Randy Weiler, SPC’s Senior Director of Postal Affairs, Logistics and Strategy is here to help you navigate the labyrinth of the USPS. What does it take to efficiently move your projects through the USPS system? What efficiencies can you gain from SPC’s lettershop expertise? Who determines postal increases?
Every month, Randy fields your burning questions about mail and postal affairs in a Q&A format. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or post a question via Facebook or Twitter using the hashtag #AskRandyUSPS. We post the questions and his answers each month both here on the SPC blog and on social media. To see a full list of questions that Randy has answered, check the Ask Randy Index.
1) Is the USPS considering any further postage rate increases outside of the January 24, 2021 increase that just happened?
This is going to be a long-winded answer to a short question… In 2006, the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA) became law. This law modernized the system for regulating postage rates for USPS Market Dominant products and established the annual Consumer Price Index (CPI) adjustments that have become the norm. The PAEA also mandated that the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) review this system 10 years later to confirm if it has achieved its intended objectives.
December 20, 2016 marked the 10-year anniversary of the PAEA and triggered the beginning of the PRC’s required review. In 2017, the PRC found that the current system was not meeting the original objectives and outlined areas of concern. In December of 2019, the PRC issued an updated proposal and recommendations. One of the main findings presented by the PRC was that the PAEA did not meet the objectives as intended relating to the USPS financial health. The PRC proposal provides the USPS greater autonomy on postage rate setting which would greatly affect mailers if exercised by the USPS.
My summary answer to the above question is that mailing professionals are beginning to hear rumblings that the USPS may choose to increase postage rates in accordance with the PRC’s findings. In fact, there may be a postage rate increase of as much as 7% as soon as late summer or early fall of this year.
It surprises me that the USPS would consider raising postage rates in the midst of a global pandemic and immediately after, in my opinion, the worst mail delivery performance in its history. There is no question that mailers want a financially stable, viable Postal Service. Asking mailers to pay more per piece should not be the first step in solving the USPS financial problems.
2) What advice do you have for SPC customers to gain more benefit from the USPS promotions in the future?
The USPS is offering these incentives in an effort to help marketers mail more. Participation in many of the promotions is relatively easy. After the USPS has announced incentives for the coming year, sit down and identify which promotions are right for your company and strategize on how to participate. Download the 2021 USPS Promotions Calendar here.
3) What is different/challenging about mailing internationally?
The biggest challenge of mailing internationally is defining the scope of the mailing. Are there just additional records that happen to be international that are a small subset of a domestic mailing, or is the entire mailing intended for international mail recipients? If the foreign mail pieces aren’t the bulk of the mailing and more than likely are going to English-speaking recipients, then there may not be much to do but send them out.
If the entire mailing is intended for a foreign audience, there are many more items to consider.
Is the audience limited to one country? Are there multiple languages involved? Cost should be a big concern. International postage can be very expensive, transportation won’t be cheap, and there may be duties to consider. My recommendation is to do your research or find a partner that can help answer your questions.
4) The Jetsons or The Flinstones?
Jetsons. I cannot stand Barney Rubble.
Senior Director of Postal Affairs, Logistics and Strategy