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Your First-Class Mail Strategy. Page 18

Surviving a Software

Switch Page 8


IMb Guide!

Are you ready for the January 2013 deadline?

Page 24

Buyer’s 2013


Page 20

A SNEAK PEEK at the Mailing Industry in 2013 Part two of our annual survey shares readers’ thoughts on the USPS, declining mail volumes, and much more! How do your opinions stack up against those of your peers? Page 14

You are INVITED to join the Leaders in the industry! “Great job! I wish all the associations we are members of did such a great job representing us! Thanks.”

– Ray Hendrickson President & CEO

“PostCom with all of its resource offerings, is by far the best single source of everything postal.”

– Wendy Smith A.V.P., Fulfillment/Postal Affairs

“PostCom does a wonderful job of identifying key postal issues, facilitating industry discussion and then gathering the appropriate senior USPS executives to Address these issues”

– Joe Mizrahi V.P., Distribution

“PostCom membership dues are a small investment with a great return – it’s like having the ‘premier’ postal experts ‘on staff’. The educational webinars, publications like the bulletin and executive summaries, and other analysis of bills and federal register notices allows The Hartford to quickly understand the issues and identify how our business could potentially be impacted.”

– Lucie Jameson Assistant Director, Direct Mail Marketing Program “The thing with PostCom that so excites me is the feeling of being part of a solution, providing direction and solutions that impact our industry and knowing you did the right thing. There is a real sense of accomplishment when working with the caliber of people at PostCom.”

– Cameron Bellamy President

“Experian has been part of PostCom for over 30 years and we believe that it is the only postal focused association that can influence the USPS, congress and the Postal Regulatory Commission.”

– Steven W. Lopez V.P., Postal Products & Affairs

“As a drop ship consolidator, our customers range in size from large mailers to small letter shops. PostCom membership has allowed us to become recognized as one of the ‘go to’ leaders in our segment of the industry.”

– Rich Domagala Director of Postal Affairs

“By being a member of PostCom, we receive regular updates on postal developments, exposure to senior USPS executives, representation before the Postal Regulatory Commission on important issues, and the invaluable Postcom Bulletin which is a must read for anyone in the mailing industry.” – Jim O’Brien V.P., Distribution & Postal Affairs

Visit or email for more information.

Volume 25 Issue 6



Features 14

Is 13 Really an Unlucky Number? When it comes to the mail industry and 2013.... maybe. The economy’s still affecting purchases, and things aren’t looking so great for the Postal Service. But there’s a bright side, too. By Amanda Armendariz



Rethinking Your First-Class Mail Strategy Standard Class mail still offers many benefits to mailers, but there are many times when First-Class makes more sense. By Stephanie Miracle


Buyer’s Wish List Need some new solutions to help you get 2013 off to a great start? Look no further than our Buyer’s Wish List — we have everything a mail center manager could want.

Departments/Columns 5


Editor’s Note Saving the Value of Mail By Amanda Armendariz


Real-Life Management

Special IMb Guide Sponsored by: Window Book and Satori Software


Are You a Trustworthy Manager? By Wes Friesen


By Adam Lewenberg

Software Byte Surviving a Software Switch By Christopher Lien



Ship It

Postal Affairs Are You Using the Latest Mailpiece Design? By Kim Mauch


Everything IMBC Coordinating Your Full-Service Strategy By Kevin Conti and David Robinson

[ PLUS ] 4


Are You Ready for Intelligent Mail Full Service? Application Article

It’s Time for a GRD — General Rate Decrease! By Jim LeRose



The Trenches The O-Word By Mike Porter


The Intelligent Mail Barcode, Embracing Technology, and Cutting Costs — Together, We Can Save the Value of Mail

Full Service IMb — Looking for the Benefits By Mike Porter



Address Cleansing, Barcode, Labor and Operations, Postal Automation, Presort and so much more

Make sure you sign up for our monthly e-Newsletter so we can keep you posted with news alerts and updates!

editor’s note

with Amanda Armendariz

Mailing systems technology PUBLISHER Marll Thiede


Saving the Value of Mail When we sent out an email to our readers asking them to participate in part two of our annual survey, we were hoping to get some great opinions. And boy, did we ever! Many of our readers gave some wonderful insight into the state of the mailing industry today, the financial debacles the USPS is facing, and a peek into whether declining mail volumes are a real worry — or merely exaggerated by the media. The responses were a mixed bag. Some things were disconcerting, like the fact that the economy is still affecting purchases — and likely will for the next year — for almost half of our respondents. Some things were reassuring, like the good number of folks who reported that they either had not noticed mail volumes declining, or that the decline wasn’t as dire as some think. All in all, reading the survey results made me feel pretty hopeful. Of course the situation with the USPS needs to be fixed, and fixed quickly (although I doubt that will happen!), and the mailing industry needs to be even better about integrating physical mailpieces with electronic communications in order to deliver the best value to the customer while keeping our industry afloat. But overall, I think that people--both in our industry and outside of it — recognize the value that mail provides, and I have no doubt that mail will retain its importance for many years to come. And speaking of saving the value of mail, don’t miss Adam Lewenberg’s article on Page 24. It’s a great look at what you need to do to meet the looming deadline for IMb implementation, but he offers up some other relevant points, as well. Just scan the QR code at the end of his article for some more thoughts on maintaining the presence of mail in this world of increasingly digital communication. It’s hard to believe this is the last issue of 2012, but it is! 2013 is just around the corner, and along with it, we’ll have some great new columns and departments in addition to our regular experts. So stick around for those changes in the new year. I hope all of our readers, and their families, have a wonderful holiday season, and we’ll see you next year! As always, thanks for reading Mailing Systems Technology.

Amanda Armendariz

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Kevin Conti, Wes Friesen, Jim LeRose, Adam Lewenberg, Christopher Lien, Kim Mauch, Stephanie Miracle, Mike Porter, David Robinson, Wanda Senne


Rachel Spahr

ADVERTISING 608-442-5064 Ken Waddell


2901 International Lane • Madison WI 53704-3128 608-241-8777 • Fax 608-241-8666

Volume 25, Issue 6 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 or subscribe online at For high-quality reprints, please contact our exclusive reprint provider. Scoop Reprint Source 800.767.3263 ext. 307 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 6] 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 Are You A Trustworthy Manager?

“To be trusted is a greater compliment than to be loved.” George MacDonald lent character. If you want to earn trust, demonstrate that you will do the right things for others even if it puts you at risk. John Maxwell was right on when he said, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care”.

We face an ongoing challenge to building a trustworthy team that reliably serves our key stakeholders. The starting place to building a trustworthy team is to have it led by a trustworthy leader — you! How can we develop a higher level of trustworthiness for ourselves and our teams? Let me share some ideas, largely based on the work of Dr. Robert Hurley — a highly respected professor, consultant, and former manager.

Jim Collins in his classic book Good to Great refers to the most effective leaders as “Level 5.” Level 5 leaders are driven and at the same time humble. Their motivation is not self-gratification but building an organization bigger than themselves. Being devoted to others and to a larger mission at one’s own expense breeds trust and loyalty.

Six Keys to Building Trustworthiness


Create similarities: establish common values and a common identity. Research has shown that we tend to trust people we think are similar to us and share our values. Hightrust leaders and high-trust organizations create bonds of trust by developing and gaining commitment to common values and beliefs.


My company (Portland General) years ago established a core set of values that we call “Guiding Behaviors.” These shared values have served us well over the years and saw us through challenging times such as the collapse of our one-time parent company — Enron. Here are PGE’s “Guiding Behaviors:”

People are looking for leaders that know where they are going, and can instill confidence that the team can be successful if they stay focused. To build confidence and trust a leader must:  Think strategically about the future and anticipate change.  Break changes down into manageable initiatives that can be implemented over time.  Stay focused and execute.  Mobilize groups of people in a change process.  Develop and maintain good relationships.

Be Accountable Dignify People Earn Trust Team Behavior Positive Attitude Make the Right Thing Happen Another tactic to build a common identity is to encourage people on your team to know each other as people — not just as professionals. Look for common experiences and interests that can help build a sense of camaraderie.



Align interests with those whose trust you want. It is much easier to trust people that we feel will serve our interests. When interests are well aligned, it is much easier to trust. To build trust, start by clarifying and aligning stakeholder interests and promote those interests in a fair manner.


