Priority Envelope News

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Our installation team is setting up our new W & D 202 envelope converter. This is the first of two new machines that will be placed into production in 2014.

Envelope Converting Machines

We look forward to serving our customers with improved service, added 4 color print capacity and delivering laser focused quality envelopes.

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Arriving this week the first of our new W & D 627 blank fed converters in Minneapolis. We are scheduled for another to arrive later in the Spring of 2014

Envelope Converting Machine in Minnesota


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All preparation is ready for our 1st of 2 new W & D 202 High Speed Envelope Converters to arrive later this week in our Nevada, Iowa facility.. This pair of machines reinforces our  continued commitment to the envelope manufacturing industry, our direct mail customers and prospects as well as to our valued employees. These machines are considered the fastest true web machines in the world.  In addition, each will have print capabilities up to 4 colors outside and 1 color inside.  We look forward to an exciting, productive 2014!

New Envelope Converter

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by Janet Lockhart-Jones, Ed.D., MDC | November 30, 2013 |
USPS® Delays Implementation of Full-Service Intelligent Mail® Mandate

The Postal Regulatory Commission’s (PRC) recent ruling held that mandating the implementation of Full-Service Intelligent Mail barcode (IMb™) requirements constitutes a rate increase. Due to this ruling, the Postal Service is delaying the January 26, 2014 implementation of the Full-Service Intelligent Mail mandate for automation price discounts. Mailers who are not currently enrolled in Full-Service IMb requirements effective January 26th, 2014 will still be able to claim automation prices. To achieve the best pricing, however, mailers must continue to Full-Service compliance.

So, what does the PRC’s ruling and the Postal Service’s decision to delay Full-Service really mean? It means that mailers who are currently receiving automation price discounts today by complying with Basic IMb™ requirements will RETAIN these same price discounts after January 26th, 2014. The Postal Service’s decision to delay the implementation of the Full-Service mandate essentially means that Basic IMb™ still qualifies mailers for automation pricing.

Despite this delay, the Postal Service remains strongly committed to full-service adoption for all mailers. The value of Full-Service is well-known and helps the mailing community to get the best value-added experience for its mail. The Postal Service® will continue moving aggressively to achieve 100 percent visibility in the mail through Full-Service.

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The U.S. Postal Service’s 2014 promotions calendar, officially announced this week, reprises popular programs with some new wrinkles aimed at increasing use of First Class, shipping, and digital technology. The biggest rate discount being offered, 15%, is for a spring promotion for First Class marketing pieces.
“Five or 10 years ago a lot of marketers used First Class as a marketing medium because it results in higher response,” says Tom Foti, manager of direct mail and periodicals for product development at the Postal Service. “Lately, we don’t see as much of it, so we’re encouraging marketers to try moving up again.”
One of the bright spots in the Post Office’s 2013 earnings report was the 8% rise in its shipping business, and one 2014 promotion offers an additional discount for exceeding a threshold for Priority Mail resulting from direct mail efforts.
Following is a rundown of all mailing promotions for the coming year. All dates are 2014 unless otherwise noted.
Branded Color-Mobile Technology/ February 1- March 31: This is an upfront 2% postage discount on all pieces that incorporate creative elements such as color or branding in QR codes. “With our last QR code promotion, we kept hearing from mailers that QR codes are ugly and take up creative space, so we’re challenging marketers to get creative within the code itself,” Foti says. Qualifying mail must contain a code that leads to a mobile-optimized experience. Branded codes qualify with one color other than black, white, or gray; others require two. Registration: December 15, 2013-March 31.
Premium Advertising/ April 1- June 30: Another upfront discount—this one for 15%—will be awarded to First Class mail pieces composed entirely of marketing or advertising content. Eligible are direct mailers that did $6 billion or more in Standard Mail postage from October 1, 2012, through September 30, 2013. Registration: February 15-June 30.
Earned Value Reply Mail/ April 1- June 30: Mailers that include First Class Business Reply Mail and Courtesy Reply Mail enclosures will earn a two-cent credit on each piece returned during the promotion period. Participants in last year’s reply mail promotion will get three cents off if their replies increase in 2014. Registration: February 15-March 31.
Digital Personalization/ May 1- June 30: Personalization in the mail piece, as well as a response mechanism that takes the recipient to a personalized URL (PURL), qualifies the mailer for a 2% postage discount. Unique barcodes are required to link consumers with PURLS, which they can continue to access for personalized content. Registration: March 15-June 30.
Emerging Technology-NFC/ August 1- September 30: Mail pieces embedded with near field communication chips allowing for integrating mail with digital technologies will merit 2% discounts at the time of mailing. “NFC is used for mobile payments and we see an opportunity here where people can come home, open a mail piece and immediately make a purchase with a mobile device,” Foti says. Registration: June 15-September 30.
Color Print in First Class/ August 1- December 31: First Class transactional pieces sent in IMb full-service mailings that include the use of four-color printing on bills and statements receive 2% discounts at the time of mailing. Color inserts and pre-printed paper stock don’t count. This promotion focuses on top 100 mailers that can afford the investment, which USPS claims results in better return rates. Registration: June 15-December 31.
Mail Drives Mobile Commerce/ November 1- December 31: This is an upfront 2% discount on mail pieces that include a mobile barcode or similar technology that can be read or scanned by a mobile device to lead the recipient to a shopping site. The piece must contain text near the link with instructions and information about the landing page. If customers meet a certain Priority Mail threshold as a result of increased merchandise shipping, they will receive an additional 1% off.Registration: September 15-December 31.

