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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

Terrible Timing – The Absurdity of the August Rate Increase

Posted by Mark Fallon on Aug 1, 2021 11:03:09 AM

For over 6 months, mailing industry professionals – through their associations and as individuals – have expressed their concerns about a second postage rate increase in 2021. Through group calls with the US Postal Service (USPS) leadership, meetings with the postmaster general, and many articles and blog posts, the message has been clear – a second rate increase in 2021 will cause harm. Annual budgets have been set, printers and mailers are just beginning to recover from the pandemic, and USPS service levels will be lowered in September.

Their efforts were for naught.

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United States Postal Service / USPS / U.S. Postal Service / Postage Rates / Postal Regulatory Commission / Postmaster General / The Berkshire Company

20 Years and the Journey Continues

Posted by Mark Fallon on Apr 27, 2021 9:50:53 AM

“Any exceptionally successful person who does not think that good luck is the #1 factor in their success is a pitiful creature.” – Tom Peters

2001 - 2021

In April 2001, I decided to try my luck at starting a company. As my father pointed out to me at the time, I had a well-paying job with good benefits. I was leading a great team of people whose hard work led to success after success. We were pushing the envelope on print-mail technology as well as new ideas on what was expected from an in-plant shop.

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The Berkshire Company / consulting

What’s the Cost of the Universal Service Obligation?

Posted by Mark Fallon on Mar 16, 2021 11:51:53 AM


On December 10, 2020, The Postal regulatory Commission issued Order Number 5777, requesting comment on Docket No. PI2021-1: Public Inquiry on the Universal Service Obligation Valuation Methodology. The Berkshire Company submitted the following document in response to the PRC.

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United States Postal Service / USPS / U.S. Postal Service / Postal Regulatory Commission / Universal Service Obligation

A Ship Adrift – The US Postal Service

Posted by Mark Fallon on Feb 1, 2021 4:00:00 AM



The last year has brought one challenge after another. The pandemic. Civil rights protests. A divisive election. Violent rioters in our nation’s capital.

The impact to the US Postal Service (USPS) was augmented by additional factors.

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United States Postal Service / USPS / U.S. Postal Service / Postal Reform / Postage Rates / Postal Regulatory Commission / Postmaster General

Preparing for the 2021 Rate Increase

Posted by Mark Fallon on Jan 18, 2021 12:14:04 PM


On Sunday, January 24, 2021, the new US Postal Service (USPS) postage rates and rules go into effect. Mailers mailers have less than a week to complete their final preparations.

This may be the last increase under the ratemaking rules established under the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA) of 2006. Under the PAEA, the rates for Market Dominant products – First-Class Mail, USPS Marketing Mail, Periodicals, etc. – were limited by the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

After completing their 10-year review, the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) modified the ratemaking rules. On November 30, 2020, the PRC issued Order No. 5763 – Order Adopting Final Rules for the System of Regulating Rates and Classes for Market Dominant Products. Under the new system, the USPS will have additional rate authority to raise rates. The factors include a combination of delivery density and retirement-related expenses. The rules went into effect on January 15, 2021 and may be used by the USPS to raise rates above CPI.

There are currently four legal appeals on the PRC order, including one by the USPS. Industry advocates claim that the PRC overstepped its authority, while the USPS is appealing the narrow scope of the order. Until the courts issue a ruling, the order remains in effect.

The current USPS price list – Notice 123 – is available on Postal Explorer as either an HTML or PDF document. Until January 24, the new rates are available for download as either an Excel or PDF file. The Excel file has a tab for each rate class, complete with Zone and weight tables.

Even with the increase, postage rates are a great deal. The USPS retail rates for letter mail remain lower than our trading partners – including the countries that have privatized their posts. This is the current prices for one-ounce stamps (based on exchange rates in effect on January 17, 2020):

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

Aggressive Address Management is Essential to Mailing Success

Posted by Mark Fallon on Oct 20, 2020 6:00:00 AM

Last month, the United States Postal Service (USPS) filed a notice in the Federal Register of their intent to update address standards for mailers. In addition to aligning the address database product cycle with other mailing products, the proposal calls for more frequent updating of mailing addresses. Effective July 1, 2021, the period for coding addresses for automation and carrier route mailings will be reduced from 90 days to 60 days before the mailing date.

This is a reasonable standard and should be embraced by business mailers.

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United States Postal Service / Operations Management / USPS / U.S. Postal Service / address management

The Postal Service Isn't Broke; They Need a Bailout Anyway

Posted by Mark Fallon on Sep 7, 2020 4:00:48 PM


In my decades of working in the mailing industry, there’s never been as much public interest in the US Postal Service (USPS) as there is right now. I remember the headlines of 1970, but that’s because my father was a postal worker. I was just a kid and didn’t appreciate the situation.

50 years later, the situation is different. My business – and the businesses of my customers – are tied to the fate of the USPS. The pandemic has hit the mailing industry hard, with massive declines in volumes. News websites and social media are awash with stories about mounting losses and substantial delivery delays. The importance of vote-by-mail in the upcoming election has further politicized the situation.

The financial situation of the USPS is bad.

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United States Postal Service / USPS / U.S. Postal Service / Postal Reform / Vote by mail / Postmaster General

The Self-Inflicted Troubles of the Postmaster General

Posted by Mark Fallon on Aug 10, 2020 4:00:00 AM

It’s been eight weeks since Mr. Louis DeJoy began his service as the 75th Postmaster General (PMG) of the United States and Chief Executive Officer of the United States Postal Service (USPS). In that short period of time, he’s done something his recent predecessors could not – have the Congress and the Press shine a spotlight on the USPS.

However, the coverage is around 99.76% negative.

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United States Postal Service / USPS / U.S. Postal Service / Leadership / Vote by mail / Postmaster General

Postmaster General DeJoy Should Know Silence Isn’t Golden

Posted by Mark Fallon on Jul 20, 2020 1:17:52 PM


Last month, Mr. Louis DeJoy began his service as the 75th Postmaster General (PMG) of the United States and Chief Executive Officer of the United States Postal Service (USPS). On his first day in office, PMG DeJoy released a video praising USPS employees and recognizing outgoing PMG Megan Brennan. It was an upbeat message that was received well by employees and customers alike.

There have been no public statements by PMG DeJoy since then. Just silence.

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United States Postal Service / USPS / U.S. Postal Service / Postage Rates / Leadership / Postal Regulatory Commission / Postmaster General

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.

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

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