Develop benevolent concern. People tend to trust those that care about their welfare — those that demonstrate a benevo-


Develop and demonstrate capability to deliver on your promises. We need to deliver on our commitments to develop trustworthiness. Want to earn trust? Prove that you can reliably deliver on promises and don’t make promises that you cannot keep. Remember the principle of “under promising and over delivering.”

An important element of maintaining trust is to be selfaware and humble. When leaders are comfortable enough to acknowledge areas where they are not competent and then delegate and empower others to compensate they build trust.


Create a track record of predictability and integrity. To earn trust we must have a predictable pattern in how we act. An important part of predictability is integrity — honoring your word. High-trust managers always try to honor their word — and if they fail to do so they apologize and make sure it does not become a habit. Integrity also includes always doing the right thing — even if it costs you personally. As respected Senator Alan K. Simpson said, “If you have integrity, nothing else matters. If you don’t have integrity, nothing else matters.”

With Wes Friesen


Communicate — and do it clearly and openly. I appreciate the advice I received from Portland General’s highly respected CEO Peggy Fowler several years ago. She said there were three keys to being a great leader and manager: 1) Communication, 2) Communication and 3) Guess what? Communication. As a general principle it is better to over communicate versus to under communicate. If we fail to communicate adequately the gap is filled by the grapevine (i.e. rumor mill) — and the rumor mill is invariably negative and demoralizing. Here are Dr. Hurley’s five keys to being a trustworthy communicator:     

Share information Tell the truth Admit mistakes Give and receive constructive feedback Maintain confidentiality

Our teams will better serve our stakeholders if operating in a culture of trustworthiness. The key to developing a culture of trust is for us as leaders to be trustworthy ourselves. The road to being trustworthy is not always an easy one, but it’s the right one for us to be on. Good luck to you as you pursue building greater trustworthiness in your team and in you as the leader! a Wes Friesen, MBA, CMDSM, MDC, EMCM, ICP, CCM,CMA, CM, CFM, APP, PHR is the Manager of Billing, Credit and 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 MAILCOM, National Postal Forum, FUSION and others. Wes would love to hear your feedback and article ideas and can be contacted at Check out his personal website for free information at a NOVEMBER - DECEMBER 2012


Software Byte Surviving a Software Switch mail preparation has come a long way in the last decade, and eligibility for any type of postage discount necessitates some type of USPS-certified postal software. There was a time when a mailer could pick up a domestic mail manual (dmm) and perhaps create a simple sortation tool for preparing a relatively simple mailing. However, today’s complexities of cASS, PAve, and Tem for Intelligent mail requirements far surpass a simple sortation algorithm. It is the complexity of this new Intelligent mail preparation that likely drives the high dependency of mail preparers on their software investment, making it very difficult to consider switching solutions unless some significant disruption has occurred. This includes significant changes such as a company merger/acquisition or a product discontinuation announcement from a current postal software provider. migrating to a new software solution, particularly on the eve of a proposed Full Service Intelligent mail requirement, is not easy. It requires a clear understanding of how your current solution works within your existing workflow, while simultaneously researching a solution from a provider that supports the next proposed USPS requirement. Fortunately, there are some excellent resources and steps to consider for surviving a software switch.

Step 1 — Know Your current Solution This might sound fairly obvious, but how well do you understand your current solution? For example, do you have the current workflow clearly documented? Knowing how data comes into your current solution and various other supporting tools is essential information to consider when selecting the next solution. This is especially true if you are using “home grown” data formatting tools such as a FoxPro utility that someone in I.T. wrote 10 or 20 years ago. What type of data formats are you currently receiving from your customers or using in-house? For example, are you using dbase files, comma-delimited, fixed-length, excel, or some other type? There are software solutions today that can do data extraction and transformation as part of their import process, which can facilitate the overall workflow. Are you looking for seat, site, or an enterprise license? many software providers have different license agreements to consider


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depending on whether you need a fixed number of users, unlimited within a site, or across multiple locations. consider not only today’s needs, but future requirements as well.

Step 2 — research the options The USPS publicly lists software vendors who are certified in address correction (cASS), mail preparation (PAve), and Full Service Intelligent mail electronic documentation (Tem). The information is posted on rIbbS (, which is sort of a USPS “underground” web page. Look under “certifications” to find the listings of USPS certified solution providers. This will help you at least compile a list of candidates to contact and weed out those companies that may not be seriously invested in certified mail preparation solutions.

Step 3 — Platform and operating System microsoft Windows is by far the predominant platform for mailing software solutions. However, there are other options particularly for companies that are considering finally transitioning from expensive mainframe systems. Linux, Unix, and AIX are excellent choices to consider for at least the address quality component of the mailing solution. Advancements in computer hardware, especially high-speed memory, have enabled near parity processing on Linux versus a mainframe. For example, a recent performance test of a commercially available solution yielded address correction speeds in excess of 20 million records per hour on a Linux operating system running on a laptop computer.

Step 4 — compare the Features chances are you have been using your current mailing software solution for quite some time. A lot has changed over the past five to 10 years. Advanced sortation schemes such as mixed-class co-mailing and advanced address correction services are now

With Christopher Lien

available. Make sure you look at all the features and upgrade options available carefully. Pay close attention to software solutions that support the USPS Customer Supplier Agreements as well as those may be required in some cases for Full Service Intelligent Mail.

Step 5 — Support after the Sale This is perhaps the most important of all steps — customer support after the sale. Does the solution you are considering come with live and unlimited customer support? Is the customer support accessible via telephone, email, or both? Do they provide training (including web-based training) to minimize travel costs and time away from the office? And finally, do they have a profes-

sional services team that is willing to help install and implement the solution to ensure business continuity? Surviving a software switch can be successful with proper planning and research. Fortunately, there are USPS published resources to get you started and there are many options to consider. Just remember: caveat emptor, or buyer beware. You get what you pay for in mailing software, just like most things in life. a Christopher Lien is Vice President, Software Marketing, Bell and Howell. a NOVEMBER - DECEMBER 2012


The Trenches

With Mike Porter

The O-Word This is the time of year when it always seems to come up. companies that maintain their own print and mail operations start wondering if they shouldn’t be outsourcing some of those functions. The reasoning behind this notion is solid — costs keep going up, volumes are going down, and the ever-popular “not our core competency” argument sound like reasonable foundations upon which a study should be conducted. The inquiries almost always originate in the Finance department. From their perspective, the decision about who should be responsible for the main channel of communication between the company and its customers is a matter of adding up the fixed and variable costs. compared to other operations that may be critical to the success of the organization, document generation and distribution must seem like simple tasks that can be done by any number of outside vendors. As a result, the person assigned to gather and analyze the data upon which an outsourcing decision is ultimately based is frequently a junior staff member who is early in their accounting, finance, or project management career. Inexperience and a narrow focus can result in recommendations that may not take all factors, especially those that are not line items on a profit and loss statement, into account. Important questions are unasked and alternatives unexplored. This is frequently a case of “not knowing what they don’t know.”

Getting Input from the Experts document operations managers may or may not be invited to contribute to the outsourcing evaluation. And their participation is frequently limited to providing statistics, counts, and costs for requested items. This can be a problem. As those who work in document operations know, there are many variables and subtleties that can affect the success of a transition to an outsource provider. Some of these factors are not easily itemized, categorized, or quantified. reducing the document operations workflow down to a few bullet points just doesn’t communicate the complexity of the interwoven systems that are frequently in place. document operations managers may have a credibility issue when it comes to assessing their own company’s outsourcing options, though. outsourcing frequently means the reduction or elimination of their staff. It might even result in a loss of employment for the managers themselves. Anyone would find it difficult to be objective under such conditions. An analysis they supply may be regarded as biased by the corporate decision-makers. Perhaps this is why so many organizations find themselves re-evaluating outsourcing decisions again after a few years. If they went with a strict financial analysis they may not have given enough weight 10

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to items such as interdepartmental workflow, responsiveness, confidentiality, or new application development. And if they decided against outsourcing based on recommendations from optimistic management they could end up over-staffed and over-equipped. outsourcing print and mail operations makes sense under the right conditions. This is especially true today for organizations that were built to process volumes of work that have diminished and have little chance of coming back. renewing leases on equipment that is severely underutilized may be a difficult business decision to justify, even if the gear is necessary to handle peak production. The need to make investments to upgrade software, hardware, or staff skills to meet modern requirements for customer communications may also come under scrutiny if the company’s overall strategy is to convert more paper documents to electronic channels over time.

