Trends in Print and Mail

The Berkshire Company Blog

Postal Reform: Nothing Will Come of Nothing

Posted by Mark Fallon on Apr 8, 2019 7:40:38 AM



Any hopes of meaningful legislative reform in this Congress disappeared while watching the Senate hearing on the Presidential Task Force on the United States Postal System. Then the outlook got dimmer during the confirmation hearings for the President’s latest nominees to the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) Board of Governors.

Throughout the hearings, the senators’ lack of knowledge about the USPS was on full display. Members confused ratepayers with taxpayers, claimed losses on systems that were making money, and repeatedly admitted they wish they had more information. They do have staffs that could do research, but that would take real commitment to solving the problems. A cynic might think that our senators are intentionally doing nothing to manufacture a crisis.

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United States Postal Service / USPS / Postal Reform / Leadership

Tune-Up Your Engines – Getting the Most out of the 2019 National Postal Forum

Posted by Mark Fallon on Mar 25, 2019 5:00:00 PM



You don’t have to be a racing fan to get excited about the upcoming National Postal Forum (NPF) in Indianapolis. This year’s NPF includes many exciting and innovative changes to the industry’s largest conference and trade show – multiple venues, guest speakers and TED talks! With general sessions at the JW Marriott, classes and exhibits at the convention center, and evening events at different venues, attendees will have to pay attention to logistics.

To help attendees get ready for the conference, the National Postal Forum, along with The Berkshire Company’s team of speakers, is presenting an exclusive webinar on getting the most out of the 2019 NPF in Indianapolis, on Tuesday, April 9, at 12:00 ET, 11:00 CT, 10:00 MT, and 9:00 PT.

In the webinar we will:

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National Postal Forum / NPF

The Threat of Second Guessing

Posted by Mark Fallon on Mar 19, 2019 5:01:00 AM


“True understanding comes from reflecting on your own experience. You are your own best teacher.” - Warren Bennis

Buyer’s remorse. Monday morning quarterbacking. Second-guessing.

Whatever you call it, we’ve all been guilty of wondering “what should I have done differently?” Especially when our plans don’t turn out as we expected. And if we aren’t careful, dwelling on our missteps can prevent us from succeeding in the present. And the future.

Reflection after something goes wrong is a good idea. We should analyze our mistakes, and determine how to prevent them from recurring. A good process is to write down what occurred, and what we were thinking as we made key decisions. In light of the actual outcome, we can uncover flaws in our methods and ensure that we don’t repeat our mistakes.

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Operations Management / Strategy / Leadership

On Track and Driving Growth for the 2019 National Postal Forum

Posted by Mark Fallon on Mar 5, 2019 5:01:00 AM


It begins 2 months from today, so now’s the time to get tuned up for the starting line of the 2019 National Postal Forum (NPF) – May 5 - 8, 2019 in exciting Indianapolis, IN.

Savvy businesses know that physical mail is a critical component to driving their success. Now more than ever, it’s not “either physical or digital”, it’s “physical AND digital” communication to connect to your customers. Whether statements, direct mail or catalogues, consumers want omnichannel routes, so they can choose the path that works best for them.

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National Postal Forum / USPS / U.S. Postal Service

Planning for the Future When Buying for Today

Posted by Mark Fallon on Feb 25, 2019 12:21:23 PM


The technology used in the print and mail industry is changing rapidly. Every year, equipment speed and capability is improving. It’s challenging to buy for the present and keep an eye towards the future. So how do we solve today’s issues and prepare for tomorrow’s needs?

There are 4 key principles to follow when buying and planning:

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Operations Management / Technology / Outsourcing / Strategy / Purchasing

Become a Positive Deviant

Posted by Mark Fallon on Feb 4, 2019 10:37:26 AM


As my clients know, I’m a fan of Dr. Atul Gawande, the surgeon and writer. At one point in almost every engagement, I hand the manager a copy of Dr. Gawande’s The Checklist Manifesto – a book that explains the importance and effectiveness of using checklists. If pilots and doctors can use checklists to prevent errors, so can we who work in the print-mail industry.

I recently read one of Dr. Gawande’s earlier books – Better: A Surgeon's Notes on Performance. He shares his lessons learned as a young intern, the struggles encountered as a volunteer dispensing vaccine in India, and his thoughts on accountability. The decisions we make every day impact ourselves and our professions.

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Operations Management / Technology / Strategy

Implementing the US Postal Service 2019 Rate Changes

Posted by Mark Fallon on Jan 14, 2019 5:01:00 AM


On Sunday, January 27, 2019, the new US Postal Service (USPS) postage rates and rules go into effect, so mailers need to take action to be properly prepared. For most mailers, the first day of mailing under the new rates will be Monday, January 28, 2019.

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United States Postal Service / USPS / U.S. Postal Service / Postage Rates

Trust: The Linchpin to Client-Service Provider Relationships

Posted by Mark Fallon on Jan 7, 2019 5:01:00 AM



As a mailer, you took the right steps to select a service provider for your documents. The Request for Proposals (RFP) process helped you select the vendor with the best services at the best prices. Careful contract negotiations locked in pricing and service levels.

As a service provider, you bring on customers that best match your capabilities. A contract is signed that provides value for the customer, while providing a reasonable profit for the company. The next step is to complete the onboarding process.

Client and provider work together to transition work. Following a project plan with ample testing, documents are reviewed and approved. On schedule, the mail is moved into production.

This is only the beginning of the relationship. Just like a relationship between two people, there must be trust between the two parties. Establishing trust isn’t a one-time event, but an ongoing activity with the customer and the service provider taking active roles.
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Industry Vendors / Operations Management / Outsourcing

Trends in Print and Mail - The Top 10 Posts from 2018

Posted by Mark Fallon on Dec 26, 2018 5:01:00 AM


Just in time to approve the 2019 postal rate increase, the Senate confirmed two members of the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) Board of Governors. One of the new governor’s term expired in December, other nominees didn’t even receive a hearing, so the administration will have to resubmit their names in 2019. Postal Legislation is still mired down in subcommittees of both houses.

After one White House report caused an uproar by recommending privatizing the USPS, the long-delayed Task Force report side-stepped that option while providing few other ideas. The Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) has taken no action on their own proposed changes to the rate-making process.

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United States Postal Service / Industry Vendors / Operations Management / Outsourcing / U.S. Postal Service / Quality Control

2018 Presidential Task Force Report: Underwhelming and Incomplete

Posted by Mark Fallon on Dec 9, 2018 5:15:49 PM

 
 
On Tuesday, December 4, 2018, the Task Force on the United States Postal System released a report entitled “United States Postal Service: A Sustainable Path Forward”. The report mostly recycles ideas from the past, leaves out many key facts and initiatives, and includes one very silly proposal. The list of recommendations is very generic, with no defined path forward.
 
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United States Postal Service / USPS / U.S. Postal Service / Postal Reform

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

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