Trends in Print and Mail

The Berkshire Company Blog

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

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

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

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

Recognizing Individuals

Posted by Mark Fallon on May 23, 2018 8:47:19 AM


Growing up, I never heard my mother say, "Why can't you be more like your brother?" And I'm not an only child. I'm the second youngest of 10 kids.

My mother recognized each of us as individuals with different talents and skills. For some, it was school. For some, music. For others, sewing and crafts. For some, sports – no stars, but we made the team.

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Operations Management

Updated eBook for 2018 - 110 Tips to Improve Your Mail Center

Posted by Mark Fallon on Apr 17, 2018 5:01:00 AM

The Berkshire Company is excited to announce the publication of the 2018 edition of our popular eBook - 110 Tips to Improve Your Mail Center.

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U.S. Postal Service / National Postal Forum / Operations Management / United States Postal Service

Designing a Mail Center – Key Principles and Concepts

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



There are diverse types of mail centers ranging from small inbound operations staffed by 3 employees to large production operations that print and mail a million pieces a day. No matter what type of work you process, the layout and design of your mail center has a direct impact on your effectiveness and efficiency.

The 5 key principles and concepts when designing a mail center are:

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Strategy / Operations Management / Mail Security

Trends in Print and Mail - The Top 10 Posts from 2017

Posted by Mark Fallon on Jan 3, 2018 5:20:00 AM


A new administration and a new congress took office in 2017. Along with those changes, there was a brief hope for legislative reform when a joint bill was passed by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. As the President and the Senate majority are from the same party, perhaps nominees to the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) Board of Governors would be approved.

However, the legislation has since stalled and the Senate hasn’t scheduled any hearings on the nominees. Letter mail volumes – for both First Class Mail and USPS Marketing Mail – have declined. The Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) announced their findings and proposed rulemaking after completing the mandatory 10-year review of the system for regulating postage rates for Market Dominant products – and the responses from industry and USPS leadership have been negative. Mergers and acquisitions of service providers continue at a brisk pace.

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United States Postal Service / National Postal Forum / Industry Vendors / Operations Management / Outsourcing

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The Berkshire Company improves business processes in your print & mail operations, helping you solve real problems.

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