Using Outsourcing to Your Advantage outsourcing print and mail is often accompanied by workflow redesign and business process re-engineering. It is inevitable that with exposure to a different viewpoint and new technologies, new ideas will emerge. In a successful outsourcing arrangement, companies take advantage of these opportunities. operations managers are key resources as an organization brings a new outsourcing partner into the workflow. The relationship between your company and your outsourcing vendor is an interdependent one; both companies must be in alignment with their business goals and strategic decisions. on an operational level, peers at both companies must be able to communicate effectively to answer questions and fix problems as they come up. outsourcing document operations could be the best thing for your organization — or not. every situation is different, and there is no strategy that will work for everyone. An informed and unbiased assessment is the first step towards success. a mike Porter is an expert in Print and mail operations and President of Print/mail consultants, an independent consulting firm that helps companies nationwide make strategic decisions about their document operations — and implement them. For more tips visit and sign up for Practical Stuff — the free newsletter for document operations. Your comments are welcome. Send them to

Want to knoW more items to consider when evaluating outsourcing?

Ship It

With Jim LeRose

It’s Time for a GRD — General Rate Decrease! Any day now, your company will get hit once again with an annual GrI — General rate Increase from the dynamic duo: Fedex and UPS, who continue to increase their rates faster than you can say supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. but some mail center managers have a new message for the duopoly: “We’re not going to take it anymore!” Are you in that category? Faced with rising costs, less staff and budget cuts, smart execs are turning to multi-carrier shipping solutions to replace UPS Worldship and Fedex Ship manager in the mail center. The result? Thirty percent savings, or more. These are difficult and confusing times. our government continues to assure us that inflation is low, but many would disagree. According to Business Week, from 2009-2012, the income for a typical household rose by .2%. but at the same time the cost of goods and services went up over nine percent. This “squeeze” has reduced buying power. I see the same thing is happening in business. Faced with constant and vast increases in shipping, healthcare, energy, taxes, banking fees, rents and many, many other areas, companies are also getting squeezed. For ecommerce companies the problem is exacerbated by the fact they have to offer free shipping but can’t raise their prices. That’s why business is good at bottom Line concepts (bLc),, an organization dedicated exclusively to helping companies reduce costs and increase profits — and they only get paid if you save money. “There are about a dozen areas businesses have been hit hard during the past several years,” says Gary P. mitchnick, President of bLc. “In the last millennium, prices increased a few percentage points here and there. now you see constant increases of 10 to 20% or more, and these areas have become so confusing, it’s hard for companies to save real money unless they ignore their businesses and become experts in each of these categories.” bLc works with Subject matter experts (Sme) with an average of 20 years experience. These experienced “fresh eyes” find areas of savings even the stingiest controllers often overlook. “We help eliminate waste and coordinate information to improve a company’s overall financial picture.” Shipping is a key component of bLc’s money-saving strategy. Gary opines, “due to the sheer amount of increases during the past decade and how difficult it is to understand carrier invoices, this is a key area for us.”


Rate Shop/Least Cost Routing — ever visit expedia, orbitz, Priceline, Kayak or other comparison site? The same applies in the mail center. While carrier-provided software doesn’t encourage rate shopping/least cost routing, multicarrier shipping software does and the savings is significant.


Business Rules — It is very difficult for companies to enforce shipping policies. You’ve heard me talk about the “blank check” employees have when it comes to shipping with UPS and Fedex. Set business rules that reduce costs, then get monthly reports to validate they are adhered to. You’ll be surprised how often they are not.


Use Ground service instead of Air. many mail center managers don’t realize that Ground package service is guaranteed to arrive quicker than more costly second and three-day air services to multiple locations. There is a savings of over 10% just on fuel alone when you choose Ground over Air!


USPS — If you are of the old mindset that the USPS doesn’t offer quality delivery service, then you ought to look again. driven by demands of the b to c marketplace, the USPS has emerged as an extremely viable third player in the parcel and expedited delivery space with competitive tracking and accountability.


Insurance — may companies still insure directly with UPS and Fedex (declared value) at a cost 50 to 70% higher than necessary. There are great third-party companies that can lower insurance costs such as UPIc, PIP and others. You can even expect better coverage and service.

I hope this information helps you Ship better and Save money. a Jim Lerose is Principal of Agile nYc metro and President of 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 or 888.214.1763. You can also visit his blog at

It would be nice if UPS and Fedex announced a Grd (General rate decrease) instead of a GrI (General rate Increase) but that doesn’t seem very likely. That means you have to take matters into your own hands and do something about these repeated assaults on your company’s profits. A multi-carrier shipping solution in the mail center will help achieve your goals. So how can this help realize 30% savings or more? Here are five areas: a november - december 2012


Postal Affairs

With Kim Mauch

Are You Using the Latest in Mailpiece Design? Getting your mailpiece noticed is the single best way to encourage a response. What’s the best way to get noticed? creative and innovative mailpiece design — for starters. mail service providers (mSPs) sometimes rely on customers for direction on mailpiece design and content. After all, customers know their products, and usually have an idea of what they want before they choose an mSP. but the latest innovations in mailpiece design and technology give savvy mSPs a unique opportunity to add value to customers’ mail, making it more relevant, more enticing, and more actionable than the classic white paper envelope.

Print Comes to Life one of the best examples of innovative design so far this year was the 2012 IKeA catalog. Together with a mobile application, the traditional catalog allows customers to view and interact with their products in a whole new way. This new technology, called augmented reality, has opened up print to the digital world, making it more fun and relevant than ever.

Linking Mail to Mobile Linking a Qr code to your home page? That’s so 2011. Leading edge mailers are using Qr and other mobile barcodes for more than just page hits these days. Personalized UrLs, or PUrLs, have been used along with mobile barcodes for a while now, but the latest trends are using those same barcodes for mobile coupons, or even a direct call to a customer service rep, ready to take an order. With over a billion smartphones currently in use today, mail/mobile connections are more valuable than ever before.

USPS Rewards Innovation Along with the latest prices announced for 2013, USPS released a schedule of new mail incentive programs that are encouraging mailers to use these latest technologies. Some offer discounts as high as five percent. customers can benefit greatly by integrating these into their next mailing campaign. be ready for these incentives coming soon: } Mobile Coupon/Click-to-Call, march-April Qualifying pieces with a hardcopy coupon meant for mobile redemption, or with a mobile barcode that initiates a phone call, can earn a two percent postage discount. } Earned Value Reply Mail, April-June Qualifying business reply mail (brm) and courtesy reply mail (crm) pieces can receive a $0.02 postage credit for each piece sent back through the mail.


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} Emerging Technologies, August-September Qualifying pieces with augmented reality (like the IKeA catalog), near-field communication like an rFId tag, or Authentication — a way to verify that the user is accessing a site and also received the mailpiece — can earn a two percent postage discount. } Picture Permit, August-September Qualifying pieces that use a pre-approved Picture Permit Indicia will be discounted the additional cost of the picture permit indicia — one cent for First class mail and two cents for Standard mail. } Product Samples, August-September Qualifying parcels including a product sample can earn a five percent postage discount. } Mobile Buy-it-Now, november-december Qualifying pieces that include a way to access a mobile shopping site (including Qr codes, smart watermarks and other technology) can earn a two percent postage discount.

