all of its programs. Mail tracking and reporting vendors take all the data from the USPS for their clients and make it useable. They answer all the questions their clients have and act as an intermediary with the USPS to resolve issues. They allow their clients to use the data and take appropriate and timely action. All of this is valuable and should be considered if you choose to build your own solution. Some in our industry have successfully built solutions and have dedicated the necessary long-term resources to maintenance and upgrades. In closing, I wish you my best and hope you will be proactive and start tracking all of your mail going forward. ¾

MARK RHEAUME serves as a Postal Solution Architect at Novitex Enterprise Solutions. He has over 30 years of experience developing, designing, and implementing mailing solutions for the companies he has worked for. Mark is and has been active in several postal industry associations, such as MTAC, Idealliance, NPOA, PCC, MSMA, and Printing Industries of America. MailingSystemsTechnology.com | NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2016

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By Mark M. Fallon

PRESENTING A BETTER BUSINESS CASE You know your organization needs new equipment or services, but it can be a challenge convincing the higher-ups. Here are some tips to make the process smoother.

P

reviously, we discussed the importance of building a business case to get approval from senior management for a major expense or transformation. In many situations, managers may be asked to present their business case to a group of executives or a similar committee. The effectiveness of the presentation may be more important than the business reasons when making a decision. Most companies still use PowerPoint for briefings, so that will be the basis for this article. Managers should prepare for the meeting using the same techniques as if they were presenting at a conference. They should think of the executives in the room as an audience that they want to influence and inspire. 28

NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2016 | MailingSystemsTechnology.com

As a reminder, an effective business case will include:

5. Financial Impact 6. Next Steps

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.

The overview is simply a list of the topics to be discussed. This prepares the people in the room for what they are about to hear. It’s the first step in “Tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell them, then tell them what you told them.” The problem statement on the slide should be an abbreviated version of what you plan to say. For example, when replacing an inserter, the bullet points could focus on lack of adequate integrity controls, slow speeds, and downtime for repairs. Verbally, you would expand on each area, emphasizing the negative impact to the business. When talking through the slide, have exact numbers on hand — the number of

Executive Summary Problem Statement Impact Statement Proposed Solutions Basic Project Plan Costs Benefits Restated Summary

The presentation will be a summary of the business case, with fewer points/slides: 1. 2. 3. 4.

Overview Problem Statement Proposed Solution Project Plan


reported errors, the calls to customer service, etc. You may have a printed copy of the business case next to you and just read directly from it. While reading from a slide is discouraged, reading from the business case adds authenticity and reminds the audience about your previous diligence. The proposed solution is more than just the actions being taken, but how those actions will impact the operation and the company. The bullet points will highlight the changes, backed up by the details in the business case. In other words, the solution explains the results of the project. A new inserter means more than just updated equipment; it will change the entire statement process. In most situations, this means adding 2D or data matrix barcodes as well as job information files. Depending on the age of the current equipment, new inserters may run two or three times faster. The company may need fewer machines, as well as fewer operators, to complete the work more quickly than the current process is able to. The Project Plan slide only contains the milestones and the associated dates. For a new inserter, the milestones would be assembling a team, publishing a request for proposals (“RFP”), selecting a vendor, and installing the equipment. Have a proposed list of team members ready to review with the executives. They may have other assignments for those individ-

uals, or they may want someone else to be involved. There may be other projects you aren’t familiar with, so be prepared to make changes. The Financial Impact slide should highlight the areas of the budget impacted by the project. Detailed information on costs — equipment pricing, programming hours, etc. — should be included in the business case, and ensure this information is readily available to be referenced. Be prepared to explain the reasoning and sources for estimates. For the inserter project, the major categories would be staffing, equipment, software, and real estate. Each of those areas have several line items — salaries, benefits, leases, maintenance, etc. The importance is to keep the attention on those categories where the project has a measured impact. If costs will increase, don’t try and hide it. Instead, be upfront, and have an explanation as to why the additional expense is worth incurring. Not every project saves money. Instead of a “Summary” slide, end with a “Next Steps” slide. After verbally recapping the meeting, highlight the actions needed to move forward with the project. If approvals are required, secure them while all the executives are together. Follow up with an email noting the decisions and subsequent events. For example, the next steps may be to approve the project, assign a team, and start the RFP process. If a signature is required for approval, have the documentation prepared and at the meeting. Ask the executives when they’ll notify their employees about the project and when you can send out invitations to the team. Share the PowerPoint with the team members so they understand what their managers have approved. Be Prepared Just like speaking at a conference or association meeting, you need to be prepared for the business case presentation. That includes designing visually appealing slides, drafting speaking notes, and rehearsing how you will present. Too often, people try and put too much information on a PowerPoint slide. The details of the project are in the business plan. The slides are used for talking points and giving a place for attendees to make notes. The slides should have minimal text. Use bullets and short sentences. Whenever possible, use five or fewer bullets.

