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Address

Quality Everywhere Page 8 Mail Still Generates

PART ONE

of our Wage and Operations Survey:

How Is the Industry Faring? Page 16

WHAT TO SEE AT

GRAPH

EXPO! Page 30

BIG RESULTS! Page 10

Are You Ignoring the Potential Found Within Your Invoices? Page 22


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22

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Volume 25 Issue 5

Features 16

The State of the Industry

Part one of our annual survey deals with wages & operations — and this year’s results are once again a mixed bag of good, bad, and everything in between. By Amanda Armendariz

22

Making Your Invoices Dance

The potential of invoices is often overlooked, but these mailpieces can help you in more ways than one. By Adam Lewenberg

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Embracing the Evolution of Government Print and Mail

By Mike W Sexson

Departments

Columns

6

Real-Life Management

5

Editor’s Note

Communication: An Overlooked Key to Management Success By Wes Friesen

The State of the Industry

15

Application Article

Top Trends in Customer Engagement.

8

Software Byte

25

Address Quality Everywhere By Christopher Lien

Application Article

The Power of Data – Part 2

9

Ship It

30

What to See at Graph Expo!

It’s Business, Not Personal By Jim LeRose

10

The Trenches

Little Postcard Generates Big Return By Mike Porter

12

Everything IMBC

IMb Is Still Relevant By Kevin Conti and David Robinson

14

Postal Affairs

Political and Election Mail 101 By Kim Mauch

[ PLUS ] 4

SEPTEMBER - OCTOBER 2012

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editor’s note

with Amanda Armendariz

Mailing systems technology PUBLISHER Marll Thiede

EDITOR

The State of the Industry Before I even get into this editor’s note, I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who participated in our wage & operations survey, and even that isn’t enough to convey how much I appreciate your input. I know, it was probably kind of annoying to see our emails popping up in your inbox every week for the better part of a month reminding you to take our survey. And yes, I realize the survey does take up a significant portion of your time; a lot of you are very, very busy, and to take 15-20 minutes of your day to fill out our survey is much appreciated. But it’s because of your input that we are able to once again release a top-notch survey that details many of the wage standards in the mailing industry, so your time and effort did not go unnoticed or unappreciated! Once again, thank you for helping Mailing Systems Technology provide a respected analysis of the industry. With that, I think you’ll enjoy the results of the survey. It was rather a mixed bag of results; some were great (some salaries increased, on average), some were not so great (many anticipate having to lay off staff in the next 12 months due to decreasing mail volumes, and some wages decreased) and some were pretty much what was expected (ahem, the decreasing mail volumes). Overall, it was a not-surprising but yet still interesting look at what is happening for those who make a career out of mail. But even though there were some definite negative aspects to the survey results, I’m still encouraged by others. Yes, mail volumes are decreasing, but mail is still a viable communication strategy! And nowhere is that more apparent than at Graph Expo, which was held October 7-10 in Chicago. Going by the energy that was coursing through the exhibit hall during the show, I think it’s safe to say that mail will be around for a long, long time. As always, thanks for reading Mailing Systems Technology.

Amanda Armendariz amanda.c@rbpub.com

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Kevin Conti, Wes Friesen, Jim LeRose, Adam Lewenberg, Christopher Lien, Kim Mauch, Mike Porter, David Robinson, Mike W Sexson

CIRCULATION

Rachel Spahr rachel@rbpub.com

ADVERTISING 608-442-5064 Ken Waddell ken.w@rbpub.com

GRAPHIC DESIGN Kelli Cooke

2901 International Lane • Madison WI 53704-3128 608-241-8777 • Fax 608-241-8666 rbpub@rbpub.com www.MailingSystemsTechnology.com

Volume 25, Issue 5 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; or call 608-241-8777; fax 608-241-8666; e-mail rbpub@rbpub.com or subscribe online at www.MailingSystemsTechnology.com. For high-quality reprints, please contact our exclusive reprint provider. Scoop Reprint Source 800.767.3263 ext. 307 www.scoopreprintsource.com. All material in this magazine is copyrighted ©2012 by RB Publishing Inc. All rights reserved. Nothing may be reproduced in whole or in part without written permission from the publisher. Any correspondence sent to Mailing Systems Technology, RB Publishing Inc. or its staff becomes property of RB Publishing Inc. The articles in this magazine represent the views of the authors and not those of RB Publishing Inc. or Mailing Systems Technology. RB Publishing Inc. and/or Mailing Systems Technology expressly disclaim any liability for the products or services sold or otherwise endorsed by advertisers or authors included in this magazine. Mailing Systems Technology (ISSN 1088-2677) [Volume 25, Issue 5] is published six times per year, (January/February, March Buyers Resource, March/April, May/June, September/October, November/December) by RB Publishing Inc., 2901 International Lane, Suite 100, Madison WI 53704-3128, 608-241-8777. Periodical postage paid at Madison WI and additional offices. Postmaster: Send address changes to: Mailing Systems Technology PO Box 259098 Madison WI 53725-9098


Real Life Management Communication: An Overlooked Key to Management Success communication effectiveness is important to our success as managers. Unfortunately, our perception of our communication effectiveness often does not line up with reality. one of the great management experts of our time has been Dr. steven covey, who tragically passed away recently as a result of a motorcycle accident. Dr. covey illustrated our communication shortcomings in a poll he referenced in his book The 8th Habit. there was a poll of 23,000 employees drawn from a number of companies and industries — here are the disappointing findings: } only 37% said they have a clear understanding of what their organization is trying to achieve and why. } only one in five was enthusiastic about their team’s and their organization’s goals. } only one in five said they had a clear “line of sight” between their tasks and their team’s and organization’s goals. } only 15% felt that their organization fully enables them to execute key goals. } only 20% fully trusted the organization they work for. to put the numbers in context, covey uses a simple metaphor of a soccer team. He says, “If a soccer team had these same scores, only four of the 11 players on the field would know which goal is theirs. only two of the 11 would care. only two of the 11 would know what position they play and know exactly what they are supposed to do. And all but two players would, in some way, be competing against their own team members rather than the opponent.” clearly our communication effectiveness is often deficient. What can we do to get better? I’m glad you asked! Following are seven keys to help us communicate more effectively:

1)

Get Personal. I resonate with the John maxwell quote: “people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” to communicate effectively, we need to develop meaningful relationships with people and have candid two-way communications. And it’s helpful to personalize our communication and explain our messages in terms that people can understand and relate to. this is especially important when trying to communicate vision, goals, and values.

2)

Get Specific. specificity is better than ambiguity whenever possible. Learn to communicate with clarity. simple and concise is always better than complicated and confusing. We are all very busy — so learning to cut to the chase and hitting the high points is important. Let’s weed out the superfluous and make our words count.

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3)

Have an Open Mind. one of Dr. covey’s important principles from The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People was to “seek to Understand, then to be Understood.” to help us better understand, lead, and communicate better, it’s valuable to listen and try to understand the opinions and ideas of others — even when at first they seem contrary to ours.

4)

Listen! the philosopher epictetus said, “We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.” I have to confess that I still need lots of improvement in this area — what about you? effective listening is essential if we are to be an effective communicator. one of the challenges is to really focus on what the other person is saying — not worrying about our next words. the quote by rochefoucauld applies: “We never listen when we are eager to speak.”

5)

Replace Ego with Empathy. Nobody really cares about what arrogant leaders communicate. However, when candor is communicated with empathy and caring and not overinflated ego, good things will often happen. As since we live in an often harsh world, kind words are well received. mother teresa said it well: “Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.”

