Mailing/Fulfillment - Postal Trends

Special Section Mailing & Fulfillment -- Mailing Increases Printer's Bottom Line
November 1, 2004

By Mary Ann Bennett One of the hottest business trends of 2004 is the move many printers are making to bring mailing and fulfillment services into their line of offerings for their clients. Whether through acquisition, partnering, expansion or a combination, the trend is on an exciting upswing and there appears to be no end in sight. However, careful planning should be utilized before progressing down this path. It has already been shown that moving headfirst into this new venture without diligent attention can lead to a waste of time, money and effort for everyone involved. Step 1: Develop a Strategic Plan for Mailing. A common

Special Section Mailing & Fulfillment -- Finding the Right Fulfillment Software
November 1, 2004

By Tom Quinn The addition of fulfillment services is a natural business extension to the printer's core competency and has the advantage of allowing printers to differentiate themselves as solutions providers for their existing and potential clients. However, while the storage and shipment of materials that have been printed for a client appears to be a simple task, many printers have found the transition to be very difficult. There are many reasons why this is a more difficult transition than originally expected, but one of the primary reasons is always found to be the software system chosen as the fulfillment operating system (FOS). The following

Special Section Mailing & Fulfillment -- Don't Blame Merlin
November 1, 2004

By Robert B. Swick Merlin, the progeny of ABE, has acquired the persona of its predecessor in its formative years. Some would say, particularly those in the original test areas, that the reputation is well earned. And yet, Merlin—or Mail Evaluation Readability and Lookup Instrument—is simply a tool that helps expedite the mail flow by assuring that consistent, readable mail enters into the automated processing system. So why has Merlin become such a lightening rod in its early life? The root cause of this stigma, which came early and held as Merlin rolled out nationally, was an intense desire to bring a more exacting standard of accuracy

Special Section Mailing & Fulfillment -- Outsourcing May Be the Answer
November 1, 2004

By Steve McNutt For today's printers, it is fast becoming a question of when, not if, they will provide mailing services to customers. Diversifying to offer services such as fulfillment and delivery of printed materials is a growing industry trend in a sector progressively challenged to become all things to all customers. The "one-stop shop" for all of a customer's printing and delivery needs is becoming more necessity than value-add in the struggle to remain competitive and broaden profit margins. And for customers of the printing business, there is no gray area. The message is in black-and-white: Don't offer these services, and customers will go somewhere

Special Section Mailing & Fulfillment -- Creating Mail with Fo
November 1, 2004

By Laine Ropson Helping your customers design a mailpiece that's both creative and meets the USPS automation requirements oxymoron? A challenge? An opportunity? In the real world, it's all of the above. A mailpiece needs to be mailable, automation compatible and deliverable, as well as having a clear message. Back to Basics: Mailable Review the size of the mailpiece relative to the postage costs. Letter-size is cheaper than flats, for instance. Letter-size must be greater than the minimum mailing size (31⁄2x5x.007˝) and less than the maximum letter-size (61⁄8x111⁄2x1⁄4˝). Don't forget that the aspect ratio—length divided by height—must be between 1.3 and 2.5). If you want to use

Special Section Mailing & Fulfillment -- Leveraging Your Maili
November 1, 2004

By Mary Ann Bennett Mail since the 1990's and into the foreseeable future can be likened to a stool supported by three legs. The three legs are the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), the mailing industry and software. Remove any one of the legs and the stool cannot stand. Conversely, any one of the three legs could not exist without both of the other legs. * The mailers of the mailing industry would have no method of getting their mailpieces delivered to intended recipients without the USPS. Mailers cannot produce quantities of mail in today's technologically advanced world without software. * Software developers that

Mailing Services -- Single-Source Advantages
April 1, 2004

By Erik Cagle Senior Editor Today there is a distinct advantage for printers that offer mailing services to their clientele. Someday soon, there will be an extremely distinct disadvantage for those printers who do not offer mailing. Simply put, mailing capabilities may seem like a value-added, bonus service presently. Two years from now, those companies that have not committed to this discipline will find themselves in an unenviable minority. Mailing services has long been a core strength for Arandell Corp., according to H. Don Landis, its vice president of postal affairs. "The sad thing is, if you're not in the mailing arena, you're coming

Mailing Services -- Diversification Devotees
August 1, 2003

By Erik Cagle President Kennedy put it best when he said: "Ask not what mailing services can do for you, ask what mailing services can do for your customers." OK, so there's a little liberty taking with the paraphrasing. But there is considerable value in putting another tool in the commercial printer's sales kit. Obviously, JFK never lived to see the marriage of printing and mailing under one roof. In his day, a dedicated mailing house handled direct mail. Commercial printers were still a generation away from uttering "one-stop shopping." They would soon realize the value of selling more to current customers, and

Graph EXPO and Converting expo 2003 -- Value-Added Opportunities
August 1, 2003

By Caroline Miller Printers will get the chance to explore in-depth how adding mailing and fulfillment capabilities, as well as wide-format ink-jet imaging, can improve their companies' bottom lines at the upcoming 2003 GRAPH EXPO and CONVERTING EXPO, to be held September 28 to October 1 at McCormick Place South in Chicago. New to this year's show is a mailing and fulfillment exhibit area. The Graphic Arts Show Co. (GASC), the event's producer, decided to add the new exhibit because of the growing demand by printers' customers for mailing and fulfillment capabilities. A recent study conducted by the National Association for Printing Leadership (NAPL)

Postal Rates Could Stabilize
January 1, 2003

WASHINGTON, DC—A future postage rate increase could be delayed until at least 2006 thanks to a review of the United States Postal Service (USPS) employees' retirement plan, says Post Master General John E. Potter. This revelation comes after a review of the USPS' pension liabilities by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. The review found that the current formula contained overly conservative interest assumptions under which the USPS contributes for its employees' retirement, creating an overpayment of pension liabilities. Changes in the payment schedule will require a modification of the current law by Congress. This necessary change in the law would mean a reduction of postal