Many conference rooms are equipped with large LCD screens to display presentations. This is a great way to keep everyone on the same page. However, systems fail — usually at the most inconvenient times. Make sure that you have physical copies of the slides for every attendee. Follow company guidelines regarding color print and duplexed pages. Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse. In addition to being a briefing, this is a performance. Listen to what the words sound like when said out loud. Learn to modulate your voice so it doesn’t sound like a recital from a drone. Spend extra time on practicing your opening and closing lines. If possible, rehearse in front of a small group in the same room as the meeting. Make sure that you’re comfortable with the computer or screen controls. Consider assigning seats for attendees, and practice directing your attention towards those positions when making key points. Be aware of your stage presence. Your attire, body language, and eye contact all come into play. Ask for open and honest feedback. Recently, I was rehearsing with a client before briefing their C-level team. As we were going through the slides, the client stopped me. One of the phrases I’d chosen was associated with a recent project that had failed. We substituted the phrase, and reached a successful outcome. When presenting, be prepared for questions. If someone brings up an idea you hadn’t considered, don’t be defensive. Instead, acknowledge the suggestion and offer to follow up. If you disagree with someone’s point of view, don’t be disagreeable. Consider staring your counterpoint with, “I’m sorry, but I may not have explained myself in the best way. May I try again?” Remove — don’t escalate — the tension. A well-written business case is an effective way to gain support for a major purchase or project. Equally important is how that case is presented to senior executives for their approval. Expending the extra effort on the documentation and the presentation will increase your opportunity for success. ¾ MARK M. FALLON is President & CEO, The Berkshire Company. You can read his blogs at www. berkshire-company.com/the-berkshire-company-blog and www.markfallon.com/blog. Contact 508.485.9090 or mmf@berkshire-company.com. MailingSystemsTechnology.com | NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2016

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SAY WHAT?

Think About It

Cloud-based means you don’t have to make a big upfront investment; instead, you only pay for what you use. Putting CCM in the cloud gives you centralized control, the agility to stay up to date with technology changes, and the flexibility to meet varying customer communications needs. — PATRICK BRAND

Today, the competition we all face is fierce, and without a way to differentiate ourselves, our jobs grow increasingly complex. Mail tracking and reporting is that differentiator. — MARK RHEAUME

Print service providers still operating on the fee-per-page pricing model see a strategy to drop pages as unacceptable. However, there may be ways to reduce page counts and simultaneously add value for customers, a good strategy for customer retention. — MIKE PORTER 30

NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2016 | MailingSystemsTechnology.com

RECENT STUDIES HAVE SHOWN THAT IF DELIVERY PREFERENCE WAS LEFT TO CONSUMERS, THEY WOULD CHOOSE THE POSTAL SERVICE AS THEIR DELIVERY SERVICE OF CHOICE OVER THE OTHER PARCEL DELIVERY COMPANIES. THE SAME STUDY SHOWS THAT THIS CHOICE IS GIVEN TO THE CONSUMER LESS THAN 25% OF THE TIME.

In 2017, FSS pieces will revert back to the original prices, giving larger volume mailers some relief.

— VINCENT DEANGELIS

— KIM MAUCH

The importance of getting the right message to the right person begins with having the right information. With the changes to the USPS Mailer Scorecard and other Postal Service regulatory changes, the onus for having good data quality is increasingly being put on the service provider. — CHRIS LIEN


Mailing Systems Technology November/December 2016  

Mailing Systems Technology November/December 2016

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