Finding the Right Fold do you send Folded Self-mailers (FSms)? If so, you’ve probably heard that changes are on the horizon. After a long testing period running FSms on USPS equipment, the results are in. USPS codified all the results and selected designs for FSms that are most compatible with their equipment, and the result is a new set of rules for these mailpieces. Fortunately for mailers, the number of options is much greater than the initial proposal, but you’ll want to compare your mailpieces against the new standards. The most memorable rule for these pieces is that the final fold is now the bottom of the mailpiece. While the new rules limit the number of ways to create these mailpieces, they also ensure that pieces designed following the new specifications are handled well by USPS equipment, meaning they are less likely to be mangled during transportation. Your customers are looking to you to advise them on mailpiece design. If you are familiar with and can recommend newer mailpiece design and technology to them, you can help increase the response your customer gets, encouraging them to come back to you for future mailings. And with postal discounts waiting to be taken, there’s no time like the present to start learning about these new opportunities. a Kim mauch is a subject matter expert in mailing preparation and submission at Satori Software. contact her at

Everything IMBC

With Kevin Conti & David Robinson

Coordinating Your Full-Service Strategy Recently, two key USPS communications related to the IMb were issued. The first was a federal register notice entitled “Implementation of Full-Service Intelligent mail required for Automation Prices,” which is a formal notice to enable Full-Service Imb being required for automation discounts in 2014. This notice is consistent with the USPS messaging on the deadline to adopt Full-Service Imb for all mailers and re-enforces the momentum for mandatory Full-Service adoption. current adoption percentage is about at 60% for First class, 35% for Standard mail, and 55% for Periodicals. The USPS needs a much higher adoption rate across the mail classes, to reduce costs and to further enable service performance measurement. As recently stated by Jim cochrane of the USPS, “What gets measured, gets treasured.”

coordinate their strategies and budgets around a multichannel customer interaction model for optimized return. In some cases there may be temptations to pursue hard savings in channel investment in lieu of what customers prefer as a contact channel for offer presentation that may lead to true business growth. This needs to be managed carefully as customer preference should always be the driving force behind the communications medium. Kevin conti is director of mailing Solutions at Pitney bowes Software. david robinson is currently the director of Address Quality for Pitney bowes.

consistent with driving toward adoption, the USPS has developed its “tech credit” program that is a postage credit to offset technology migration to Imb. The credit per mailing site is $2,000, $3,000, or $5,000 for 125,000-250,000, 251,000-500,000, and 500,000+ mailpieces respectively. A mailing site is known in Postal parlance as a customer registration Identification number (crId). While the tech credits may certainly not offset total customer costs for Full-Service adoption, the tone of the program is certainly to further incent mailers along with the mandate. The second is the 2013 promotions calendar that highlights the USPS incentive programs throughout the year. All of these promotions require mailers to be mailing under the Full-Service program. It is recommended mailers review the calendar and programs, consider the opportunities for their business, and take advantage of postal budget savings and enhanced mail value. Several of the 2013 promotions highlight the “multi-channel” opportunities to continue to drive the relevance and value of mail. For example, mobile coupon/click-to-call provides an incentive to mailers to embed coupons that allow mobile platforms (smartphones, etc.) for redemption. Also in time for next year’s holiday season is mobile buy-it-now, which provides a year end promotion to encourage direct mail pieces to have the capability for users to more easily complete their holiday shopping. Again, these incentives may be modest, but will enhance a multi-channel customer marketing approach. Also, these programs may be critical to business success and the ongoing success of the mail channel. As many organizations approach the planning cycle for next year, these programs highlight the need for marketing organizations to a november - december 2012


Is 13 Really an



When it comes to the mail industry and 2013.... maybe. The economy’s still affecting purchases, and things aren’t looking so great for the Postal Service. But there’s a bright side, too. By Amanda Armendariz

When we asked for your opinions, our readers certainly weren’t shy about giving them, and for that, we thank you! Your candid responses gave us a great view of what is happening in the mailing industry, and how those happenings are viewed by those who work with the mail day in and day out. Yes, some responses are depressing, like those pertaining to the USPS’s financial problems or how the economy is affecting purchases for the mail center. But there are some bright spots, too — like how an entire two-thirds of our respondents said

that declining mail volumes are either nowhere near as dire as the media makes it out to be, or their volumes haven’t declined at all. That’s what we in the mailing industry like to hear! I hope you enjoy part two of our annual survey. If you’d like to comment on anything reported here, please email me at or visit this article on our website by scanning the QR code below, and leave a comment in the comment section.

THE USPS Not surprisingly, 58% of our respondents said that both the USPS and Congress were to blame for the financial mess the USPS is in. Twenty-two percent said it was Congress’s fault, while 16% said it was solely the Postal Service’s.

Service Levels of USPS 15


Excellent Good

Top Three Biggest Problems with the USPS



Fair Poor


30% Regulations Confusing or Burdensome 09% Rates/Pricing 09% Communication/Information



In your opinion, do bulk mailers require the regulatory protection that now exists or could they live with less regulation?

Yes, we need the current regulatory protection

38% 62%

No, we could do with less

Should negotiated service agreements (NSA) be reviewed prior to implementation or should the USPS be able to execute an NSA once they are negotiated? Reviewed prior to implementation



USPS is able to execute an NSA once negotiated


Not sure/no preference

Privatization Our respondents’ opinions on the topic of privatization vary from year to year; in 2011, the majority (53%) voted “yes” to privatization, while in 2010, almost the exact same percentage of respondents were against privatization. This year, we had a slightly different twist on the question. We asked: “Should the USPS be a for-profit enterprise operating under standard corporate law?”

YES: 58%

NO: 42%

This was a tricky one for some of our respondents, who noted that the requirement for universal delivery may be at odds with profitability.

The Tricky Question of Rates People often want the USPS to be able to run itself like an independent business (not necessarily a bad idea), but when asked if the Postal Service should be able to raise its rates without approval from the Postal Regulatory Commission, in an attempt to dig itself out of its financial mess, the majority (58%) voted no. Interestingly, a lot of the “no” answers gave their reasons as something along the lines of, “They would raise their rates too often.” That’s a valid concern, but if it helped the USPS get away from the brink of financial disaster, are higher rates that undesirable? Apparently so! Another “no” voter brought up the topic of the USPS’ monopoly and argued that you can’t allow someone to have a monopoly but at the same time allow them to set their rates unchecked by any regulatory agency — it’s not fair to the consumers or the other businesses that are prohibited from serving this sector. Good point! Some of the “yes” respondents supported their answer by arguing that the Postal Regulatory Commission is obsolete and/or too time-consuming. Others stated that they were for the USPS being able to raise rates without PRC approval only if it was privatized and part of the free market, where market conditions would help keep prices competitive.



Yes, it will help; any increase will No, it’s not enough to make a dent

And speaking of rates: Will the rate increases set to take effect in January of 2013 help the Postal Service’s bottom line?

The Pre-Funding Question Over three-fourths (76%) of our respondents said that the USPS was justified in defaulting on its federally mandated $5+ billion dollar payments (one in August, one in September) that are required to pre-fund retiree health benefits. When we asked people to describe why they voted the way they did, the majority provided a reason along the lines of, “No one else has to do it, why is the USPS being subjected to this unrealistic requirement?” Very good question, indeed. If the USPS wasn’t required to pre-fund retiree health benefits, it would not be in anywhere near as bad a position as it is now. Yes, declining mail volumes are worrisome, but that’s just a drop in the bucket. Removing the requirement for the USPS to pre-fund this account is the single most important thing that could be done to get the Postal Service back on a financially viable track. a november - december 2012


If You Were in Charge....

Top Three Challenges in Running Your Mail Facility

What would you argue that the USPS could be doing better in order to improve its financial viability?

28% Compliance with postal regulations

“Get rid of some top management and listen to the folks who work in the industry. Stop competing in already established markets and find ways to work with industry. Just deliver the mail and do that well!”

08% Understanding by upper management

“Lower personnel, and expect more from current employees. Times are tough and the current personnel are well compensated to perform their jobs and more. There are plenty of people out there who would love the opportunity to work for an organization such as the USPS.” “Let it operate as a business. Higher prices for higher cost services.”

21% Budget/Financial issues

Did you take part in the 2012 Mobile Commerce and Personalization Promotion, which ran from July 1 until August 31?

“The culture of the Post Office needs a complete change.” “Reduce delivery schedules [eliminate Saturday delivery.]” “Leverage their advantage in going to every door with partnerships. Close down inefficient facilities, including local post offices while maintaining a base level of service for individual mail recipients. Rein in labor costs.” “Reduce the upper & middle management a bit more and take the unions down a peg.” “Offer email addresses and internet services. Get sponsors for stamps. Change the rules to put companies on stamps like Coke/Pepsi, or any other company that wanted to sponsor the USPS.” “USPS has been a positive force for mailing in the past; why can’t it get its act together for the future?” “Either run [the USPS] as a for profit organization or turn it totally government and fund what it takes to keep it doing its job. Downsizing is a must with all the new equipment but not to the point where it slows down the service.” “With all of [the USPS’s] problems, they are still highly regarded for their trust and security in getting the mail delivered.” “Like most of the private sector in the past decade, the USPS needs a haircut. Lay off the dead weight “lifers,” cut benefits, eliminate pensions, work longer hours for less, and live every day in fear of layoffs and job security as the rest of us.” “Without having the freedom to operate as a business, the USPS will continue to face hardships. No private sector business would be keeping offices open that are not profitable.” “I am one of the biggest advocates of the USPS; its network has allowed US commerce to flourish unbeknownst to many individuals and companies. The resource to deliver to every household (read: Address), every day (except Sunday) is priceless, and the country (people, companies, organizations) mostly are oblivious to the benefit of that resource.” 16

november - december 2012 a

YES: 09%

NO: 91%

Look at those numbers! If our survey sample is any indication, this was not a popular promotion among mailers. For those who did participate, most said they didn’t realize any benefit (other than the two percent discount on postage), although one respondent noted that this promotion means that the importance of linking mail with multi-channel communication is understood. For those who did not participate, a staggering number said it was because they didn’t know about it. Is that a sign that the USPS needs to be better about communicating these promotions if it hopes to attract mailers?

