March 6, 2014
March 1, 2014
February 26, 2014
February 24, 2014
Royal Mail suspends Access price changes pending Ofcom probe
February 20, 2014
February 17, 2014
February 14, 2014
February 12, 2014
Postal Bill Clears Committee In Senate; Closer To Passage
Congress moved a step closer Thursday to rescuing the financially strapped U.S. Postal Service with passage by a Senate committee of legislation that would restructure some debts, drop Saturday service in the future and allow a just-enacted rate hike to be permanent. read more
USPS' Network Rationalization Phase II Postponed
The Postal Service has postponed moving forward with Phase II of Network Rationalization. The Postal Service filed a Federal Register notice on Jan. 17 announcing the postponement of the implementation date for the revised service standards that were scheduled to take effect on Feb. 1, as part of Phase II of the Network Rationalization initiative.
The new implementation date will be announced by the Postal Service in the Federal Register at least 90 days before it takes effect. The Postal Service will continue working with its mailers and customers on this issue to ensure a smooth transition and to give customers ample time to make changes.
IMb Full Service Requirements Delayed By USPS
Last month, the Postal Service announced that it will postpone its plan to require business mailers to use the Intelligent Mail barcode (IMb) for automation discounts. The decision came on the heels of pressure from the Postal Regulatory Commission, which said mailers will already be sufficiently burdened by higher postage rates in 2014. However, the Post insists that it will try to get mailers to participate in the IMb Full Service option as soon as possible.
For many years, adoption of the IMb has been a key goal of the USPS because it is thought that tracking and sorting parcels will become much more efficient. The IMb is also expected to improve overall business services.
In the near term, mailers will be able to ship parcels at automation rates without using the IMb. However, compliance with the Full Service criteria will be still be necessary for mailers to achieve optimal pricing.
For more information about the IMb, mailers should visit the USPS' primer "Steps to Creating Your Intelligent Mail Barcode."
Comparing "FedEx One Rate" With USPS Flat Rate Products
Large shippers typically see greater than 60 percent savings on expedited parcels. Though FedEx's "One Rate" products offer advantages over the Postal Service's Flat Rate offerings, they are considerably more expensive. Industry veteran Gordon Glazer explains. read more
Postal Service Seeks 3-Cent Hike In Stamp Prices
The U.S. Postal Service is seeking a 3-cent hike in first-class stamps, to 49 cents from 46. Pending approval by the Postal Regulatory Commission, the rate hike will go into effect in January. Postcards will go up a penny, to 34 cents. These hikes are expected to raise $2 billion for the Post. "Of the options currently available to the Postal Service to align costs and revenues, increasing postage prices is a last resort that reflects extreme financial challenges," the Postal Service Board of Governors Chairman Mickey Barnett said in a letter to customers. Reactions to the news:
How To Report A Threatening Letter Received At Work
In its recent newsletter, SoBran, Inc. offers the following insights into threatening mail and how to report it to the authorities:
Recent sentencing in the news demonstrates that mailing a threatening letter -- even without white powder -- is against the law.
18 USC § 876 -- Mailing threatening communications: “Whoever...causes to be delivered, as aforesaid, any communication containing any threat to kidnap any person or any threat to injure the person of the addressee or of another, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both.”
In June, a New Jersey woman was taken into custody for mailing threatening letters to members of the U.S. Supreme Court in addition to state and local agencies. It is reported she could face up to 10 years in prison in addition to a fine if convicted.
In response to an Arkansas man sentenced this month to 15 years in prison for sending threatening letters to an Assistant U.S. Attorney and a district judge in 2011, FBI Special Agent in Charge Randall Coleman said, "Sending a threatening letter -- even if it's a hoax -- is a serious crime. It demands a multi-agency response and causes a drain on resources. We will continue to work with our federal, state and local partners to aggressively investigate these matters."
Do You Know How to Report a Threatening Letter Received at Your Business?
If you receive a letter that is threatening, report the letter promptly.
1. Call 1-888-877-7644 to reach the Office of the Inspector General.
2. Or call the Postal Inspection Service at 1-877-876-2455.
3. Or call 911.
OPEX Corp. Recognizes Mavro Imaging As Reseller Of Year
OPEX Corporation has named MAVRO Imaging its top reseller for 2012-2013. MAVRO Imaging is a leader in implementing One-Touch processing to eliminate presorting and multiple handling of documents.
