Toshiba, USPS Woes a Call to Arms…So Answer

This past June, Michael Makin—Printing Industries of America’s grand poobah—had a heart-to-heart chat with Bill Melo, the marketing head at Toshiba America Business Solutions (TABS). The National No-Print Day, a campaign authored by TABS, was the topic of conversation.

Melo was, undoubtedly, taken aback by the sheer decibels ringing through his ears, courtesy of the printing industry. His intention, and the purpose of the National No-Print Day campaign, was to focus on how the office marketplace could cut down on needless paper waste. The video created for it was cute, seemingly innocuous and wholly unoffensive. It was soon taken down and the campaign scrapped. TABS may revisit the topic down the road, but I doubt it will want to re-open that old wound.

As a custodian for the industry, Makin did an awesome job. But, as is the case with many challenges facing our industry, the guns are always pointed in the wrong direction (oftentimes, at one another). We seem to have the reactive posture down cold, but it’s the proactive (gee, how I hate that word) stance that needs a major overhaul.

The problem isn’t with this Bill Melo. The real issue is the hundreds and thousands of Bill Melos around the country. It’s the mounds of misinformation pulsating through the veins of people with good intentions, but simply terrible solutions, to rectify what is viewed as a problem—in this instance, paper waste.

It’s been two months since TABS slunked away with tail between its legs, taking a teaching opportunity with it. And yet, we’ve learned nothing. At the height of this controversy, many noted printing and paper experts were spewing reasons why this insipid, goofball campaign made absolute zero sense. But who were we telling? Each other, for crying out loud.

Can I get an amen from the choir? Of course you can. Now start preaching to those who need our salvation. Or vice versa.

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  • mbsmithTX

    Erik, as one of the choir members, I couldn’t agree with you more. It’s way past time to stop preaching to each other and take our message to the masses: Print and paper not only matter, they are a vital, environmentally sound part of everyday life.

    Mary Beth Smith
    Girls Who Print

  • Jim Albany

    Erik great commentary. It is time that the various industry groups stir up their members once more to support postal reform. I hate to think what the alternative would look like. Let’s get beyond the political & union posturing and get this under control. It is time we took control!

  • Jim Pattison

    And yet you use the Internet to get the message out, not the Designer’s, Printer’s, Mailer’s and Postal Service to dispense your opinion. The Solution is simple, more Printed Direct Mail, means more items going through the Post Office, which of course means more revenue. Less is never more.

  • Ben COoper

    Erik, I really appreciate your thoughts here and they are certainly needed for the industry as a whole but frankly the industry is speaking forcefully with one voice. PIA, MFSA, AF&PA, NPES and more than 35 other associations and companies representing the mailing industry supply chain have been working since 2007 together on postal reform. The group is called the Coalition for a 21st Century Postal Service. We have had well over 300 meetings on Capitol Hill with the leaders of the committees and Congress and have been coordinating response to all of the proposed bills. We can always use more grassroots support. Articles like yours can really help. Of course, we like you are very frsutrated with the failure of the House to act on legislation and will continue to push for results in Lame Duck.