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10 ways to cope with higher rates.

IT'S TIME TO RECONSIDER COST-SAVING STRATEGIES SUCH AS BARCODING AND NCOA

With the 14-percent increase in Third-Class postage rates now a reality, mailers have a strong incentive to reexamine internal production and mailing practices in search of ways to cut costs, improve deliverability and increase response.

Mailers who take advantage of every cost-saving opportunity available through Postal Service discounts can save as much as 30 percent of their Third-Class postage fees.

These opportunities for improvement in overall performance can be found in the planning and preparation of direct mail, as well as in the actual mailing stage. With the new rates in effect, this may be just the time for a thorough mailing review.

To get started, here's a checklist of 10 steps mailers should consider taking to help soften the blow of this latest postage increase.

1 Appoint a USPS expert. Have someone on staff or have ready access to a consultant who is thoroughly familiar with the latest USPS regulations and the changes taking place this year.

2 Review the physical characteristics of each mailing piece. Make sure it falls within USPS dimensions, aspect ratio and weight limits. Unusual pieces with non-standard dimensions may be disqualified from earning USPS incentive discounts.

3 Consider reducing paper stock weight or mailing piece dimensions to bring the mailing into a lower postal bracket.

4 Examine the indicia and artwork for the FIM (facing identification mark) for proper wording and permit data. If an expired or wrong permit number is detected by the USPS, this may be grounds for exacting considerable extra fees by the Post Office.

5 Have your address list checked and standardized using CASS-certified software. This will verify ZIP information and insert ZIP+4 codes so that Delivery Point Barcodes can automatically be printed on the outgoing mailer during the address imaging process.

6 Run your list against the NCOA (National Change of Address) file on a regular basis, and monitor it for the percentage of moves, nixies and non-matches.

7 Study the various mail sorting options. By using a postal sortation software program, you can choose the sortation level which will qualify your mail for the optimum discount - whether to sort to the Bulk Mail Center (BMC) or Sectional Center Facility (SCF) level, for instance. This software can also produce the necessary financial information for USPS reporting and auditing requirements.

8 Make sure your return envelop is properly printed with a ZIP+4 code, Delivery Point Barcode and the FIM next to the stamp area.

9 If you use Business Reply Mail, consider participating in the Postal Services' Business Reply Mail Accounting System (BRMAS), which requires an annual accounting fee of $185 and testing of mail-piece samples in order to reduce the handling fee by two cents per piece. The breakeven for BRMAS is about 600 pieces per year.

10 Monitor proposals for other USPS regulation changes. For instance, changes to palletization regulations would increase the cost of production, and routing changes to BMC and SCFs for destination drop shipments should affect the cost of freight.

LAINE ROPSON is national postal services manager for Moore Business Communication Services, Vernon Hills, IL. She can be reached at (708) 913-3200.

COPYRIGHT 1995 North American Publishing Company
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1995 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:direct mailing costs
Author:Ropson, Laine
Publication:Target Marketing
Date:Feb 1, 1995
Words:530
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