Page 20

CERTIFICATION: THE SIGN OF BEING A MAILING PROFESSIONAL By Mark Fallon

W

hen you visit a doctor’s office, they have their medical school diploma hanging on the wall. If they’re a specialist, they’ll also include their certification in the specific field, like sports medicine, cardiology, or neurology. The framed documents are evidence that they have the knowledge to address a patient’s concerns. The same is true for automobile mechanics. At repair shops, mechanics proudly display the certifications they’ve earned (especially when the company services high-end vehicles). Owners want to know that their $75,000 car is being worked on by a mechanic certified on that model. Similar opportunities exist for the mailing industry. There are certifications for front-line employees, supervisors, and managers. They’re offered by the US Postal Service (USPS) and professional associations. When we conduct operational reviews for companies, we always include a section on education, training, and certification. During the report presentation, we emphasize the importance of certification at all levels. We stress that in addition to being professionals, the department should be able to present evidence of professionalism. Of course, it’s not just the certificate hanging on the wall, or the letters that

follow a name. The process of achieving certification is where a person gains the most. Completing the online course, attending in-person training, and putting in the hours of self-study to prepare for the exams is where the hard work is accomplished and the knowledge is acquired. Outbound mail operations — whether production facilities or office settings metering mail — are the last touchpoint before the piece is sent to the customer. These employees have the opportunity to detect poor design elements, improper addressing, and other mistakes. Just one event can pay for the testing fee for the company or department. A Real-Life Example A client asked us to help their employees prepare for the USPS Mail Design Professional (MDP) certification. Every employee went through the training — the manager, the supervisors, the operators, and the clerks (including the clerks who delivered and picked up mail around the company). Everyone passed. One day, one of the mail clerks noticed a large stack of flat envelopes ready to be metered. The department had checked “First-Class Mail” on the work order. From her MDP training, the clerk knew that the weight of the piece would require Priority