Holiday Mobile Shopping Promotion From November 7 through the 21, the USPS ran a holiday promotion designed to spur mobile purchasing by putting mobileoptimized promotional offers, coupons and catalogs into their customers’ hands in time for Black Friday-Cyber Monday shopping sprees.

Planned to participate


Did not plan to participate 86%

Running YouR Mail FacilitY Are these promotions a good value for mailers?

A Look at the Respondents

What is your average monthly outgoing volume?





14% 07%


Less than 50,000



No Sometimes




500,000-999,999 1 million or more

The Environment How important is it to you that your company undertake environmentally friendly initiatives?

What is your average monthly incoming mail volume? 16% 39%

20,000 - 49,999 45


Not important

Declining Mail Volumes: Your Thoughts


I’m not worried at all; mail will always be around.


I’m kind of worried; I think mail will always be around in some format, but we’re going to have to make changes.


I’m very worried; I could see mail almost completely disappearing in the foreseeable future—and our jobs along with it.

Have you personally noticed a decline in outgoing mail within your own organization?


Yes; our mail volumes are drastically down


Yes; but it’s not as bad as the media makes it out to be.


No; mail volumes are pretty steady and we haven’t noticed much of a change.

50,000 - 74,999

03% 11%

5,000 - 19,999

Very important Somewhat important


< 5,000




How many employees are in your company? Fewer than 10 10-99 100-500



31% 19%


Want to read more

survey results? Scan the Qr code or go to our content library on to get the full article. a november - december 2012


Rethinking Your First-Class Mail Strategy

Standard Class mail still offers many benefits to mailers, but there are many times when First-Class makes more sense. By Stephanie Miracle




onventional wisdom would lead mailers to believe that if a mailpiece could go out as Standard Class mail (and enjoy those favorable rates), it should. While Standard Class mail offers many benefits to mailers, the U.S. Postal Service’s new pricing structure for commercial First-Class letters just might encourage mailers to take a second look at First-Class.

The new postal rates structure allows mailers to send two ounce mailpieces at the same rate as a one ounce piece via First-Class. That means you could gain the many benefits of First-Class mail service, including the highest open rates and more timely delivery compared to Standard mail, without any incremental costs. On average, 97% of consumers open their bill or statement and spend at least two to three minutes reviewing the content — so you have their attention. And the USPS delivers First-Class mail in a matter of days (97% on time for presorted First-Class mail). For years, mailers have drained as much detail from their statements as possible so that they fit nicely within the one ounce price. Often, statements are just a single page, with some inserts thrown into the package. But now, mailers can add promotional, informational, or regulatory materials to their regular statements — while reducing 19.9 cents or more from postage. And, by combining mailings, you can skip one outer envelope, which helps support your sustainability initiatives. This second ounce favorable pricing also frees up space in the mail package to include inserts or other marketing materials which might have otherwise been excluded from your larger or more complex customers. Often, it’s impossible to trim these statements to just a single page — and yet these are the ones most likely to take advantage of additional opportunities with your company. The second ounce enables these customers to receive special offers, newsletters, and other valuable information that was denied to them before due to the one ounce constraint. Let me share a few real-world examples showing how mailers are leveraging the new pricing structure to their benefit.

 In the Financial Services sector, 401(k) providers are now required to disclose fees for services. By combining this information with the quarterly statements, they are able to share important information at a relevant time and without incurring additional postage expense for this mandated communication.

 Insurance providers are including newsletters with targeted content reflecting the customer’s broker/agent and also sharing information about other services and solutions the provider offers.

 Healthcare insurance companies are including HIPAA notices along with coverage details and educational materials to help consumers take a proactive approach to their health.

 One large entertainment and communications company incorporated a portion of their promotional offers in with their regular statements, saving more than $10 million dollars in incremental postage. Rather than looking to consolidate everything into First-Class transactional letter-shaped mail, think in terms of what makes sense to integrate based on capability, timing, and overall savings. Before consolidating your mailings, there are a few critical factors to consider. The first is mechanical: can your inserters or your print service provider “fill to the second ounce?” This will enable you to avoid jumping to a third ounce weight (which is a hefty 25 cents additional cost). So, if your mailing will cause the mailpiece to jump to three ounces, it may not be worth switching — depending on your volumes and qualifications. If, however, only a small percentage of pieces would bump to the third ounce, it may still be worthwhile to send it all with your First-Class mailing. The next factor is software: can your software or mail service provider identify those accounts which received the newsletter/promotion/notice/etc. Many customers prefer to receive their statements online, but mailers may want specific communications to be mailed to the customer because of policy, greater likelihood of being read, or other reasons. Understanding who did or did not receive the message is important and enables these customers to receive the message via Standard Class mail. You may be able to achieve this using a Customer Communications Management software solution. Keep in mind, not all communications are targeted for existing customers who receive a statement in the mail from you. You need to look at your mailing mix to determine the best strategy for efficient and cost effective delivery. Another consideration is timing. Sometimes the regular FirstClass statement or bill just isn’t the right time to share the offer, newsletter, etc. Transactional mail is often based on when a customer subscribed to your service and as a result, mail flows throughout the month to your customers. However, for certain offers where timing is critical, it may not be practical to space the delivery across 30 days. Finally, it’s important to test and monitor results. While many studies indicate that offers included with transactional documents have higher read rates — and most importantly response rates — this may not be true for all offers. In light of recent and future service changes at the U.S. Postal Service, it is essential that mailers continually review and evolve their mailing strategies to ensure their communications are reaching their intended audiences as efficiently and effectively as possible. Stephanie Miracle is Enterprise Postal Consultant, Pitney Bowes Management Services. a NOVEMBER - DECEMBER 2012





Rethink Your Ink! Thinking about ways to cut operating costs? Well... it’s time to rethink your ink! Mail Green remanufactured ink cartridges for Pitney Bowes, Hasler and Neopost postage meters deliver quality, reliability and performance comparable to the OEM at a fraction of the cost. When it’s time to rethink... Mail Green 866.760.6027


Producer 30 Inserting System The Producer 30 inserter offers an array of productivity enhancements designed to reduce operating costs, optimize every machine cycle and automate paper handling processes. This inserter processes a variety of application types at speeds up to 30,000 envelopes per hour and is perfectly matched to your business and production needs. Bell and Howell 800.220.3030 Inserting_ProducerSeries.aspx

Increase Profits by Stamping Inline while Inserting! Postmatic provides inline stamp affixing solutions that minimize handling and maximize profits. Affixing stamps off-line can be an expensive, labor intensive second operation that cuts into your bottom line. Postmatic has several different models that offer inline stamp affixing, stamp affixing & ink-jetting or permit printing that run inline eliminating second operations. A complete line Inline Vacuum Bases perfect for read & print or camera verification applications are also available. Postmatic, Inc. 888.784.6046


MAILERS+4 Mailing Software

Mailstream converts press sheets to finished mail products in ZIP Code order. Applies numerous processes in one operation including; hot, cold and fugitive glue, tear-off coupons, tip-on cards, trimming, slitting scoring and strike-perforation. Mail integrity is maintained creating folded, glued products ready for delivery to mail bins. In-line or Near-Line configurations.

MAILERS+4 is the CASS- and PAVE Gold-certified solution used by thousands of mailers to streamline mail operations and maximize postal discounts. MAILERS+4 verifies addresses and presorts mailings for savings of up to 65% in postage and printing. Integrated NCOALink processing helps eliminate undeliverable-asaddressed mail. Request a free 14-day trial at www.melissadata. com/mp4.

