FEBRUARY 2011

FRONT PAGE WHAT'S UP INSIDE SCOOP
KEEPING POSTED SPOTLIGHT ON SUCCESS INFO@USPS

FRONT PAGE

POSTAL SERVICE LAUNCHES NEW PO BOX SERVICES

EXPANDED ACCESS AND BAKER’S DOZEN PROMOTION AMONG NEW OFFERINGS

Photo of woman opening a PO Box.

To better serve its customers, the Postal Service recently began offering new services for customers of 32,000 PO Boxes at 49 locations.

The change means the Postal Service can provide many of the same services offered by competitors at comparable prices — providing customers with added value and convenience. It also provides the Postal Service with an opportunity to generate more revenue at retail units.

The following new services now are available at the participating Post Offices:

  • A “Baker’s Dozen” promotion for new customers (13 months of service for a 12-month PO Box payment).
  • No key deposit required for the first two keys issued to new customers.
  • A “Signature on File” service for the following signature-required mail: Express Mail, Insured Mail over $200, Signature Confirmation and Return Receipt for Merchandise.
  • Expanded and earlier lobby access.

The 49 Post Offices represent 53 ZIP codes. For a listing of the participating offices and more information about the new PO Box pricing and services, see the Dec. 30, 2010, issue of Postal Bulletin.

The Postal Service proposed the new PO Box services in March last year and received approval for the offerings from the Postal Regulatory Commission in June, 2010.

POSTAL SERVICE BEGINS 2011 WITH LOSS IN FIRST QUARTER

RECESSION EASES, BUT FIRST-CLASS MAIL VOLUME CONTINUES TO DECLINE

The U.S. Postal Service ended the first quarter of this fiscal year (Oct. 1-Dec. 31, 2010) with a net loss of $329 million, compared with a net loss of $297 million for the same period in fiscal year 2010.

Despite significant cost reductions and efforts to grow revenue, current financial projections indicate that the Postal Service will have a cash shortfall and will have reached its statutory borrowing limit by the end of the fiscal year. Absent changes in applicable laws, the Postal Service will be forced to default on some of its financial obligations to the federal government on Sept. 30, 2011.

“The Postal Service continues to seek changes in the law to enable a more flexible and sustainable business model,” said Postmaster General and CEO Patrick Donahoe. “We are eager to work with Congress and the administration to resolve these issues prior to the end of the fiscal year.”

Economic indicators suggest that the worst of the precipitous volume decline during the recession is over. The lack of strong economic growth, however, continues to have an impact on the Postal Service’s financial situation.

The Postal Service is aggressively pursuing a plan to reduce total expenses, including organizational redesign initiatives. The agency projects $2 billion in cost savings in fiscal year 2011, including a reduction of some 40 million work hours across the organization. Benefits of these initiatives, however, may be offset by rising fuel prices. Also, new contracts with the American Postal Workers Union (APWU) and the National Rural Letter Carriers Association (NRLCA) are currently in negotiation.

Copies of the first quarter financial results are available on the Postal Service website.

UNIFORM PRICING KEEPS IT SIMPLE

PRIORITY MAIL FLAT RATE ENVELOPES SYNC UP FOR SUCCESS

Image of Priority Mail Flat Rate envelopes.

The introduction of flat-rate products Jan. 2 also ushered in uniform pricing for Priority Mail Flat Rate Envelopes — adding convenience and value for customers.

For domestic shipping, there now are a variety of Priority Mail Flat Rate Envelopes at the uniform retail rate of $4.95. The new uniform pricing applies to all Priority Mail envelopes smaller than 12.5 by 9.5 inches, including the standard Priority Mail Flat Rate Envelope, Gift Card Envelope, Small Envelope, and Window Envelope. The $4.95 rate also applies to the Priority Mail Flat Rate Legal Envelope and Priority Mail Flat Rate Padded Envelope, which are designed primarily for commercial customers and are available online at shop.usps.com or by calling 800-610-8734.

The retail price to mail all six is the same flat rate, regardless of whether the phrase “Flat Rate Envelope” is printed on the mailpiece.

“The move to a uniform flat-rate price for these Priority Mail envelopes is consistent with our overall commitment to simplify product offerings and increase convenience for customers,” says Gary Reblin, USPS vice president, Domestic Products. “By implementing a consistent pricing approach for all our Priority Mail Flat Rate Envelopes, we now have a more effective way to attract new business.”

Simplicity and uniformity in pricing extends to international shipping as well. Priority Mail Flat Rate Envelopes can be used for shipments up to 4 pounds to more than 190 international destinations at a flat rate of $11.95 to Canada and Mexico, and $13.95 to other countries.