OPEX’s Reseller of the Year award is determined by the highest annual sales revenue produced in conjunction with OPEX’s Partner Reseller program. During the 2012-2013 sales year, MAVRO earned the award for both the highest annual dollars produced as well as the greatest number of hardware and software solutions installed with end-users. read more
Pitney Bowes Sells Its Managed Services Division
Pitney Bowes Inc. announced that it will sell its managed services division to Apollo Global Management, LLC for about $400 million. The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter.
For the last 15 years many mid-to-large companies have outsourced their mail and document services to facilities management (FM) companies to concentrate on their core competencies. So what will this mean to the very competitive FM marketplace that frankly has very few competitors with national coverage?
Currently, virtually all of the non-PB FM players shun PB mailing equipment and services since they are direct competitors. Neopost and Hasler are the main beneficiaries of these relationships since they are the other large provider.
Will the new Apollo FM operation open up and allow its analysts freedom to choose the best qualified product value for the application or will the blinded loyalty to the PB brand continue? If the former is adopted, how will Ricoh, Oce and others respond? Will they consider offering "that which shall not be named"? This should be interesting to follow.
Details reported by the Wall Street Journal on 7/30/13:
For its part, Pitney Bowes plans to focus on its mail and digital-commerce businesses. The company has been consolidating its business to reduce costs.
Pitney Bowes also reported that it swung to a second-quarter loss of $4.6 million, or five cents a share, compared with year-earlier earnings of $104.2 million, or 50 cents a share.
Excluding restructuring charges, write-downs and other items, adjusted earnings from continuing operations were up at 52 cents from 51 cents.
Revenue eased 0.7% to $1.16 billion as double-digit growth in its production mail and mail services mostly offset weakness in other areas.
Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters recently expected per-share earnings of 43 cents on revenue of $1.19 billion.
-- By Gordon Glazer, President, Mail Consulting Division, Shipware LLC.
Affordable Mail Alliance Fights Latest USPS Price-Hike Move
"The Affordable Mail Alliance, a coalition of Postal Service customers, has been re-established to defeat an expected Postal Service proposal to raise postage rates by as much as five times the rate permissible by law. The Postal Service Board of Governors, who must approve the Postal Service’s request, is set to decide on the matter imminently...
"A massive postage rate increase will hit consumers, charities, and large and small businesses at a time when the still fragile economy cannot afford it. The result will be more jobs lost in the private sector in order to maintain an overbuilt postal system, and even less revenue to the Postal Service as mailers flee." read more
Former Postmaster: PAEA Was Set Up To Ensure Future Crisis
In an article critical of postal leadership, retired postmaster Mark Jamison claims that the Postal Accountability & Enhancement Act of 2006 was set up "not so much as a moment of reform as a guarantee of future crisis."
According to Jamison, "the legislation mandated a financial regimen that would almost certainly lead to the sort of deterioration in the finances of the Postal Service that we have seen over the last few years. What intervened to make the situation worse even quicker was the general financial collapse and the Great Recession. Under the theory of never letting a crisis go to waste, PMG Potter and then PMG Donahoe used that crisis as a means to accelerate their agenda of undermining the efficacy of the postal network." read more
A Few Sobering Truths About The U.S. Postal Service
Here are a few facts often lost in the hubbub over postal reform: 1) The U.S. Postal Service has not taken taxpayer money since 1971 and happens to be the only major corporation that is a net creditor of the U.S. government; 2) the USPS has overpaid the Civil Service Retirement System some $80 billion, which the federal government owes the USPS and refuses to return; and 3) as Ralph Nader explains, "UPS and FedEx do not have an emergency preparatory response in place in case of a major disaster or crisis. The Postal Service does -- it bears the responsibility of a full federal agency. In the event of an emergency, the USPS is ready to deliver critical medicine and supplies to every residence in its enormous database of addresses. This response was put to the test and proved to be invaluable after Hurricane Katrina in 2005." Lastly, there are things the USPS can do to jumpstart demand, such as explore ways to provide email and Internet services to its customers and institute a Postal Savings Bank. read more
From the May-June 2013 Edition
Quad/Graphics Invests Big In Mail Processing Plants
Quad/Graphics is strengthening its direct marketing platform and solutions this year with multimillion-dollar investments in mail processing, including creating two regional commingling centers to drive greater postal savings and efficiencies for direct mail marketers. The company also announced it is investing in a new custom web press and other upgrades in its Effingham, Ill., plant, and adding print capabilities to its Westampton, NJ plant. read more
Do You Believe In Mail? Industry Faces Moment Of Truth
For some, the future of mail is a foregone conclusion: there is no future. Mail is dead. And when you consider the volume decline, a poor postal balance sheet, and industry consolidation it is not a leap to think such people are right. So ask yourself: Are mail’s best days in the future or have they passed? read more
New Sorting System Aids Isle Of Man Post; Processing Is Faster
Malcolm MacPherson, Isle of Man Post Office managing director of mails (l), Isle of Man Post Office engineer Craig Adamson, and Michael Schwarzbauer of Siemens (r) with the new Integrated Reading and Video Coding Machine.The camera-based scanning system can read addresses and post codes on around 50,000 letters per hour -- about 25% faster than the company could previously achieve.