6)

Know What You Are Talking About. credibility is important in our communications. people know when we are blowing smoke. It’s fine to admit we don’t something, but it’s not fine to pretend to be an expert when we are not.

7)

Apply the 5 “Bs”. I ran across the following tips from mariLiza backstrom that I think can help us be more effective communicators: Body Language: pay attention to a person’s body language — one study claims that 55% of communication comes from body language, and only seven percent from the words themselves. Background: It is important to understand the background and perspective of the other person (includes experiences, culture, education, origin, etc.). Backtrack: to help ensure we understand what the other person means — just ask them! Keep asking and repeating back what you think you heard until you understand clearly. Beyond Words: pay attention to the context of the words, and check out facts and circumstances if there are any doubts about the validity of what you think you heard.


With Wes Friesen

“The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that is has taken place.” George Bernard Shaw Body Tools: This emphasizes that God made us with TWO ears and only ONE mouth for a reason. The saying “the fish die by the mouth” reminds us that those who speak too much and too soon often end up trapped by their own speech.

Let me close with a quote from Nitin Nohria, who said, “Communication is the real work of leadership.” Good luck to you as you intentionally work on being a more effective communicator — which in turn will help you be a more effective leader and manager! a

Use wisely your “listening machine” body tools: } Listen with your ears! Pay attention to words and tone and what is not being said. } Listen with your eyes! Pay attention to body language and circumstances. } Listen with your mind! Pat attention to a person’s background and backtrack as needed. } Listen with your heart! Compassion and kindness will enhance two-way communication.

Wes Friesen, MBA, CMDSM, EMCM, MDC, ICP, CCM, CMA, CM, CFM, APP, PHR is the Manager of Billing, Credit & Special Attention Operations for Portland General Electric, a utility in Portland, Oregon that serves over 825,000 customers. Wes teaches university classes and is a featured speaker at national Conferences like National Postal Forum, MAILCOM, FUSION and others. Wes can be contacted at Wes.Friesen@pgn.com. Check out his website, www.wesfriesen.com.

www.MailingSystemsTechnology.com a SEPTEMBER - OCTOBER 2012

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Software Byte

With Christopher Lien

Address Quality Everywhere The only way to ensure timely, predictable, and ultimate delivery of a mailpiece is with a complete, correct, and current address. That statement continues to ring true and is largely validated by the significant investment efforts in address quality solutions by the mailing industry and the expanded access to USPS trusted data. Address quality tools have improved greatly in the past several years, and yet Undeliverable As Addressed (UAA) mail is still measured by the USPS in billions of pieces annually. This translates to billions of dollars in postage for extra handling which, in many cases, results in the disposal of Standard Mail pieces. Any mailing claimed at an automation rate must be produced from address lists that are properly matched and coded with CASS Certified address matching tools. This requirement is specifically noted in the Domestic Mail Manual (section 708.3.1.2). With the USPS moving toward a Full Service IMb requirement in January 2014, it is imperative that mailers continue to use a CASS Certified solution as part of their overall address quality process. But address quality is just part of the larger data quality requirement any company needs to consider. According to market analysts such as Gartner, the market for data quality tools amounted to approximately $950 million in software-related revenue at the end of 2011. This market continues to grow and underscores the importance data quality tools have in markets such as financial services, insurance, healthcare, retail, and government. Foundational to all data quality tools is arguably a solid name and address solution. From an accurate individual, family, or business address we can begin to append additional elements such as geographic data (longitude and latitude), demographic data (age, gender), and psychographic data (buying behaviors, interests). Collectively, this expanded data ensures accurate business decisions. This allows an appropriate message to be crafted and delivered to the right recipient every time. Name and address parsing, standardizing, and correcting are the essential steps in any address quality solution. While CASS certification measures the accuracy of the final address output, it does not specifically test how software arrived at the final result. Thus, it is very possible for two CASS Certified products to arrive at a different result for a given address. Or put another way, not all CASS Certified products are created equally, though they are all expected to assign at least 98.5% of the 150,000 test input addresses at least once to be considered certified.

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The USPS provides parsing guidelines in Publication 28. However, it is up to the software community to develop solutions to parse an address block into its discrete address components for proper matching and assignment corrections. Using the USPS provided data sets such as DPV, LACSLink, and SuiteLink are all required under CASS cycle N certification. A CASS cycle O is being planned, but is still being discussed with the mailing industry in the Mailers Technical Advisory Committee. Most mailers think of address quality as a batch process for lists of names and addresses, typically applied right before a mailing is sorted and inducted into the USPS. However, as noted earlier, address quality is foundational to data quality and thus companies are continuing to invest in data quality solutions that can be applied anywhere data is entered, edited, or enhanced. Depending on the implementation and location of a data server (for example, within the boundaries of the United States), many of the CASS Certified solutions used for batch purposes can also be deployed as transactional tools to cleanse data anywhere within an enterprise. The most common application is the point of entry. Realtime address correction before the data is stored in the database is essential to ensure all downstream decisions are based on accurate information. And with the exception of the NCOALink data, used for USPS provided change-of-address information, many of the same data sets used with CASS Certified solutions can be leveraged at the point of entry, preventing dirty data from entering the enterprise. Never before has so much data been available for companies to leverage for accurate business decisions. With powerful CASS Certified solutions at the heart of a sizeable and growing data quality space, mailers should continue to actively seek out, and invest in, applying address quality everywhere within their enterprise to ensure timely, predictable, and ultimate delivery of every mailpiece. a Christopher Lien is Vice President, Software Marketing, Bell and Howell.


Ship It

With Jim LeRose

It’s Business, Not Personal Although your incumbent carrier (UPS or FedEx) is performing a great service and you have a great relationship with the sales representative, I want to clear up the widespread confusion that exists with shippers: a great relationship with your carrier’s sales representative doesn’t mean you have to overpay for their service. It’s business, NOT personal! I find many executives are actually afraid to discuss formal bidding processes, transportation optimization, and validation (tactics deployed by companies that pay far less for transportation) with their incumbent carrier, for fear of repercussion. If you are paying more for the same service with UPS or FedEx than the company across the street, don’t you have an obligation to find out why and then work on lowering your costs to be in line with theirs? Yes, you do. Continuing to pay more for transportation every year while your company’s revenue/profits have stagnated is a recipe for disaster. It’s imperative to continually seek out new methods of lowering costs to help your company remain competitive. UPS just reported another impressive quarter with revenue topping 13 billion and profits soaring (as usual). Looking at their mounting revenue and profits, you’d never know most companies are struggling to break even or squeak out a small increase. There are several reasons for the continued upsurge in the carrier revenues and profits; the brilliant marketing strategies deployed by the Dynamic Duopoly (UPS & FedEx), the lack of (or perceived lack of) competition and a lack of in-depth industry knowledge on their customer’s part. Get educated and beware: in just a few months, your shipping rates are going to go up again, about eight percent or more. Are you prepared? Take steps now to help your company’s profits soar.

properly manage your business. If you aren’t being invoiced what you expect, you’ll get errors corrected and money refunded when you use this service. Optimization requires an investment in transportation management technology, whereas validation is generally provided as a service. There are plenty of occasions where your current technology may be letting you down. These issues below can end up costing your company 10-15% or more on your overall transportation spend. Here are five common areas: 1 – Shipping with incorrect addresses 2 – Inability to consolidate shipments to the same customer 3 – Using more expensive services 4 – Incorrectly charging back your customers 5 – Single carrier software, usually provided free In the words of Hyman Roth ­— it’s business, not personal! I hope this helps your company Ship Better and Save Money. a Jim LeRose is Principal of Agile NYC Metro and President of Advantaship.com. Jim has been a transportation industry consultant for over 25 years. His clients have saved millions on transportation costs. Agile has helped companies such as JP Morgan, Audiovox, Intuitive Surgical, Panasonic Electric, Petco and over 1,000 others. Jim welcomes your comments and can be reached at jim.lerose@agile-network.com or 888.214.1763. You can also visit his blog at www.agilenewyork.com.

product spotlight

Here are three required steps: Negotiate, Optimize, Validate

Rethink Your Ink!

