Anita Wood provides product marketing management and strategic direction for Quadient products, leveraging over two decades of global experience in technology industries, including IT and software development, and in various sectors such as manufacturing, government, advertising, retail petroleum systems and higher education. Throughout her career, she has led in roles such as development analyst, project manager (PMP certified), test engineer, and product manager (Pragmatic Marketing certified). She has also served as Professor and program administrator at Viterbo University, specializing in technology and global strategy.
In a previous post, I talked about advanced presorting as just one area of opportunity enabled by increased capacity. What are some of the other opportunities or services? Today I’ll talk about post presorting, and more specifically entry planning, as a growth driver.
As our industry continues to succeed despite the external downward forces, it is because mailers and service providers understand there is a need in the industry to constantly change the way that business is done in order to stay in business, work faster, work smarter and grow. Idealliance’s recent summer 2017 update to the State of the Industry report summarizes the environment well: “The obvious question is what distinguishes companies that are consistently at the top of the sales growth and profitability distributions (consistently, because many companies are occasionally). Idealliance research shows that it isn’t size, equipment configuration, ownership structure, or getting into hot markets early, but rather developing and regularly honing–the job is never done–the ability to make superior decisions in an increasingly complex, unforgiving business environment and to execute those decisions effectively.”
So you’ve increased some efficiencies and capacity. Perhaps you are on-boarding more customers and increasing the number or complexity of jobs processed. Your volumes are certainly increasing if you’ve played your cards right. If the job is never done, what’s next? With the increased volumes you’re managing, post presorting is worth revisiting.
What is post presorting? In the simplest terms, it’s what happens downstream from the presort step of the mail preparation process to manage unknowns and changes as well as reap additional savings. Post presorting includes capabilities such as Mail.dat® file management, drop-ship optimization, co-palletization and dynamic entry planning. In addition, post presorting ensures you can fully benefit from USPS® programs, such as Full-Service, eInduction, and Seamless Acceptance.
So what does that really mean to you? For starters:
- If you need flexibility and control across your operations, post presorting can help you make any necessary changes to the electronic documentation generated by your presort software. For example, you may not know the mailing date during the presorting process, but with post presorting solutions you don’t need to know it until the mailing is ready to ship
- If you believe you may benefit from drop-shipping your mailings, post presorting empowers you to fully analyze entry points based on your business rules
- If you deal with many mailings, post presorting can evaluate and combine mailings for higher discounts. It can also help you create pallets from loose containers scattered across jobs
- If you want to better manage, control, and track your postage statements to meet your business needs in production, quality control, documentation, and acceptance, post presorting enables you to accomplish that
- If you want to avoid rejected mail or documentation by USPS, post presorting will ensure you are compliant in various respects, such as compliance with USPS programs and USPS standards to qualify for discounts
- If you want to avoid downtime, optimize floor space, and manage spoilage on the production floor, post presorting can do that for you
With post presorting, you have full control of the Mail.dat file, which holds the electronic data related to your mailing jobs. There are many elements of that data that are not known early in the process or during the presorting step, so you need that ability to make those adjustments in production. Fields such as Piece Weight, Mailing Date, and Advertising Percentage for Periodicals, are very common examples.
For larger mailings, the mail is very commonly released over several days (partial releases) and the exact makeup of which mail will be released on which day cannot be known until production is completed each day. So, multiple mailing dates must be assigned on a container by container basis. While this is impossible to do with any presort software, post presort software makes it very easy to accomplish. Or you might have multiple jobs that, if combined, can qualify for additional discounts.
I’d like to focus more on the entry planning capabilities in post presorting, which some like to call “the money making machine”. If you aren’t drop shipping, you should seriously look at what it can do for you; if you are not using post presorting for entry planning, you may not be realizing a net cost savings. The entry planning of post presorting allows you to perform dynamic entry analysis that takes into account your logistics costs; the cost to drop ship varies from entry point to entry point.
Suppose you are a mail provider producing mail in Philadelphia. The cost to ship mail to an SCF in Los Angeles is much higher than the cost to ship to an SCF in Washington, DC. However, using the static presort method, you have implied that they are equal. You have defined 5,000 copies as the threshold for both. In fact, it may have required 7,500 pieces to attain a net cost savings in Los Angeles, while it may have only required 2,500 pieces to attain a net cost savings in Washington, D.C. So, using the static presort method, you may have drop shipped mail to Los Angeles that actually costs you more to ship than the entry discount received.
Entry planning solutions analyze drop ship costs against postage based on your business rules. Moreover, automated entry planning allows you to analyze an unlimited number of entry plan options and even automate the decision point, further improving efficiencies and increasing capacity. This opens the door to compare shipping prices across more carriers, empowering you again to decrease costs.
As you grow and expand value-added services for your customers, our solutions can easily and quickly accommodate any new preparation and processing needs. As a leader in the mailing industry, Quadient delivers on providing advanced capabilities outside of the typical regulatory requirements. If you are not sure whether post presorting or drop-shipping provides value to you, we can help you assess for your particular business needs. Call us today at 800.553.6477 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.