Posts Tagged Mailing

Strahm Open House | Add a Splash of Color

Add a Splash of Color!

StrahmOHStrahm Automation invites you to join us on Friday, November 7th from
3–6pm at our open house. We are proudly introducing our new Océ ColorStream 3500 Inkjet printer!

The newest addition to our production facility provides sharp, full color CMYK printing, even printing duplex simultaneously. This high speed printer can produce up to 1,000 letter size sheets per minute. Add to that the ability to perf – both horizontal and vertical – and trim in line.JoinUs

What can’t this workhorse do? We think our customers will love the new Océ 3500 as much as we do!

So come by November 7th, add a splash of color and something sweet to your day. We will be holding the open house from 3–6pm. Just follow the balloons at 17th and Broadway.

 

Strahm Automation & Mailing Services
1700 Broadway, Kansas City, MO 64108
(816) 756-2733

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Get Started and Save with Every Door Direct Mail

Get Started with Every Door Direct Mail

How much do you know about the USPS program Every Door Direct Mail?

eddmJust this week I was able to provide a customer with a $31,000.00 savings in postage. Wow! What a way to control your marketing budget, right?

Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) gives you the ability to target a local neighborhood or to reach customers/prospects nationwide. The Simplified Mailing Process helps you identify which USPS mail routes to include in your targeted mailing area. There is a super cool, intuitive EDDM application available online to get you started.

You can access the online tool and get more information here: https://www.usps.com/business/every-door-direct-mail.htm

Who can benefit from EDDM?

  • Retailers
  • Auto dealerships
  • Arts organizations
  • Restaurants
  • Business services
  • Attorneys
  • Doctors
  • Dry cleaners
  • Contractors
  • Realtors

The list could go on and on. If you want to reach a local, or even national, audience EDDM provides an easy, cost effective marketing channel. Remember that $31,000.00 postage savings for my local customer?

Some things to keep in mind when planning your mailing:

  • Mailpieces must meet Standard flats specifications
    • Minimum length 11 ½” OR
    • Minimum height 6 1/8”
    • Weight equal to or less than 3.3 ounces
    • Must contain at least 200 pieces (with a maximum per day of 5,000 pieces for the EDDM Retail option, but unlimited for the EDDM BMEU option)

The USPS is hosting a series of FREE business seminars designed to help you gain a greater understanding of this new service and how it can support your marketing plan.

I suggest reaching out to your local Postal Customer Council to find where and when the next seminar will take place in your area. You can search for your local PCC chapter here: https://www.usps.com/business/local-pcc.htm

The Postal Customer Council is a terrific resource and I hope if you’re mailing, you are taking advantage of all the experience and expertise they can offer.

How do you see yourself using this new Postal Service program Every Door Direct Mail? We would love to hear your ideas and success stories!

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How Secure Is Your Mail?

How Secure Is Your Mail?

securemailIn this day of heightened security awareness, how secure is your mail?

Not only the piece of paper in an envelope, but what about your data?

 

Let’s take it from the top:
Is your data transmitted to your printer in a secure transmission? Do you know that it was securely received and when? Do you know that what you transmitted is what was received?

What about the printed piece? Is the print facility secure? Is it video monitored? Is visitor access restricted? Are data servers and processing centers secured and with limited access?

Once printed, are steps taken to ensure that there is no “double feeding” of documents into a single envelope? Is there a process to track an individual mail piece from beginning to end? Is there record that all printed pieces are accounted for and inserted to an envelope?

What happens once this piece of paper is printed, folded, and inserted? Is your mail retrieved by the USPS? If so, is that USPS truck sealed – meaning only authorized USPS employees may remove that mail from the truck?

Just a few questions to ponder – and perhaps to ask of your print and/or mail provider before your next mailing.

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USPS Update | Rate Increase January 26th, 2014

Increased 2014 Postage Rates – Effective January 26, 2014

uspspostalrateincreaseJanuary 26, 2014 Mailing Services Price Change

As per a news release on September 25, 2013 prices for most Postal Service mailing products and services will change on January 26, 2014.  This includes First Class Mail, Standard Mail, Periodicals, Package Services and Extra Services.

The proposed changes are intended to generate $2 billion in incremental annual revenue for the Postal Service.

