Can A Turtle Become A Gazelle?

By Paul Johnson, President Complete Mailing Solutions

Today’s companies are in transition. Mailroom processes have reached a tipping point between old school “turtle” thinking entrenched in “business as usual” and progressive “gazelle“ thinking that is focused on flexibility, speed, responsiveness and efficiency.

With increased labor and processing costs, strict legal requirements concerning customer privacy (e.g., HIPAA and Sarbanes-Oxley), steep penalties for non-compliance, and customers expecting responsiveness, companies can no longer afford to fall back on old school thinking by hiding in their shells.

How To Become a Gazelle

State-of-the-art mailroom Process Integrity Solutions (PIS) provide the ability to combine hardware and software technologies to ensure mail preparation is secure, content is correct, visibility is instantaneous and costs are reduced. Consider these additional benefits:barcode-with-push-pin

  • Increased efficiency – eliminates slow, manual processes that lead to errors, mismatched documents, privacy breaches, and high handling costs.
  • Visibility and tracking – barcode technology groups documents by customer and reports the status of individual mail pieces.
  • Cost Savings – combines multiple communications into one mailing based on the individual, which saves significant postage costs.
  • Security – automated processes ensures accuracy and eliminates the risk of private information being exposed.


Process Integrity Solutions increase operational efficiency, eliminates error-prone manual processes and ensure a superior customer experience.

What are some of the components of a Process Integrity Solutions suite?

  • Software that:
    • Centralizes the creation and management of communications
    • Ensures the right documents are delivered to the right customer in accordance with their preferences (mail, email, web portal, etc.)
    • Provides addresses accuracy and correct formatting
    • Provides visibility and trackability in the mail stream
    • Turns standard communications into marketing opportunities
  • Equipment designed to interface with software to eliminate manual processes and provide greater responsiveness

Working in tandem, PIS can dramatically transform your mail center and improve financial performance as well. A turtle can become a gazelle.


Want an overview of other ways you can improve your mail center? Read this white paper on How Your Mail Center Can Improve Your Financial Performance. You’ll learn more about the various areas of a mail center that can improve your company’s flexibility, speed, responsiveness and efficiency.

Details

Would your business survive a malware attack?

By Paul Johnson, President Complete Mailing Solutions


If your business were struck this afternoon by a malware attack, how would it fare? At first brush, most executives would be inclined to say they’re prepared. Upon digging further, many would find that they have vulnerabilities that could be quite disruptive and costly.

data-protection-small
When it comes down to it, there are two primary issues to consider:

  • How well are you protected?
  • How would you recover if successfully attacked?

The former has to do with protection and prevention and the latter with recovery or what is often referred to as business continuity. Each of these is an extensive topic and can’t be given their just due in one article. However, we’d like to provide insights into business continuity, helpful resources and actions you can take to move your company closer to the ideal of being able to recover without missing a beat.

The frequency and effectiveness of malware attacks are growing at an alarming rate. This is placing ever more importance on business continuity to the point where it is now a business imperative.

Is a good backup strategy sufficient?

This is an important point to consider. It primarily boils down to what you define as sufficient. How long would it take to recover using on site backups? Hours? Days? What would that cost you in direct and intangible costs? The eBook, CEO? Here’s Why You Care about Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery, is a helpful guide for executives to assess the risks and costs of downtime.

What is the difference between backup and business continuity? A picture is worth a thousand words, so here’s an infographic, Traditional Backup vs Intelligent Business Continuity, that does a nice job of
comparing and contrasting the two.

If you want to learn more about business continuity solutions and/or get an assessment for your business, call or email Paul Johnson at 303-761-0681 or Paul.Johnson@comp-mail.com

Details

Privacy Compliance… are prying eyes viewing private information?

By Paul Johnson, President CMS – Complete Mailing Solutions

Compliance

Since originally posting this blog, managing client privacy has become even more challenging in our COVID environment.  With many employees working remotely and less experienced workers taking on unfamiliar tasks, the difficulties of maintaining privacy compliance have increased. Greater awareness must be given to how communications are managed.  Business as usual is not an option any more. Read on to see if any of these apply to your organization.

