September 23, 2004 -- Thanks to some savvy reengineering to our multi-mailing equipment — specifically adding special QuadTech-manufactured pockets — Quad/Graphics is now multi-mailing books with a spine-to-face measurement of 9 inches. Previously, our equipment could only handle books up to 8-7/8 inches wide. These adjustments — coupled with two discounts from the U.S. Postal Service and an expansion to the time in which clients can submit files — confirm one thing: good things can get better.
"Creating a greater opportunity for our clients to reap postal discounts is what our Multi-Mail Program has been about all along," explains Mark Schneider, Corporate Post-Press Services manager. "The bottom line, however, is that these adjustments will drive more volume into the program by opening it up to clients who might not have qualified before because of their trim size. The higher the volume, the greater the savings for clients."
Higher volumes are key
To understand what publishers of over-sized books are gaining from these enhancements, it's important to understand how the Multi-Mail Program works.
Multi-mailing, quite simply, is the process of merging together the mailstreams of several different titles to create one large mailstream presorted for postal efficiencies and, consequently, postal discounts. Considering the average publisher spends nearly one-third of its budget on mailing and distribution costs alone, any potential for savings is paramount.
But how does creating a larger mailstream save money in the long run?
Loosely applying Quad/Graphics' longstanding philosophy of "together we can do more than individually apart," the Multi-Mail Program was designed for clients who, alone, would not qualify for higher presort discounts found in the carrier-route sort level. By combining the mailstreams of several publishers, the program, also known as Periodical Co-Mail, is able to generate a higher volume of finer-sorted bundles. In other words, when more books are mailed together, there's a greater chance for more bundles to share the same carrier-route and 5-digit presort levels. As the two finest levels of sort, these levels require less handling by the postal service, qualifying them for greater postal discounts.
Hand-in-hand with finer presorting, our Multi-Mail Program saves periodical clients money through our Optimal Entry, or drop shipping, program. Drop shipping to common postal entry points — specifically, Sectional Center Facilities (SCFs) and Area Distribution Centers (ADCs) — allows us to enter mail into the postal system closer to its final destination, which results in even more postal discounts and improved turnaround time for in-home delivery.
Although the most recent postal rate increase was hard to swallow for most mailers, Multi-Mail Program participants will find two discounts much to their liking: the pallet discount and the drop-ship pallet discount.
Due to higher-volume mailstreams, nearly 100 percent of the mail processed through our Multi-Mail Program can be palletized (and of the palletized mail, nearly 84 percent can drop ship).
Palletization not only protects the condition of the mail as it travels through the mailstream, but it also reduces the amount of handling required by the postal service — a fact not lost during the recent rate increase. The USPS is now offering a $.005 per-piece discount for any mail that is palletized, and an additional $.01 per-piece discount on any palletized mail that is drop shipped to its destination entry postal facility. All told, these discounts could lessen the effect of the rate increase for Multi-Mail participants by as much as 50 percent.
Window of opportunity
Automation advancements at Quad/Data Services have also allowed Quad/Graphics to accelerate turnaround times and put extra time in the schedule on the side of our clients. We've moved our due date for mail files back four days and are now requesting mail files arrive at Quad/Graphics six days prior to the scheduled machine start date.
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