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New Envelope Converting Coming

New Converting Capacity & Capabilities coming to Minnesota – January 2014 !

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Direct Marketing News

Al Urbanski, Senior Writer
November 11, 2013

Gary Reblin, VP of new products and innovation at the U.S. Postal Service, spoke with Senior Editor Al Urbanski recently about what’s in store for mailers in 2014.

Al Urbanski: Hello, and thanks for listening to DC Direct. This is Al Urbanski, senior editor of Direct Marketing News. I’m in the office of Gary Reblin, who is the vice president of New Products and Innovation at the U.S. Postal Service. Gary, thanks for joining us today.
Gary, first let’s say I hear you have some good news. I hear you won an international award with some of the new things you’ve been trying with digital. Tell me a little bit about that and about the programs that got you that recognition.
Gary Reblin: Yeah, we really appreciated the award. What we…what we have been doing is we have really been trying to integrate direct mail with digital. And what we decided to do in the Postal Service is run promotions that get our mailers to start using mobile technology.
Specifically what we have done is we have…we give mailers a discount for simply putting a mobile bar card on the mail piece, for using augmented reality and other technologies. And the purpose of this is we want people to innovate with the mail.
One of the great things about digital is it gives great new opportunities. This year, we saw political mail. People were donating based on a political mail piece to a campaign. People are now buying directly from a catalog. People are showcasing from a catalog what furniture will look like in your house. That’s all available because of the proliferation of smart phones.
And what we have tried to do is offer promotions to get people to try this new technology with the mail to drive up the return on the investment of their mail piece.
Urbanski: It’s interesting. By the way, that award was from Postal Technology International and it was for digital communication innovation of the year. So talk to me about some of the programs that you ran last year? You had the QR code promotion, and some of the feedback that you got on how that worked with folks, and also why it was that you introduced those and made the investment in those programs.
Reblin: Okay. Well, first of all, the reason we made those investments is we recognized that there was an opportunity with direct mail and that direct mail needed to evolve. The direct mail piece continues to be an outstanding way to get into the door.
However, with the expansion of e-tailing, people buying online, we saw the need to connect the hard copy to the digital world, and we also saw with the proliferation of the smart phone a whole bunch of different capabilities that were available that bottom line could drive the return on investment on mail because that’s…that’s really what it’s all about.
So we decided to run these promotions. Basically, they give a discount to the end receiver for trying this…technology. The long-term goal is if they try it, realize the return on investment goes up, then they’re more likely to use mail over the other alternatives in the space.
Urbanski: Interesting. So what do you have coming this year? Is there anything new coming down the pike this year in that regard?
Reblin: Yeah. We continue to push a couple of things real strongly. First of all, we’re continuing to push what we call emerging technologies. Emerging technologies are things like augmented reality, which can bring something from a catalog into life using the camera. We continue to push near-field communication. Near-field communication is really the definition of an emerging technology, something that’s just starting to be used with paper, but the great part is it can take a smart phone and it can launch a video. It can bring you to a site. It can allow you to make a donation without ever having to click a QR code or really have anything more to do with it than simply hold it over the paper…itself.
We’re also expanding and doing things in first class mail, like promoting and putting advertising directly on first class mail bills so that they can be used to cross sell. We’re going to continue to push the buy it now, so if your child sees something in a catalog that they want for the holidays…you can simply click that catalog. It will take you right to an Internet site so that you can purchase it.
We’re even going so far this year to allow people to—from a direct mail piece—be able to download an app because we realize that with apps…people tend to buy more. So we want people to realize that the direct mail piece can get you into the door and cut through all the clutter of the millions of apps that are out there and get people to download their own apps.
So we’re really pushing a lot this year in our promotional catalog.
Urbanski: Well, it sounds like you’re working hard to meld the digital world with the old direct mail world. There are still direct mailers out there. There is a lot going on. Postal reform is still stalled. There is an exigent increase on the boards. What do you say to some of the mailers who are saying, “Hey, I’ve got a budget and I’m decreasing?” Is this value addition, do you think that’s going to take care of it? Will there be any other kind of promotions that don’t involve digital that might increase—keep volumes up?
Reblin: Yes. We’re actually doing more promotions than ever this year. The idea is exactly what you said, to make people realize the value of mail and the value…and how the value is going to increase now with the proliferation of the smart phones and really everything that it can do.
What I say to them is, “Direct mail continues to be number one in acquisition and retention, in return on investment. It really—you know, with the forms of advertising digitally, increasing—the clutter is increasing online. The apps are increasing online. It’s becoming more and more difficult on digital to get people to act. The mailbox continues to be a great source, and you know, if you look at the abilities that are being created with targeting now, with the abilities that are being created with smart phones and the capabilities, you know, they’re all going to help the return on investment of the mail piece. So it continues to be a value and the return on investment will speak for itself, you know, if you continue to try it and continue to use it.
Urbanski: And finally Gary, you had a…well, not too long ago a new CMO take over here, Nagisa Manabe. Tell me about what her influence has been on your outlook for the long term of the Postal Service and how you view this great network that you have out there.
Reblin: Yeah. Nagisa has actually done a great job of really getting us to stop looking at just tomorrow. We obviously have to pay attention to that, but let’s look out 10 years and let’s see how things are evolving and determining what the Postal Service should be getting into. You know, are there other things that we could use that we could do to help the consumer? How…what’s going to be delivered to people 10 years from now, and, you know, is that an opportunity for the Postal Service?
Because, if so, you need to start planning for things a lot earlier. You can’t be…have them sprung on you at the last minute. So Nagisa has done a great job of really allowing us to focus into what are the new opportunities based on the fact that carriers are at the house every single day. What—you know, what will mail evolve to and how can we play…a significant role in the future world?
Urbanski: Great. Well, it’s a challenging time, but also an exciting time at the Post Office. This is Gary Reblin. Gary, thanks for being with us today. This is Al Urbanski signing out.

