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Five Years at the Helm

That Megan Brennan has decided to retire from the Postal Service after five years as Postmaster General should not come as a surprise; to many observers, it was only a matter of time when she would make the announcement.

After a 33-year career, rising up through the ranks to the agency’s top position, after becoming its first female CEO, and after years of dealing with the political and media spotlight that comes with the job, Megan Brennan had nothing left to prove, and no higher rung on the ladder to reach.

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PMG Megan Brennan Announces Retirement

In a letter sent today to top Postal Service executives, Postmaster General Megan Brennan announced she will be retiring effective January 31, 2020. She's served as PMG since February 1, 2015, succeeding Pat Donahoe. In her announcement, Brennan stated that, when appointed, she committed to serving as PMG for five years, and she will have fulfilled her commitment. More details in the next issue of Mailers Hub News.

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Price Changes. It's Not That Simple

People often ask about price changes – why they’re when and what they are, and why the USPS can’t simply reduce its costs. It’s really not that simple.

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USPS Files Proposed 2020 Rates

The Postal Service has filed new prices for market-dominant mail that, if approved by the Postal Regulatory Commission, will take effect on January 26, 2020.  The average increase for the market-dominant classes of mail is 1.9%, in line with the CPI-based cap; First-Class Mail will increase, on average, by 1.919%, and Marketing Mail prices will rise by an average of 1.891%.  Barring problems during the PRC’s review of the filing, a decision should be expected by mid-November.

New prices for competitive products, set by the Governor of the Postal Service, also were announced.  They will be reviewed for statutory compliance by the PRC and, barring problems, also will be effective January 26.

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OIG Finds Network Changes Failed to Yield Planned Results

An audit report by the Postal Service’s Office of Inspector General revealed that changes the USPS has instituted in its processing operations have failed to produce savings at a pace commensurate with the overall decline in mail volume. Released September 9, the report (NO-AR-19-006, US Postal Service Processing Network Optimization) evaluated “trends and practices the U.S. Postal Service uses to optimize its processing network.”

Summary

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Houston post-Imelda mail offload plan

The Postal Service has developed an offload plan for mail headed to Houston.

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Why Personalization Matters in Direct Mail

Contributed by Summer GouldPresident, Eye/Com

Before we really get started let’s define what personalization in direct mail is. It is more than just putting the name and address on the piece. In 2019, even just adding dear name or just a name is no longer the best way to personalize your direct mail. Don’t get me wrong, you still need to have the name, but you can get so much more creative than that now. So don’t just stop there, get more personal with offers, images, landing pages and more.

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The Article Waiting to be Written

Commentary, by Leo Raymond

Any publication on any topic occasionally finds itself in the situation of knowing newsworthy events lie ahead but about which an article cannot be yet written; they just have to wait. Such is the situation in which we – and colleagues with their own newsletters – find ourselves.

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Informed Delivery Infrastructure Trying to Keep Up with Its Popularity

Excerpted from the latest issue of Mailers Hub News

Although there were plenty of skeptics when the program was being developed, as well as after it was introduced on a limited basis in 2014, since it went nationwide in 2017 Informed Delivery has become very popular – perhaps more popular than even the USPS expected.

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A Complicated Answer to a Simple Question

Excerpted from the May 27, 2019 issue of Mailers Hub News. Subscribers click here to access the full version.

When I spoke recently at an industry gathering, one of the questions I got (after reviewing the PQ II service scores) was what the USPS could do about its service performance. Why is service so poor in some places? What can be done to improve it, especially in the chronically low-performing districts? What actions can management take?

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House Bill Would Delete Prefunding Requirement

A very brief and narrowly-focused bill filed April 29 by Rep. Peter DeFazio (OR 4th) would do one thing: eliminate the statutory provision (in the 2006 postal reform law) that requires the Postal Service to fully prefund future retiree health care costs.

As filed, the operative section of HR 2382, the USPS Fairness Act, states:

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Focus on Printing Overlooks Impact on Logistics

Excerpted from the May 13 edition of Mailers Hub News. Subscribers can find the full edition and archived issues here
(Not a subscriber? Contact us.)

In case there’s any member of the hard-copy messaging industry who’s not noticed, the traditional distinction between a “printer” and a “mailer” has been blurred – sometimes erased – in recent years as printing companies add mailing capability and mail producers buy digital printing equipment.
(Of course, both are also adding agency, marketing, fulfillment, and other services.)\

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Sizeable PQ 1 Loss Starts USPS Off on Wrong Foot

Excerpted from the February 18, 2019 edition of the Mailers Hub News.

As was observed late last year when the Postal Service reported its volume and revenue figures for October, the first month of fiscal 2019 and the month that benefitted from pre-election mailing activity, it needs more months like that. That assessment was reinforced earlier this month when the less impressive results for the other two months of the first quarter were added and reported on the agency’s PQ I/FY 2019 Form 10-Q.

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Up Close and Personal Can Benefit You

 

Growing your print and mail business by getting in front of your customers means putting them first and making the relationship you have with them an all-day every-day proposition. This probably makes sense to you. But just because it makes sense doesn’t mean it’s easy to actually do.

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Postal Gadfly Sues USPS over Stamp Price Increase

Excerpted from the February 4, 2019 edition of Mailers Hub News 

The price of a stamp went from $0.50 to $0.55 last month but a challenge to that increase continues.

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Why Use Direct Mail Informed Delivery

Courtesy of Mailers Hub subscriber and Eye/Comm President, Summer Gould

Direct mail is a very powerful marketing channel. Now you can enhance it more by adding informed delivery. What is informed delivery? The USPS offers a free service to subscribers, that sends an email to them with an image of that day’s mail. The default images are not in color, by participating in an informed delivery campaign, you can replace that image with a color image and even add a web link.

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Postal Pintos - The Inflammable LLV Problem

Excerpted from the February 4, 2019 Issue of Mailers Hub News

It’s common knowledge in the postal community that the Postal Service’s fleet of about 140,000 “long-life vehicles” has more than outlived its name. Originally meant to last 24 years (but later extended to 30 years), the ubiquitous LLV is used by city and rural carriers nationwide. Out of production since 1994, the oldest trucks in the fleet are now 31 years old, but the anticipated replacement vehicles, expected to cost about $6 billion in all, have yet to be chosen.

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Response to PRC Inquiry Reveals New Cost Coverage Proposal for Flats

As previously reported, the Postal Service submitted its Annual Compliance Review for fiscal 2018 to the Postal Regulatory Commission at the end of December. Given the span and scope of such a document, it’s normal for the PRC staff to pore over it carefully and ask about data or statements that they believe need further clarification. These questions, officially know as “Chairman’s Information Requests,” or CHIRs, generate a response by the USPS.

The occasional nugget

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Competitive Products - A Final Rule is Only Half the Story

Competitive Products: A Final Rule is Only Half the Story

Commentary excerpted from the Jan. 7, 2019 issue of Mailers Hub News


In an order issued January 3, the Postal Regulatory Commission published its final rule regarding the institutional cost requirement for Postal Service competitive products. The 197-page order concludes a rulemaking that had begun in November 2016.

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Service Is Great - But Who Pays For It?

Commentary from the November 12, 2018 edition of Mailers Hub News

If – as is far from likely – any legislative attention is given the Postal Service over the next two years, how that attention will be manifest will be shaped by the very different attitudes of the political parties who will be in control of Congress over that period. (That difference likely will mean that, given the parties’ inability to compromise, nothing will be achieved, but that discussion is for another day.)

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