Trends in Print and Mail

The Berkshire Company Blog

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

USPS MTAC June 2019 Open Session

Posted by Mark Fallon on Jun 25, 2019 10:46:23 AM



Last week, I attended the US Postal Service (USPS) Mailers Technical Advisory Committee (MTAC) open session in Washington DC. There was no “groundbreaking news” from the USPS leadership, but there were some positive updates on several initiatives.

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United States Postal Service / National Postal Forum / USPS / U.S. Postal Service / Postal Reform

Postal Vison 2020 – 9.0 Recap

Posted by Mark Fallon on Jun 10, 2019 4:13:17 PM


Since 2001, John Callan has worked diligently to bring attention to the long-term future of the US Postal Service (USPS) and the role it plays in the world, our country, our economy and our lives. That work continued with the recent “Postal Vison 2020 / 9.0: Embracing the ‘USO’ – Universal Service Opportunities for the Global Post-Parcel Ecosystem”.

Taking place in Arlington, Virginia, June 5-7, 2019, the conference brought together a wide-range of presenters including postal executives, union leaders, government officials, private-sector principals and consultants. The discussions covered the world postal system to the obligations and opportunities facing the USPS, to the “first”. “middle” and “final” mile of deliveries, to the growing issue of e-commerce returns. There was no shortage of promising ideas, and the questions from the audience revealed that many of those attendees could be presenters as well.

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

How to be Bright about DIM Weights

Posted by Mark Fallon on Jun 3, 2019 8:01:00 AM

After a 6-month delay, the US Postal Service (USPS) is implementing changes to how Dimensional (DIM) Weight is calculated. The change will impact all low-weight packages that are larger than one cubic foot. Like any rate change, savvy mailers will take steps to be prepared for the June 23, 2019 implementation. Unlike other rate changes, shippers need to conduct additional analysis to be ready.

Steps to take that will minimize the impact of the new rate structure:

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USPS / U.S. Postal Service / shipping

National Postal Forum 2019 Recap: An Informed Drive

Posted by Mark Fallon on May 13, 2019 5:01:00 AM


We’ve crossed the finish line and the 2019 National Postal Forum (NPF) is complete.

The theme for this year’s show was “Growth Driven: Fueling Your Mailing and Shipping Success”. In today’s economy, “information” is more than currency, it’s also the fuel. That was evident in the speeches, the classes, and on the exhibit hall floor.

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United States Postal Service / National Postal Forum / NPF 2019