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Stepping Into the Fishbowl

Last Tuesday, June 16, Louis DeJoy was sworn in as the 75th Postmaster General. Since his May 6 appointment by the Postal Service’s Board of Governors he’d spend weeks working with retiring PMG Megan Brennan, getting briefed on the agency he would be leading. Now the job was his.

Thanks and greetings

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Flocks of Chickens

In the simplified versions of history we often use in conversation, a past disaster is reduced to its ultimate scenario and immediately preceding event: the Titanic hit an iceberg and sank. In fact, as with most disasters, there’s more to the story: the Titanic was speeding in the dark in an area that its captain had been warned had icebergs, contributing to both not seeing and not being able to timely avoid the berg.

Many disasters have been analyzed forensically, providing a 20-20 view of all the contributing factors and unfortunate decisions that led up to the final scene of the drama. Seldom are we, as observers, able to watch as factors and decisions unfold in our view, moving toward a disastrous result that, despite the warning signs, seems inevitable.

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Opportunism or Reckless Indifference?

A few legal definitions:

• Reckless endangerment is “behaving indifferently to the consequences [of an action or inaction] in such a way as to create a substantial risk of serious physical injury or death to another person.”

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USPS Reminds About Political and Election Mail

It’s that time again: politicians hoping to get into (or stay in) office are trying to reach voters to garner their support, and are still turning to the mail as the medium for their message.

Of course, those candidates and their staffs – as during every election cycle – will want the mailing service company to get their mailings out first and the Postal Service to give them expedited handling, all the while asking for credit until after the election to pay the mailing company’s bill.

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Pandora's Postal Box

Persons bored by legal matters may dismiss the PRC’s inquiry into the regulations implementing the Private Express Statutes as just more pointless inside-the-Beltway bureaucratic paper shuffling. Such an opinion, however, would seriously misunderstand the nature of the discussion being started.

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A Costly Constant: The Persistence of Postal Labor Costs

A report released early last month by the Postal Service’s Office of Inspector General (A Closer Look at Postal Labor Costs) illustrated the persistence of labor as representing the lion’s share of the agency’s total costs. In turn, it offered ratepayers a glimpse of both the magnitude of the expense and how the elements of the sum have changed over the previous decade.

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One Company’s Story: A Case Study in a Business’ Evolution

This article first appeared in the November 11, 2019 edition of Mailers Hub News

In an industry where longevity is a rare quality, the life cycle and evolution of an enterprise in the commercial mailing business can be an interesting case study in adaptation and survival. An example is Whittier Mailing Service.

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OIG Finds Network Changes Failed to Yield Planned Results

An audit report by the Postal Service’s Office of Inspector General revealed that changes the USPS has instituted in its processing operations have failed to produce savings at a pace commensurate with the overall decline in mail volume. Released September 9, the report (NO-AR-19-006, US Postal Service Processing Network Optimization) evaluated “trends and practices the U.S. Postal Service uses to optimize its processing network.”

Summary

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Still Time to Make The Mailers Conference on September 20, 2019

There is still time to make the 2019 Mailers Conference.

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Why Personalization Matters in Direct Mail

Contributed by Summer GouldPresident, Eye/Com

Before we really get started let’s define what personalization in direct mail is. It is more than just putting the name and address on the piece. In 2019, even just adding dear name or just a name is no longer the best way to personalize your direct mail. Don’t get me wrong, you still need to have the name, but you can get so much more creative than that now. So don’t just stop there, get more personal with offers, images, landing pages and more.

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The Article Waiting to be Written

Commentary, by Leo Raymond

Any publication on any topic occasionally finds itself in the situation of knowing newsworthy events lie ahead but about which an article cannot be yet written; they just have to wait. Such is the situation in which we – and colleagues with their own newsletters – find ourselves.

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FREE Mailers Hub Webinar - August 20, 2019

Our speaker will be Jason DeChambeau, Manager, Processing Operations at USPS HQ.

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Informed Delivery Infrastructure Trying to Keep Up with Its Popularity

Excerpted from the latest issue of Mailers Hub News

Although there were plenty of skeptics when the program was being developed, as well as after it was introduced on a limited basis in 2014, since it went nationwide in 2017 Informed Delivery has become very popular – perhaps more popular than even the USPS expected.

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A Complicated Answer to a Simple Question

Excerpted from the May 27, 2019 issue of Mailers Hub News. Subscribers click here to access the full version.

When I spoke recently at an industry gathering, one of the questions I got (after reviewing the PQ II service scores) was what the USPS could do about its service performance. Why is service so poor in some places? What can be done to improve it, especially in the chronically low-performing districts? What actions can management take?

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Focus on Printing Overlooks Impact on Logistics

Excerpted from the May 13 edition of Mailers Hub News. Subscribers can find the full edition and archived issues here
(Not a subscriber? Contact us.)

In case there’s any member of the hard-copy messaging industry who’s not noticed, the traditional distinction between a “printer” and a “mailer” has been blurred – sometimes erased – in recent years as printing companies add mailing capability and mail producers buy digital printing equipment.
(Of course, both are also adding agency, marketing, fulfillment, and other services.)\

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Sizeable PQ 1 Loss Starts USPS Off on Wrong Foot

Excerpted from the February 18, 2019 edition of the Mailers Hub News.

As was observed late last year when the Postal Service reported its volume and revenue figures for October, the first month of fiscal 2019 and the month that benefitted from pre-election mailing activity, it needs more months like that. That assessment was reinforced earlier this month when the less impressive results for the other two months of the first quarter were added and reported on the agency’s PQ I/FY 2019 Form 10-Q.

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Up Close and Personal Can Benefit You

 

Growing your print and mail business by getting in front of your customers means putting them first and making the relationship you have with them an all-day every-day proposition. This probably makes sense to you. But just because it makes sense doesn’t mean it’s easy to actually do.

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Why Use Direct Mail Informed Delivery

Courtesy of Mailers Hub subscriber and Eye/Comm President, Summer Gould

Direct mail is a very powerful marketing channel. Now you can enhance it more by adding informed delivery. What is informed delivery? The USPS offers a free service to subscribers, that sends an email to them with an image of that day’s mail. The default images are not in color, by participating in an informed delivery campaign, you can replace that image with a color image and even add a web link.

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Postal Pintos - The Inflammable LLV Problem

Excerpted from the February 4, 2019 Issue of Mailers Hub News

It’s common knowledge in the postal community that the Postal Service’s fleet of about 140,000 “long-life vehicles” has more than outlived its name. Originally meant to last 24 years (but later extended to 30 years), the ubiquitous LLV is used by city and rural carriers nationwide. Out of production since 1994, the oldest trucks in the fleet are now 31 years old, but the anticipated replacement vehicles, expected to cost about $6 billion in all, have yet to be chosen.

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Client Misconceptions about Direct Mail

Client Misconceptions about Direct Mail

Your clients may have outdated ideas about the effectiveness and value of mailed communications. Mail may seem old fashioned to them, or too expensive. The future of the US Postal Service may concern clients because of reported financial problems or they may be unclear about how to track and monitor mailed communications.

At your next client meeting, block out some time to talk about the role of mail in modern marketing strategies. Showing clients how direct mail has changed to meet the needs of today’s marketers can spur conversations leading to profitable repetitive work.

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