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

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

Workflow Change is Hard and Necessary

Posted by Mark Fallon on Sep 23, 2019 8:54:34 AM



Production inkjet presses. File-managed processing with job and piece level tracking. Seamless acceptance for full-service Intelligent Mail barcode mailings. Artificial intelligence extracting information from inbound paper documents.

Implementing just one of those solutions is a challenge. Taking advantage of the capabilities of those technologies requires transforming digital and production workflows. In most cases, print and mail professionals will need to venture far outside their comfort zones.

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Operations Management / Technology / Strategy / USPS / Digital / U.S. Postal Service / Quality Control / mail

Mailers, Large and Small, Should Attend Postal Customer Council Events

Posted by Mark Fallon on Sep 9, 2019 10:05:04 AM


For most people in the mailing industry, involvement with their local Postal Customer Council (PCC) has been a key component to their success. Industry members have the opportunity to learn from the US Postal Service (USPS) and their peers from other companies.

However, PCCs are an underutilized resource by larger mailers. There’s a misconception that PCCs are only for small to mid-sized mailers. After all, large companies have representatives on the Mailers Technical Advisory Committee (MTAC) and have USPS sales representatives assigned to their accounts. With these resources, the advantage of local PCCs are often overlooked.

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

Rethinking Postage Meters

Posted by Mark Fallon on Aug 26, 2019 1:56:36 PM


When I started as a mail clerk in the early 1980s, postage meters were clumsy mechanical devices. We’d use a fan scale to determine postage, and then turn dials by hand to set the amount. For postage refills, I’d pack the meter into a plastic case, and lug it to the post office .With a check in hand, wait in line for a window clerk, who would break the lead inspection seal, reset the meter, attach a new seal, and hand it back.

I was a mail center supervisor when “postage by phone” refills were announced, and scales were integrated with the meters. Several years later, electronic information-based indicia (IBI) meters became mandatory. Meters were then connected to the internet, allowing for remote monitoring and management. Instead of static slugs, users could add digital messages using their meters.

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Mail Security / Technology / USPS / U.S. Postal Service / mail / envelopes

The USPS has a Board of Governors – Now What?

Posted by Mark Fallon on Aug 6, 2019 7:37:23 AM


On Thursday, August 1, 2019, the Senate approved three more nominees to the US Postal Service (USPS) Board of Governors (Board). John Barger, Ron Bloom and Roman Martinez IV bring the total number of appointed governors to 5, meaning that the Board now has a quorum for the first time in almost 5 years.

Yay.

Maybe.

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

Is Your Data Safe? - Data Security Policy Audits

Posted by Mark Fallon on Jul 22, 2019 12:28:54 PM

It seems that every day, there’s a news story about hackers stealing customer information from a computer system. Most publicized cases involve large companies being hacked for credit card information and passwords for millions of people. Small companies are hacked too, but those stories don’t seem to grab as much attention.

Physical mail is fairly secure and is protected by federal laws enforced by the US Postal Service Inspection Service (USPIS). With a heritage that traces back to Benjamin Franklin, the USPIS aggressively pursues criminals who use the mail to attach or defraud victims. Companies and individuals put great trust in a sealed envelope marked “First-Class Mail”.

In the past, creating transactional mail documents was performed by companies using internal systems. Printers were directly attached to the mainframe computer system. The mail services department was in the same building, if not in the same room. There were tight controls from data to print to insert to delivery to the post office.

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Mail Security / Industry Vendors / Technology / Outsourcing / Strategy / Quality Control

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