The current privacy compliance pressures facing businesses in many industries, from healthcare to finance and manufacturing, have resulted in a heavy focus on the high-tech areas of IT and data security. But there is an often overlooked low-tech area that represents a prevalent risk, and it’s one that can be mitigated relatively easily and inexpensively.

Are your document handling and billing systems putting you at risk?

Mail handling, billing and customer communications are functions that have been around seemingly forever. Consequently, companies often mistakenly believe that they have these areas “handled”. Yet these are areas where customer privacy can be put at risk on a daily basis.

What if these risks could be fairly easily and inexpensively mitigated? Further, what if addressing them also resulted in reduced costs and increased operational efficiencies? Implementing processes and software to properly handle customer information and customer communications can deliver these results.

Here a few examples of commonly overlooked areas of exposure:

  • Mail processing systems that do not prevent combining statements or invoices for two different customers.
    • You’d be surprised how often this happens and how easily it can be avoided.
  • Mail being handled in a publicly accessible area by a secretary or receptionist.
    • If so, you’re not alone – this is a common practice and one that often puts customer information unattended within public view.
  • Mismatched or “problem” mail left exposed in a public area while problems are being solved.
    • Not only is this process out of compliance but wastes valuable employee time to correct.
  • Manually handling client documents with different numbers of pages and inserts.
    • This not only exposes private information to workers but is extremely inefficient and error prone.

These are just a few of the many areas where businesses put themselves at risk on a daily basis.

Want to do a quick check to determine areas where you might be at risk?

Download this free compliance checklist to identify often overlooked areas of exposure that may need attention.

Another great resource is the white paper from Quadient on How to Ensure Your Organization’s Mail Process is Compliant. It includes 8 best practices for mail compliance.

Interested in digging deeper? Learn more with our complimentary document handling compliance and cost reduction assessment.  Call us today at 303-761-0681.

Details

 

Drowning In Rising Shipping Costs?

By Paul Johnson, President Complete Mailing Solutions


Both UPS and FedEx have announced their General Rate Increase (GRI) for 2017. For the first time, there are differences in how each carrier is approaching their increases. Here are some highlights of the changes shippers will encounter as well as some strategies on managing the increases.For the first time, UPS will be increase the majority of their 2017 rates on December 26th, which will impact shippers with post-Christmas returns.
 

ups-squarelogo

 

  • The basic rate increase that averages 4.9% (packages in the 1-10 lb range are typically higher).
  • UPS will now be assessing Additional Handling Surcharges on packages that are 48” or more ion the longest side (from t 60”) on Ground, Air, and International packages.
  • Additional Handling Surcharges will increase $.35 and will now also be applied to UPS’ more economical SurePost packages (packages that ship UPS but are delivered to their final destination by the USPS). The surcharge will go into effect on January 8, 2017.

View a 2017 rate overview here Rates at ups.com
 
 

fedeximages165

  • FedEx will increase their rates on January 2, 2017. The change reflects an average 3.9% increase on domestic U.S. domestic, import and export services.
  •  FedEx is changing their domestic dimensional weight multiplier from 166” to 139” (dimensional weight is calculated by multiplying the length x width x height then dividing by the multiplier – 139).
  • FedEx will adjust their Fuel Surcharge on a weekly rather than monthly basis. Industry experts suggest this indicates FedEx is anticipating higher fuel costs next year and want to reduce the impact on their revenue.

View FedEx 2017 shipping rates here 2017 Rates at fedex.com
 
 

  • The USPS has not announced a specific rate increase but has published tentative structural changes that would go into effect on January 22, 2017

View USPS proposed changes USPS 2017 Changes
 
 

When Does a 1-Lb Parcel Weigh 11 lbs?

No it’s not a trick question but it might depend on the date.