Rollem International 800.272.4381

Melissa Data 1.800.MELISSA

Contact Zone

eMessaging IQ

Data quality for everyone! Use this free tool for basic address, name, phone and email validation on 5K records annually. Other available components include SmartMover Move Update, Geocoding, MatchUp, Presorting, and Global Verify. Contact Zone connects to any database so you can cleanse all your data from a central console. Get it now at

Our eMessaging services enable you to create a true multichannel messaging solution that incorporates the best that print, web and mobile technologies offer. Deliver highimpact, personalized communications quickly without large investments and months of programming. We also store your business-critical data in a state-of-the-art facility, keeping it running securely 24/7.

Melissa Data 1.800.MELISSA

Bell and Howell 800.220.3030 Products/IQSoftware_ Multi-ChannelMessaging.aspx

Picture Perfect

Addressing the “Glossy Problem”

The Picture Perfect Match System is a low cost solution for producing your match mailings. This system uses cameras magnetically mounted on any swing arm inserter to display the match components on a monitor and can be upgraded to do automated OCR and Barcode recognition with end of job verification.

We understand the challenge of printing on coated stock. Either dry time, density or sharpness seem to comes up short.

Clear Image Technologies 314.853.5867

We’re Production Ready, Cost-Effective and Eco-Friendly.

BCC Mail Manager Full Service

Baum CF20 Folder

For high-volume operations requiring the widest array of mailing capabilities, BCC Mail Manager Full Service delivers an exclusive suite of comprehensive mail-preparation functionality, powered by a proprietary encoding engine that can turbo-charge your mailing workflow. This truly Full Service product is the optimal choice for toptier mailers seeking a high-performance solution.

The Baum CF20 Folder can fold heavy weight stocks into multiple impositions inline with creasers and scorers, with exclusive Baum heavy-duty gear and coupling plate drive system, non-marking flip deflectors, and extra large folding rollers for heavier stock folding without curl. The CF20 can also fold stitched booklets or stapled sets.

Bell and Howell 800.220.3030 IQSoftware_BCCMailManager FullService.aspx

Mail Green’s highly versatile HP ink formulas deliver darker blacks, sharper addresses and scannable barcodes, all with faster dry times.

Problem Solved! Mail Green 866.760.6027

Baum 800.543.6107


Criterion Elevate

Connect with Savings

The Criterion Elevate sorter handles postcards to flats and a variety of processes at high speeds, from simple barcode sorting to complex database lookups and image processing. Featuring one of the smallest footprints available, Elevate is portable for easy relocation and ideal for seasonal or lower volume jobs.

Upgrading to the latest equipment shouldn’t mean higher production costs.

Bell and Howell 800.220.3030 Sorting_CriterionElevate.aspx

Our remanufactured Pitney Bowes Connect+ series ink cartridges deliver the quality and reliability you’ve come to expect from Mail Green, at a price that’s easy on the budget. Connect with Savings. Connect with Reliability. Connect with Mail Green Mail Green 866.760.6027


SOFTWARE SOLUTIONS for every part of your mailing operation 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 24, 2012 4. Issue Frequency .................................................................Jan-Feb, March 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 Spahr, (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) .............Marll Thiede, 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 Ronald Brent .......................................................... RB Publishing Inc., 2901 International Lane, Ste. 100, Madison WI 53704-3128 Marll Thiede ........................................................... 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 ............................................ September-October 2012 15. Extent and Nature of Circulation ......................................... Controlled


Average No. Copies Each Issue During

No. Copies of Single Issue Published

Preceding 12 Months to Filing Date a. Total No. Copies (Net Press Run).........................35,395 .......................... 33,700 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) .....33,060 ........................... 32,525 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 ............ 13 ...................................15 c. Total Paid and/or Requested Circulation [Sum of 15b (1,2,3 and 4)] ..................................33,073 ........................... 32,540 d. Nonrequested Distribution (By Mail and Outside the Mail) 1. Outside-County as Stated on Form 3541 ..........1,649 ...............................439 2. In-County as Stated on Form 3541 ...................... 0 .....................................0 3. Other Classes Mailed Through the USPS ............ 18 ...................................21 4. Nonrequested Copies Distributed Outside the Mail ............................. 600 .................................650 e. Total Nonrequested Distribution ..........................2,267 ............................. 1,110 f. Total Distribution (Sum of 15c and 15e) .............35,340 ........................... 33,650 g. Copies not Distributed (See instructions to Publishers #4 (page #3) ............................................................................ 55 ...................................50 h. Total (Sum of 15f and g) ......................................35,395 ........................... 33,700 i. Percent Paid and/or Requested Circulation (15c/fx100) .......................................................... 93.6%............................ 96.7% 16. Publication of Statement of Ownership for a Requester Publication is required and will be printed in the November-December 2012 issue of this publication. Rachel Spahr, Circulation Manager/September 24, 2012. 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, September 2007

Reality Check

With Wanda Senne

Look Before You Leap


ou’ve most likely come across these sayings: “Look before You Leap” and “Going off Halfcocked” and realize that they caution to gather information or prepare before you make a decision. As I was considering this column, I wondered about the origins of those phrases. The look/leap phrase means before you do something (leap) weigh consequences (the look) of your actions. Half-cocked goes back to the hammer of 17th century ornate flintlock muskets that resembled a rooster or cock. When a gun was fully cocked, it was ready to be fired; the half-cocked position was merely a safe position used when walking between battles. Taking the time to fully cock the gun was often not remembered in the stress of the battle – with embarrassing and dangerous results.

can you tell if your opinion is based on facts, on emotions, or on personal experience? Is it an informed opinion? The “oracle of omaha,” Warren buffet, once said: “A public opinion poll is no substitute for thought.”

How often do you follow that advice? With the pressure of deadlines and swift competition in our industry, many times the reality is that you use your gut instinct and make the best decision you can with the information you have at the moment.

} Ask good questions. } Is the information you gather supported by examples and facts? } Think about the differing points of view } remember, there are always two (or more) sides to any story — listen to all sides with an open mind and try to understand the various perspectives. Put your bias on hold!

Is that the best solution? Will you have to make regretful adjustments later (personal and financial)? John F. Kennedy said it well: “Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.” It takes more time to listen to all sides of an issue, get the facts, and weigh the possible outcomes than it does to leap ahead. As with the “cock” on a gun, contributions to projects have been related to a chicken and pig. Have you ever heard the story of the chicken and a pig’s breakfast plan for the farmer? A chicken’s idea for her breakfast contribution is called involvement; the pig’s is total commitment! If you’ve ever made decisions related to agile project management (determining requirements for highly flexible and interactive engineering or information technology development projects) the term Pig describes the designers, developers, and people who test the projects — those who commit to the work. The term chicken applies to everyone else who share their thoughts, but do noT commit to any work. We’ve all experienced people who will share their wisdom, but when it comes to actually working on the project… do you hear the sound of crickets? However, if all you can contribute is just your opinion, be sure you’ve gathered the right information — you look before you leap.

Here are a few recommendations to make sure you have a thoughtful, informed opinion: } Learn as much as you can related to the topic at hand through appropriate research. } Is the source of your information credible? } } } }

Authority of the information Web sites ending in: .edu, .gov, .org objectivity (purpose of the information) Timeliness

I’ll leave you with a few more recommendations to consider related to decision making:

“If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame.” Proverbs 18:13 “A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.” Proverbs 18:2

“…Slow to speak and quick to hear...” James 1:19 a Wanda Senne is the national director of Postal development for World marketing. contact her at or 770.431.2591. a november - december 2012



IMb, Embracing Technology, and Cutting Costs — Together, We Can Save the Value of Mail By Adam Lewenberg Editor’s Note: The deadline to implement IMb is coming up soon--January 2013 will be here before you know it! So Mailing Systems Technology has compiled this guide to the ins and outs of IMb and how it can save you money. And we also have one of our experts, Mike Porter, giving an opposing viewpoint of IMb, and how he feels that it shouldn’t be required for small to mid-sized mailers. Do you agree or disagree with his stance? Scan the QR code at the end of his article and leave your comment! 24


was asked by the USPS to do a presentation at national Pcc day in october on how to increase the value of mail. my first thought was that I would just talk about all of the main mail initiatives, but that did not seem to be getting to the root of the problem. The mail industry has been beaten down in the past few years and the last thing anyone needed to listen to was me being a cheerleader. one of the main problems is that there is a disconnect between the people in the mail industry and those making the biggest decisions around mail. do our marketing departments know all of the newest mail trends for getting higher response rates, or are they only hearing about email marketing and social media? Are people in finance informed about how mail can be tracked with Intelligent mail barcodes to know when their invoices are delivered and when payments are being returned, or is all they are thinking about is converting to electronic statements? If we want to keep mail alive, it is our job to educate our organizations on what is available and integrate mail into a broader strategy that aligns with our organization’s goals. If we want to save the value of mail, we need to provide more benefits and do so at a reduced cost. Here is how we can accomplish this: 1. Find cost Savings and efficiencies 2. embrace Technology and change 3. educate and Advocate

Find Cost Savings and Efficiencies With new USPS technology changes, we can all mail smarter while maximizing discounts. Here are some of the best ways available today.