Negotiate: You will need to start by making sure you have competitive contract rates, in line with other companies that fit your shipping profile. Getting a couple of additional percentage points over last year’s discounts won’t help you achieve your goals of reducing costs going forward. If the carriers increase their rates by eight percent and you negotiate a two percent additional discount, you still have a net increase of six percent. By UPS and FedEx forbidding their customers from seeking professional contract negotiation assistance, this should send every shipper in the US a loud and clear message: Get professional contract negotiation assistance, immediately!

Mail Green remanufactured ink cartridges for Pitney Bowes, Hasler, Neopost and Data-Pac postage meters deliver quality, reliability and performance comparable to OEM at a fraction of the cost. Mail Green leverages the superior design of the Original Equipment Manufacturer’s cartridge and adds value through proprietary remanufacturing processes, highly efficient USPS compliant ink formulas and outstanding customer service. Thinking about new ways to cut operational costs? Think Mail Green.

Optimize/Validate: After you’ve negotiated your best deal, you must optimize and validate to realize significant savings. Note: It’s beneficial to get one company to provide both services. That means squeezing every dollar possible out of those great rates, then being absolutely certain you are getting invoiced correctly from UPS/FedEx. That means paying the precise amount that you expect, so you can charge your customers back correctly and

Mail Green orders@gomailgreen.com 866.760.6027 ext. 104 www.gomailgreen.com

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The Trenches Little Postcard Generates Big Returns there have been plenty of articles lately that question the usefulness of the mail as a channel for customer communications and marketing. many published pieces are highly critical of the Us postal service. so I’m thrilled to be able to share a personal story that demonstrates how mail can be amazingly cost-effective. I’m on the mailing list for the Antique mall of mansfield, texas. my wife and I aren’t heavy-duty antique buyers, but we like to spend a few hours wandering around the stores every once in a while. sometimes we find a treasure to buy, most times not. I’m always looking for items I can add to my collection of postal scales and other Usps paraphernalia. I found a mr. ZIp thermos bottle last time out. three times a year, this antique mall sends out a postcard promoting a sale. the mailpiece is a pretty simple affair, black ink on a small postcard -— always printed on brightly colored stock. the copy promises complimentary refreshments, unspecified discounts, and little else. other than updating the sale dates and seasonal graphics, I don’t think the postcard design ever really changes much. the antique mall sends only one postcard to the mailing list per event.

Overwhelming Success We went to the sale in mansfield on a saturday. the place was packed! people were parking in the adjacent field because there was no room in the parking lot, store employees were roaming the aisles taking shopper purchases up to the front counter or opening display cases, and frequently people were waiting to enter some of the smaller booths that accommodated only two or three browsers at a time. the store even set up a special “express line” for shoppers with five items or less. I can tell you the place was hopping! We had a great time, enjoyed some snacks, and even picked up a few decorative items for the house. When we finally made our way to the cash register, I asked how they promoted this obviously successful event. “Did you get a little yellow postcard?” asked the clerk with a faint (if slightly harried) smile. “Yes, we did,” I replied. “Well, that’s what does it every time!” she said. our conversation ended there. With a line of shoppers behind me I didn’t want to overextend my time at the counter. I could have gotten jabbed with a vintage farm implement in the hands

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of an antiquer hopped up on the free cupcakes and cookies. but I was able to speak to the business owner later on about her event promotion strategy.

If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It! ruth brinkmann told me that there was no reason to abandon direct mail for some more modern digital marketing strategy. she found it hard to believe that anything else could come close to the results she sees every time from mailing the simple postcards to their in-house list of approximately 7,900 customers. they’ve been using the postcards since 1999. When I asked about other promotional efforts, ms. brinkmann told me she had tried advertising in local newspapers in the past, but the results were disappointing. mansfield Antique mall has a website now (www.antiquemallofmansfield.com) and yes, they are collecting email addresses and Facebook friends. but these ventures are fairly new. Virtually none of the crowd at the last weekend sale showed up because of these digital efforts. perhaps somewhere down the road the business will see significant store traffic from electronic media. but according to ruth, “We’ll never give up the postcards!” she likes the fact that her customers have come to expect her postcards, recognize them immediately, and respond. “It just seems more personal,” says brinkmann. the antique mall encourages every shopper to sign up for their mailing list. they are pretty consistent about this. they’ve never purchased a list to promote the business, so keeping the list fresh means getting people to add their names and addresses to a clipboard at the front desk. A lot of them do. the lowtech pen and paper data entry method is entirely consistent with their business. Anything else would seem strangely out of place. this simple direct mail approach is so successful that brinkmann and her husband use the same methods to promote guitar shows that they produce in several cities across the country. 4 Amigos Guitar shows put on the largest consumer guitar events in the world, featuring up to 450 dealers at a time and filling convention centers with guitar shoppers that respond to the same type of postcard mailings. the shows appeal to a different clientele than the antique mall, but the same simple direct mail approach continues to bring them in.


With Mike Porter

DIRECT MAIL SUCCESS FACTORS Mansfield, TX Antique Mall 1. They know their audience 2. They deliver only the most important information 3. The simplicity of the design aligns with how they do business 4. They strive to be personal 5. A consistent effort results in an increasingly favorable response

The point of this story is that, given the right circumstances and intelligent execution, direct mail marketing remains a viable way to promote a business. And lavish marketing prose, fancy response devices, or unbelievable offers are not always necessary to generate an acceptable return on investment. A good list, consistent effort, and an understanding of what your customers want are probably more important. Pretty good lessons for us all. a Mike Porter is a collector of vintage postal paraphernalia and President of Print/Mail Consultants, a consulting firm that helps companies develop communications strategies and implement operational improvements. He lives “down the road a piece” from Mansfield, TX. Get more ideas about document operations by subscribing to the free newsletter, “Practical Stuff” at www.printmailconsultants.com.

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11


Everything IMBC

With Kevin Conti & David Robinson

IMb Is Still Relevant At the August mailers technical Advisory committee (mtAc), the Usps shared its latest plans and updates on the technical tools employed by the Usps. What was noticeably missing from the agenda was specific reference to Imb. this does not suggest that Imb is less relevant. to the contrary, it means that we’ve moved beyond a discussion of the Imb itself and have advanced to talking about the many applications that the Imb is driving. many such applications have been discussed over time, including eInduction, seamless Acceptance, initiatives around payment and acceptance, and, what we will focus on for this article, service performance and overall mail visibility. the Usps reported achieving historic highs on service measurement numbers and exceeding the goal in nearly every category since they began tracking using the full-service Imb.

