Trends in Print and Mail

The Berkshire Company Blog

I Need to Read More Books

Posted by Mark Fallon on Feb 2, 2022 4:00:00 AM

What I bought on my summer vacation last year.

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Strategy / Leadership / The Berkshire Company / books / reading

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.

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

5 Postal and Print Issues for 2020

Posted by Mark Fallon on Dec 30, 2019 8:53:17 AM


It’s impossible to predict the future, but when there are storm clouds in the sky, you can be pretty sure it’s going to rain. Lightning and downpours can be seen in the distance, inching their way forward. We brace for the worst.

Of course, a good rain helps farmers grow crops. Watersheds and aquifers are refreshed, increasing the supply of clean water for our homes. Grasslands and forests are rejuvenated, staving off brutal fires.

There are clouds in the skies for the print-mail industry.

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Industry Vendors / Strategy / USPS / U.S. Postal Service / Postage Rates / NPF / mail / Postal Regulatory Commission / print

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

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

The Threat of Second Guessing

Posted by Mark Fallon on Mar 19, 2019 5:01:00 AM


“True understanding comes from reflecting on your own experience. You are your own best teacher.” - Warren Bennis

Buyer’s remorse. Monday morning quarterbacking. Second-guessing.

Whatever you call it, we’ve all been guilty of wondering “what should I have done differently?” Especially when our plans don’t turn out as we expected. And if we aren’t careful, dwelling on our missteps can prevent us from succeeding in the present. And the future.

Reflection after something goes wrong is a good idea. We should analyze our mistakes, and determine how to prevent them from recurring. A good process is to write down what occurred, and what we were thinking as we made key decisions. In light of the actual outcome, we can uncover flaws in our methods and ensure that we don’t repeat our mistakes.

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Operations Management / Strategy / Leadership

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

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

CAPS is Dead, Long Live EPS

Posted by Mark Fallon on Jul 24, 2018 7:33:49 AM

In February 2018, the United States Postal Service (USPS) announced the launch of their new Enterprise Payment System (EPS). As the USPS demonstrates in the below chart, EPS will bring together payments for all types of postal expenses.

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Strategy / USPS / U.S. Postal Service