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Why International Paper Says It’s OK to Print Your Emails
By Andrea Newell | October 17th, 2013
“How many of you have a line at the end of your email (or gotten an email) that says, ‘Before printing this email, please consider the effects on the environment’? From a resource perspective and a wise use of natural resources, that’s a wise idea, but what I would like to do is challenge that.”
That’s how International Paper’s James McDonald started his SXSWEco discussion refuting the idea that most of us have that printing or using paper in the office causes deforestation and harms the environment.
Well, you might be thinking, he works for a paper company, what else is he going to say? McDonald acknowledged that it sounds self-serving, but still – he was determined to lay out his argument. “The truth is,” he said, “there are facts out there we’d like to go ahead and talk about.”
Setting aside the email paper use issue initially, McDonald weighed in on paper versus plastic, or renewable versus non-renewable resources.
There are many products, besides paper, that are made from forests, including furniture, lumber, cereals, deodorant, grout, cancer drugs, cinnamon, cork, toothpaste, antacids, and rayon. Many of them, McDonald explained, are made from sustainably, responsibly maintained forests. While managing this list may be even more daunting than dealing with paper responsibility, McDonald argues that trees are one of our most renewable resources, easily replanted and grown, as long as they are harvested responsibly so they can be replanted and regrown again. This cycle allows these products to continue to be made.
However, the largest use of wood in the world is still for fuel, at 53 percent, and, McDonald said, these forests are not usually replanted. Wood products follow at 28 percent, pulp, paper and packaging weigh in at 11 percent and miscellaneous use at 8 percent.
To continue to make wood products and paper, “we need a continued supply of trees to make those products, a sustainable, responsibly managed material, but…it’s not that simple from a global perspective.”
Some of the key drivers of deforestation include agriculture, land for livestock, mining and urban sprawl. Less than one percent of growing wood is harvested every year, despite population growth of over 200 percent, and forests in the United States have remained relatively flat in recent years. But, “we recognize that there are regions in the world where it is not happening as sustainably or responsibly as we would like it to be.”
Sixty-eight percent of the forests in the United States are working forests that generate income. McDonald estimates that 90 percent of those are privately owned and comprised of parcels of 100 acres or less.
Why is it important for companies like International Paper to have a reliable, sustainable source of material to make paper? McDonald believes that those landowners can have a more productive acre that yields more and takes pressure off harvesting from the world’s natural forests. “Not only is it the right thing to do,” McDonald says, “but I believe it is the only thing to do.”
How do we turn that principle into practice?
• Sourcing
• Certification
• Recycling
• Efficiency
International Paper guarantees its consumers that it will not source from illegal logging, from endangered forests, and certainly not from forests that threaten high-conservation values. How do they prove such a sourcing commitment? Through third party certification, which varies around the world, but IP works within the framework of each sourcing region in 24 countries, and that means understanding and following Sustainable Forestry Initiative guidelines, Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC), Forest Stewardship Council and many more.
When it comes to recycling, McDonald says, paper is arguably one of the most-recovered or recycled products that humans use, weighing in at 46 mm tons in the U.S., versus 3 mm tons of glass, 2.7 mm tons plastic and less than 1 mm ton aluminum cans. Sixty-five percent of paper is recycled in the U.S., 72 percent in Europe and 46 percent in Brazil. Wood fiber can also be used 5-7 more times in other products. IP itself has a recycling service, part of the “wise use of raw materials.”