Intelligent Mail Barcode (IMb) — Starting in January of 2013, all companies submitting mailings for discounts will need to convert to the Intelligent mail barcode (basic) and in 2014 to Full Service. When you look at the benefits of moving to Full Service, it makes sense to do it right away if possible. no one likes change, but there are many benefits of Imb that can make it a win for most companies. Here are some of the Full Service Imb benefits: • Postal savings of $.001-.003 per piece. • Free Address correction Service, typically $.03-.50 each. • Individual identifier on every piece of mail, which gives us the ability to track mail! Here are some applications where this could be a win for your organization:

• Reasons to Track Outgoing Mail Delivery: • Staffing/preparing call centers based on when mailings are delivered. • receivables/collections to validate invoices/notes were delivered. • renewal/cancellation notices got delivered.

• Reasons to Track Incoming Mail Delivery (Imb being on your reply envelope): • monitor response rates to special offers. • Know when to issue collection and dunning efforts. • Project cash flow and identify revenue that may be at risk. converting from PoSTneT barcodes to Imb is not necessarily easy and hopefully you are well on your way of meeting the looming January 2013 deadline. In a nutshell, you need to apply with the USPS for a customer registration Id (crId) and mailer Id (mId), as well as a Postalone! account (for electronic documentation submission). At the same time you need to work with your mail automation hardware and software providers about getting the physical barcode changed, tested, and validated by the USPS. I have a sense that many mailers may have waited to the last minute on making this change, thinking the USPS would push out this deadline. If you are feeling behind on these requirements, there are plenty of places to go for help. I strongly recommend https://ribbs. and click on the different resources under the “Intelligent mail Service” tab. As you will find, the USPS is offering free webinars on what you need to do to implement the changes and the content from these sessions is stored on the site. Also, many of the mail automation vendors are offering webinars and support to help with the change. The key piece is to get it done and to make sure you are getting the best value out of the data this new barcode can provide.

Additional Ways to Reduce Mailing Costs: 1. Look at how you are sending your letters and flats today to see if you can move them to a lower price category (See chart below): a. Presort Services — If you are sending out over 400 daily pieces or 800 at one time, there may be presort service providers that can pick up your mail and allow you to get discounts. Typically the USPS pays them the difference of the reduced rate you meter at, and what they can submit it down to by comingling with other mailers. b. Barcode In-House — If you are doing huge volumes through a presort provider, can you barcode the mail upfront to get the full automation discounts yourself?

Single Piece Rates

Automation Mail with Barcodes

Mail Piece Examples

First-Class Mail Retail Single Piece

Typical Presort Service - First Class Mail

First-Class Mail— Automation

Standard Mail— Automation

Standard Mail Non-profit— Automation

1 ounce #10 envelope



$.35 - .404

$.24 - .28

$.13 - .17

2 ounce newsletter (6x9)



$.35 - .404

$.24 - .28

$.13 - .17

8 ounce Flat (9x12)



$1.59 - $1.92

$.45 - .68

$.25 - .47

Post card



$.229 - .255


n/a a november - december 2012


Special iMb Guide

The USPS Could Credit You $5,000! If you do choose to switch to full-service now, you may be eligible for up to $5,000 from the USPS! In the 10/17/2012 Federal Register Notice, the USPS proposed giving mailers back up to $5000 under a new incentive called the Full-Service Technology Credit in the hopes of encouraging mailers to convert to Intelligent Mail Full-Service by helping to offset investments made to implement hardware/software changes to support Full-Service mailings.

Some key points: • The credit is available for all permit holders and mailing service providers. • You must mail at least 125,000 eligible pieces (First Class, Standard and Periodicals automation letters, cards and flats (does not include saturation flats)) a year to receive the credit. • The mail volume for a one year period prior to the promotion will be used in the evaluation. • The tiers for the postage credit are as follows: 125,001 – 500,000 eligible pieces = $2000 postage credit 500,001 – 2,000,000 eligible pieces = $3000 postage credit 2,000,000+ eligible pieces = $5000 postage credit

higher visibility, and lower costs. The key to this strategy is to keep visibility on the positive aspects of what mail can bring vs. all of the negative media attention that drives focus away. 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, recover lost postage funds, and make their spends easy to manage. He can be reached at 617.372.8653 or

Resources: check out mailing Systems Technology’s archived webinar on Imb implementation by going to and clicking on the webinar link at the top of the page. Additionally, you can contact the following resources for help: • PostalOne! Help Desk (800.522.9085 or • Postal Service Mailpiece Design Analyst (855.593.6093 or • RIBBS Website at: • DMM Advisory: To subscribe to the DMM Advisory or to send comments and suggestions, email • Domestic Mail Manual (DMM) at:

• The credit can be redeemed anytime between June 2013 and June 2014 on mailings that have over 90% Full-Service pieces. • You must use Mail.dat or Mail.xml to qualify (Postal Wizard submissions will not be eligible)

Want to learn more

about saving the value of mail—specifically embracing technology and change, and education and advocacy? read Adam’s full article on our site by scanning the QR code to the left!

For more information and the full details, go to:

Key Points Regarding IMb

2. 3.



c. Convert to Standard — can some of your First-class mailings be converted to Standard mail? The USPS has provided an excellent tool to see if your mail can qualify. Convert light weight flats to letters. This can reduce costs by over 50% and the envelopes are much less expensive. Switch to Electric Mail Tracking over the Retail services — You will get free Delivery Confirmation (vs. $.75-85) and save $1.20 on your Certified Mail Return Receipts. Make Sure You Are Getting Commercial Base Rates (2-14% savings) instead of Retail for Priority and Express Mail. Also, if you do over 75,000 Priority mail items or 7,000 express mail per year, you may be able to qualify for Plus rates that add additional discounts. Compare USPS to UPS and FedEx on a package by package basis — regardless of your private carrier discounts, there are times where USPS will be much less expensive. This will typically be for items less than five pounds and going to residents or rural destinations. Also, many items being sent today through the USPS may be less expensive and have faster delivery through the other carriers. It is important to have rate shopping tools that make this easy.

Conclusion mail can be saved if we take advantage of change instead of fighting it. by mailing smarter, we can have better response rates, 26

november - december 2012 a

As of January 2013, eligibility for automation prices is limited to the use of mailpieces (letters, flats, postcards, QBRM (Business Reply Mail) and Permit Reply Mail) with the Intelligent Mail barcode. Mailers will no longer be able to use the POSTNET barcode to claim automation discounts.

According to the RIBBS site, there are two options for Intelligent Mail in 2013. È Mail/Mail Containers




IMb is required

Unique IMb is required


IM tray barcode on labels is optional

Unique IM tray barcode on labels is required


IM container barcode on placards is optional

Unique IM container barcode on placards is required

Full-service IMb will not be required until 2014, although you can switch to it now. If you elect to just do Basic IMb in 2013, here are some services available: • • • • • •

Manual address correction Traditional ACS OneCode ACS (automated address correction information) IMb Tracing (for mail tracking) Manual address correction with IMb Tracing OneCode ACS with IMb Tracing


In January 2014, mailers of letters and flats must meet Intelligent Mail Full Service requirements in order to retain their automation discounts. Many mailers think they know what that entails: upgrading their presort software to generate Mail.dat files, assigning unique barcode numbers, and possibly using a post-presort software program to help make sure their PostalOne! submissions reflect what they are actually mailing. What many mailers and mail service providers are not considering is that moving to Full Service may involve other changes both in the way mail is actually produced and even how mailers interact with others in the mailing supply chain. With Full Service Intelligent Mail, sometimes the most simple challenges are no longer so simple. For example, how would you replace a lost or damaged tray or sack tag? You cannot just randomly pick reprint one, even if it has the correct ZIP Code and content identifier. Some mailers will be forced to build pallets based on a presort plan instead of just throwing trays onto a pallet based on its entry point. Others will be dealing with PostalOne! eDocs for the first time.

