Live from The Annual Catalog Conference: Questions and Answers with the Postal Pros

Boston–In light of the ongoing postal turmoil-the upcoming July 1 rate hike, the rate case likely to be filed next year asking for even greater increases-Catalog Age took the opportunity to ask postal gurus Joe Lubenow and Dan Minnick of Experian Direct Tech (booth #304) to discuss, among other topics, how best to prepare for the July 1 increase and postal reform. Here’s the first in our Show Daily series.

Catalog Age: What should catalogers be doing to get ready for the July 1 postage increase with regard to software and other issues?

Dan Minnick: Postal software vendors were given short notice of the implementation; however, the only new changes were rates, not classifications. And that’s good, because even if everything else fails, manual adjustments can be applied to #3602 postage-payment forms.

But since so many systems are computer integrated, manual adjustments must still be made. So if you or your processing vendor has not gotten notification of the software vendors’ release schedule, contact them immediately, and ask them when the update will be available and how it can be obtained. (Besides the traditional shipped cartridges or CDs, many times a change this simple is distributed by having the end user access a “subscriber only” Website to download the patch.)

Catalog Age: Does postal reform have any chance of finally making it to the floor of the House this year?

Joe Lubenow: We may see a continued interest in postal reform in Congress, since just about everyone can see some legislative attention is needed for a Postal Service that just took 16 months to complete its latest rate case-if, indeed, it is now over. But I don’t think that is the only path to a more efficient USPS that can provide consistent and reliable delivery with affordable rates.

The upcoming USPS product redefinition [in which some mail classes will be reorganized] may carry the possibility of further rate de-averaging, which would open up new avenues for mailer work-sharing. As industry chair of the Mailers Technical Advisory Committee (MTAC), I intend to make sure that we fully cooperate with the Postal Service in pursuing this opportunity.

In Tuesday’s Catalog Age Show Daily, Minnick and Lubenow discuss mailing smarter.

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