Mailing & Fulfillment Special Report — Mail Dynamics Equal Opportunities
RECENT U.S. Postal Service (USPS) announcements suggest trends that could be advantageous to corporate mailers seeking economies of scale via their full-service print/mailing providers. The increasing use of the Internet as a tool to reduce the mail distribution time, postal discounts to drive mail design that will run more efficiently through postal sorting equipment, the broader interest in Intelligent mail by corporate users, as well as more innovative partnerships with the larger scale mailers to save money and improve overall service, are four key mail trend topics.
The enhanced use of the Internet by mailers and the USPS is a clear trend in two specific arenas: driving more mail volume and simplifying the management of the mail flow.
First, are the successful case studies of opt-in e-mail and well-designed Websites integrated with direct mail in multimedia marketing campaigns. Secondly, the USPS has completed the beta testing of electronic information flow between mailing services vendors and itself across a wide spectrum of operational tasks to eliminate paperwork and reduce the total time of getting the mail to recipients. While multimedia marketing has received ample, well-deserved media coverage, little has been written about the broad-based impact that the Internet is expected to have on USPS operations and its interface with thousands of mailing service bureaus.
This latter initiative will create hard-core efficiencies for both the USPS and its clients and save 12 to 24 hours off the current processing cycle. There are six facets to this electronic information flow: (1) advance notification of mail to come, (2) e-check payment, (3) USPS yard management of vehicles arriving, (4) actual receipt or induction of pallets of mail, (5) client visibility of the mail throughout the processing and (6) client interfaces with USPS records to keep track of their own account. Many of these functions are working now. Others have been proven in live tests with select large clients and are expected to be rolled out nationwide over the next 18 months.