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The Only Story In Town

The U.S. government is partially shut down and not releasing any statistics. This alone puts America in very “strange times,” according to a recent Monday Morning Outlook report published by First Trust Portfolios.

W+D 326 Envelope Folding Machine

Royal Envelope announces the installation of their W+D 326 Envelope folding machine. The 326 is a hybrid machine capable of producing commercial size and envelopes and also flats. This purchase increases Royal’s capacity for flats to over 700,000 envelopes daily. This folding machine has three print units and capable of producing Latex gum and Peel N Seal Gum options in line

Soft Touch Coating

Royal Envelope may not have invented soft touch coatings but our experience and expertise continues to grow. Soft Touch coating is applied in-line on the printing press, and does not require any off-line treatment or processing. This coating feels leather-like, almost rubbery feel with a matte appearance to printed materials. While holding your Royal Envelope sample you can see a difference but it is much more obvious to the touch. Soft Touch is non-yellowing coating and dries quickly.
 
Contact Royal or your sale representative for samples and ideas on how to increase the mailing results.

Happy Holidays friends, Vendors and Clients,

Our family wishes all of you the best of times this Holiday Season.  We hope that everyone has the time to enjoy their family traditions, foods, and get togethers.  While there is often bad news concerning the Post Office and the Print Industry in general part of our job is to educate beyond the typical doomsday headlines seen in the media.  First I would like to emphasize that the Post Office is not going away.  Most of their problems have to do with outdated Pension rules and government restrictions in redefining the Post Office.  Here are some updates on the Post Office.  Most of this information is passed on to us from the Envelope Manufacturing Association.  They are an excellent resource for us and want to pass on the information to you.

Postal Legislation

All 11 of the key mailing industry associations in Washington, D.C. met with postal management on December 4th to discuss our latest with regard to postal reform. There is no “deal” yet and the parties are not publically working on a deal. There is a great deal of work at the staff level on the Hill and many proposals are going back and forth. The Senate and House Leadership on Government Reform wants to get this done but if anything gets done, it may not be substantive and it may only designed to push the issue into the 213rd Congress that starts up in January.
 
Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT) who is retiring at the end of the term tried to move forward a compromise bill with House “Conferees.” This is not a real conference committee but just an informal working conference to see if something can get done.  He would have eliminated Saturday delivery except for parcels, reworked the heathcare accrual and returned FERS to the USPS. However, there was less than 50 percent of the “conferees” supporting the Lieberman plan so it sits waiting for the House to come back with new ideas. There has been a great deal of talk at the staff level but nothing substantive yet.  The good news is that everyone is talking, the bad news is that not much is public or on paper yet.

Back at the USPS

The Postmaster General is moving forward to consolidate mail processing centers. He closed 47 earlier and now he will move forward in January to close and/or consoliate the remaining plants, about 112 in all. In addition, the USPS is modifying the hours of retail post offices and or consolidating post offices. That process has begun and it involves a wide number of communities. The USPS wants to make sure that citizens are heard from and they do the right thing. Some rural post offices will only be open a minimum number of hours per day, others will be merged with post offices that are close by. There is not a great deal of savings here but as the staff compresses, the number of facilities that need staffing will also compress.  Did you know that 39 percent of the USPS’s retail revenue now comes from alternative access, not a retail post office? It is one of the reasons the USPS can get away with consolidating and closing retail Post Office without losing customers.  You may not realize that the USPS made money in October, net operating income. A great deal of the cost cutting and promotion activities are starting to have an impact.
 
The USPS has had several early out programs for postal workers and postmasters. We were told about 4,000 postmasters took advantage of early out and about 100,000 postal employees will take early retirement. The numbers are still sketchy because all of this is in process.
 
On the positive side, the HQ staff clearly gets the fact that raising rates beyond inflation is a non starter. In addition, certain classes of mail that do not recover their costs are also a challenge. The USPS wants to retain as much mail as possible and does not want to lose business. One of the issues we have is that of rates for flats. The Postal Regulatory Commission has rejected the portion of the USPS rate case that deals with standard flats saying that the rate request does not fully recover costs. The USPS has reworked the numbers and has re-presented the flats issue back to the PRC but we don’t have an word back right now.
 
The USPS is also testing Metro Post in the San Francisco Bay Area which is a small package delivery service that links local businesses with their customers. This might have some very interesting envelope applications for Bay Area companies. Basically, the local pharmacy can offer same day delivery of a pharmaceutical order in the Bay area. Same for clothing, books and a host of other items. The USPS would not disclose the retailer that they are working with but we will find out more right after the first of the year. I will cover this in later updates as I have more information to share.
 
The USPS has a very active mailing services promotional calendar next year. You can go to http://ribbs.usps.gov/mobilebarcode/upcoming.htm. All of these promotions are designed to link the envelope with the mobile phone including a Reply Mail promotion from April 1 through June 30th and Picture Permit this summer. For years we have asked for new value opportunities on the envelope and they are now right in front of us.