Dimensional pricing has had a significant impact on the cost of shipments because pricing is based on dimensions rather than weight. Essentially a 1-lb package is no longer a 1-lb package!

Consider this:

Cost Comparison of a 12” x 12” x 12” Package Weighing 1 Lb.
Carrier 2016 Billable Weight 2016 Rates – Price* 2017 Billable Weight 2017 Rates – Approx Price
FedEx Ground 11 lbs $15 13 lbs $20
UPS 11 lbs $18 11 lbs $19
USPS 1 lbs $7 1 lbs $7

As rates and surcharges steadily increase, it’s no longer feasible to be lax about how items are packaged and shipped.

3 Tips To Better Manage Rate Increases

It is now imperative that shippers more closely manage their shipments. Here are 3 tips to help you better control shipping costs:

  1. Optimize Package Contents and Packaging
    Package as many items in a single container as possible as well as use the smallest box possible to ship the products. This will not only reduce the cost of packing materials but the actual cost of the shipment.
  2. Rate-Shop All Shipments
    With the divergence of pricing strategies between UPS and FedEx, it is more important than ever to shop for the best rate (especially with weekly fuel surcharge adjustments at FedEx).
    Incorporate rate shopping tools such as NeoShip, ProShip, and EMS that not only identify the best shipping rate but provide greater visibility of your shipments progress.
  3. Dimensional Equipment
    Take the guesswork out of dimensioning each package and identify package size and pricing instantly with a dimensional scale that automatically calculates package dimensions

Contact us today for a Free Assessment of your shipping needs and more ideas on how to better manage them –303-761-0681.

Details

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Ransomware – Brief Highlights, How It Works, How To Avoid It

By Paul Johnson, President Complete Mailing Solutions


[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Ransomware utilizes malware (malicious software) to make data or your computer’s operating system unreadable or inaccessible. It demands payment to unencrypt affected files or systems. However, even if the ransom is paid, there is no guarantee ransomed items will be released. According to the FBI, Ransomware attacks are not only proliferating, they’re becoming more sophisticated. Read the full FBI article here.

Brief Highlights

In its simplest form, Ransomware has been around since 1989 represented by the AIDS Trogan virus, which was distributed via floppy diskettes (remember those?) sent to World Health Organization’s international conference attendees. When the computer containing the virus was rebooted, files were encrypted and the ransom demand was made. Users paid $189 in ransom. It didn’t take long for decryption tools to recover the files and stop the attack.
Ransomware became more prominent around 2006 with a Russian-based extortion plan by organized criminals called TROJ_CRYZIP.A. This version placed files of a certain type into a password-protected ZIP folder and deleted the originals. Victims were directed to pay $300 to an E-Gold account (a precursor to Bitcoin).
Ransomware really began to explode in 2013 with the first widely-recognizable crypto-ransomware called CryptoLocker. This form of ransomware made the recipient’s computer virtually unusable by encrypting all files. CryptoLocker was delivered through downloads from compromised websites, phishing and email attachments. It was extremely sophisticated and utilized Bitcoin for payments.
Spinoffs of CryptoLocker, Onion, Reveton, Jigsaw, KeRanger (the first official Mac OSX-based ransomware), CryptXX and others, make it clear that that ransomware will continue to increase in sophistication and range. Delivery methods will expand as will types of machines affected and ransom amount. In fact, reports this year indicate Android phones are now at risk. There’s no end to the extent cybercriminals will utilize to take your money.
How to protect yourself
There are some basics to follow to protect yourself:
1. Keep your system backed up on a regular basis so you can restore your computer to a known clean state.
2. Utilize a strong and reliable security system that can identify and block ransomware threats.
3. Keep your software updated. Patches are constantly being added as viruses and ransomware are being identified.
4. Perform a full network scan to identify infected computers – isolate compromised equipment until they are complete clean before putting back into service.
5. Show hidden file extensions so you can spot a potentially suspicious file. Often “EXE” files can contain a virus. Always be wary of EXE files sent via email attachments.
6. If at all possible, don’t pay the ransom. This not only encourages the cybercriminals, but may place you in an even worse situation. There have been plenty of cases in which a decryption key was never provided or did not encrypt all files.
To learn how to protect yourself, get your free copy of the The Guide to CryptoLocker Prevention and Removal today.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Details