With their simplified pricing, expedited service, and worldwide reach, Priority Mail Flat Rate Envelopes are priced to move.

Click here for more information.

WHAT’S UP

PCC 50th anniversary logo.

LOGO CELEBRATES 50 YEARS OF SUCCESS

The Postal Customer Council network has accomplished much in the past 50 years (1961-2011).

To help celebrate this important milestone, a 50th anniversary logo has been created for use on PCC letterhead, newsletters, postcards, websites, event signage, clothing and PCC office items. Specific instructions on size, dimensions, font, color and placement of the logo can be found in the PCC Graphics Guide.

The PCC program began in 1961 with the formation of local mailer councils, known as Citizens Advisory Councils. The former Post Office Department organized the councils to improve communications between customers and local managers. In 1971, the Citizens Advisory Councils were renamed Postal Customer Councils.

Among the early PCCs were the Greater Dallas PCC and the Baltimore PCC, both established in 1961.

Ruthie Ewers, Jerry Gray and Jack Carroll were founders of the Greater Dallas PCC. They are now retired and board members emeritus. Former Postmaster General Marvin Runyon asked Ewers to serve as the first National PCC Industry Co-Chair, and she traveled the country to help establish other PCCs. To learn more about the Dallas PCC, visit the chapter website.

Joe Fetcho, owner and founder of Circular Advertising Corp., was one of the longest serving members of the Baltimore PCC. He held many executive positions and retired last year after 49 years. His son, Joe, is now active with the Baltimore PCC and serves on the Executive Board. To learn more about the Baltimore PCC, visit the chapter website.

Today, there are more than 200 PCCs representing more 100,000 active mailers.

As it has since 1961, the Postal Service supports the PCC network with management and resources, and it views the PCC Network as an important alliance for improving customer service, customer satisfaction and sustaining a viable Postal Service well into the future.

FORUM DISCOUNT STILL AVAILABLE

NPF logo

Early-bird registration for the National Postal Forum (NPF) in San Diego has been extended two weeks until Feb. 25. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to save $50 on your registration.

While registering at www.npf.org, view and download the matrix that provides a complete day-by-day, hour-by-hour listing of the workshop schedule. There are more than 130 workshops planned for the 2011 San Diego Forum. The Forum is the mailing industry’s premier educational and trade show event you can’t afford to miss.

Join NPF on Facebook and follow what’s happening as the 2011 NPF date approaches. Click here to go directly to the NPF page and click on the “Like” button at the top of the page. NPF also is on LinkedIn and Twitter. You can become fans of these two sites by clicking on NPF LinkedIn and Twitter.

PRIORITY MAIL FLAT RATE BOXES SURGE

Priority Mail Flat Rate Boxes.

December 2010 was a huge month for Priority Mail Flat Rate Boxes. Volume surged, increasing 33.6 percent over the same period last year to 19.4 million pieces — the highest monthly total ever for flat-rate boxes.

The popularity of Priority Mail Regional Rate Boxes also is growing. Since their introduction Jan. 2, more than 1 million have been ordered through the Expedited Package Supply Center.

Designed for commercial and online shippers, Priority Mail Regional Rate Boxes are intended for package shipments requiring fast delivery over shorter distances.

Qualifying commercial and online customers can order Priority Mail Regional Rate Boxes at usps.com/shop or by calling 800-610-8734.

SIX MARKETING TRENDS FOR 2011

Image of cover of Deliver magazine, February 2011.

Direct mail is on the rebound, according to a recent article in Deliver magazine.

“Somewhere around the midpoint of 2010, people began investing again in the mail chain in a way that they hadn’t really been doing since the recession began,” says Jonathan Margulies, a director at Winterberry Group, a strategic consulting firm.

Margulies — whose firm projects a 5.9 percent growth in direct mail this year — isn’t alone in his optimism. London-based ZenithOptimedia, a leading media services company, projects total direct mail spending in the United States will rise 2.9 percent in 2011. Marketing services overall will jump 2.6 percent, according to ZenithOptimedia.

While mail won’t be the only marketing channel to benefit from a healing economy, the Deliver article explains, several trends play to direct mail’s strengths — measurable return on investment (ROI), customer acquisition, targeting, digital integration and personalization.

