Mailing/Fulfillment - Postal Trends

Just Wait 'Til Next Session. . .
January 1, 2006

Unless someone pulled a rabbit out of a hat in the final days, the first session of the 109th Congress ended without completion of postal reform legislation, which has been stalled in the Senate. It has been delayed because of a dispute between Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Kit Bond (R-MO) over a proposed amendment to include a requirement that rates be "fair and equitable." While the language is identical to that in the House-passed bill, Collins, as well as the Postal Service, object to the amendment. Ironically, the legal impact of the amendment is unclear one way or the other. While there are those

Fair/Equitable Issue Stalls Postal Reform
December 1, 2005

WASHINGTON, DC--Congress left town for the Thanksgiving break without passing postal reform. At the center of the debate is an amendment being offered by Senator Kit Bond (R-MO) to add language similar to a provision in the House-passed bill to require that postage rates be "fair and equitable." The U.S. Postal Service, as well as Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), the chief sponsor of the bill, is adamantly opposed to the amendment. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) offered to allow a vote on the Senate floor to include debate and a vote on the amendment. While Senator Collins agreed to that strategy, Senator Bond did

Mailing/Fulfillment Resources -- Posting Positive Results
November 1, 2005

Many printing companies are running profitable mailing and fulfillment operations as part of their evolution into full-service graphic communications solutions providers. The printers who are still evaluating whether these service offerings make sense for their organizations, however, may need a little guidance in making that all-important assessment, notes National Association of Printing Leadership (NAPL) associate consultant Clint Bolte, president of Clint Bolte & Associates and author of the NAPL book How Fulfillment Services Drive Print Volume. "When done correctly, mailing and fulfillment can be a lucrative profit center for printers," Bolte advises. "However, these are areas where customers' tolerance for missteps is extremely

SPECIAL REPORT VARIABLE DATA PRINTING -- Digital Print Goes Postal
October 1, 2005

Automation has been a central theme of efforts to keep the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) viable and to make it more competitive. The printing industry has a vested interest in the success of such efforts, but also must contend with some negative consequences. According to a PIA/GATF estimate from Ronnie H. Davis, Ph.D, chief economist, about 45 percent of the dollar volume of printing in the United States ends up being mailed. That figure represents materials entering the mail stream directly from the printer and indirectly via a mail house or the print buyer. In dollar terms, this amounts to some $70 billion in

Bush Paves Path for Postal Reform
August 1, 2005

WASHINGTON, DC—The biggest roadblock to meaningful postal reform in 2005 appears to have been removed. According to Ben Cooper, executive vice president of public policy for the PIA/GATF and chairman of the Coalition for a 21st Century Postal Service, the Bush Administration has told Congressional leaders that it will allow postal reform to move forward while the bigger points of contention are ironed out. And the best possible news for mailers came in the Administration's willingness to seek alternative sources to fund the military service portion of postal retirees, as opposed to making rate payers foot the bill. Cooper, who has been tirelessly banging the reform

Postal Reform -- Congress Must Deliver
June 1, 2005

By Erik Cagle Senior Editor Postal reform is the rally cry for 2005 in the commercial printing industry. Though it seems the cries are strong only from a select group, as opposed to a unison shout from the industry collective. In other words, a relatively small amount of people are making a big stink to Congress about the need for reform of the United States Postal Service (USPS), an entity that is still operating under guidelines set in 1971. Guidelines, mind you, established before the onslaught of private sector parcel delivery options and well before the invention of the Internet, both of which have

Mailing Services -- Check's in the Mail(ing)
June 1, 2005

It's surprising, sometimes, how misleading a simple piece of punctuation can be. Consider the ampersand that's so routinely tossed in between the words "mailing" and "fulfillment." One might almost think the two specialties went together like Ham and Eggs. In fact, mailing and fulfillment are dramatically different propositions, and printers considering diversifying into mailing services need to keep the distinction clearly in mind. This September's PRINT 05 & CONVERTING 05 aims to support these diversification strategies with a special exhibit section whose title uses the ampersand, but whose content will highlight the diverse demands of the two fields. (See sidebar.) The striking growth of

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

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