This article originally appeared in the January/February, 2018 issue
of Mailing Systems Technology.

2018 is bringing many changes in the postal industry. But with change comes uncertainty. So, let’s take a look at these changes and what they may mean for your company.

New Rates and Rule Changes While Uncertainty Continues

In October of 2017, the USPS announced new rates and rule changes that will be in effect beginning January 21, 2018. The Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC), who published their 10-year review in 2017 as well, has approved these prices.

As has been discussed in the previous months, the USPS Board of Governors still has nine vacancies, and currently there are three presidential nominees. The Senate only needs to approve one nominee for decisions, such as promotions, to be put into effect.

Uncertainty in business is not favorable, so how can your company ensure continued success? It’s important that companies, especially ones that have relied on USPS promotions in the past for cost savings, plan on not being able to take advantage of this by reviewing their current workflow and adjusting or reallocating spending.

The Growing Cost of Bad Data

The industry is not oblivious to the cost of bad data. It can hinder campaigns, waste resources, and overall negatively affect the industry, which is why address quality is of the upmost importance as we embrace postal changes and head into 2018.

While the issue of Undeliverable-as-Addressed (UAA) mail has improved over the years, it still poses financial ramifications on the industry. In fact, the industry overall is still paying over $1 billion in excess postage related to the six billion pieces of UAA mail the USPS deals with annually. All members of the industry need to re-evaluate address quality issues to further reduce UAA mail.

So, what changes are on the horizon to further combat this issue? This coming year will be spent preparing for a new coding accuracy support system (CASS) cycle that will be implemented in 2019. These changes are a long time coming, and the industry should be ready for shifts that will work to improve data overall.

Continuing to Make Mail Irresistible

It’s official that Informed Visibility is replacing IMB Tracing. This change will improve visibility into the mail stream and provide mailers more data, which has been a major factor to the growing effectiveness of direct mail.

Multi-channel marketing has infiltrated the industry, and this has been extremely positive for direct mail’s steady influence. With the realization that a multi-faceted campaign will drive the best results, marketers have been working towards incorporating more than one medium, and direct mail is the foundation. So, how is your business capitalizing on this?

The USPS offers easy ways and special promotions for utilizing multi-channel communications through Informed Delivery, including execution through Mail.dat, so you can easily get your campaigns up and running.

What’s on The Horizon?

Automation is not slowing down. In fact, it’s estimated that by 2019, 79% of mail centers will be automated. This statistic may be daunting to some, but it shouldn’t be. Automation opens the door to improving your efficiency and gives you the ability to take on more jobs.

To begin the steps to implement automation into your business, or to enhance your current system, all mail service providers (MSPs) need to take a hard look at operations by mapping out your current workflow. It’s essential to keep up with automation so that you don’t fall behind.

Ask yourself, where could your operations improve? What are your pitfalls? BCC Software’s expert Professional Services team is here to help guide you through this process.

Chris Lien is President, BCC Software, a frequent contributor to industry publications, and a sought-after speaker at industry events.