Mailing & Fulfillment Special Report — Mail Dynamics Equal Opportunities
A mailer’s subscription to the Confirm Service will provide end-to-end visibility enabled by the PostNet and shortly the 4-State barcodes applied to each piece of mail. USPS plans to provide additional enroute scanning points, as well.
The larger printers/mailers seeking to take advantage of co-mailing and co-palletizing discounts have been earmarked by the USPS as the first vendors to prove out the final issues in this electronic interface network.
Bolingbrook, IL, may not be well known to many printers. However, Banta Publications Group, RR Donnelley and Quad/Graphics have all chosen this Midwestern town to open multimillion-dollar distribution centers to provide co-mailing and co-palletizing services for publications. The new service will allow special-interest magazine publishers to save by merging different titles into a common mail stream to earn postal distribution discounts by entering the postal stream closer to the ultimate direct delivery unit.
The proposed rate plan—sent to the Postal Rate Commission (PRC) as part of a 2007 rate adjustment proposal package—combines weight with shape to allow the USPS to better align prices with processing costs to ensure that every type of mail covers its costs.
Current USPS prices do not distinguish between some letters, flats and parcels. For example, in First Class mail, the current single-piece price is 63 cents to mail a two-ounce letter, a two-ounce flat and a two-ounce parcel. The new plan recognizes that each of these shapes has substantially different processing costs and should have different prices.
The new pricing plan, in effect, creates an adjustable rate system by giving mailers the opportunity to obtain lower rates as they find ways to configure their mail into shapes that reduce processing costs for the Postal Service. For example, if the contents of a First Class flat can be folded and placed in a letter-sized envelope, the mailer can reduce the postage by as much as 20 cents per piece. If a First Class parcel can be configured as a flat, the mailer will save 36 cents.