On the Scene at NCOF: Mailers “Disappointed” at USPS Increase

Dallas—Attendees at the 11th Annual National Conference on Operations and Fulfillment (NCOF) were not surprised by the U.S. Postal Service’s May 8 announcement of a postal rate hike scheduled to go into effect July 1. But they were, to quote Jimmy Newland, director of special projects for Bogart, GA-based cataloger Flowers, Balloons, “disappointed with the increase.” Newland, whose company sells flowers, balloons, and related merchandise to supermarkets, added, “It’s not like we’re going to see any increased service.”

Several mailers, including Marvin Goff, a partner in Auburn, CA-based spoken-word recordings cataloger Audio Partners, felt that the USPS was in effect penalizing catalogers and other commercial mailers for a decline in first class mail. “USPS is designed for first class mail, which is way down with the use of e-mail,” agreed Steven Baly, manager for Hickory Farms’ Bowling Brook, IL, distribution center.

Baly predicted that the July rate increase, which averages 1.6% among all classifications, will encourage more catalogers to work with printers and consolidators to drop their books into DDUs—the local post offices—rather than into a more preliminary stage of the mail stream, to whittle down their postage costs.