DOUGLAS, IM -- The Isle of Man Post Office has modernized its mail automation, using the Siemens Compact Reader Sorter (CRS) in the sorting center in Douglas, the island's capital.
The new system sorts letters and flats, processing up to 800 mail pieces per minute.
Each mail piece, even if hand-written, is automatically scanned on both sides and the electronic image of the consignment is forwarded to the reading system. In this case, complex algorithms ensure that the addresses are automatically identified at a reading rate of up to 95 percent. Moreover, different types of consignment can be processed, such as postcards, letters, and flats.
Compared with the mail automation system previously used, the OCR system from Siemens not only reads 20 percent more mail pieces but is also 25 percent faster.
"The new Siemens OCR system significantly improves mail sorting processes and helps us maintain our competitiveness in the market, as we seek to increase mail volumes by attracting additional work from new international markets," said Malcolm MacPherson, Managing Director of Mails, Isle of Man Post Office.
"With the modernized system, (they) will be able to boost...productivity further," said Jörg Ernst, CEO of Siemens Logistics and Airport Solutions Business Unit.
Drones Deliver Packages In Haiti
The Matternet Drone on a test flight. It recently delivered supplies to a post-earthquake refugee camp in Haiti.
SANTO DOMINGO, DR -- Matternet, Inc. is building drones to deliver packages. The first test of the new technology was the successful delivery of supplies to a post-earthquake refugee camp in Haiti.
Developed by four entrepreneurs studying at NASA, the drones are designed as a low cost means of distributing goods in remote areas. But Matternet sees other applications, including postal delivery.
The Matternet drones are battery powered quadcopters. They are inexpensive to make: for a project in the city of Maseru, Lesotho in southern Africa a drone network would cost $900,000 for the entire city. This is much less than building new roads.
The drones can pick up and deliver packages. Landing stations every couple of miles are necessary for recharging.
Matternet is eyeing the U.S. for its drones, but will have to wait: the FAA is developing regulations for commercial drone flights, to be released in 2015.
Could there be postal applications? Who knows, but the Post has experimented in the past with airborne technologies.
In 1938 the Post began the Autogiro roof-top mail service -- Helicopter Mail. Initiated by PMG James Farley, Helicopter Mail was conceived as part of an integrated processing system in which the aircraft would not have to land. To pick up outgoing mail sacks, the helicopter would hover above the post office and use a lifting device.
In 1946 the Post Office said the system was practical after testing but by the mid-1950’s ended it.
“Helicopter service for air mail is a super service which is costly,” the PO said. “We are not convinced it is warranted.”
New Tray Loader Improves Productivity Up To 75%
DURHAM, NC -- Bell and Howell has introduced its new
Solix mail tray loading system, after finding inserting-system operators
spend 45% of their time at the envelope output conveyor, gathering
finished mailpieces into mail trays.
Implementing Full-Service IM For Automation Prices
The Postal Service is pushing forward with its IMb Full-Service mandate, which is a mistake, industry veteran Gordon Glazer notes. "Looking into my crystal ball, I see a lot of frustrated mailers giving up, turning their mail over to professional letter shops and/or moving their marketing dollars to other media. Another nail in the coffin for mail in America." read more
Experts To Weigh In On Safety Issues At Convention
News that President Obama and Senator Roger Wicker were the targets of ricin attacks in the mail brings home once again the all-important issue of safety and security in the mail center. Operations that do not have contingency plans or poorly developed ones leave themselves vulnerable during times of emergency.
Beginning on April 28, various seminars on mail-center safety will be held at the MAILCOM Convention in Atlantic City. A range of issues will be discussed by leading experts -- among them, mail-borne threats; x-ray integration into one's operation; use of canines to protect property; recognizing and safely handling suspicious mail; security implementation; use of barcode technology to enhance security; and infrastructure protection.
Saturday Mail Stays: Postal Service Suspends Plan
There will be no change in Saturday mail delivery as was proposed, the USPS Board of Governors announced. Regular mail service will continue with no changes in August, as was previously reported. In a statement the Board of Governors said, "Although disappointed with this Congressional action, the Board will follow the law and has directed the Postal Service to delay implementation of its new delivery schedule until legislation is passed that provides the Postal Service with the authority to implement a financially appropriate and responsible delivery schedule."
