We've been busy this month with new clients and the installation of a new warehouse transformer.
A few of you were mildly impacted by our power outage this past month, but we tried not to miss a beat by having backups in place. We now know that our backup plan works, we just hope we don't have to use it often.
President, Medallion Fulfillment & Logistics
New CD/DVD Mailer Meets USPS Standard Mail Requirements
New U.S. Postal Service mailing standards that redefine the difference between standard mail and parcels have caused unexpected problems – and unpleasant added expense – for shippers. The CD or DVD you used to be able to slip into a mailer and send to customers for 56 cents, now costs as much as $1.14 to ship as a parcel. A new packaging product from Conformer Expansion Products could solve the problem.
When new postal rates went into effect in May, the USPS set new standards for first class mail. The difference between standard mail and parcels is now determined by shape, size, flexibility and uniform thickness. To qualify for standard mail rates, an envelope must be flat enough (no thicker than 3/4-inch), smooth enough and flexible enough to be processed by sorting machines. Envelopes that are too thick or lumpy or rigid to easily glide through postal machinery must be measured and charged at either the standard mail not flat-machinable (NFM) rate or the even more expensive parcel rate.
Conformer Expansion Products of Great Neck, New York has designed a new container that will allow the shipping of CDs and DVDs in their cases at the standard flat mail rate of 56 cents. The patent-pending packaging is also suitable for shipping pens, pins, some prescription drugs, product samples, key chains and similar items. Meeting USPS requirements for flexibility and uniform thickness for machine flats, the container can hold items less than 3/4-inch thick with dimensions of less than 8 1/2 inches by 5 1/2 inches.
"It's challenging to get USPS approval on a new mailer," admitted Conformer General Manager Bob Makofsky in an interview with DM News. "You sit down with them and they tell you [that you] pass or you fail, there is no gray." Makofsky said Conformer engineers started working on new design solutions in February when the USPS first announced coming changes.
Response from the business community has been favorable, Makofsky said. Nonprofits and continuity clubs who often mail small gifts to donors have also expressed interest in the new product. With bubble mailers accounting for 2% of the 230 billion pieces of mail processed by the USPS each year, Conformer's new packaging product should have a ready market.
A Little Bit of Humor: The Importance of Clear Communication
An Illinois man left the snowballed streets of Chicago for a vacation in Florida. His wife was on a business trip and was planning to meet him there the next day. When he reached his hotel, he decided to send his wife a quick e-mail.
Unable to find the scrap of paper on which he had written her e-mail address, he did his best to type it in from memory. Unfortunately, he missed one letter, and his note was directed instead to an elderly preacher's wife whose husband had passed away only the day before. When the grieving widow checked her e-mail, she took one look at the monitor, let out a piercing scream, and fell to the floor dead.
At the sound, her family rushed into the room and saw this note on the screen:
Just got checked in. Everything prepared for your arrival tomorrow.
Your Loving Husband.
P.S. Sure is hot down here.
Tip of the Month: Better Inventory Control with UPS Returns
UPS has rolled out a new service that can improve your inventory control by speeding the return of unwanted merchandise. Returned merchandise is an inevitable part of business. Customers order the wrong part, use the wrong item number or sometimes change their mind. Until they get around to returning your merchandise, you have inventory out there that you can't sell.
UPS Returns solves the problem. By including a return label in your shipment, your customer can immediately return the merchandise. Customers don't need to contact you to make special return arrangements; they just affix the return label and pop the package in any UPS drop box. UPS Returns offers several options: Return labels can be included in the original shipment or emailed directly to your customer. For ultimate service, you can even arrange to have a UPS driver hand-deliver a return label to your customer's door and pick up the package.