Mailing Systems Technology - November/December 2009 - (Page 21)

From the Source Staying up-to-date on the latest requirements and regulations from the U.S. Postal Service is only one piece of the puzzle. It might surprise you to learn that we are actively seeking answers to some of our more puzzling challenges from some unlikely sources: you. Consider some of the changes we’ve implemented over the past few years: the shift to shape-based pricing, the Forever stamp, new flat rates for Priority Mail boxes and envelopes and the Intelligent Mail Barcode. These changes were designed with customers in mind and, often, at the request of the mailing community. It has always been our goal to meet or exceed customer expectations, and over the years, we’ve made necessary adjustments to respond to the changing needs of the industry. Now it’s time to determine if those changes remain relevant to the business of moving mail and supporting commerce through the mail. All proposed rules, rates and regulation changes allowed for customer input as part of the pricing and regulatory process. But the Postal Service has spent the last six months talking directly with mailers of all sizes to find ways to remove barriers that are preventing customers from taking full advantage of the value of mail. Working with the Mailers Technical Advisory Committee (MTAC) and other stakeholders, we’re taking a close look at everything businesses face when attempting to mail with the Postal Service. A MTAC Workgroup was established, co-chaired by Greg Hall, manager of the Postal Service Pricing and Classification Service Center in New York, and Wanda Senne, national director of postal development for World Marketing Inc. The workgroup is charged with identifying regulations or requirements that add no postal or customer value and proposing modifications or eliminating barriers. The goals range from allowing greater flexibility in things such as mailpiece shape, graphics, postage payment and permit formats to consideration of new rate categories for mailers who may value creative flexibility and ease of preparation over the lowest postage prices. We’re looking at ways to jazz up the permit imprint box on a piece of mail, removing some of the restrictions that would allow mailers and businesses to use that area as another potential marketing tool. Mailers are also asking us to change the design of Business Reply Mail, freeing up the space currently reserved for markings, horizontal bars and the legend box that helps us better process mail. By Steve Kearney Making the USPS Work for You And we’re considering changes to the Domestic Mail Manual that would make it easier to navigate and even easier to understand. These may seem like small changes, but they’ll have a big impact on not only adding to the value of mail but also in removing barriers for mailers. The workgroup has more than 70 members who have participated in bi-weekly conference calls since late March. They have met twice for face-to-face meetings. An 18-member Permit Task Group has developed because of the ideas and discussions generated at the task force. While more than 90 ideas and suggestions have been generated, we’ve ranked 32 ideas and issues as “high impact. We’re con” centrating on three or four that we can take care of immediately and taking a longer, more thoughtful look at others before making a final decision. Reviews are ongoing to determine just how feasible and costeffective these ideas are; we’re incorporating task group findings and then finalizing a list of recommendations to be submitted to the MTAC Leadership Team by November 30. It’s a work in progress, but it’s a great example of the mailing industry and the Postal Service working together to eliminate barriers to using the mail. For more information on the workgroup, contact Greg Hall at a Steve Kearney is Senior Vice President, Customer Relations, for the USPS. Saving You Money Over the past year, the Mailing and Shipping Services department has been heavily investing in educating small businesses, especially on the benefits of using direct mail to help market their products and services. We can convince businesses that direct mail works, but we need to make it a little less costly and easier to get started. Reducing or eliminating application fees and permit fees is one of the ideas we’ll test. We’re also going to simplify the process of creating and executing a direct mail campaign, and we’ll be working in partnership with the mailing industry to make these things happen. a NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2009

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Mailing Systems Technology - November/December 2009

Mailing Systems Technology - November/December 2009
Editor’s Note
Real-Life Management
Software Byte
Employing Technology
Everything IMB
Ship It
Best Practices
What You Think
From the Source
Mail Managers React to Economic Times
Cost Comparisons
The Intelligent Mail Challenge
Special Product Profile Section
Reality Check
Pushing the Envelope

Mailing Systems Technology - November/December 2009