UAA Secure Destruction
Secure destruction of UAA mail is a service that is offered by the USPS but not many mailers are aware of the program, its costs/benefits and how it works. Come get the facts from Tom Day, Chief Sustainability Officer, U.S. Postal Service at MAILCOM 2013. His session is PM255 and will be held Monday, April 29, 2013, 11:30-12:30am.
Congress Mandates Saturday Mail Delivery
The U.S. Congress has sent President Obama a bill
mandating regular Saturday mail service. It is part of the 2013
continuing resolution to fund the federal government, which the
President is expected to sign.
A report by the Government Accounting Office takes
issue with the USPS' legal rationale that congressional riders requiring
service were not valid in a continuing resolution. The GAO said it does
because "a continuing resolution maintains the status quo regarding
government funding and operations."
How Much Is Your Full Service IMB Tech Credit?
The USPS is offering tech credits up to $5000 to business mailers who upgrade to Full Service IMB (which will be required January 2014). The amount of the credit is based on annual volume: 125K-500K, $2000; 500K-2M, $3000; and, 2M+, $5000. You can calculate your credit here.
From the March-April 2013 Edition
Post Launches Effort To Cut Service, Gut The PRC
WASHINGTON, DC -- The USPS is trying to turn lemons into lemonade, using the onerous Retiree Health Benefit (RHB) pre-funding to achieve postal reforms it failed to win in 2006.
The USPS goal: end PRC oversight of its rate-setting, services, and network. "Extensive price and product controls are...not necessary," Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said before a Senate committee.
"Current law has not created a foundation by which the Postal Service can provide universal service in a financially sustainable manner," the PMG said. His solution: restrict the Postal Regulatory Commission to "after-the-fact reviews or handled through the complaint process."
The PRC was itself a creature of the Postal Reform Act of 2006 that created the RHB requirement. Two days after announcing its Saturday plans, the USPS released its first quarter results. Strip out RHB and the USPS actually made money in the quarter.
The Post delivered almost the same amount of mail year-over-year, with First-Class volume down 4.5% but Standard Mail up 3.6% and package volume up4.0%. Revenue was $17.7 billion, off $17 million from the previous year. Expenses were $18.9 billion of which $1.4 billion is RHB costs. The first quarter is traditionally the USPS' strongest financially, mainly due to the holiday season. The results were also aided by growth in Standard Mail during the months leading up to the election.
The Mailing Industry Weighs In On Saturday Delivery
NEW YORK -- The Journal asked the industry, "Is it a good idea to eliminate regular Saturday mail service? What will be the impact?" The response was overwhelming. Business mailers were outspoken about the proposal and the changes needed for the industry to thrive. read more
Be Careful What You Wish For
NEW YORK -- For much of its history, the Post was led by an outside business executive who actually ran the government agency "like a business." Remember Carvin Marvin Runyon, so named because he kept cutting management ranks? Or banking executive Tony Frank, who automated manual processes?
But for the last fifteen years, the USPS has been led by a career postal employee. First it was PMG Bill Henderson, then his senior operations manager Jack Potter, and now Potter's deputy, Patrick Donahoe.
The problem is, that in all the ways the Postal Service could be more business-like without changing the law, it has not been. read more
Technology of 2013
Most Efficient, Most Secure Remittance Processor
OPEX Eagle is the most efficient, least labor-intensive remittance processor on the market.
The OPEX Eagle is a step into the future of mail extraction and payment processing. Previous methods of processing mailed remittances required multiple steps and touches to get the remittance out of the envelope and into a deposit-ready condition. The Eagle collapses the workflow with advanced payment processing technology.
The system represents the most efficient, least labor-intensive, and most secure processing of remittances available today. It begins with unopened mail being loaded on the feed conveyor and ends with the presentation of checks and documents sorted for best clearing.
Since the imaging of the checks and documents takes place in line with the extraction process, human hands do not touch the contents until after an image of the transaction has been secured.
With 500 milliseconds of available decision time, Eagle can accept input from multiple plug-ins and account for that input in the decision process. When performing electronic clearing through Accounts Receivable Conversion (ARC), Check 21, or Image Exchange, the documents and checks are usually removed from Eagle and placed in a tray for storage or destruction – no further handling of the paper is necessary.
If paper clearing is the best alternative, the image obtained by the Image Export Module makes it possible to run a second pass only on those items. The need to push every check down a subsequent transport has been eliminated.
