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Mailers Hub Coronavirus Response

The scale, scope, and ubiquity of the current health crisis is a situation none of us has encountered before. While we all have to adapt in our personal lives, we also need to do what we can to keep our businesses alive. From the information that’s available, it would seem that the days of uncertainty, challenge, and sacrifice are far from over, and no commercial mail producer has the ability – or bank account – to allay all the fears or overcome all the challenges by itself.

Now, more than ever, members of the commercial mailing community need to work together. 

Our job at Mailers Hub is what our tagline says: to bring commercial mailing, solutions, and resources together – and we’ll do that by providing information and a place to get it.  On our site, as information becomes available, we will do our best to communicate it in a timely and useful manner.  As problems arise for the industry and individual providers, we will do our best to act as a resource and network to help facilitate solutions.  We all need to do what we can; we hope our part will serve our colleagues well.
 
As always, contact us as needed.


FOR UPDATED INFORMATION: https://mailershub.com/covid-19 





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Answering An Uncomfortable Question

In comments filed February 3 with the Postal Regulatory Commission in response to the PRC’s proposed rule (System for Regulating Market Dominant Rates and Classifications, published in the December 11, 2019, Federal Register), Mailers Hub offered a view about “non-compensatory products,” (market-dominant products whose rates do not cover costs). The passage discussing such “underwater” rates was also excerpted in the February 3, 2020, issue of Mailers Hub News:

“Most non-compensatory classes and products did not become ‘underwater’ in a year or two or even ten; Periodicals, as a class, for example, hasn’t covered its costs since the PAEA was passed.

“… Aside from the resistance of ratepayers in those classes or for those products to accelerated rate increases to bring them to full cost coverage, the PAEA itself thwarted such efforts; the CPI cap is a two-edged sword that keeps rate increases to no more than CPI but also prevents larger rate increases to correct ‘underwater’ classes and products. …

That cost coverage for non-compensatory classes and products needs to be brought to 100% is not debatable, but neither is the need for caution in how that’s to be done. … Though the price sensitivity of most non-compensatory mail will be challenged by an additional 2% per year rate increase above the CPI cap, requiring that seems the least than can be done.



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USPS Reminds About Political and Election Mail

It’s that time again: politicians hoping to get into (or stay in) office are trying to reach voters to garner their support, and are still turning to the mail as the medium for their message.

Of course, those candidates and their staffs – as during every election cycle – will want the mailing service company to get their mailings out first and the Postal Service to give them expedited handling, all the while asking for credit until after the election to pay the mailing company’s bill.

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Pandora's Postal Box

Persons bored by legal matters may dismiss the PRC’s inquiry into the regulations implementing the Private Express Statutes as just more pointless inside-the-Beltway bureaucratic paper shuffling. Such an opinion, however, would seriously misunderstand the nature of the discussion being started.

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A Costly Constant: The Persistence of Postal Labor Costs

A report released early last month by the Postal Service’s Office of Inspector General (A Closer Look at Postal Labor Costs) illustrated the persistence of labor as representing the lion’s share of the agency’s total costs. In turn, it offered ratepayers a glimpse of both the magnitude of the expense and how the elements of the sum have changed over the previous decade.

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The Five-Year Strategic Plan

Despite telling Congress early last year that it was finalizing a ten-year plan, and later explaining the delay in its issuance by the need for its review by oncoming members of the Board of Governors, the document released last week by the USPS, Ready-Now ➔ Future-Ready, The US Postal Service Five-Year Strategic Plan 2020-2024, was somewhat less than what was anticipated.

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Translating Predictions of Postal Privatization - Part II

The following is the second in a two-part commentary, excerpted from the Jan. 6 edition of Mailers Hub News, in response to the Fortune Magazine article on Dec. 27, USPS Could Privatize As Early As Next Year

Any decision to sell-off or otherwise privatize the USPS would not be something arising from the Postmaster General, so campaigning that he or she should protect the ramparts of L’Enfant Plaza against the huns of privatization is somewhat misguided.

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Translating Predictions of Postal Privatization - Part I

The following is the first in a two-part commentary, excerpted from the Jan. 6 edition of Mailers Hub News

An article titled USPS Could Privatize As Early As Next Year, published in the December 27 issue of Fortune, resurrected the notion that steps to privatize the Postal Service are on the horizon, allegedly because of White House influence.

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The 2020 Economy: Slowing, but No Recession

Several economic indicators suggest that the US economy will slow in 2020 but that a recession is unlikely. That was the message delivered to attendees during a December 17 Mailers Hub webinar presented by Andrew Paparozzi, Chief Economist for the Specialty Graphic Imaging Association.

(Miss the webinar? Subscribers can view the recording here, in the Mailers Hub Archives.)

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Other Peoples' Money - Part II

The following is the second in a two-part commentary, excerpted from the Dec. 9 edition of Mailers Hub News

Changes step 3

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Other Peoples' Money - Part I

The following is the first in a two-part commentary, excerpted from the Dec. 9 edition of Mailers Hub News

The old joke is that a guy’s favorite beer is OP beer – other peoples’. A less funny corollary is that a politician’s favorite funding source is OP money. More correctly, in this case, the “other people” is not the general public (taxpayers) but a subset who, though still taxpayers, are also associated with a particular agency, purpose, or use.

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PRC Approves Proposed First-Class Rates – with Details to Follow

The following article is an excerpt from the Dec. 9 edition of Mailers Hub News

In an order issued on December 6, the Postal Regulatory Commission approved the First-Class Mail rates proposed on October 9 by the Postal Service, as those were later corrected on October 10 and amended on November 20.

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Below the Headlines: The 2020 Economy

Our guest blogger today, Andy Paparozzi, is Chief Economist for SGIA, and presenter for the December 17, 2019 Mailers Hub webinar, the 2020 Economic Outlook. 

The American economy has now grown 125 consecutive months, making the current upturn the longest on record. And headline numbers, such as 615,000 jobs added and retail sales up 4.0% over the last three months, suggest more growth is ahead.

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Clerks’ Union Preemptively Protests Next PMG

Privatization in any form is anathema to the American Postal Workers Union, representing clerks, maintenance employees, motor vehicle drivers, and others. After decades of successfully insulating its members from the economic realities impacting the Postal Service, the union is ever-watchful for any potential threat to their comfortable status quo.

Perceived danger

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One Company’s Story: A Case Study in a Business’ Evolution

This article first appeared in the November 11, 2019 edition of Mailers Hub News

In an industry where longevity is a rare quality, the life cycle and evolution of an enterprise in the commercial mailing business can be an interesting case study in adaptation and survival. An example is Whittier Mailing Service.

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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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