Latest Headlines

———  POSTAL  ———

Cluster Boxes to Become Mail Receptacles of the Future

The U.S. Postal Service will no longer deliver mail to the door for new addresses, pushing mail users to instead cluster their mailboxes in a centralized area.  The new policy marks a sharp shift as the agency continues to find ways to cut costs and follows through on a proposal for which it has long advocated. USPS announced the change in a recent update to its Postal Operations Manual, in which it also made “centralized delivery” its preferred method of dropping off mail.  Read more at Government Executive

 PMG Promotes Informed Delivery at NPF

Informed Delivery, the USPS offering that allows consumers to receive digital previews of their incoming mail, has reached nearly 10 million users, Postmaster General Megan J. Brennan announced at the National Postal Forum (NPF).  “Informed Delivery broadens the definition of the mail moment by bridging the digital and physical. It allows consumers to connect to their physical mail anytime, anywhere,” she said.  Since its national rollout last year, Informed Delivery has experienced rapid growth and is adding about 135,000 new users per week.  Read more at USPS

Election and Political Mail Coming to a Mailbox Near You

The Postal Service is reminding employees of the differences between Election Mail and Political Mail.  Election Mail refers to mail that allows individuals to participate in the voting process, such as ballots for domestic or international delivery, while Political Mail consists of mailing from registered political candidates, parties and related organizations.  There are different tagging requirements for Election Mail and Political Mail that move thorough the postal network.  Read more at USPS

The President’s Postal Service Task Force

Through executive order, President Donald Trump has created a Postal Service task force to “develop recommendations for administrative and legislative reforms” and to report its findings by August 10.  The task force is comprised of senior administration officials including Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Budget Director Mick Mulvaney and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.  Postal Service reform is long overdue and should be an urgent bipartisan priority.  Without prompt action, taxpayers could face a roughly $100 billion bailout.  The financial security of postal workers and retirees is also at stake.  Read more at Lexington Institute

Data Driven

USPS uses data not only to ensure operations run smoothly, but also to help businesses make better use of the mail, Enterprise Analytics Vice President Isaac Cronkhite told the National Postal Forum (NPF).  “Our mission is to provide the right information, to the right people, at the right time,” Cronkhite said.  The Postal Service collects data through a variety of sources, including scanning and Intelligent Mail Barcodes, and uses this information to power its Informed Visibility (IV) platform.  USPS employees, business customers and others can use IV to track mailpieces from the moment they enter the mail stream to when they are delivered, providing real-time location data at every point along the way.  Read more at USPS Link

———  DIRECT MAIL  ———

Does Funny Direct Mail Marketing Work?

Yes, humor and good direct mail marketing work.  A low price does not have to be the driving factor in your direct mail, don’t sell your mail short!  If you can create your mail piece with a funny theme, it resonates and drives a better response.  Of course your offer still matters but the funny creative can really help.  Humor helps you stand out from the competition and gets your mailer shared with others.  Basically, the more memorable your mail is, the more effective your campaign will be.  Read more at the Eye/Comm Blog

Scannable Catalog Makes Shopping for Jeep Parts Simple

Quadratec is a company that sells parts for Jeeps, and in the fall of 2016, the company launched it’s first scannable catalog using image recognition to make every page shoppable.  Printing Impressions spoke with Bear Pratt, VP of marketing for Quadratec, who explained that the company worked with its printer, Quad/Graphics, to develop the technology so it would be affordable and scalable.  Since implementation, the company has seen about a 3% increase in sales.  Read more and check out the video at PI World

Making Direct Mail…Direct Again

Mail is less likely to be ignored than an online ad or email.  One of the surprising finds made recently is the long life that a postcard program has, once it’s in a customer’s hands.  It was once assumed that the response window on this first-class mailer would be two to thirty days.  But people hang onto the physical postcard for sixty days, ninety days, and even beyond.  They sometimes hang onto them and respond even after an offer period has ended and they don’t get the special price!  Thus, mail serves as a branding vehicle as much as a response vehicle.  Read more at Navistone

———  PAPER  ———

U.S. Paper Recovery Rate Reaches 65.8 Percent in 2017

The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) today announced that 65.8 percent of paper consumed in the U.S. was recovered for recycling in 2017.  U.S. paper recovery rate statistics are available at  “Paper recycling brings continued economic, environmental and social benefits to communities across the country,” said AF&PA President and CEO Donna Harman. “We thank the millions of Americans who choose to recycle every day for their essential contributions to paper recycling’s success.”  Read more press release here.

U.S. States, Industry Join Call for End to Newsprint Tariff

An organization of western U.S. states and Canadian provinces is joining the call for the U.S. government to drop its preliminary duties on imported newsprint and book paper.  PNWER members include B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, Yukon, Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana, with a head office in Seattle. Its executive statement, released Thursday, notes that the U.S. paper industry has shifted away from newsprint as demand in the U.S. has declined by 75 per cent since 2000.  Read more at North Delta Reporter

———  LOGISTICS  ———

Technology could ease driver shortage: IRU

Autonomous vehicles and driver shortages topped the agenda of the spring meetings at International Road Transport Union’s (IRU) goods transport council.  American Trucking Associations President and CEO, Chris Spear, focused on ‘driver assisted’ rather than ‘driver displaced’ technology, encouraging the industry and regulators to look at the next five to 15 years, which promise to deliver assisted driving rather than a switch to full automation.  The IRU said in a statement that assisted driving also has the potential to transform the workforce to become younger and more technologically skilled in the very near future. Spear argued for training and investment into a new block of aspiring talent to ease current driver shortages.  Read more at Prime Mover Magazine

US Trucking Pushes Apprenticeships to Attract Drivers

Is there a solution to the truck driver shortage?  Higher wages are a good start, but the trucking industry must recruit younger drivers, speakers at the NASSTRAC 2018 Shippers Conference in Orlando, Florida, said recently.  Some industry groups and carriers see apprenticeship and driver-training programs as the best way to blunt the demographic challenge posed by an aging trucking workforce, a problem they say gets worse with each passing year.  Further, amid strong competition for labor, the trucking sector will redouble efforts to reach out to individuals who may not have made trucking a first choice and/or members of disadvantaged groups who may not have known about rewarding, satisfying careers that are possible in trucking.  Read more at Journal of Commerce

UPS and Teamsters Discuss Two-Tier Wages, Sunday Deliveries

United Parcel Service Inc. and the Teamsters union are discussing a two-tier wage system that would allow the company to hire lower-paid workers to deliver packages on weekends, including Sundays, as the parcel giant seeks ways to manage the surge in e-commerce.  The proposal, raised in recent contract negotiations, calls for creating a “hybrid driver” position that would earn as little as $15 an hour and top out at an hourly wage of $30. These employees’ regular schedule would be Sunday to Thursday or Tuesday to Saturday, avoiding costly overtime.  Read more at Wall Street Journal