One on One with Ken Garner, CEO and President of MFSA

To me, the longer term implications of these trends is that, in an effort to escape from the trap of commoditization, a shorter list of suppliers may find themselves crowding a redefined market space. However, regardless of economic trends, some business management realities never change. Long-term business success depends on creating a sustainable competitive advantage by developing an intimate understanding of your customers’ wants, needs and expectations and satisfying those needs in a way that positively differentiates you from your competition. While many of MFSA’s members who specialize in fulfillment enjoyed success during the recent recession, they are not immune from this business reality.

Responding to the increased interest in sustainability, does a uniform method exist for evaluating mailing and fulfillment services companies that claim an environmental commitment?

Businesses have finally recognized that a commitment to environmental sustainability must be an integral part of their operations and strategy, and MFSA members are no exceptions. As a result, members recently led the development of MFSA’s first Sustainability Accreditation program that audits and verifies compliance with accepted sustainability practices. In addition, articles dealing with “green issues” frequently populate the content of our member publications. Our conference programs often include presentations on sustainability by industry experts. And, we have established an affinity partnership with a consultant that specializes in environmental consulting.

As mailing and fulfillment pros continue to move through the economic recovery, how are their business models for success changing?

Again, many mail service providers are still trying to escape the trap of commoditization by reexamining the relevance of their value propositions and are considering multiple options to expand their menu of product and service offerings. Most of our fulfillment-focused members are in a better competitive position to consider only incremental changes and improvements to their value propositions.

We constantly emphasize the need for all members to continuously monitor customer satisfaction and investigate how their customers’ needs and expectations are changing. Any potential changes to a company’s competitive position must be carefully considered, based on solid market research and hard data. Change simply for the sake of change is a recipe for failure.

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