Trends in Print and Mail

The Berkshire Company Blog

The Value of Integrity

Posted by Mark Fallon on May 25, 2016 8:06:56 AM

I was talking with the president of a company that provides statement processing for the healthcare industry. He’s put production controls in place, including barcodes, scanners and internal audits, to ensure the integrity of every mailpiece. Taking it a step further, he’s hired external consultants to review his entire process.

The process he’s established means a higher cost-per-piece than some of his competitors. The external review will be expensive. But, in his words, “very necessary to ensure patient confidentiality.”

Substitute the word “patient” with “customer”, and his words can be applied to everyone who processes mail. It doesn’t matter if you work for an insurance company, bank, school, the government, or any type of firm; you should be installing controls to make sure your system provides the highest level of integrity. The correct piece, with the correct address, goes into the correct envelope, with the correct postage, at the correct time.

The products to improve the integrity of the mailing process have been available for several years. Used with barcodes, scanners can track every piece as they move through the process. Cameras can be added to equipment to check for print quality, logos and keylines. Software products allow you to monitor what is happening on the shop floor in real time.

Audit controls add expenses to your bottom line. Scanners, cameras and software mean spending more money to run your operation. In an industry where people focus on “cost-per-piece”, is it worth it?

I toured a laboratory that produces eyeglasses. The senior vice president of manufacturing walked me through the entire process – from receiving the order through the shipping department. The process included:

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Operations Management

Nor Gloom of Night

Posted by Mark Fallon on May 18, 2016 5:00:00 AM

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United States Postal Service

A Modest Proposal for the United States Postal Service

Posted by Mark Fallon on May 10, 2016 5:00:00 AM

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United States Postal Service

Details, details, details

Posted by Mark Fallon on May 3, 2016 5:00:00 AM

“Perfection is in the details” – Leonardo daVinci

magnifying_glass.jpgPerfection may be unattainable, yet perfection must be the goal we all strive for in our operations. Not 99% accuracy, or even 99.99966% accuracy (Six Sigma’s goal), but 100% accuracy.

Setting unreachable goals isn’t an exercise in futility. It’s a proven method for raising performance to a new level of excellence. Becoming a fanatic about details will help you achieve more.

To effectively use a detail-oriented approach in management, a manager must take on the role of a leader who:

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Operations Management

Deja Vu All Over Again

Posted by Mark Fallon on Apr 26, 2016 5:00:00 AM

“We’re not selling a product, but a process.” These words say a lot about the changes impacting the print/mail industry.

I first heard this comment in 2001 – 15 years ago – at an Xplor Northeast Region meeting in Sturbridge, Massachusetts. The speaker was Roger Gimbel. At the time, Roger was the president of Xerographic Reproduction Center Inc. (XRC), one of six divisions that comprise the 500-employee parent company, Global Document Solutions. XRC was the largest on-demand printer in Manhattan. But as Roger explained, output isn’t the most important part of his business; process is. His company’s expertise extended beyond print to systems integration.

After hearing Roger’s talk I published this paragraph in a newsletter the following month:

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Operations Management

More than Mail: Celebrating the US Postal Worker: Part One

Posted by Mark Fallon on Apr 19, 2016 5:00:00 AM

Title 39 of the U.S. Code states that the mission of the US Postal Service is:

“…to provide postal services to bind the Nation together through the personal, educational, literary, and business correspondence of the people. It shall provide prompt, reliable, and efficient services to patrons in all areas and shall render postal services to all communities.”

Before we had a country, we had post offices and post roads. For more than 375 years, dedicated men and women have delivered the correspondence and parcels that helped form and bind a nation together. Many of those same people helped our country in other ways – in business, politics and public service. This is the first in a series of occasional articles profiling their lives and contributions.

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United States Postal Service

Faster Isn’t Always Better

Posted by Mark Fallon on Apr 13, 2016 5:00:00 AM

In the mid-1990s, I was working at a financial services company. One of my internal customers was a department responsible for producing fund pricing reports. The company’s system would receive information from the stock exchange mainframe computer at the end of the trading day. Using the stock prices, the company could calculate the values of all the managed funds.

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Operations Management

Implementing the US Postal Service 2016 Rate Changes

Posted by Mark Fallon on Apr 3, 2016 12:08:34 PM

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United States Postal Service

Highlights from the 2016 National Postal Forum

Posted by Mark Fallon on Mar 28, 2016 5:00:00 AM

From March 20 through 23, 2016, over 3,500 mailing professionals gathered at the Gaylord Opryland Convention Center in Nashville, TN for the 2016 National Postal Forum (NPF). Attendance was the highest in about 5 years, with about 30% first-time attendees. More importantly, there was a noticeably increased presence of mailing professionals under the age of 30 – a great sign for the future of our industry.

Classes were well-attended, with sizes ranging from 65 to 200 people. Even the last class on the last day at 4:30 in the afternoon, still drew a full house. Of course, the event with the most number of attendees occurred on Monday morning, when the entire NPF gathered to hear the Keynote Address from Postmaster General (PMG) Megan Brennan.

The theme of PMG Brennan’s speech centered on momentum and technology. She explained that there was never a better time to reinvent mail. Listening to their customers, the US Postal Service (USPS) will focus on:

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United States Postal Service

How Do You Measure Up?

Posted by Mark Fallon on Mar 20, 2016 5:00:00 AM

During most of our customer engagements, we usually hear variants of the same question:

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Operations Management

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The Berkshire Company improves business processes in your print & mail operations, helping you solve real problems.

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