Service Goal Qtr 3

so, with all of this activity around the tools that the Imb is making a reality, mailers are encouraged to move into full-service Imb as soon as it makes sense for their business. It’s certain that the mandatory date of January 2013 (postNet retirement) will happen, as well as the January 2014 for full-service Imb being the only option for automation discounts. beyond the January 2014 date, full-service Imb is required to take advantage of any future mail incentives offered by the Usps. Here’s a list of potential incentives for 2013: } Feb – march: coupons – mobile integration & click to call

1/c overnight

96.65%

97.10%

} may – July: crm/brm earned value

2 Day

94.15%

96.59%

3 – 5 Day

92.35%

96.19%

} Aug – sept: emerging technologies (ex. augmenting reality or watermarking), samples, and picture permit

std scF Letters

90.00%

93.09%

} Nov - Dec: buy it now (scan and pay directly from a catalog)

scF Flats

90.00%

85.82%

NDc Letters

90.00%

93.05%

NDc Flats

90.00%

90.02%

periodicals 1&2 Day

91.00%

83.07%

credit for the continued climb in the numbers goes to the service Delivery diagnostics tool that the Usps now employs, which is based on the Imb. the Usps now measures and manages “Work in process” or WIp. this is defined as the time it takes to move the mail from the point of induction, to loading the mail on a sorter for processing. the Imb provides the visibility to the Usps via their newly developed service diagnostics tool and has dramatically reduced the “wait time” for mail. overall, this benefits the Usps, mailer, and mail recipient significantly. In addition, this tool provides a warning system for any pallet of mail that is at risk of failing to meet the service standards, which allows plant managers to locate the pallet in question and resolve any issue leading to a delay.

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With the ability to closely monitor mail as it travels through Usps processing, additional benefits can be realized. For example, the Usps is working on the capability to share the overall mail processing times by area, so mailers can better determine the mail induction dates to get the mail in the mailbox on a specific day. Again, this is all made possible by the implementation of the fullservice Imb.

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If you are still unsure of how to move forward in your Imb adoption, a great deal of information is available on the Usps ribbs website at: https://ribbs.usps.gov/index.cfm, where you can find various technical updates and past/present webinars. In addition, your vendor of choice for mailing software solutions can offer guidance to get you migrated from the postNet barcode. Given the incentives that are being discussed, as well as the many additional benefits of being full-service Imb compliant, waiting may not be in the best interest of your company. Kevin conti is Director of mailing solutions at pitney bowes software. David robinson is currently the Director of Address Quality for pitney bowes.


Postal Affairs

With Kim Mauch

Political and Election Mail 101 the 2012 election season is well underway. With political fundraising at record highs and politics crowding the airwaves, many candidates will use direct mail to connect with donors and get their message to potential voters. these campaigns will have a huge impact on the results of elections of all sizes this year. As more states and municipalities move to vote-by-mail, demand for this service will be at all-time highs. sending this type of mail is fairly straightforward and can expand your business by supporting these types of mail.

Which Is It? First, you’ll need to determine which type of mail you’ll be sending. election mail is only available for authorized election officials, and includes mail-in ballots, voter registration cards, and other information that enables citizens to vote. political mail can be sent by any candidate, campaign committee or other interested party, including political Action committees (pAcs). once you’ve determined the type of mailing, you’ll be able to start designing the mailpiece.

Designing the Mail official election mail should use an official logo that is available from Usps, and should be letter sized. otherwise, color and other design choices are up to you. If you are sending out mail-in ballots, it is highly recommended that the return ballot and envelope be under one ounce, as voters will likely only apply a First-class mail stamp. more information about designing election mail, including example logos, is available at http://bit.ly/electionmail. Just about any size, shape, and content can be sent as political mail, and an unusual size or material can help make the message stand out among all the pieces voters are likely to get this fall. First-class, standard, and several other mail classes can be used for political mail, which gives the mail owner a lot of flexibility when designing their message.

Selecting the Audience In most cases, election mail will go to a list of registered voters in a specific district. election officials have a master list of recipients that can be imported into your mail preparation workflow, and it’s unlikely you’ll need to purchase a list for these mailings. political mailings get their mailing list from a variety of sources, and choosing the right list can be just as crucial as the mailpiece design itself. mailers usually prefer one of three kinds of address lists: a party voter list, voter registration list, or a list of all addresses in a district or region. some mailers may decide to

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use eDDm for their political mail, but this can be troublesome when carrier routes don’t line up with district lines. Also, mailing to addresses, rather than voters, can send mail unnecessarily to people who are not registered to vote in the region where they receive mail. Voter registration lists are ideal for general political mail, and party voter or donor lists are best for fundraising.

Message Management political mail can be a challenge for some mail houses due to their topical nature. candidates and committees need to get their message out quickly, and often need quick turn-around times to counter messages from the opposing party. security is also very important for these mail owners — getting even an advance day notice on an opposing candidate’s message can be a huge advantage. ensure that political mail is handled in a secure environment, and that misprints and other spoilage are disposed of securely. You’ll also want to contact your Usps mail entry contact to get the political drop-dead dates for the areas and districts you will mail to. Usps gives election and political mail priority over other standard mail, but after the drop-dead dates they will not guarantee delivery before the election. to let Usps know how to handle this mail, be sure to attach tag 57, a red tag available from Usps, to each tray and sack in your mailing.

Creative Budgeting most campaign mailings are under very tight budgets, so you’ll want to be able to offer the best possible postage discounts to these customers. saturation and other high-density mail discounts apply to many of these mailings, and can save mail owners quite a bit on postage. It’s important to note that some committees and organizations, such as schools, can send political mail at nonprofit rates, but many pAcs cannot if they are established as a separate entity from the nonprofit organization. All in all, election and political mail are a fairly easy way to expand your mailing services portfolio. With several highly contested elections both locally and nationally, direct mail will play a crucial role in shaping our nation’s future. a Kim mauch is a subject matter expert in mailing preparation and submission at satori software. contact her at kmauch@satorisoftware.com.


APPLICATION ARTICLE

Top Trends in Customer Engagement When Forbes looked at 10 business trends to watch in 2012, customer engagement was a recurring topic. A more intimate understanding of the customer was cited as a key growth driver.* You can get there with a company-wide approach to customer communications.

Digital Migration While companies would like to eliminate paper statements, customers are resisting. Leaders understand that it can’t be all-or-nothing; you need flexible options to ensure you can speak to customers in their preferred channel. When you create, manage, and deploy content across multiple channels from a single platform, you earn high marks for superlative customer service.

Automating Correspondence Many organizations still rely on Word templates for customer correspondence and treat the errors associated with their cut-and-paste manual process as a cost of doing business. New technology has made it easy to create and deliver interactive documents. Drop-down menus and integrated data-feeds support compliance, while centralized templates expedite content updates.

Multichannel Management When departments communicate in silos, customers receive conflicting, off-brand messages and a disconnected experience. Now you can standardize with enterprise-wide systems that integrate with your core operating system. Individual business units can create, deploy, and send out branded communications via print, mail, email, SMS, text, and social media to deliver a consistent, positive experience across every touchpoint.

Targeted Marketing CIOs rank dirty, fragmented, and inaccessible data as a multi-million dollar problem — one that interferes with cross-sell, upsell and retention efforts. Today, marketers are taking a more active role in customer data quality, leveraging customer intelligence to craft personalized, timely, and relevant messages based on sophisticated insights. Now you can focus efforts on persuadable segments and drop marketing costs 40%.

Marketing Automation The days of designing for specific channels and campaigns are over. Now you can optimize content for every channel including print, email, web, SMS and smartphone, through a single platform. And automatically deploy according to customer preferences using rules-based decisioning and predictive analytics. As you engage customers with personalized communications and relevant transpromo messages, satisfaction increases.