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

6 Practical Tips To Reduce Shipping Costs Even With Dimensional Pricing

By Paul Johnson, President Complete Mailing Solutions


[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Whether you ship 2 or 2,000 packages a day, you are impacted by dimensional pricing on all ground shipments that went into effect in 2015 with UPS and FedEx.

FedEx® and UPS® are now enforcing dimensional pricing on all ground shipments, including those weighing less than 3 pounds. Packages that are 3 cubic feet or less are most affected by the change.

For example, the cost to ship a small box of cups weighing three pounds and measuring 17x17x17 inches could jump from the current $8 to more than $18 in January. A 2lb. package of light bulbs with dimensions of 10x10x10 inches could increase from $8 to $10 – a $25% increase (Parcel Industry, June 18, 2014).

What Is Dimensional Pricing?

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]dimensional package smallDimensional pricing is based on the volume (length, width and depth) of a package rather than the weight. UPS and FedEx instituted dimensional pricing in 2015 as a way to regain revenue that was lost because shippers were using large sized boxes (volume) containing small, lightweight contents. These boxes took more room on their trucks but the cost (based on weight only) did not compensate for the space they took. While this approach helps FedEx and UPS regain significant revenue, shippers are feeling the pinch.

How To Reduce Shipping Fees

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][/vc_row][vc_column][/vc_column][vc_column_text]

    In order to avoid experiencing significant cost increases, every shipper needs to take action. The following are 6 ways to lessen the impact of Dimensional pricing:

    1. Optimize Package Contents
    2. Whenever possible, ship as many items as possible in one box. It is no longer cost effective to pay for “air” when a small item is shipped in an oversized box. Multiple items in each box will increase cost efficiencies.

    3. Evaluate Shipping Containers
    4. Many shippers stock a limited number of carton sizes, then fill any negative space with packing material. However, with the Dimensional Pricing rate structure, consideration should be given to incorporating a broader array of box sizes. Using smaller boxes that reduce or eliminate “air” will not only keep shipping costs lower but will also provide savings on packing material. If you ship a significant number of boxes per day, consider automated systems that fit the box to the contents. These systems virtually eliminate any unused space.

      Another option is to use padded envelopes or Tyvek® bags if they can accommodate the contents of your shipment. These are lightweight, low-volume options that can reduce shipping costs.

    5. Indicate package dimensions on your shipments
    6. Shippers used to have the option of including package dimensions in their shipping systems on cartons that are 3 cubic feet or less. However, package dimensions are now mandatory. Exclusion of the dimensional data could result in a 20% – 100% penalty, depending upon the actual dimensions of the package.

    7. Spot-Check Shipping Rates
    8. With rates being updated on a regular basis, it is important to make sure your rating software is accurate. It is virtually impossible to go back to a customer and try to recover incremental shipping charges, so avoid a potentially a significant hit to your bottom line by doing regular “spot checks” of rates. When you include dimensions in your shipping system, it should return accurate pricing right away. If not, or if it’s too time consuming, contact us at 303-761-0681 for assistance with navigating these changes.

    9. Audit Shipping Invoices
    10. An on-going review of your shipping expenses can help you identify and recover costs. On average, 3% of FedEx and UPS charges are eligible for a refund due to billing errors and late deliveries. Comparing billed vs. rated invoices helps you identify inaccurate rates as well as incorrect billing. Products such as Complete Parcel Audit provide valuable business intelligence to help identify, quantify and achieve all possible cost savings and helps you improve your profitability. Find out more about Complete Parcel Audit at: Parcel Audit