Mailers of letters and flats must soon meet Intelligent Mail Full Service requirements in order to retain their automation discounts. You can get a freecomprehensive analysis of what your company needs to do to be IMb Full Serviceready. Learn how to overcome the challenges Full Service Intelligent Mail can bring.

The good news is that Full Service Intelligent Mail is not just something the Postal Service can benefit from. When properly leveraged during mail production, Full Service Intelligent Mail can also help improve a mailer’s internal production processes. Rather than being a big expense without a return on investment, it can be the best thing that ever happens to some mailers. Mail Service Providers that have been providing copies of postage statements to clients as “proof of mailing” may find that their clients don’t want to access these from PostalOne!’s website or don’t like PostalOne!’s statement format, which is much different from the statements they are used to getting. There are some interesting ways of dealing with this issue that many mailers are not aware of. Some challenges of implementing Full Service are common to all mailers, but others are very specific to high volume or low volume mailers. There are no “one size fits all” solutions to these either. To help mailers understand what they will have to do to implement Full Service and how that can be a benefit, the Postal Experts at Window Book are offering a complimentary Diagnostic Analysis. In this review and analysis, Window Book Postal Experts will examine mail production practices and provide recommendations on what may be needed to get ready for Full Service Intelligent Mail. It will also show how these steps may benefit the mailer. To take advantage of this offer click on www.windowbook. com/4you. This offer expires 1/31/13. Jeff Peoples, Lloyd Moss and the Window Book team are here to serve you with Intelligent Mail as they have already helped hundreds of mailers get into Intelligent Mail Full service and be more profitable by mailing more intelligently. Email postalspecialist@ to set up your free comprehensive Intelligent Mail Diagnostic Analysis now!

Electronic documentation (eDocs) involves submitting your data electronically to the USPS and will be required for all mailings over 10,000 pieces. This electronic documentation provides the USPS with far more visibility into the makeup of a mailing than paper documentation ever did. If a mailer is not producing their mail so it matches this documentation or is not able to alter this documentation to accurately reflect what is being mailed, mailers can expect to see problems with their mail verification process. This may require them to revisit their production practices to improve their accuracy. Timing of various processes is also very important. If you are deducting spoilage from a mailing, you must do so before you pay postage with your eDocs. If your current spoilage reporting process does not provide this information quickly enough, you will not be able to make postage adjustments to your mailings.

Window Book, Inc. 800.524.0380


Are You Ready for Intelligent Mail Full Service?


Full Service Looking for the Benefits Opinion by Mike Porter hen it comes to adopting the intelligent mail barcode it seems that mailers don’t have much of a choice. With the USPS insisting on the Full Service variety of the IMb in order to qualify for postage discounts starting in 2014, there now exists a single path to compliance. This Postal Service strategy will have distinctly different effects upon large volume and small volume mailers.

Large Mailers — OK For the larger mailers, the Full Service requirement isn’t a big deal. Most of them are using Full Service already. They’ve had adequate time, resources, and budget dollars to do the conversion. And the possible loss of postage discounts was an incentive to have their IMb solutions in place in plenty of time. Because of their high volume of mail, the investments large mailers had to make to convert to Full Service IMb did not have a great effect upon their production cost per mailpiece. These organizations are also more likely to take advantage of some of the features that are available through the Full Service program, such as free Address Correction Service, IMb Trace, and start-the-clock notification. Though the additional postage discounts for using Full Service are relatively small, the savings realized on every million mailpieces generate a few thousand dollars that help offset the IMb conversion investment.

Small Mailers — Not So Much But what about the smaller mailers? We’re talking about small businesses or organizations that print and mail their own bills, direct mail, and statements. Or community newspapers, family-owned commercial printers, or small lettershops and service bureaus. What benefits do organizations such as these enjoy by migrating to Full Service IMb? Not many, in the opinion of this writer. These smaller mailers may have been planning on implementing Basic IMb — a version that provides functionality similar to the POSTNET technology that has been in place for decades. The objectives of mailers electing to use Basic IMb were confined to coding the mail for automated sorting and routing within the postal system, and maintaining the associated workshare postage discounts. Mailers could convert to Basic IMb without major disruptions to their familiar workflows or worry about unique mailpiece identifying numbers and tray tags. With Basic IMb, mailers could continue to 28


present mail along with familiar paper mailing statements or use the Postal Wizard online to submit their mail. If the features that were included for free in Full Service IMb were occasionally required on certain mailings, small mailers on Basic Service could pay for those services as they used them — a simple approach that required no enterprise-wide procedure changes. But Basic IMb won’t be eligible for discounts after January, 2014. At that point, the only way to qualify for automation mail postage discounts will be through the more complex, geekier, Full Service IMb.

IMb Trace Not a Factor for Many The USPS sweetened the pot for Full Service mailers by including IMb Trace at no cost. This mailpiece tracking method formerly required a separate investment in a CONFIRM subscription, and extra expense. For large mailers who have established a value of being able to track individual mailpieces as they progress through the delivery network, free IMb Trace is a bonus. The functionality frequently touted as a benefit of IMb Trace, however, is virtually non-existent for small businesses. Very few of these companies track or measure their mail at all. They don’t run complex multi-channel marketing campaigns that require precise timing based on delivery dates. They need only an approximate in-home date to plan for inventory or inbound order processing. And small businesses don’t make short-notice staffing or investment decisions based on customer payments that are in the mail stream. Experience has taught these companies when the bulk of their payments will arrive, based on the mailing date of the invoices. That prediction is good enough for them.

Small Business Response to Full Service IMb As we see it, small mailers have five choices: 1. Make the investments to convert to Full Service IMB (mail service providers may have to do this or risk losing business to competitors) 2. Print their mailpieces without barcodes and send them to a presort bureau for mailing 3. Outsource their entire mailing and printing operation to print/ mail service providers 4. Forego automation discounts altogether and pay more for postage 5. Aggressively migrate from postal mail to alternative delivery channels

IMb â&#x20AC;&#x201D; a november - december 2012


After Full Service IMb becomes mandatory to maintain postage discounts we may see more organizations try passing their increased mailing costs along to their customers. This strategy will likely hasten a customer-initiated migration to digital delivery channels. USA companies that have attempted to charge for mail in the past have faced resistance from customers who object to paying extra for a paper bill or statement.

DO YOU AGREE OR DISAGREE with Mike’s assessment? Scan the QR code to leave a comment!

Technology Is Necessary, But ROI for Some Mailers Hard to Find The ability to locate, track, and account for every container and mailpiece in the delivery network is a worthy goal. We are used to this type of functionality as provided by other delivery channels. If the USPS is going to continue as a relevant choice among business mailers, it needs to keep up with the competition. Furthermore, uniquely identified mailpieces present an opportunity for new types of functionality and services that could be offered by the USPS or its partners. And there are certainly some postal customers who have a business use for the Full Service features of today. But for many small mailers the existing benefits of Full Service IMb don’t balance the cost and complexity of converting to the program. The effect of this mandate could have an overall negative effect on the industry that supports the mailers with hardware, software, materials, and services. In the small business world, Full Service IMb could actually exacerbate the downward trend in mail volumes — the effect of which could be felt throughout the entire document industry. Mike Porter is President of Print/Mail Consultants, an independent consulting firm that helps companies nationwide be more productive, adapt to changing requirements, and lower costs in their document operations. For more ideas about using the mail strategically, connect with Mike directly at Or visit www.printmailconsultants. com and sign up for Practical Stuff — the free newsletter dedicated to document operations professionals.




In each of these cases other than the last, mailing costs will rise for the small mailers. Some organizations, where mail may be prepared by volunteers today, will realize a new out-of-pocket expense as they outsource all or part of their customer communications work. Or they may upgrade their postal software, procedures, and training and do the work themselves, diverting funds from other projects into mail preparation. A few, I suspect, will decide it’s too much of a drain on their resources and severely cut the volume of mail they produce. They will eliminate expenses on items such as postage meters and software maintenance, and outsource or pay higher postage rates on whatever mail remains.

Mailing Systems Technology November December 2012  

Mailing Systems Technology November December 2012

Mailing Systems Technology November December 2012  

Mailing Systems Technology November December 2012