Trends in Print and Mail

The Berkshire Company Blog

Postmasters General – Hail and Farewell

Posted by Mark Fallon on Jun 15, 2020 4:00:00 AM

On Monday, June 15, 2020, Mr. Louis DeJoy begins his service as the 75th Postmaster General (PMG) of the United States and Chief Executive Officer of the United States Postal Service (USPS). A retired executive in the logistics industry. Mr. DeJoy was the Chairman and CEO of New Breed Logistics, Inc., a contractor to the USPS for more than 25 years. The company received USPS Quality Supplier Awards from 1995 to 1998.

PMG DeJoy takes the helm at a precarious time. The USPS was already facing financial challenges before the pandemic, and the precipitous drop in mail volumes has increased operating losses. The Board of Governors has unanimously requested grants and loans totaling $84 billion from Congress. Calls for substantial legislative postal reform have grown louder.

+ Read More

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

Vote By Mail – Process Integrity and Visibility

Posted by Mark Fallon on May 4, 2020 4:30:00 AM

With the current pandemic, there’s been a renewed call for more states to offer voting by mail. Not as an exception to voting in person, but as the preferred method for elections. There are already five states that conduct elections entirely by mail: Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington and Utah. 21 other states allow voting by mail for certain elections. Expansion of voting by mail seems to be a natural progression.

Election authorities must take action to ensure integrity and visibility throughout the process. That includes a high-integrity production system for printing and mailing, plus using the US Postal Service (USPS) Informed Platform for mailing and receiving ballots.

+ Read More

Mail Security / United States Postal Service / USPS / U.S. Postal Service / Quality Control / mail / Vote by mail

BREAKING: Congress and the Press Discover that the Postal Service is in Trouble!

Posted by Mark Fallon on Apr 20, 2020 5:00:00 AM

“All legislation, all government, all society is founded upon the principle of mutual concession, politeness, comity, courtesy; upon these everything is based...” – Henry Clay, American Statesman (1777-1852)

In late March, two members of Congress released a statement that unless immediate actions were taken, the US Postal Service (USPS) would run out of cash in June 2020. Their goal was to garner support for adding $25 billion in funding for the USPS as part of the CARES act.

When the stimulus bill was passed, it included provision to allow the USPS to borrow an additional $10 billion due to the COVID-19 crisis. Interestingly, the additional debt can only be used for operating expenses and not capital investments - like new delivery vehicles.

Since that vote, there’s been an explosion of articles and television interviews about the financial struggles of the USPS. It seems that every politician has suddenly developed a sincere concern for the future of the USPS and its ability to serve our country. Similarly, reporters, columnists and pundits are writing articles and delivering commentaries about the financial insolvency of the USPS.

+ Read More

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

What’s a Letter?

Posted by Mark Fallon on Apr 6, 2020 9:00:00 PM

On February 7, 2020, the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) issued Order Number 5422 – “Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to Consider Regulations to Carry Out the Statutory Requirements of 39 U.S.C. 601”. It’s a brief document – only 10 pages – that opens up significant issues around the definition of “a letter”, the U.S. Postal Service’s (USPS) monopoly to deliver letters, and the universal service obligation (USO).

+ Read More

United States Postal Service / USPS / Postal Reform / Postal Regulatory Commission

When Backup Plans Need Backup Plans

Posted by Mark Fallon on Mar 23, 2020 4:30:00 AM

On Sunday, I received an email from a client concerned about his disaster recovery plans. In the first line of his message, he acknowledged it was the weekend and added, “Unfortunately my brain won’t allow me to take too much time off!”

We then exchanged some emails and texts, with plans for a call on Monday morning to review his options. I know he didn’t want to bother me on a Sunday, but he had to start working on the problem as soon as possible.

+ Read More

Mail Security / Strategy / Leadership / mail / disaster recovery / business continuity

Our Unique American Institution

Posted by Mark Fallon on Mar 9, 2020 5:00:00 AM

The Lexington Institute hosted a Capitol Hill Conference on Postal Reform. 
On Friday, March 6, 2020, The Lexington Institute hosted a Capitol Hill Conference on Postal Reform. With a packed room of legislative aides, mailing industry professionals and interested individuals, 12 speakers shared ideas on what has worked, what has failed, and what should be considered to reform the United States Postal Service (USPS).

The roster included:

+ Read More

United States Postal Service / USPS / Postal Reform / Postal Regulatory Commission

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.

+ Read More

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.

+ Read More

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”.

+ Read More

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.

+ Read More

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