    11. Negotiate rates
    12. There is no better time to negotiate shipping rates with FedEx and UPS in order to better control and manage your shipping costs. Shippers can obtain discounts from 10% to 70% as a result of negotiating fees. Some of the factors that impact rate include:

      • Shipping Volume –this is the sheer number of packages you ship. The higher the number the greater your ability to negotiate a discount.
      • Urban vs. rural delivery points – generally, the more concentrated the delivery area, the more cost-efficient it is to deliver the packages. Some of these savings can be passed onto the shipper.
      • Shipping from single vs. multiple locations – a limited number of shipping locations can be an advantage, especially if you are shipping a high volume of parcels.
      • Delivering to few vs. many destinations – again, this helps focus shipper’s resources and can save you money.
      • Package size variations – having fewer standard package sizes helps FedEx & UPS because they can maximize their loads.
      • Negotiating skill – if you have a strong hand (based on the above), hang tough for higher discounts
      • Keeping the competition in play – don’t keep your eggs in one basket. Shippers may be more motivated to work with you knowing the competition might replace them.

      Generally the holidays are not a good time to negotiate rates. Hold off and initiate negotiations when UPS and FedEx will be more open.

      For more information on ways to manage your shipping costs, call us today at 303-761-0681.

Details

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

My Apple Is Not Your Apple – 5 Considerations When Comparing Mail Machines

By Paul Johnson, President Complete Mailing Solutions


[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]We often come across companies who obtained new postage meter machines that they thought fit their needs only to find out they did not perform as expected or there were costs were higher than expected.

Decisions are often made based on the monthly rental or lease fee alone. However, you need to understand the total cost of operating a mail machine. There are 5 key areas to consider when comparing mailing machines:

Magnifying Glass with $ sign small
1. Equipment
2. Pricing / Fees
3. Postage – Funding / Managing
4. Customer Service – Training / Problem Solving
5. Supplies

Let’s take a look at each area.

    1. Equipment

The primary decision you’ll make is which mail machine best meets your needs. Consider:

      • Mail Volume

Consider daily/weekly/monthly/seasonal mail volumes. Your mail machine should easily handle your highest volume needs – don’t expect a low volume mail machine to handle heavy volumes.

        • Manual vs. automated feeding – The more automation during feeding, the faster mail can be sealed and imprinted with postage. Automation can reduce processing time up to 36%.
      • Types/Handling of Mail Piecesmail machine
        Consider the types of mail pieces you use – standard, oversized, flats, thick?

        • If you mail large pieces, be sure to get a wide deck so mail transports smoothly.
        • If you have a variety of mail pieces, look at differential weighing. Depending upon the type of differential weighing you can reduce the time to affix postage by 100%.
      • Accounting
      • Determine whether you will need to chargeback postage to internal departments or clients.
    1. Pricing / Fees

You’ll be living with your mail machine for many years so know what your costs will be.

      • Lease/Rental Fee
        Beware of low monthly rates. Vendors often increase the price up to 25% each subsequent year. CMS’s leases remain unchanged through the life of the lease.
      • Postage Feeshand held calculator
        Charges to reset (add) postage onto your machine (initially and over the life of the lease) can add up.
      • Maintenance
        Our most satisfied customers have a Preventive Maintenance program as part of their lease to ensure limited/no down-time.

If you opt out of a maintenance program, understand service charges (this can be a flat or hourly rate and include a trip charge and mileage fee).

    1. Postage – Funding, Managing
      • Funding
        Funding your postage account is generally available via:

        • Check – can take up to 10 days for postage funds to be available
        • ACH Debit Transfer – allow up to 48 hours for postage funds to be available
        • Line of Credit – postage funds are available immediately

        Costs vary for each of these options. Call CMS for more information.

      • Managing
        Online tools provide account visibility, invoice payment options and reporting. This is an invaluable time-saver.
    2. Customer Service – Training, Problem Solving

Support after the installation of your postage meter machine is critical.

      • Training
        Who (if anyone) will install and provide training on your new postage meter machine?
      • Questions and Problems
        • Is there a local resource providing help with problems or must you call a national (or international) Help Desk?
        • Will service be handled locally or remotely?

