USPS workflow needs attention

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I read Garry Smith's letter to the editor ("The price is right," DM News, May 14) and found it an interesting perspective. The U.S. Postal Service should be commended for being able to move the volume of mail each day, week, month and year. However, I have another slant on the same topic, but a slightly different outcome.

I've been in the mail marketing business for 25 years and have seen the waste. As a marketer, we have been bar coding and sorting to the lowest possible sortation. This entitles us to the deep discounts, since we are doing the work of putting mail in ZIP order, traying and labeling (to a walk sequence if the volume is high enough).

You would think when the mail is deposited at the bulk mail facility, it would move directly to its trayed destination. No, it does not. It gets rerun through the sorting equipment, which is a waste of machine time and labor. Each sorting step along the way holds up home delivery and business delivery. As the mail moves to the next bulk mail center, it is rerun through the equipment, only to be determined that the sortation is correct. This takes place throughout the entire mail cycle.

My point being, this mail gets resorted and reprocessed time and time again. I think you see my point. When I questioned this, the response was: [we] have to get our numbers up at each point. Now isn't that an interesting comment? My understanding is that each manager gets reviewed based on machine counts. Bonuses are based on how much mail flows through their machines rather than their facility. I would think this reward program and system would prove to be counterproductive.

Clients work on yearly budgets. Every time the cost goes up, budgets are considered and volume goes down. This is a simple function of business.

The next year, the budgets are based on the prior year's expenses and volume. Once the volume starts in a downward spiral, it just continues.

In a previous life I had worked with workflow and cost-cutting measures. Should someone decide to explore my comments, I think you will find the mailing industry has done its part. It is the system (workflow) within the Postal Service that needs attention. Time is money and we are not the enemy. A good valid working partnership can move this industry to formative success.

Joyce Ferrara

Director of sales and marketing

The Creative Group

Direct Marketing Solutions Inc.

Chantilly, VA

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