Learn more of the top 10 ways to create a winning customer experience — visit pb.com/engage today. Download our Top 10 booklet and explore the CCM Interactive Experience.

One Global View Troy, NY 12180 800.327.8627 www.pb.com/engage pbsoftware.sales@pb.com * Forbes, December 26, 2011


The State of Mail As seems to be the case so often with a variety of industries, this year’s survey was a mixed bag of results — some great, some not-so-great, and some things that stayed exactly the same. By Amanda Armendariz

Anyone who pays attention to the news knows that the headlines, while not the most optimistic they could be, are more positive than in years past. The major component in these stories is that the economy seems to be bouncing back after the hard times we weathered a few years earlier. So I was interested in seeing if that trend held in our 2012 wage & operations survey. I must say that, for the most part, it has. There are definitely some positives: there were fewer mail center managers in the bottom wage level than last year, and wages for certain job positions (such as addressing machine operators) increased slightly. There were also slightly

fewer layoffs among mail center managers than in previous years, as well. But, like with anything, there were some downsides as well. Mail volumes continue to decrease, which means that almost half of our respondents feel they will have to decrease their staff size in 2013 for this reason. Wages also decreased for certain job positions (like inserter operators), even though many non-managerial staff also have to take on additional responsibilities. All in all, it’s not the worst look at the mailing industry we’ve ever seen, although of course the decreasing mail volumes is always a concern, especially since that directly impacts many jobs.

MAIL CENTER MANAGERS Male vs. Female

66% MALE

34% FEMALE

How many full-time employees does each manager supervise? 0-5 FTE

16-20 FTE

6-10 FTE

20+ FTE

14%

03% 10%

52%

21%

11-15 FTE

Sixty-two percent of mail center managers manage additional departments or functions, while 38% do not. Printing services, document management, and copy services were some of the most common additional responsibilities undertaken by mail center managers. 16

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Show Me the Money The average salary for a mail center manager is $50,137, with our respondents reporting a breakdown as follows in the chart below. An encouraging sign that the economy is bouncing back? Fewer mail center managers were in the under $30,000 category this year than in 2011 (7% versus 10%). The middle categories all saw increases compared to last year (we expanded the categories this year to give a better look at the specific wage ranges — after all, $50,000-75,000 is a pretty broad range, so we narrowed it down a bit. But even when we look at the numbers the same way we did last year, there is still a definite increase in these categories). Of course, only 8% of managers were in the coveted 75,000+ category compared to 10% last year, but the fact that a fairly significant percentage of managers increased their salaries offsets this slight disappointment.

Time Spent in the Mailing Industry The mail center manager has, on average, been in that position for 15.9 years. Among the categories below, the first three saw an increase in numbers compared to last year, but the last two categories (16-20 years and 20+ years) saw a decline. This isn’t surprising or unusual; perhaps some folks took advantage of early retirement packages being offered by companies in the wake of budget cuts and the need to reduce staff. Or, for those individuals who had been employed 30+ years (which isn’t an unusual number for these surveys), maybe they simply felt it was time to reap the rewards of all their hard work and embrace retirement on their own. 1-5 years

<$30,000

08%

07

%

6-10 years

$30,000-$39,999

16-20 years

$50,000-$59,999

20%

20+ years

$60,000-$74,999

26%

11-15 years

25%

18%

$40,000-$49,999

17%

08% 21%

18%

22

%

$75,000+

Yes, They’re Certified! It appears that the USPS EMCMP is still the most popular certification among mail center managers, although the numbers are down slightly for both USPS EMCMP and CMM compared to last year’s responses, while more of our respondents report that their managers are CMDSM-certified as compared to last year’s numbers.

USPS EMCMP: 21%

CMDSM: 14%

CMM: 11%

That Dreaded Word: The Economy

40%

2010 2011 2012

Took on additional responsibilities

Salary concession

Salary freeze

Working additional hours

06%

07% Has had no effect

08%

11%

11%

11%

18%

19%

22%

22%

22%

32%

31%

37%

39%

40%

40%

How has the economy impacted mail center managers? While the thought of analyzing these results initially made me cringe because I feared that it would paint a dismal picture of the state of our economy, it actually was a mixed bag of results — and less dire than I had anticipated. Managers weren’t taking on as many additional responsibilities as in 2010, and there were fewer layoffs among managers this year than in the last two. But, on the other hand, the number of managers undergoing a salary freeze also increased… along with the hours worked. Not exactly a pleasant combination!

Number of mail managers decreased

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Education Is Key Mail center managers like to stay abreast of changing rules and regulations in our industry, as well as gather information needed to run their center most effectively. Here are the top six ways they’re meeting their educational needs:

Local PCC conferences/meetings: 45% National Postal Forum: 21% Other non-mailing national conferences (i.e. management training courses): 13% Vendor’s user conference: 13% On-site continuing education classes: 13% Online continuing education classes: 13%

Ten percent of respondents said that there was no training this year due to budget cutbacks, 10% couldn’t find the time to attend (not surprising, considering that many are working extra hours), and 14% felt that no training was needed this year. A surprising three percent of respondents said that training was not allowed for mail center managers; while that is a small number, the thought that no training is allowed for members of a certain career field is unusual. As we look toward 2013, only 34% say that managers are scheduled to attend national conferences in the next 12 months. Out of all the “no” respondents, the overwhelming majority had one common answer as to why, and it’s no surprise: there’s no money in the budget.

SupErviSorS Do our respondents’ organizations have supervisors?

The Demographics:

58%

48% 52%

Yes

MALE

42% FEMALE

No

Certification Tally: This is an interesting segment of our survey results. The certification numbers (especially for the USPS EMCMP and CMDSM) among supervisors are much greater than last year (CMM stayed fairly constant). Perhaps, even though managers often couldn’t find the time or the budget to attend training/certifications, their supervisors were able to?

uSpS EMCMp: 20%

CMDSM: 07%

A Look at Salaries The average supervisor salary is $38,500, with a breakdown as follows:

02%

Did you know?

15%

23

%

<$30,000 $30,000-$39,999 $40,000-$49,999

32% 28%

$50,000-$59,999 $60,000+

These numbers all stayed within a few percentage points of last year’s breakdown, so things seem to be fairly stable in that regard. 18

CMM: 04%

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On average, each supervisor manages three full-time employees. Thirty-four percent of supervisors supervise other departments/functions, while 66% do not. The average years of employment for a mail center supervisor is 12.67.


44%

44%

55%

The Economy as Seen by Supervisors: 38%

2010

2012

Has had no effect

Added responsibilities

Salary concession

Salary freeze

Working more hours

03%

04%

09% 04%

06%

15%

06%

06%

16%

16%

19%

21%

31%

35%

2011

Number of mail managers decreased

Top Three Training Choices for Supervisors 1. Local PCC Conferences/Meetings 2. On-site Continuing Education Classes 3. National Postal Forum

But like in the case with managers, some (6%) werenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t able to make it to any training due to budget cutbacks, 14% didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t find the time to attend, and a full 20% said no training was needed this year. Only 22% anticipate being able to attend national training in the next 12 months.

StaFF The Demographics:

56%

44%

MaLE

FEMaLE

Only 11% of employees are represented by unions, and 24% of organizations have an employee incentive program. For training, a full 39% of non-managerial and non-supervisory staff do not get any training beyond that obtained on the job. For those that do get training, on-site vendor equipment training and attending local PCC meetings/conferences were the most popular (46% and 31%, respectively).

