Going Postal!

January 26th, 2012

With drastic changes coming for the U.S. Postal Service in the next few years how will your company’s use of postage begin to change?

Today’s post is by Mark Davis; Vice President of Operations and CTO at SafeSourcing

Back in December, the U.S. Postal Service announced that it wanted to cut $3 billion in costs in 2012 so that they could avoid bankruptcy.  Delays in mail, eliminating Next day mail, eliminating Saturday delivery are all things that were under consideration for upcoming changes.  As the organization struggles to maintain operations in the wake of an electronic world that has eliminated the need for so much mail, the question for businesses becomes how are they going to begin migrating as well to avoid the rising postage costs?

Today we will be looking at a few ways companies are already doing this, in some cases saving as much as $250 to $500k a year in postage costs.

Customer statements  – Customer statements can encompass many things, be it invoices, monthly statements, performance reports, etc. but in the end what it really means is that there is at least one piece of paper that is getting inserted into an envelope and being mailed to an address or P.O. box.  In just this one activity there is the cost of printing and paper, the envelope, the postage, the processing time (whether machine or human), the delay of having that item be received and on top of all of that there is the element of an imperfect world where, due to address changes, handling mistakes or customer error, the item may never make into the hands of who it was intended to at all.  With all these things in mind, and because of the savings for handling this electronically it is easy to see why it is a big focus many businesses are starting to have.

Catalogs – There will be an element of customers that for a while will always want paper catalogs, however with the cost of generating those catalogs going up and the generations of people that will continue to demand them decreasing, the need to continue producing paper catalogs will be one that many companies closely examine in the next 5-10 years.  Add to all of that the fact that updating on online catalog can take mere seconds and updating a printed catalog is impossible after it is printed and the need to assess the ROI on continuing to print large catalogs.  In fact it’s been almost 20 years since one of the most famous catalogs (Sears RoebucK in 1993) stopped printing due to rising costs.

Employee communications – Newsletters, paystubs, tax forms, medical forms, human resource packages are all examples of traditional items that companies spend millions of dollars on every year to send their employees.  With the advent of company HR portals that now allow an employee to login through the internet and access all of these items with very low cost to the company it is a third area where companies are placing their focus in reducing printing, processing and especially postage costs..

Watching the timeline of events for the USPS since declaring itself debt-free in 2005 has been a hard and painful thing to watch.  As costs have increased and usage decreased it is a critical time for businesses to evaluate the items that are being produced and mailed and whether taking those items into the digital age is the right move from an operations and costs standpoint.

For more information on finding suppliers and products to help you make this move, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative.  

We look forward to your comments.

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