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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

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

Powerful Plans

Posted by Mark Fallon on Sep 18, 2018 5:01:00 AM

“Plans are useless after the first shot is fired.” – Military Adage (attributed to Napoleon Bonaparte)

I’m a strong proponent of planning – project plans, budget plans, travel plans. Even weekend plans. Schedules and plans help me accomplish my goals. However, most plans have to be changed as soon as the action begins.

So, if I can’t always follow the plans I develop, then why plan at all?

Good plans include key elements that remain in place even when the plan changes, due to unforeseen events. These key elements are:

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Operations Management / Strategy

Ready, Fire, Aim! – A Misstep by the US Postal Service

Posted by Mark Fallon on Sep 12, 2018 5:01:00 AM


At a time when the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) is struggling with declining volumes, someone at that organization has decided that one answer is to create additional restrictions on what could be mailed at Marketing Mail rates.

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U.S. Postal Service / USPS / Technology

Fall Postal Customer Council Events – Education, Networking and More

Posted by Mark Fallon on Aug 27, 2018 5:01:00 AM

 

Each spring, mailers gather at the National Postal Forum, and every fall brings the spotlight to Postal Customer Councils (“PCCs”), culminating in National PCC week, which takes place September 24 – 28, 2018.

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

The Impact of New Tariffs on Mailing Equipment

Posted by Mark Fallon on Aug 14, 2018 8:56:52 AM



On July 6, 2018, when the Trump Administration announced tariffs on certain goods from China, the media focused on steel and aluminum – essential components of manufacturing. The tariffs actually were applied an entire group of products – detailed on a 28-page list available on the United States Trade Representative (USTR) website. The impact goes beyond automobiles and motorcycles, including equipment used in the mailing industry.

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Technology / Industry Vendors

Battling Compliance – A Winning Strategy

Posted by Mark Fallon on Aug 7, 2018 5:01:00 AM


When a company decides to outsource customer communications to a service provider, that doesn’t mean the work is done. The vendor must be monitored and managed to ensure that they’re meeting the standards negotiated in the contract. Savvy customers take managing their vendors to the next step – by conducting periodic audits for quality control, best practices, and compliance with postal and industry regulations.

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U.S. Postal Service / Outsourcing / Quality Control / Industry Vendors

CAPS is Dead, Long Live EPS

Posted by Mark Fallon on Jul 24, 2018 7:33:49 AM

In February 2018, the United States Postal Service (USPS) announced the launch of their new Enterprise Payment System (EPS). As the USPS demonstrates in the below chart, EPS will bring together payments for all types of postal expenses.

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U.S. Postal Service / USPS / Strategy

No Surprise – The Trump Administration Wants to Privatize the USPS

Posted by Mark Fallon on Jun 25, 2018 1:36:36 PM


On June 21, 2018, as part of a plan to overhaul the federal government, the Trump Administration proposed to restructure and privatize the US Postal Service (USPS). The report, entitled “Delivering Government Solutions in the 21st Century,” was released by the Office of Management and Budget Director, Mick Mulvaney.

This announcement comes almost 2 months before the scheduled release of the report from the president’s Task Force on the USPS. The Task Force was appointed by the president in April, and is headed by Director Mulvaney, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin, and Director of Office of Personnel Management, Jeff Pon.

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U.S. Postal Service

Contingency Plans Required

Posted by Mark Fallon on Jun 18, 2018 7:30:00 PM



“First ask yourself: What is the worst that can happen? Then prepare to accept it. Then proceed to improve on the worst.” – Dale Carnegie

In the Summer of 1997, I was the Assistant Vice President of Mail Services at State Street Corporation in Boston. My team was responsible for inbound and outbound mail for the Greater Boston area. That included shipping out hundreds of overnight packages each day – the bulk of those were handed off to United Parcel Service (UPS).

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Operations Management / United States Postal Service

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