Eagle does all of this with throughputs that are generally 15% to 30% faster than those achieved on the System 150/IEM -- previously the industry’s most efficient extraction device. Most importantly, Eagle provides the quickest deposit-ready remittance processing available.
For more information, call 856-727-1100 or visit www.opex.com.
Print Mail, Make Envelopes In One Pass With TIMOS
The TIMOS (Totally Integrated Mail Output Solution) is an advanced system that delivers envelope manufacturing, individual printing and inserting all in one pass, enveloped-on-the-fly.
TIMOS can operate at 15,000 units an hour and offers 4-color, full-face, front and reserved digital printing for individualization and personalization. It can produce envelope formats from #7, 9x12, with inserts up to 0.3" in thickness.
TIMOS reduces the time it takes from initial concept to mailbox from about three weeks to one week, enabling marketers a very time-efficient alternative to traditional methods. Instead of ordering envelopes and inserts, the system makes them on the fly.
For more information, go to www.w-d.de/us.
Digital Press Just For Mailers
The MCS KM 1250 black and white digital press is designed exclusively for production print professionals.
A proven work-horse for printing on coated stocks and heavy stocks for mailing, this 125 page-per-minute press features new LED exposure technology for superior imaging at 1200 DPI resolution and can output up to 1.5 million pages per month. The printer has unique oil-free fusing and micro-fine toner which allows it to maintain quality even on coated stocks. Paper-handling is optimized with vacuum air feeding.
For more information, call 800-728-0154 or go to www.mcspro.com.
DropTag Monitors Parcels
Parcels do not have to be scanned when arriving at different stages in the logistics chain. As well as offering shippers real-time information about the status of their packages, the firm says its technology would end the gamble of signing for a delivery without checking the goods first.
Cambridge said its tracker tags would cost less than
$2 to make and would connect with smartphones through GPS and Bluetooth
technology to check up on parcels during delivery. By minimising the
complexity of the electronics in DropTag and, instead, making better use
of smart devices, the company says the DropTag could analyze and log
crucial events for many weeks using just a single coin-cell battery.
EZ-WorkDesk Permits Rapid Induction Into Postal Network
Engineering Innovation's EZ-WorkDesk offers elegant simplicity to parcel processing. This turnkey solution is designed to scan the address block and barcodes of a package, capture its weight and dimensions, then communicate the results to your business logic. It will receive the piece disposition, then generate and print a label.
In 2013 EII introduced the EZ-WorkDesk for automated parcel processing -- featuring IMpb (Intelligent Mail Package Barcode) compliance and an OCR. This versatile mailroom application is the most cost-effective solution for rapid induction into the USPS package shipping network.
OCR technology enables rapid production for new USPS specifications, Intelligent Mail Package Barcode (IMpb), and the Configurable Wide Area Bar Code Reader captures up to five separate barcodes on a single package. The EZ-WorkDesk dimensioning feature captures length, width, and height for USPS Cubic packages and other Dimensioning requirements.
"This versatile mailroom application is the most cost effective solution for rapid induction into the USPS package shipping network," said EII’s COO, Don Caddy. Learn more about Engineering Innovation's EZ-WorkDesk.
Baum Cutters Provide Digital Workflow Integration
The BaumCut 22N, 26.4N and 31.5N series guillotine paper cutters enable digital work-flow integration for cutting programs. Cutting programs can be generated using a JDF file from prepress or built off line using the Compucut program.
The manual programming time for the cutter operator can be eliminated providing higher production rates for the cutting process. After the cutting program is developed, it is transferred to the BaumCut N series cutters using a server provided by the customer.
The cutter operator can then select the program from the memory bank using the touch screen on the cutter or use the unique bar code scanner provided with the cutter.
The scanner places a printed bar code that can be on
the sheets to be cut or a separate bar code printed on a job ticket in
one simple step.
Sort 100,000+ Pieces/Hour In Limited Floor Area
With its single sided dual feeder section, National Presort's Crossfire SE processes mail at 100,000 plus pieces an hour. But the niftiest feature: its compact design.
Created for high volume mailers with limited floor space, Crossfire SE delivers a small footprint, reduced labor and less power consumption.
The Crossfire SE is one of the fastest sorters in the world, capitalizing on NPI's advanced controlling software. Built around patented anti-jam technology, the sorter provides more uptime by nearly eliminating time-consuming jams.
For information, call 888-821-SORT or visit www.npisorters.com to learn more.
May 22-23, 2014
Official Mail Guide
Copyright © 2009-2014 Excelsior. All rights reserved.