In the September/October issue, we released the wage results of our annual Mailing Systems Technology Wage & Operations survey. Not such great news on the "wage" front. In this issue, we delve into analyzing the operations part of our survey. Not such great news here, either. We analyzed the operations of over 350 mail facilities and found that mail volumes are dropping at a more rapid level, most likely due to economic conditions and the continuing move to e-communications. But there are glimmers of hope.

More than half of mail facility managers think that their companies will return to investing in technology yet this year or in the first half of 2010. Topping the list of planned equipment is tabbers, which responds to the new USPS regulations on tabbing and, perhaps, the growth in direct marketing mail volume for some of our respondents.

As mail volumes dropped for most, managers became resilient. With the excess capacity, more mail managers turned to selling their services to businesses outside of their companies. More than a third (36%) are now doing so, up from just 27% last year and a significant leap from years past.

And it is noteworthy that although mail volumes are decreasing in most facilities, overall, our readers maintained growth in volume, albeit just one percent. Some of that growth was sustained by a heavily fought political campaign and an upsurge in some businesses that see the benefit in direct marketing mail â¬" and some of our readers are still experiencing new customer growth. So it is not all gloom and doom, and as the economy strengthens, we hope our next yearâ¬s survey will see a rebound in mail as a wise investment for the stability and growth of business.

The charts over the next pages are just some of our findings. There are more statistics online â¬" check them out at You can find out about what your peers are doing in terms of outsourcing, compliance with address quality standards, green initiatives and more. You can also view the digital version of this issue, which allows you to "send" the magazine to management and your colleagues. Go to Please email editor Dan Oâ¬Rourke at if you have any comments about our survey.