The average staff member has been employed 8.8 years.

Average wages:

High

Operators of Inserters

Addressing Machine Operators

$12 .15

$12 .13

$12 .20

$13 .28

$12 .90

$13 .44

$13 .60

$14 .12

$13 .35 Entry level

$11 .24

$11 .50

$11 .04

2012

$17 .01

2011

$17 .01

$16 .71

2010

Mail Handlers

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Hiring Practices: Twenty-nine percent of respondents reported that the size of their mail center decreased during the last 12 months, while only 12% of mail centers increased their staff during that time. Of those that decreased staff, the most common reason (42%) was a notsurprising one: mail volumes decreased. Twenty-five percent reported a hiring freeze due to the economy, and 19% had mandatory layoffs due to the economy. Almost half of our respondents (47%) reported that they anticipate mail center staff size to decrease in 2013 due to dropping mail volumes.

THE RESPONDENTSâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; OPERATIONS BY THE NUMBERS Monthly Outgoing Mail Volume 14% 35

%

Monthly Incoming Mail Volume 11%

08

%

07%

05%

37%

09%

50%

34%

18%

26

%

16%

29%

Less than 50,000

500,000-999,999

< 5,000

50,000-74,999

Fewer than 10

100-500

50,000-299,999

1 million or more

5,000-19,999

75,000+

10-99

500+

300,000-499,999

20

Number of Employees in the Company

20,000-49,999

SEPTEMBER - OCTOBER 2012 a www.MailingSystemsTechnology.com


Making Your In The potential of invoices is often overlooked, but these mailpieces can help you in more ways than one. By Adam Lewenberg

This may sound like a dramatic title, but hopefully after reading this article, you will understand why I chose it. For the past 19 years, I have worked with clients to help them optimize their invoicing and am always amazed at how many different ways people generate these business-critical documents. We are going to focus on the core areas around where we can make an impact, including saving money, ensuring accuracy, facilitating faster returns, and promoting your offerings. It used to be difficult for companies to make changes to their invoices because everything would have to be hard coded by their IT departments. Now there are simple software applications that can manipulate your current print output files to give you complete control to optimize your documents. Here is how it can work: 1. A print file of your daily invoices is generated from your business system and stored in a specific directory. A printer driver can be installed if needed to allow you to save as a file vs. printing. 2. A third party software program intercepts this file and manipulates the output to do what you request. Pitney Bowes, Neopost, Objectif Lune, Syntell, and many other smaller entities can provide these solutions. These companies will either do the programming for a fee or introduce you to programmers who can assist. 22

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For the remainder of this article we are going to focus on how using these tools can improve your processes.

Saving Money Forms Savings: I strongly recommend trying to do away with preprinted forms whenever possible. By utilizing this type of software application, the entire invoice can be printed with your logos, graphics, borders, and boxes at the same time as the text and in one pass. Even if you are using multi-part forms, consider printing multiple copies to reduce costs. Here are the benefits: 1. Less expensive â&#x20AC;&#x201D; I have seen forms cost as much as $.50 per piece vs. less than $.005 for white paper. 2. No need to order and store large quantities of stock. Everyone uses white paper for their basic copying needs. 3. If logos, addresses, or other fields change on your document, you can adapt quickly vs. throwing away and reordering stock.

Labor Savings: Since you now have control of the entire print file, there are many ways to streamline production. Here are some examples of steps that can be automated: } Repressing print on $0 or credit balance invoices, which many customers do by hand. } Grouping invoices from multiple locations to one bill to address.


nvoices Dance } placing optical marks or barcodes on the invoice. this will tell the folder and inserter how many pieces to collate into the envelope. many companies do this by hand or only run the single page invoices through their inserter because they do not have these markings.

It is important to look at the manual steps and bottle necks in your process to find what could be automated.

Electronic Substitution — this is the ultimate way to reduce costs because it eliminates all of the forms, labor, and postage costs discussed earlier. many of the providers in this space can automatically email or fax your invoices. the questions come up in more secure applications. As an example, many clients want to notify the recipient there is an invoice waiting for them to open on a secure server that they can log in to access. When comparing suppliers, make sure they can support your required level of electronic presentment and payment.

Postage Savings: many of the providers in this space can link their tools to postal automation software that will get you the lowest postal rates. Your addresses will be automatically matched to the national Usps database, sorted to the postal requirements, and the proper Usps forms will be generated. the postage savings you can access by using these barcodes is significant as is shown below. Also, the Usps put in a change this year where the second ounce of automated mail is free. Weight Ounces

Retail Single Piece Automation Letter Rates Letter Rates

Savings

1

$0.45

$.35-40

11-22%

2

$0.65

$.35-.40

38-46%

3

$0.85

$.60-.65

24-30%

there are other ways to save postage that need to be considered: 1. Invoice Optimization — that is redesigning the document so it has the best use of space. this can reduce the number of pages being printed, thus reducing weight and postage. examples include: a. Increasing the number of order lines that can print on a page. b. shrinking the margins and the size of the header/footer. c. changing print size or font. 2. Duplex printing — printing on the front and back can reduce the weight and postage from invoices over five pages. 3. Converting Flats to Letters — I have seen many companies that process anything over five sheets of paper and put it into a 9X12 or 10X13 envelope because it is easier. What they do not realize is the extra costs, as you can see below. Sheets

First Class Mail® Flat - Large Envelope

First Class Mail® Automation Letter

Savings With First Class Mail® Letter

1-2

$0.88

$.35 -.40

55-60%

3-8

$1.08

$.35 -.40

63-68%

9-10

$1.28

$.35 -.40

69-73%

Weight Assumptions Paper = .16 Ounces, Flat = .6 Ounces, 6X9 Envelope = .3 Ounces

there is also a new trend called the digital mailbox. You can work with a provider like pitney bowes (Volly) or Zumbox and they will allow customers to access your invoices on their digital mailbox platform. they charge a fee per invoice, but it is much less than the cost to print and mail. the question comes to how many of your customers are on these networks and would utilize these services. It is a great idea to offer your customers an incentive to switch away from paper because of the cost savings it will provide over the long run.

Ensuring Accuracy Accuracy is the most important and often overlooked benefit to redesigning your invoices through the tools now available. many companies do a lot of processes by hand which can lead to errors. What would happen if a customer received an invoice for a different client, who was getting much lower rates? Here are some of the ways these systems can ensure accuracy: 1. Rules Optimization — As was discussed above, these systems can define your business rules and how you want your invoices grouped, suppressed, ordered, etc. this eliminates the manual steps and costly errors. 2. OMR/Barcodes — these markings can be printed on each page to ensure the right documents are printed and inserted together into the envelope.

Facilitating Faster Returns cFos are always interested in the time it takes a sale to get paid. Anything that can be done to shorten this cycle improves the cash flow for the company. Here are ways to get your bills paid faster: 1. Faster Production — because these new processes reduce steps and labor, invoices can get out the door quicker. 2. Faster Delivery — Automated First class mail (with barcodes) is the fastest way to move letters through the Usps because it can be routed deeper into the postal system. Also, since addresses are validated up front, there are fewer steps and less potential for returns. 3. Streamlining Remittance — by printing ocr codes or barcodes on the remittance stubs, it can make it easier to process payments. www.MailingSystemsTechnology.com a september - october 2012

23


Promoting Company and Offerings I was talking to a much respected consultant (and friend) in this space and was swiftly corrected when I asked if his customers were focusing on Transpromo. He said this was a made up term that should not be used. But yes, his customers are promoting themselves and their offerings on their invoices and that he does see this as a growing trend. This is a great opportunity to utilize the white space on your documents to communicate valuable information at almost no additional costs. Also, it has been shown that your customers will spend much more time looking at a bill vs. a marketing letter. With reductions in the costs to print in color, you can get decent quality to support your marketing initiatives. I have seen color ink prices as low as $.01-.03 per page for acceptable quality. It is important to know that this is not the family picture that needs to be printed at the highest quality and put on the mantle. It is a disposable document. The biggest obstacle is not the technology which can be made very simple. It is the coordination of marketing and operations to define the message and the criteria. Once these are defined, programing can be made easy. Here are some additional ways to help you entice customers: 1. QR Codes — These barcodes can be printed onto your envelopes and documents to direct your client to a designated web page. This is a great way to get them more involved with your offerings.