Complete Mailing Solutions (CMS) is a local resource providing training and personal help every time you call. We answer all your questions and resolve problems to save you time and frustration.

    1. Supplies

Supplies costs are generally not considered. Vendors often offer low monthly equipment rental/lease fees but have high supply costs.

You should compare:supplies

      • OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) vs. recycled cartridges
      • Low vs. high capacity cartridges (number of impressions for each)
      • Average shipping costs

There can be up to a 29% difference in the price of ink alone, depending upon the manufacturer.

CMS offers OEM supplies exclusively to ensure highest performance on your mail machine. We ship locally, which keeps costs low.

These are just a few areas to consider. Comparing apples and apples when considering different mail machines/manufacturers can uncover hidden costs. Use our comparison list to help: Mail Machine Comparison Checklist.

Need help finding the best mail machine solution for your business? Avoid the frustration of committing to equipment that is not want you want or need. Call us today – 303-761-0681.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Details

It’s Just a Mail Machine – Or Is It?

By Paul Johnson, President Complete Mailing Solutions

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]
mail machine
Oh the lowly mailing machine! If we don’t have one we don’t think we need it. If we do have one we don’t give it a second thought yet it makes quite a contribution. It’s an important tool in your business arsenal, a quiet helper that can make you look smart, save valuable time and money!

Here’s just a few things to consider:

    1. Save Money
      Just by merely using a postage meter machine, you save money versus having to buy stamps at the post office. In 2020, you’ll save 5 cents on each letter.  If you mail 500 First Class letters, you’ll save $25 without doing a thing.Dollar Sign

      If you use Certified Mail with Return Receipt (remember the old green cards?) in 2020, you  save $1.15 each using Electronic Return Receipt on your machine. You’ll also have the convenience of automatically getting notified of delivery. And, no more having to store those green cards.

      If you ship packages, you can save a significant amount of money with Commercial Base Pricing (CBP), which provides a 13.8% savings from retail rates.
      These are just a few examples of the savings available to you with a postage meter machine.

    1. Get Intel
      Department codes help you keep track of expenditures. Knowing how much postage each department spends is important information for budgeting each year. And, department spending give you the information you need to recoup mailing costs by being able to charge-back these expenditures to customers and clients, when possible. By using Department Codes and PIN numbers, you can significantly reduce unauthorized use of your mailing system.

clock face

    1. Save Time
      Stamps always run out at the worst time – not so with a postage meter machine! Digital mail machines allow you to download postage in seconds. No more running to the Post Office at the last minute or needing to stand in in long lines once you get there!
    1. Reduce Errors
      Mail machines automatically weigh and calculate postage for you (no more taking time to figure out what the correct rate is!). Helpful postal rate wizards make determining the correct postage easy and worry free. Any new changes the USPS makes to rates are automatically downloaded so you can be confident the correct amount will be used every time. And, Postal Rate Wizards give you the correct postage amount every time – no more guesswork!
  1. Free Advertising
    Postage meter machines provide a professional image to your customers. You can add your logo to the imprint or, better yet, a short message or offer. It’s essentially free advertising for your company!

These are just a few of the benefits the lowly mail machine provides.

Need help in determining whether a mail machine is right for your business and which one will be the best fit? Call CMS for a FREE Evaluation and recommendation for your business – 303-761-0681.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Details

USPS Shipping Rate Increase Goes Into Effect January 17, 2016

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

usps-logo

By Paul Johnson, President Complete Mailing Solutions

The USPS will increase rates on their shipping services, including First-Class Package and Priority Mail rates, which will go into effect Sunday, January 17, 2016. The increase does not impact First Class Mail letter rates.

