Trends in Print and Mail

The Berkshire Company Blog

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

Planning for the Future When Buying for Today

Posted by Mark Fallon on Feb 25, 2019 12:21:23 PM


The technology used in the print and mail industry is changing rapidly. Every year, equipment speed and capability is improving. It’s challenging to buy for the present and keep an eye towards the future. So how do we solve today’s issues and prepare for tomorrow’s needs?

There are 4 key principles to follow when buying and planning:

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Operations Management / Technology / Outsourcing / Strategy / Purchasing

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 / Technology / 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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Technology / USPS / U.S. 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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Industry Vendors / Technology

The Unstoppable Move to Less Paper, and the Upcoming Upheaval of the Mailing Industry

Posted by Mark Fallon on Dec 12, 2017 6:30:12 PM



Roaming through a used book store, I came across "Writing with a Word Processor" by William Zinsser. Written in 1983, the book chronicles Zinsser teaching himself how to use an IBM Displaywriter – one of the first office word processors. More than just a look back to the adoption of modern technology, the book provides some insight to what we can expect in the future – less paper.

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Industry Vendors / Operations Management / Technology / Outsourcing / Strategy

Healthcare Payers and the Shift to Digital Communication: A Survey

Posted by Mark Fallon on Oct 24, 2017 12:01:11 PM



My bank gave me a choice – receive my monthly statement online, or pay a fee for a paper copy. For my car loan, the interest rate would be a point lower if I accepted automatic withdrawal and online notices. My utility company prints a request on every bill – and envelope – to pay electronically. As a consultant, I’ve seen several clients in these industries replace physical mail with digital documents.

One industry that has trailed on the move to digital has been healthcare – both providers and payers. Challenges include systems integration, member and patient preferences, and of course, federal and state regulations. Due to interpretations of the Affordable Care Act, many healthcare companies saw an increase in their volumes of physical mail beginning in 2013.

Until recently.

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Operations Management / Technology / Digital

20 Trustworthy Tips

Posted by Mark Fallon on Sep 19, 2017 7:23:13 AM


Continuous improvement leads to continued success. Small, incremental steps can have significant and long-lasting impact on your operation.

Here are 20 tips to consider along your path to excellence.

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Operations Management / Technology

Why Use the RFP Process? Because it works!

Posted by Mark Fallon on Apr 18, 2017 9:48:56 AM

Recently, I participated in an online discussion about the Request for Proposal (RFP) process. It was similar to the conversations I have with clients when we recommend using an RFP to select a new vendor for equipment, software or services. In both cases, the argument revolves around whether the results justify the hard work and time required.

To be clear, a well-executed RFP requires substantial effort. At a high-level, the process includes the following steps:

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Operations Management / Technology / Outsourcing

Color, Color, Everywhere

Posted by Mark Fallon on Apr 11, 2017 5:01:00 AM

My document production team was excited. We’d already surpassed our goal of driving down the costs of color printing down to less than 35 cents a page. With the installation of our new digital press, we’d cut those costs in half – less than 15 cents per page. For full color!

This was in the late 1990s, when I was the Vice President of Document Technology & Delivery at State Street Corporation. We’d just installed the IBM model of Xeikon’s digital press; one of the first roll-fed, full-color digital printers. It was a major leap forward for the team, with a steep learning curve. Success was the result of a lot of hard work and late nights.

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Operations Management / Technology