Highlights of the new single-piece First-Class Mail pricing, effective Jan. 26, 2014 include:

  • Letters (1 oz.) — 3-cent increase to 49 cents
  • Letters additional ounces —  1-cent increase to 21 cents
  • Letters to all international destinations (1 oz.) — $1.15
  • Postcards — 1-cent increase to 34 cents

Stamp prices have stayed consistent with the average annual rate of inflation of 4.2 percent since the Postal Service was formed in 1971.
Pricing for Standard Mail, Periodicals, Package Services and Extra Services also will be adjusted.

In a letter from Board of Governors Chairman Mickey Barnett described the “precarious financial condition” of the Postal Service and the “uncertain path toward enactment of postal reform legislation” as primary reasons for seeking price changes above the CPI increase. He also indicated that the price adjustment above the CPI increase is necessary in order to ensure that the Postal Service will be able to maintain and continue the development of postal services of the type and quality which America needs.

“Of the options currently available to the Postal Service to align costs and revenues, increasing postage prices is a last resort that reflects extreme financial challenges,” said Barnett in the letter. “However, if these financial challenges were alleviated by the timely enactment of laws that close a $20 billion budget gap, the Postal Service would reconsider its pricing strategy. We are encouraged by the recent introduction of comprehensive postal reform legislation in Congress, and despite an uncertain legislative process, we are hopeful that legislation can be enacted this year.”

Except in exceptional or extraordinary circumstances, postage price increases are capped at the rate of inflation as measured by the CPI-U. The Postal Service is filing a price increase above CPI-U due to extraordinary and exceptional circumstances which have contributed to continued financial losses. The Postal Service recorded a $15.9 billion net loss last fiscal year and expects to record a loss of roughly $6 billion in the current fiscal year, and has an intolerably low level of available liquidity even after defaulting on its obligation to make prefunding payments for retiree health benefits.

If your business is not already using a presort vendor, now is the time to look into that service.  With ever increasing postage rates, why not take advantage of discounted rates presort houses are able to offer you?

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Tour The Facilities

Have You Toured Your Vendors Facility?

tourYesterday I took a group of people on a tour of our facility. It’s certainly not the first time I’ve lead a tour here, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. And every time I have a person or group of people come through, they’ve told me they have come away with beneficial knowledge and new ideas.

Whenever I visit a vendor, and I hope whenever a client or prospect visits us, these are a few of the things that I would expect of the experience.

  • Is your sales rep present?  Better yet, is he or she leading the tour?
  • Meet your Customer Service Representative. In most cases, it will be the CSR that handles your day-to-day business and not the sales rep.
  • If your sales rep (and perhaps your CSR as well) is leading the tour, what is the sense of relationship you feel between sales and the production team? Do they seem friendly and collaborative towards each other?
  • Get an introduction to the department managers or team leaders in each step of production. Personally, I like my clients to have a face to associate with each department (in our case, data processing, quality control, laser imaging, lettershop, presort and transportation).
  • Whenever possible, manage an introduction to someone “at the top”.  I like to make sure my tour attendees get to meet the president of our company.
  • Look at equipment in each and every department. Is it well maintained? Is it apparent that the company keeps up-to-date in new technology and machinery?
  • Observe the plant condition. Is it clean and well organized? Does work seem to flow through the plant in a common sense manner?
  • Ask if any of your work would be outsourced to a subcontractor or whether your vendor has all the equipment, personnel and capacity to complete your jobs in house.
  • And last but most importantly – listen, ask questions and learn something new. I have yet to lead a customer through our facility and not hear them talk about something vital they’ve learned or new ideas they plan to take back to their own companies.

When was the last time you toured the facilities of your vendor or vendors? What did you take away from the experience? Did you leave the plant feeling positive in your decision to use this particular company?

Lesson: Ask for a tour, build lasting relationships with the folks producing your jobs, get fresh ideas and have fun!

This video takes you on a little journey around Strahm Automation and Mailing!

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USPS | The 411 on NCOAlink

What YOU Need To Know About  NCOALink

“We currently have our vendor run NCOALink on our mailing lists, why do we continue to receive Undeliverable As Addressed returns?”

ncoa-move-software

NCOALink stands for National Change of Address. This is a process provided only by licensed vendors to accept your database and “bounce” it against the most current USPS National Change of Address database.

Anyone, be it an individual person, a family or a business, who submits a Change of Address form to the USPS is updated within the database. Comparing your database to that of the USPS, if there is a move detected you are provided with that new address.