The average shipping service price increase is 9.5%, while Priority Mail specifically will experience a 9.8% increase. Priority Mail Express products will see the highest rate increase of 15.6%.
Other changes to note:

• The USPS will offer a 10:30 am Priority Mail Express delivery request for a $5 fee.
• The maximum weight for First Class Parcel Service will increase from 13 ozs. to 15.999 ozs. Presort discounts have been eliminated. An IMpB label is required on these packages or a 20¢ surcharge will be incurred.
• The Priority Mail Express flat rate box has been eliminated.
• Parcel Select® Nonpresort will be renamed “Parcel Select Ground™”
• Standard Post® will be renamed “Retail Ground™. Mailing requirements will remain unchanged.

The following is an overview of the pricing change:

Service 2015 Rate 2016 Rate
Priority Mail (Retail) $5.75 $6.45
Priority Mail (Commercial Base) $5.05 $5.75
Priority Mail Express (Retail) $19.99 $22.95
Priority Mail Express (Commercial Base) $18.11 $20.66

Also of note is that the USPS is significantly increasing Commercial Plus rates (discounts to highest volume users) to align them more closely with Commercial Base Pricing (discounts to users of authorized postage payment methods). The USPS has stated their long term goal is to eliminate Commercial Plus Pricing and consolidate to only one set of commercial discounted rates sometime in 2017.

In spite of this increase, mail machine users will continue to enjoy lower mailing rates versus over-the-counter retail rates. However, each USPS rate change has a significant impact on your mail that can be costly if not implemented correctly.

Contact CMS immediately to discuss what you can do to offset these increases and improve deliverability of your mail at a lower rate.

Remember, rates change Jan 17th!!!
The Postal Service will observe the Martin Luther King Jr Birthday on Monday Jan 18th; find all USPS Holidays here
[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Details

Purloined Packages On The Rise

By Paul Johnson, President Complete Mailing Solutions

I watched the news the other night and saw a video of a woman stealing packages off an unsuspecting homeowner’s front porch. Apparently this was not the first – or last – time she had done this. What chutzpah!

I also watched as apartment dwellers in a major city were complaining they were not able to get their packages from Amazon because there was no room in the apartment’s mailroom for them. Now what?

One of my neighbors told me he saw a couple stealing packages off front porches in our subdivision. They got into a car with the license plate covered up. He followed them but lost them. He found out they crashed into a fence and were caught. That’s one for the good guys!

Unfortunately, these are signs of our times. With the proliferation of online shopping, many mailrooms are overflowing with boxes – to the point that they are unable to accommodate the volume. In fact, mailrooms in many colleges, apartment buildings and other locations are starting to limit or not accept package deliveries. Conversely, consumers in housing developments are often not at home when packages arrive, either requiring a shipper to make multiple attempts to deliver or leaving a package unattended on a doorstep, vulnerable to theft. It’s only going to get worse.

To the rescue: Self-Service Parcel Terminals

parcel lockers
Popular overseas, Self-Service Parcel Terminals are free standing lockers that provide safety and convenience for both shippers and consumers. The terminals are operational 24/7, allowing customers to pick up items at their convenience and shippers can leave parcels in a safe, secure location, eliminating the need for multiple delivery attempts and liability due to theft.

Here’s how they work:

  1. Customers place and order and select the most convenient Parcel Terminal for delivery.
  2. Once the package is delivered, the customer is either emailed or texted a unique code that allows them access.
  3. The customer enters the code on the touchscreen, the code is authenticated and the locker opens allowing retrieval of the package.

Self-service parcel terminals offer a number of benefits:

  • Convenience – customers select the nearest location to pick up their package
  • Accessibility – the terminals are available 24/7
  • Safety – access codes are sent directly to the customer
  • Security – parcels are contained under lock and key, not exposed on a doorstep
  • Time Savings – customers retrieve packages when they choose

Self-Service Parcel Terminals have been around for a decade, most notably Great Britain, Germany, Denmark, Latvia and Poland. We think they solve a need here in the States and would encourage quick adoption.

What do you think?

Ever had a package stolen off your porch? Would you use a self-service parcel terminal? See any downsides to it? Give us your thoughts!

Details