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2. Augmented Reality — This is a new technology where the customer would scan an object on your bill (it could look like a small picture of something you define) and they can see a specific video or message on their smart phone. The uses of this are just beginning and I expect this to become a huge way to market services in the future. 3. Second Ounce Rides Free — This year the USPS made the second ounce of mail free for all automated (barcoded) items. They did this to entice customers to put extra advertising content into their mailings. Think about the invoice that is only one sheet of paper. You could get an additional 10 sheets of advertising content without paying any additional postage.

Conclusion Hopefully now that you have seen what can be done to optimize your invoices, the “Making Them Dance” title is justified. These tools give you the power to get invoices produced faster, more accurately, and at lower costs. They can also be used to help grow your business. Adam Lewenberg, CMDSS is President of Postal Advocate Inc. with over 19 years of experience in the mail industry. Their mission is to help entities with large numbers of locations reduce mail related expenses, and make their spends easy to manage. He can be reached at 617.372.8653 or adam.lewenberg@postaladvocate.com.


APPLICATION ARTICLE

The Power of Data – Part 2 Mike Maselli, Bell and Howell Vice President, Marketing and Product Management

MANAGING DATA After planning what data will provide the most value, and putting together tools and projects that enable use of that data, the next topic to discuss is how to manage the data so that as many users as makes sense will have access. Years ago, a senior employee was the data repository — he or she knew all customers, all their jobs, and managed to keep the business running. Since then, new technology has become available and costs have dropped considerably. Many vendors introduced creative options for acquiring or using software, enabling a wider range of companies to start building smart systems for querying and analyzing information. Flash forward to today and companies are debating whether data management is most important or whether data access is really the goal. If only the latter, these companies are securely pushing their data to the cloud and allowing third party experts to make those infrastructure investments and decisions for them. For industries such as the finance and healthcare that use and store sensitive data, security has been a top deterrent to using cloud computing. However, with cloud providers becoming compliant with security regulations such as HIPAA, ISO 27001, and PCI DSS, these industries are changing their opinions. . Either way, information needs to be accessible by people, departments, and other systems and optimized for operational purposes or for client communication.

USING DATA There is a wide range of goals and objectives that customers can use data to achieve, ranging from operational improvements to multi-channel communications. Those using data for operational gains will often tackle projects for elevating postal or integrity controls, for identifying cost or productivity improvements, or for tying together various islands of data for improved visibility, workflow management, personalization, and control. Companies producing transactional documents or highly personalized direct mail often have the most to gain from an environment that revolves around data. Whether being able to report on the status of every job and item produced, the efficiency of employees and systems, the tracking of cost and service level agreements, or being able to digitally merge, control and manage print files — data will allow these processes to be automated and accurate. Other goals include integrating information from warehouse management tools for tracking material and stock consumption, with invoicing systems for billing of completed work, and customer service systems for faster resolution of issues.

Revenue-generating projects are also driven by data, and can enable a company to up-sell and cross-sell additional products and services. In addition, soliciting new accounts is driven by data and used to help a company grow their customer and revenue base. While marketers are still tracking web clicks and response rates, they are also seeking metrics such as the number of QR codes snapped. The other phenomenon that marketers need to pay attention to is activity on social media platforms. A Nielsen report shows that users are spending 22.5% of their online time on social sites and blogs — nearly nine times more than time spent on current news and events, meaning that marketing budgets should be inclusive of these sites. Another project that is data driven is multi-channel distribution of information: tracking customer delivery preferences to provide each end user with information that is personalized for them and available via a communication medium of choice. Print is still the most common delivery method, followed by e-presentment at a company’s website, followed by other mediums including mobile devices and consolidation sites. While industry averages for converting print customers to electronic channels seem to be between 10-15% depending on the vertical market and the effort the company puts into promoting alternative systems, many companies appear to have flat-lined their adoption of new converts. Each delivery channel has its advantages and disadvantages, but the key to success is building a flexible infrastructure that is capable of leveraging the delivery channels of today, and those of tomorrow. ©2012 Bell and Howell, LLC. All rights reserved. Bell and Howell and the Bell and Howell logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Bell and Howell, LLC. All other trademarks and service marks are the property of their respective owners. Specifications are subject to change.

Bell and Howell www.bellhowell.net marketing@bhemail.com


Embracing the Evolution of Government Print and Mail By Mike W. Sexson

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Not only is the state of Colorado’s Integrated Document Solutions (IDS) Print and Mail Operations embracing evolution, they have become one of the notable pioneers and guiding influences in the evolutionary process. IDS front-line staff and leadership have worked hard to change the paradigm of a government employee. Taking a step back, one realizes that the work performed at this level carries a huge responsibility to identify opportunities to increase effectiveness and efficiencies. The taxpayer and state should expect nothing less. What’s IDS?

Dispatch:

IDS is a unit of the Division of Central Services (DCS) under the Colorado Department of Personnel & Administration (DPA). One of the biggest challenges for in-plant support services in today’s government is being able to show the value of the services they provide. Not only do you have to stay up with the latest technology, but they also have to be able to develop and have ongoing training for staff.

With changes in customer demands and a rapidly changing economic environment, IDS went through a detailed analysis of the Interdepartmental Delivery System, while remaining focused on the customer’s business needs.

The problem all government in-plant print and mail operations have to solve is how to survive in today’s economy. The budget cuts that governments have to absorb make it very challenging to educate your operators, network at conferences, and purchase new equipment. With those challenges, IDS had to look for ways to become not just good, but one of the top government in-house support organizations overall. What they have done is something that, in the past, did not work in government — the front line employees are taking the lead by initiating change. IDS is now the one-stop shop for all local governments in the state of Colorado. They are now offering their services not only to state agencies but also to counties and municipalities. The days of “Why should I care about their budget?” or “It’s not my job to correct them” are gone. We no longer have customers, we have partners, and those partners are now willing to help us help them be successful. Ÿ Mail Ÿ Inserting Ÿ Metering Ÿ Sorting Ÿ Address Quility

Ÿ Dispatch Ÿ Special Runs Ÿ Security Ÿ Tracking

IDSCustomer Service

IDSCustomer Service

IDSCustomer Service

IDSCustomer Service

Ÿ Print Ÿ Design Ÿ Address Quility Ÿ Variable Data Ÿ Text & Graphics

Ÿ Copiers Ÿ Multifunction Device

In developing new and more efficient routes, IDS procured hardware and software used to track packages in the network. In developing the actual route maps, IDS acquired route development software to allow a reduction in miles traveled and time spent between stops. As a result of this analysis, IDS has been able to reduce total routes by close to 50% as well as total miles and fuel used.