This is a process done before you print/mail so there is a cost savings by making corrections to or eliminating records with undeliverable addresses. This also gets your mailpiece into the recipient’s mailbox faster because it doesn’t need to be handled multiple times by the USPS forwarding mail on to the new address. Getting the mail to the mailbox faster is a plus when your company is mailing payable statements or invoices – faster to the box = faster you may receive payment, right?

In 2008, the USPS mandated Move Update compliance. Your address list must be updated no more than 90 days prior to presenting to the USPS for mailing.  NCOALink meets Move Update requirements.

As to the question of why you continue to receive Undeliverable As Addressed (UAA) mail returned to you even after you’ve had your list NCOALink processed. Some of these pieces may be due to a legitimate move, but no one submitted a Change of Addreess (COA) form to the USPS. If the move occurred more than 18 months ago, this First Class piece of mail will be returned to you; the address could be a vacant home or building; the recipient may be deceased.

But there are other, trickier reasons a mailpiece may be returned.

If a COA form has been submitted to USPS, but in your database you have listed John A. Sample, and John submitted his COA as only John Sample, NCOALink will return to you a “close match”. It will be left to you to decide if this is an address you want to change/update within your database.

If an entire family moved, but John A. Sample submitted a COA showing only his name and marked as an individual, Mary B. Sample may result in a UAA. A move may also have occurred between the time you had your data NCOALink processed and the time of the actual mailing.

NCOALink provides many benefits, enhancing your overall mailing. NCOALink

  • Improves address quality through standardization and parsing.
  • Speeds delivery of your offer by eliminating forwarding.
  • Is less expensive than ACS (Address Change Service)
  • Reduces undeliverable mail resulting in postage and material savings.
  • Helps maintain accurate customer address files.
  • Provides CASS™ certification of your list enabling you to qualify for postal discounts.

Talk to your printing/mailing vendor and discover how NCOALink can improve your mail today! With an estimated 43 million moves made per year, keeping your database current can reap significant cost savings.

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USPS | Holiday Mailing Tips

Holiday Mailing Tips

Follow these helpful tips for successful holiday mailing.

Here, from the U.S. Postal Service, are suggested tips for preparing and mailing cards, letters and packages this holiday season.

Mailing Greeting Cards Customers who receive door delivery are welcome to give their holiday and other mail they are sending to their letter carrier, rather than placing it in a collection box or making a special trip to the post office. Customers who receive curbside delivery may leave their mail in their receptacle for pickup.

Preparing Packages

  • PRINT addresses clearly.
  • Include all address elements (apartment numbers, suite numbers, directional information for streets, etc.).
  • Include both “to” and “from” information on packages – and only on one side; no extra writing.
  • Never guess a ZIP Code — NO ZIP is better than WRONG ZIP!  Check USPS.com for a convenient ZIP code look up tool.

Packaging Tips

  • Select a box that is strong enough to protect the contents. Leave space for cushioning inside the carton.
  • Package contents with shredded or rolled newspaper, bubble wrap, or Styrofoam peanuts. Plain air-popped popcorn is also good for cushioning; it’s inexpensive and environmentally friendly. Pack tightly to avoid shifting.
  • Always use tape that is designed for shipping, such as pressure-sensitive tape, nylon-reinforced tape, paper tape, or glass-reinforced pressure-sensitive tape.
  • Do not use wrapping paper, string, masking tape, or cellophane tape.
  • Put the delivery and return addresses on only one side of the package.
  • Recommendation: Place an index card inside the package that contains the sender’s address and the recipient’s address along with a list of the contents. This will help us re-pack boxes that were improperly wrapped and came apart during transporting and processing and help ensure that the package is either sent to its destination or back to the sender.
  • Take packages that weigh at least 1 pound into the post office for mailing. Do not put boxes into your neighborhood mailbox or expect for your mail carrier to pick them up for you.
  • Obtain Express Mail and Priority Mail boxes, envelopes, and tubes for free from your post office.

Prior to Mailing

  • Stuff glass and fragile hollow items, like vases, with newspaper or packing material to avoid damage due to shock. When mailing framed photographs, take the glass out of the frame and wrap it separately.
  • Remove batteries from toys. Wrap and place them next to the toys in the mailing box.

Special Tips

  • Access the Postal Service’s web site, www.usps.com, for postage calculations, the latest addressing information, and unique gifts. Avoid waiting in line for your Holiday stamps by using Stamps by Phone (1-800-STAMP24), Stamps by Mail, or stamps from postal self-service vending machines, neighborhood retail outlets and ATMs.

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