Deliver: The Mail Industry Affects Your Bottom Line
Trends indicate three methods in which the mailing industry is enhancing services to address customers' increased demands: acquisitions, consolidation and technology. Mailers should take advantage of these trends and find better ways to improve mail processes that can reduce business expenses, lessen productivity costs and strengthen customer relationships.
Acquisitions: Combining Expertise and Vast Services
The mailing industry recently experienced numerous acquisitions. To name a few, FedEx bought Parcel Direct; UPS Mail Innovations picked up OMNIsort International Inc.; and Deutsche Post Global Mail joined forces with QuikPak and SmartMail to form DHL Smart & GlobalMail.
These companies sought to provide a single-source delivery solution and a breadth of value-added services that cater to high-volume mailers. Previously, there were no one-stop shops that could handle worldwide mailing and shipping of all types of materials such as flat-sized mail and parcel packages, including brochures, CDs, catalogs, apparel items, magazines or prescriptions.
Select companies now offer high-performance delivery of any type of material and give mailers access to customized services. The time and cost savings of these new services are limitless. Address verification means companies waste less time searching and paying for lost mail pieces. Through cost-allocation features, businesses manage the administration and logistics of mail transactions via the Web. Mailers can choose specialized services that enable process improvements and affect the bottom line.
The new conglomerates also provide greater reach. With comprehensive services in the United States and abroad, these global companies meet the domestic and international needs of customers. International networks let companies shift resources and respond to volume spikes or surprises that affect delivery, such as natural disasters.
Consolidation: Capturing Economies of Scale
Mailers can achieve tremendous savings through mail consolidation, up to 70 percent on mail costs. Through consolidation, mail services providers combine mail from various sources to reach greater volumes that qualify pieces for reduced postal rates. Mail is sent to mail centers nearer the final destination, eliminating time-consuming steps and letting the customer benefit from zone-skipping. The further downstream mail is inserted, the greater the potential for cost savings and improved delivery times.
Direct relationships with postal entities worldwide let both parties do what they do best. Mail services providers handle front-end processing and long-haul delivery while local postal authorities focus on "final-mile delivery." Working with local postal entities, mail reaches its endpoint expediently, and the handover through a third party is invisible to the end recipient.
Mail services providers also stay apprised of ever-changing postal regulations and procedures. Having a reliable mail services provider means improved delivery performance and fewer costs associated with re-mailing, restocking and losses. Mailers also save on soft costs such as supplies, warehousing and mailroom management.
Technology: Harnessing the Benefits
Technology as part of a delivery methodology promises future process improvements, cost savings and increased control over mailing and shipping. Many value-added services can be achieved only through technology.
For example, mailers gain visibility of data and the ability to analyze delivery performance through sophisticated features such as online tracking and reporting. Knowing when packages left and when they arrived helps ensure consistent delivery times and gives mailers greater opportunities to strengthen relationships with customers.
Certain quality-control measures are possible only through technology. Through efficient mail-piece processing and address verification, packages are weighed and the mail address is verified against county-specific postal standards. Addresses also may be encoded to build a routing scheme that helps in sorting and routing deliveries.
Technology also makes it easier to track all materials flowing through the destination postal service. Additionally, mail services providers work with local postal authorities to identify and overcome discrepancies and distribution inefficiencies. Mailers benefit from improved accountability and overall service. In the end, delivery is ensured, and mailers achieve the highest possible postal discount.
Driving the Bottom Line
High-volume mailers can streamline processes and achieve the greatest cost savings by relying on experts who have made mailing and shipping their sole business. Think about your business' unique requirements. Choose value-added services that result in improved delivery times, greater accountability, lower costs and better client relationships for your organization.
Use a mail services provider who can help you improve the bottom line. To be an innovative business leader, you must continually strive for business process improvements, including mailing and shipping logistics.