May 22, 2013
May 21, 2013
May 18, 2013
May 15, 2013
May 13, 2013
May 9, 2013
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.
September 22-24, 2013
Riviera Hotel, Las Vegas
Official Mail Guide
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