From AFL Web Printing: What do the U.S. Postal Service changes mean to publishers?
There are big changes ahead for the U.S. Postal Service, but what those specific changes are, what they mean, and how they will affect delivery of periodicals and newspapers has many publishers confused and concerned.
Tanya Erickson, director of Customer Integration at AFL Web Printing, is an expert in postal regulations and standards for periodical and standard business mail. She is a board member of the South Jersey Postal Customer Council and a frequent presenter at PCC seminars. She’s been involved in the mailing industry for more than 20 years and has attended dozens of Postal Service seminars.
Erickson has provided a no-nonsense Q&A for publishers, circulators, and marketers on what you need to know about the latest postal announcements, and how they could potentially impact your business.
Q: What is the Postal Service Plan?
A: The Postal Service announced on Dec. 5, 2011, that it will move ahead with several changes to service as part of a plan to reduce its operating costs by $20 billion by 2015:
- First, businesses and customers will receive their mail at least one day later:
Current Standards Proposed Standards
First-Class Mail: 1−3 days 2−3 days
Periodicals: 1−9 days 2−9 days
Standard Mail: 3−10 days 3−10 days
What this potentially means is mail delivery will be delayed at least one day.
- Second, the Postal Service is studying 252 of its 487 mail processing facilities for possible closure. This doesn’t mean that all of these locations will be closed, but it does imply that they are on the top of the list. All of the studies will be completed in the February/March 2012 time frame and facility consolidations/closures could begin as early as March 2012. Here are eight local distribution centers that will be studied:
Kilmer P&DC Edison NJ
Monmouth P&DC Eatontown NJ
South Jersey NJ P&DC Bellmawr NJ
New Jersey NJ L&DC Kearny NJ
Northern NJ Metro P&DC Teterboro NJ
Brooklyn P&DC Brooklyn NY
Queens P&DC Flushing NY
West Nassau NY P&DC Garden City, Long Island NY
What this potentially means is that publishers may have to adjust their postal appointment times and transportation logistics. Ultimately, delivery could be impacted.
- These changes are in addition to the Oct. 18 Postal Service announcements. These increases go into effect Jan. 22, 2012.
The rate for first class retail postage will go up one penny to 45 cents.
- The rate for detached address labels (DAL) will go up 1.7 cents to 3 cents. That means the cost will go up to $30 per thousand copies.
- The rate for periodicals will increase 2.133 percent at the class level.
Q: Why is the Postal Service proposing these changes?
A: From a business perspective, the Postal Service is in deep financial trouble and has been hemorrhaging money for five years. It lost $5.1 billion for the fiscal year ended Sept. 30. Blame an antiquated business model and high pension expenses, the economy, competition from other delivery companies, and the growth of digital services as the public uses web-based applications to pay invoices and send e-mail instead of using stamped mail.
Q: If the Postal Service implements these changes, are we done?
A: I don’t see it. With the changes announced this month, the Postal Service expects to cut operating costs by $20 billion by 2015. But in September, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe warned that losses will accelerate in the coming year. The Postal Service says it will run of money by September 2012. “We are at a point where we require urgent action,” Donahoe said. There has been talk of other possible austerity programs including eliminating Saturday delivery and eliminating the pension plan prefunding of more than $5 billion annually. Both require Congressional approval and both would be political hot buttons going into the 2012 elections.
Q: Will the day my publication is currently delivered to the customer be affected?
A: More than likely, yes. And the later in the week the product is delivered, the greater the risk the product will not be delivered on the intended day. Publishers need to anticipate possible changes to their production model, including printing and distribution, so that the product arrives on the desired in-home date. They need to develop their contingency plans now.
Have more questions or need more information? Contact Tanya Erickson, director of Customer Integration at email@example.com.
Postal Service links:
Web Printing is the leading provider of web printing, finishing, and circulation services for newspapers, guide books, and niche publications for the Mid-Atlantic Region. With locations in Voorhees, NJ, and Secaucus, NJ, AFL is focused on providing quality products, exceptional service, and innovative solutions to help customers grow their business.
AFL contact: Joe Cavone, Vice President Sales & Marketing: 856-566-1270, ext. 1003; firstname.lastname@example.org