Pitney Bowes Offers Valuable Advice As Postal Rate Increase Nears
STAMFORD, Conn., May 01, 2007 - With only days to go until the most sweeping changes to postal rates and rules in many years, Pitney Bowes (NYSE:PBI) is encouraging all mailers to tap into valuable sources of information that the company is providing to help organizations maximize their mailstream productivity.
The new rates, effective May 14, take the nominal cost of a first-class letter from 39 cents to 41 cents, and for a first-class flat (9” x 12” envelope) from 52 cents to 80 cents. However, there are many ways to reduce the impact of these changes, and the most innovative mailers can neutralize much of the rate increase through proper planning and aggressive mailstream management.
“Marketers and mailers have to adopt an entirely new framework for thinking about postal rates,” said Pitney Bowes President and Chief Operating Officer Murray Martin. “With the passage of the postal reform law last year, we expect rates will change much more frequently to align prices with processing costs. This is the time to rethink strategies to take greatest advantage of what the mailstream offers over the long term.”
Pitney Bowes has been actively reaching out to thousands of customers to educate them on the nuances of the new postal rates. District sales and service offices across the country have hosted seminars and information sessions to keep customers posted on the latest changes. Site managers from Pitney Bowes, which provides on-site mailstream support for corporations, law firms and government agencies, have been working with their clients to review mailstream operations for optimal performance under the new rate structure. They have also conducted several well-attended webinars for customers entitled “The Changing Postal Environment.”
The company also has created a special website dedicated to providing information, advice and insight to mailers of all sizes. The website is located at www.pb.com/rateinfo, and it includes a link to the site where current Pitney Bowes customers can get instructions for how to download the software they need to operate their equipment under the new rates and rules. The postal information site also has a section called Rate Change Basics, where browsers can download a unique handbook called “A Practical Guide to the 2007 USPS Rate Change,” explaining the major elements of the rate change in simple, easy-to-understand terms. Traffic to these special sites has been increasing steadily in the weeks since the new rates were finalized, according to the company.
Regardless of a company’s current mailing practices, Martin cited four simple steps that virtually anyone can take to adjust to the new postal rates.
Plan the Mailpiece: The new rates create an opportunity for savings through proper mailpiece planning. For example, the second ounce of a first-class letter (17 cents) will be much less expensive than the first ounce (41 cents), so mailers who combine information from two different mailings into a single mailpiece can save money.
Pay Attention to Shape: The new rates give mailers a strong financial incentive to switch from flat envelopes to standard #10 or to 6” x 9” envelopes, reflecting the U.S. Postal Service’s lower costs for processing smaller mail. Pricing for some flats may increase by more than 50 percent, so transforming flats to folded mail pieces is a key strategy for reducing costs. Folding and inserting machines to capitalize on this incentive will now make sense for more organizations. Parcels are similarly affected by shape-based pricing and create additional opportunities to save through proper planning.
Capitalize on Discounts: Presorting the mail before it enters the U.S. Postal Service network can result in double-digit percentage discounts. Partnering with a high-quality mailing presorter can help companies capture the lion’s share of this great incentive. For companies that want to keep this task in-house, it is prudent to consider the latest sorter technology or upgrading to one of the excellent software programs that can presort mail in the production process.
Cleanse Addresses: The U.S. Postal Service estimates it spends nearly $2 billion each year handling mail that cannot be delivered as addressed. In an effort to cut this cost in half by 2010, the Postal Service will become much more stringent on discounts offered to mailers designed to encourage greater accuracy of their address lists. New Postal Service rules, set to take effect this summer, will make address quality more imperative than ever, and should encourage more mailers to incorporate address quality software and processes into their mailing operations. In addition to maintaining their discounts, mailers who make this investment will also enjoy peace of mind, knowing their messages are reaching the intended recipients on time.
About Pitney Bowes
Pitney Bowes provides the world’s most comprehensive suite of mailstream software, hardware, services and solutions to help companies manage their flow of mail, documents and packages to improve communication. Pitney Bowes, with $5.8 billion in annual revenue, takes an all-inclusive view of its customers’ operations, helping organizations of all sizes enjoy the competitive advantage that comes from an optimized mailstream. The company’s 87 years of technological leadership have produced many major mailstream innovations, and it is consistently on the Intellectual Property Owners Association’s list of top U.S. patent holders. With approximately 35,000 employees worldwide, Pitney Bowes serves more than 2 million businesses through direct and dealer operations. More information about the company can be found at www.pb.com.