The article identifies these trends to watch:

  • Acquisition efforts restart: In 2011, “We return to the business of growth,” says Margulies, predicting direct mail will remain a preferred alternative for winning new customers.
  • Targeting pervades: Credit card mailings will rebound.
  • ROI takes priority: Businesses will focus on ROI more than ever before.
  • Digital integration strengthens: The convergence of direct mail and digital will accelerate. Expect widespread use of quick response codes.
  • Personalization progresses: The industry will continue to test techniques that make campaigns feel more personal.
  • Tablets take off: Research firm Gartner predicts “media tablets are poised for strong growth.”

“Now is the time to take advantage of the most effective marketing channel there is — direct mail,” says Paul Vogel, USPS president and chief marketing/sales officer.

Click here to read the article in Deliver.

MOVERSOURCE TARGETS NEW CUSTOMERS

The Postal Service and Imagitas Inc. recently signed a 10-year renewal of their MoverSource Alliance contract — a program that each year helps approximately 44 million U.S. residents with the change-of-address process. The MoverSource program includes The Mover’s Guide, MoversGuide Online and The Welcome Kit.

The Mover’s Guide combines the Postal Service change-of-address order with information kits that provide savings for moving-related products and services.

MoversGuide Online helps people process change-of-address orders and receive moving information and coupons online at usps.com.

The Welcome Kit, mailed to the customer’s new address, contains official confirmation of the change-of-address order and mail-forwarding information, along with local information, such as how to register to vote, the names of local officials, and national and local savings offers.

The MoverSource program can provide great advertising opportunities for PCCs. For more information, visit imagitas.com or call 781-906-4800.

NEW REPLY MAIL SERVICE TYPE IDENTIFIERS

Photo of business reply envelope.

Are you in the process or are you already using the Intelligent Mail barcode (IMb) on your reply mail? Customers applying now for use of the IMb on their Courtesy Reply Mail (CRM), Permit Reply Mail (PRM) and Metered Reply Mail (MRM) will be given new service type identifiers.

Previously, CRM, PRM and MRM shared the same service type identifiers as other categories of First-Class Mail. The new service type identifiers (STIDs) enable the proper identification and reporting of reply mail pieces bearing an Intelligent Mail barcode as they move through the postal system.

When replenishing reply mail inventory, mailers need to begin using the new STIDs. The complete list of STIDs can be found online at RIBBS.

The Postal Service will continue to process without penalty reply mailpieces encoded with old STIDs.

FYI

The latest issue of PCC Management Insights is now available online. It features an article on PCC Network Branding.

INSIDE SCOOP

Inside Scoop graphic: Customers have used more than 375 million flat-rate boxes since USPS introduced them in 2004.

KEEPING POSTED

2011

  • National Postal Forum, May 1-4, San Diego, CA

  • National PCC Day, September 21, Tampa, FL

INFO@USPS

YOUR LINKS TO MAILING RESOURCES

U.S. Postal Service: usps.com
National PCC Network: usps.com/pcc
RIBBS: ribbs.usps.gov
Questions? Comments? Send an e-mail to pccinsider@usps.gov
Sign up for PCC Insider at usps.com/pcc, select “PCC Insider Registration”
PCC Insider online archives
PCC Management Insights online archives

SPOTLIGHT ON SUCCESS

DIVERSITY BUSINESS OWNERS GIVE POSTAL SERVICE HIGHEST RANK — AGAIN

In a survey of 750,000 diversity business owners, the Postal Service has been named the No. 1 federal agency for multicultural business opportunities.

DiversityBusiness.com — a multicultural business-to-business website and sponsor of the survey — presents the award each year to companies and government agencies it says “consistently buy the most products and services from diversity businesses and that sustain the most mutually beneficial business relationships with multicultural suppliers.”

This recognition marks the 11th consecutive year the Postal Service has ranked among the top federal agencies for promoting multicultural business opportunities.

The Postal Service and other winning companies will be honored at a special awards ceremony in April in Washington, DC.

© 2010 United States Postal Service. The following are among the many trademarks owned by the United States Postal Service: USPS®, U.S. Postal Service®, United States Postal Service®, Postal Service™, Post Office™, Priority Mail®, Express Mail®, Standard Mail™, First-Class Mail®, Registered Mail™, Certified Mail™, RIBBS™, Delivery Confirmation™, Signature Confirmation™, ZIP Code™, Click-N-Ship®, FOREVER®, NetPost®, Intelligent Mail®, Stamps Now®, PCC Insider® and The Postal Store®. This list is not a comprehensive list of all Postal Service marks. See our privacy policies at usps.com. If you prefer not to receive future e-mail communications from the Postal Service, contact PCC Insider to stop future e-mails. Write us at: PCC Insider, U.S. Postal Service, 475 L’Enfant Plaza Rm 4541, Washington DC 20260-4541



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