Trends in Print and Mail

The Berkshire Company Blog

Mark Fallon

Mark M. Fallon is President & CEO of The Berkshire Company, a consulting firm specializing in mail and document processing strategies. The company develops customized solutions integrating proven management concepts with emerging technologies to achieve total process management.

Recent Posts

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 / Strategy / Technology

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

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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U.S. Postal Service / Outsourcing / Operations Management / United States Postal Service / Industry Vendors / 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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U.S. Postal Service / USPS / United States Postal Service / Postal Reform

US Postal Workers: They Also Serve

Posted by Mark Fallon on Dec 3, 2018 11:01:00 PM

W.H. Fallon - US Army Air Corps - US Postal Service

Last week, I attended the Mailers Technical Advisory Committee (MTAC) open session. David Williams, US Postal Service (USPS) Chief Operating Officer gave his quarterly operations update. In addition to the good news of performance during the recent election cycle and planning for the upcoming holiday season, Mr. Williams talked about USPS actions during two recent disasters – Hurricane Michael and the wildfires in California.

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

USPS Finances and the Unpopular Call for Higher Postage Rates

Posted by Mark Fallon on Nov 19, 2018 11:01:00 AM


On Wednesday. November 14, 2018, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) reported the financial results for Fiscal Year 2018 (October 2017 – September 2018). As expected, the USPS reported an operating loss. The reported controllable loss was $1.95 billion, or approximately 2.62% of controllable expenses.

The day before, the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) approved the new postage rates for 2019. The new rates represent about a 2.5% overall increase over the current prices for mailing, or “Market Dominant” products. In other words, next year’s increase won’t even cover the previous year’s operating loss.

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

Prevention Not Panic

Posted by Mark Fallon on Oct 25, 2018 8:55:50 AM



In October 2001, an unknown terrorist sent envelopes containing anthrax through the US Postal Service (USPS). The intended targets were news broadcasters and elected officials. One envelope was misdirected, and ended up at the State Department, where several employees were seriously injured.

17 years later, another terrorist is using the mail to attack people. Instead of anthrax, pipe bombs were sent to a cable news company, past presidents and elected officials. One package was misdelivered to the return address on the envelope – the local office of a congresswoman.

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Mail Security / U.S. Postal Service / USPS / Postal Customer Council

2019 Postage Rate Increase: Spenders and Savers

Posted by Mark Fallon on Oct 16, 2018 5:01:00 AM

On Thursday, October 11, 2018, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) filed the rate case for Market Dominant products with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC). Set to go into effect on January 27, 2019, the new rates represent about a 2.5% overall increase over the current prices for mailing, or “Market Dominant” products.

Despite the headlines appearing on news websites, this isn’t “the biggest rate increase”. For many mailers the increase is lower than expected. While retail customers may have “sticker shock” on the 10% increase on stamps, the nickel increase allows the USPS to achieve the “simplicity of structure” of pricing. Plus, second ounce rates go down, flats pricing stays flat, as do postcards.

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

A Failure to Communicate

Posted by Mark Fallon on Oct 3, 2018 5:01:00 AM


Thanks to technology, we have more ways to communicate than ever before. Then why do we still have a problem getting our message across?

The most common problem is choosing the right medium for your message. Instead of capitalizing on technology's ability to foster closer relationships, we use technology to distance ourselves from others: leaving voicemails instead of having a conversation; sending broadcast emails instead of holding a meeting; or posting a notice on a website instead of distributing the information to everyone concerned.

Are you using the wrong medium for your messages?

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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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