Trends in Print and Mail

The Berkshire Company Blog

The Journey to Innovation Begins at the 2020 National Postal Forum

Posted by Mark Fallon on Feb 24, 2020 9:46:12 AM


In less than 9 weeks, leaders in the mailing industry will be gathering at the National Postal Forum (NPF) – April 26-29, 2020 at the beautiful Orlando World Center Marriott in Orlando, Florida.

The mailing industry continues to evolve, and mailing professionals need to stay informed to be successful. At the NPF, that knowledge may be gained in educational sessions, from the vendors in the exhibit hall, or from fellow professionals in the many networking opportunities. Different paths that all lead to success on the journey to innovation.

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United States Postal Service / Industry Vendors / National Postal Forum / USPS / U.S. Postal Service / NPF

The PRC Proposed Rulemaking for Postal Rates – A Good Start to Reform

Posted by Mark Fallon on Feb 2, 2020 5:00:00 AM



On December 5, 2019, the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) published Order 5337 – Proposed Rulemaking for USPS Rates. This was a follow-up to the proposed rules released in December, 2017. After hundreds of comments, changes to the PRC board membership, and a continued deterioration of the US Postal Service (USPS) financial situation, the PRC has made several key changes to their proposal.

Most of the articles and blog posts published immediately after the announcement focused solely on the authority to raise rates for market dominant products above the existing price cap. Under the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA), the annual increases in postage rates for market dominant prices is currently tied to the Consumer Price Index for Urban Customers (CPI-U). The price cap was intended as a check on rates and an incentive for the USPS to increase efficiencies.

However, there is significantly more than rate authority covered in the order.

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The US Postal Service 5-Year Strategic Plan – Still No Plan

Posted by Mark Fallon on Jan 20, 2020 3:25:05 PM



Last April, during a House Oversight Committee hearing, Representative Mark Meadows (R-North Carolina) took Postmaster General (PMG) Brennan to task for not delivering a 10-year strategic plan to Congress that was promised to be handed over in January. A second delivery date was also missed. The congressman was not happy.

Representative Meadows had worked with his Democrat colleagues to draft bi-partisan postal reform bills. As he said, the PMG’s actions were turning an advocate into an adversary. At the end of the discussion, the Committee Chair, the late Representative Elijah Cummings, directed that the plan be delivered to the committee no later than July.

At that summer’s Mailers' Technical Advisory Committee (MTAC) meeting, PMG Brennan was asked when the strategic plan would be published. The PMG said that the Oversight Committee had the plan, and that it would be released to the industry “in due time”.

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United States Postal Service / USPS / U.S. Postal Service / Postal Reform / Postage Rates / mail / Postal Regulatory Commission

Implementing the US Postal Service 2020 Rate Changes

Posted by Mark Fallon on Jan 13, 2020 5:00:00 AM

On Sunday, January 26, 2020, the new US Postal Service (USPS) postage rates and rules go into effect, so mailers need to act now to be properly prepared. For most mailers, the first day of mailing under the new rates will be Monday, January 27, 2020.

This rate case was announced on October 9, 2019. Set to go into effect on January 26, 2020, the new rates represent about a 1.9% increase over the current prices for mailing, or “Market Dominant” products and about a 4% increases for shipping, or “competitive” products.

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United States Postal Service / U.S. Postal Service / Postal Reform / Postage Rates / mail / Postal Regulatory Commission

5 Postal and Print Issues for 2020

Posted by Mark Fallon on Dec 30, 2019 8:53:17 AM


It’s impossible to predict the future, but when there are storm clouds in the sky, you can be pretty sure it’s going to rain. Lightning and downpours can be seen in the distance, inching their way forward. We brace for the worst.

Of course, a good rain helps farmers grow crops. Watersheds and aquifers are refreshed, increasing the supply of clean water for our homes. Grasslands and forests are rejuvenated, staving off brutal fires.

There are clouds in the skies for the print-mail industry.

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Industry Vendors / Strategy / USPS / U.S. Postal Service / Postage Rates / NPF / mail / Postal Regulatory Commission / print

Huddle Up!

Posted by Mark Fallon on Dec 2, 2019 6:30:32 AM


Before every play, a football team forms a huddle to call the next plan of action. In the best teams, players give feedback about what they’re seeing on the field, so the quarterback has the best information possible to make the right decision. When they break, everyone knows the objective, and their role in helping achieve that objective.

In businesses, teams should follow a similar pattern. At the start of each day, or shift, everyone on the team should come together for a briefing. We call this “the daily huddle”. It works for all types of organizations, and is especially helpful for print and mail operations.

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Operations Management / Leadership / mail / print

The Clock is Ticking for the US Postal Service

Posted by Mark Fallon on Nov 17, 2019 5:00:00 PM


There wasn’t a lot of good news for the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) last week. The proposed rates for 2020 have been returned from the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC), the losses for the last fiscal year were higher than expected, and the search for the next Postmaster General (PMG) is formally announced amidst uncertainty.

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United States Postal Service / USPS / U.S. Postal Service / Postal Reform / Leadership / Postal Regulatory Commission

The First Postal Rate Change for 2020

Posted by Mark Fallon on Nov 4, 2019 9:27:47 AM

On October 9, 2019, the United States Postal Service (USPS) filed R2020-1: Notice of Market-Dominant Price Change. The Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) will now review the rates to ensure they’re in compliance with the relevant statutes. The expected implementation of the new rates is on January 26, 2020.

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United States Postal Service / USPS / U.S. Postal Service / Postal Reform / Postage Rates / Leadership / mail / Postal Regulatory Commission

New Leadership for the United States Postal Service

Posted by Mark Fallon on Oct 21, 2019 5:15:00 AM


The United States Postal Service (USPS) needs a new Postmaster General.

After 33 years of service with the USPS, Postmaster General (PMG) Megan Brennan is retiring. The 74th, and first female PMG, Ms. Brennan has led the USPS through a rocky few years. Most notably, she had no Board of Governors for over 18 months.

With her retirement comes an opportunity to bring new leadership to the USPS. That leader has to be willing to lead a government agency with over 600,000 employees, have a firm grasp of logistics, deal with unforeseen challenges and competitors, and react to a consistently changing landscape. Add to that congressional oversight that is often driven by politics instead of sound management, plus an executive branch that wants to privatize the organization.

Where do you find a leader willing to take on these challenges? Where do you find leaders who’ve led institutions of a comparable size? Where would you find someone whose organization has gone through such significant changes during tumultuous times?

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United States Postal Service / USPS / U.S. Postal Service / mail

USPS Board of Governors – Silence Isn’t Golden

Posted by Mark Fallon on Oct 7, 2019 3:34:07 PM

In August, the Senate approved three nominees to the US Postal Service (USPS) Board of Governors (Board), bringing the total number of appointed governors to 5, meaning that the Board now has a quorum for the first time since 2014. There was considerable anticipation towards their first meeting, scheduled for October 3, 2019.

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United States Postal Service / USPS / U.S. Postal Service / Postal Reform / Postage Rates / Postal Regulatory Commission