Copier Program: In an effort to save the state of Colorado money, IDS transformed the copier program into the IDS Multifunction Device Program. The IDS Copier Program is a distributor of copy machines to state agencies. The Copier Program operated on a budget of $85,000.00. Using the economies of scale approach, we are able to drive down the cost of these machines, leasing them at a bulk rate. In addition, we are able to drive down paper cost associated with our devices using the same methodology. The IDS Copier Program distributes copiers statewide, only charging a flat rate copy fee to state agencies, which includes the paper. Machine size and speed are determined by volume. The Copier Program set volume standards, and split them into seven categories.

IDS Print Operations In 2011, IDS completed its transition to “Variable Data” printing. IDS now offers various forms of variable digital printing, which includes text, graphics, and images. Each file can be changed from one printed piece to the next without hindering the process. This process has increased efficiency and volumes while reducing costs. With the business model Print to Post, all under one roof, data files are prepared, and then sent to the digital printers. Once printed, they are moved to the mail inserters and sorter before being trucked to the Denver General Mail Facility. IDS is working with customers in developing more efficient communication with variable data print in areas like: property tax appraisals; parks registration cards for snowmobiles, boats, and off-road vehicle owners; business licenses and letters; teacher licenses; and election mailings required for counties. Another use is converting MS Word mail merge files to variable data in order to reduce preparation time and make it more efficient to print and send to mail.

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IDS Mail Operations In 2011, IDs mail operations implemented numerous cost-effective processes that saved customers immensely. management implemented daily production meetings to increase communication between all areas including customer service, mail, and print teams. IDs started to analyze each job sent to them by their customers to find new ways to cut their postage, labor, and/or material costs. by replacing older equipment, including an inserter, letter sorter, and inkjet machine, productivity increased by 30%, lowering the cost passed on to the customer. IDs was able to install a tabletop inserter for small inserting jobs, which helped minimize hand labor and set-up time on the floor inserters. IDs implemented an electronic ordering system for our customers to include with their mail request, relaying their bill code, mail rate, and contact person, which aids in processing the job more efficiently. the state of colorado is also the first state to have the state seal on the Usps Flat rate priority boxes. Government agencies like this added value because it identifies government from private sector and the visibility makes it easier to track. IDs offers 5-digit pre-sorting, which has increased postage savings by more than 10%, saving the state and customers an estimated $1.6 million in postage in the last year. IDs also found new savings with a Flat manifesting system. this system paid for itself in less than nine months, saving the state taxpayers a minimum of $100,000 in postage in 2011.

Address Quality Program (AQP) the state of colorado is the first and only state in the nation to be its own NcoA vendor. All government entities in colorado are under the stateâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s umbrella and can have IDs run their addresses through the NcoA. In order to receive presort discounts, the Usps has made it mandatory that every 95 days, the address data file must go through a pre-approved program for address hygiene. If you do not do some type of address quality, then you will lose your discounts and be subject to added fees to that mailing and lose all future discounts. the savings last year, just from the presort discounts we received from Usps, were gained because we had a process in place that was close to two million dollars just in discounted postage savings. In the past, the NcoA was used as a quick way to qualify mailings for presort discounts or to make sure that mailpiece was sent to the new address. In most instances, as the mail is going down the letter sorter, a program called FAstforward would run against the NcoA and make the changes at that time. this qualifies that mailing for presort discounts rates; the only problem with this process is that the damage is already done. print, materials, and postage have already been wasted! this process causes confusion and lack of understanding such as: } many mailers will say they have been doing the NcoA for years by using FAstforward/move Update as it goes down the letter sorter. } FAstforward/move Update is a quick way to qualify mailings for presort discounts.

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} Governments used to budget for Undeliverable As Addressed (UAA) mail. } the majority of the time, the information of all the upgrades and move updates are not communicated to the original agency so that they can clean up their database. the IDs Address Quality program is not just for the state to be able to get presort discounts. It is also a tool that used to help government agencies become much more efficient in the complete process from start to finish of that mailpiece.

Tactical Postage Budgeting (TPB): tactical postage budgeting is the process from start to finish on identifying efficiency with regards to how you mail, what endorsements you use, and what rate you would use. this program is for government agencies that have statutes that tell them how to mail.

TPB for County Election Mailings: there are 64 different counties that have to follow certain procedures on how they mail out election mail. there are strict guidelines that they must follow on how they contact registered voters by mail. the only way a registered voter can have his information changed is if they do it themselves. so if a registered voter moves to another county the old county still has to mail to the address they have on file.

The process for mailing out voter registration: } county uses nonprofit postage in most cases. } because it is nonprofit and it is an election mailing, they have to put Address service requested on the mailing piece. If that person has moved, the post office will send information back to the county that will have the new address, but the cost of this service is .50 per piece on top of the postage already used. } once the county receives the notice, they research and then generate another mailing to that new address. } A piece of mail that originally cost about .22 to construct and mail is now costing close to 1.00 or more with the extra postage, paper, and printing.

Example: Election Move Update Mailing } Use the NcoA program to indentify all moves and bad addresses. } Did not have to use the Address service requested endorsement and was able to mail a letter to the new address asking the voter to update their records. } IDs was able to save on postage, printing, paper, extra fees, and labor on all the research of returned mail with new address } only half the 64 counties are at nonprofit status; since IDs was doing the mailing on behalf of all 64 counties, we were able to blend all the countiesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; mail that was for elections under a nonprofit permit. } because of the volume, IDs was able to leverage better pricing on print and materials.


} By allowing IDS to do this mailing for the counties, the savings for just this one mailing statewide was close to $150,000.00. } The savings from not having to use the address service requested endorsement alone was $85,000.00 } Sixty-four different counties, two different state agencies (Secretary of State and IDS ), and one Federal (USPS) worked together in developing this one mailing.

The Results IDS is now seeing new mailings being developed by the government agencies that use them. These mailing pieces are not just new but they are the highest level of integrity of mail. USPS is seeing the fees going away but they are now also seeing UAA mail disappearing and being replaced with good mail.

The Future IDS is now working with USPS executive management to create an advisory group that will be just governments that all 50 states will be able to use. This group will use the foundation of how IDS now approaches print and mail and the importance of working with government agencies as partners instead of a customer vendor relationship.

IDS Commitment to All their Partners The Division of Central Servicesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; IDS exists to provide customers with the product or service they need, at a price they can afford, and at a level of quality for which they can be proud. Through our

consolidated, volume-based approach, Central Services IDS helps participating state agencies to: } COMBINE STATE VOLUMES to improve purchasing leverage, reduce prices, and streamline the ordering, delivery, and payment processes. } ELIMINATE REDUNDANCY by creating one contract and solicitation process, providing one shop, which minimizes facility costs, improves labor efficiency, reduces and shares management and administration costs, and reduces the need to invest in duplicative equipment and infrastructure. } IMPROVE PROFESSIONALISM AND QUALITY with dedicated functional expertise, improved information and systems, and consistent processes and methods translates to increased technical expertise and higher quality service. } REDUCE UNIT COSTS by maximizing equipment use, diluting fixed and overhead costs, and extending large volume pricing to small agencies. If governments are going to get better, it starts with each one of us. We are the ones that can make a difference. I know this because I have already made a difference in the state of Colorado. Mike Sexson is the Project Manager for the Department of Personnel & Administration, Division of Central Services, Integrated Document Solutions. Mike helped develop and currently manages the State of Colorado IDS, Address Quality Program.

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IN THE NExT ISSUE…

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Mailing Systems Technology September/October  

Mailing Systems Technology September/October

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