IP does keep an eye on its own carbon footprint, which can be significant, but it is focused on reducing its environmental impact around the world and reducing its water use, increasing its water efficiency, lowering its carbon emissions, continuing its certifications, and increasing its energy efficiency, along with currently using about 70 percent renewable energy. But, McDonald says, one of the most important goals they have is ensuring employee safety.
Philanthropically, IP works with NGOs such as The Nature Conservancy, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the Dogwood Alliance to work toward safeguarding the environment.
We want to ensure that our global forests are healthy, that they’re able to provide the resources that we need, the recreation, the entertainment, and, certainly, the products for generations to come. But if I can leave you with one thought, as your finger hovers over the Print button, the next time you are considering printing that email, remember the renewability of the raw material, remember the renewability of energy that goes into the production of the product and the recycling ability of that product, that has the ability to go on to become several other products in its lifetime.”
So, is International Paper encouraging people to print emails? I asked Mr. McDonald that same question after the session.
“I used the printing example partially to get everyone’s attention, but also to illustrate that this is a complex issue. While there’s obviously merit in using all resources intelligently and avoiding unnecessary waste, taking care of forests is not as simple as ‘don’t print and save the environment,’” McDonald said.
While companies certainly shouldn’t halt any anti-printing campaigns and conserving paper is always a good thing, McDonald illustrated that sometimes we forget that there are other, very real threats to forests that we should also address, and if done well, responsibly managed forests will continue to source many everyday products we use long into the future.
“Unless people have a general understanding about sustainable forestry, demand for products and some of the true threats to global forests, the negative perceptions continue. Many people don’t realize that demand for forest products can help maintain responsibly managed working forests, and I thought the printing example was a good way to highlight this.”

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Although many of the “save a tree” messages are printed on bills and envelopes, consumers don’t differentiate between different paper products. These messages are a major driver of public perception about all paper and print products. If your company’s business and livelihood relies on print and paper, I can guarantee that this message is not helpful. It’s not only on bills, it’s on websites, emails, Youtube videos… it’s even printed on the back of buses and in bus stops! Major corporate marketing departments are spreading their views on paper far and wide to promote lower cost e-billing and e-statements. These claims are harming our industry and the livelihood of millions of Americans who work in the paper value chain, from the family forest owner to the direct mail company.

As a private forest owner and someone who has made a career in the forest products industry, I have a personal agenda and a business reason to have these claims removed or changed. Based on our recent Two Sides member satisfaction survey, I also know that the vast majority of our members feel the same way.

Banks, utilities and telecoms (among others) willingly take our money and, at the same time, their marketing departments spew out “anti-paper” slogans to convince consumers to stop using the very products we rely on for our livelihood! Whatever happened to the basic rule that says “don’t bite the hand that feeds you”?

The Good News
It appears that many Americans are seeing behind the “greenwash”. This was evident from our latest Nationwide survey where we asked US consumers how they felt about the “go green – go paperless” message.

1) Half of consumers surveyed do not believe, feel misled by or question the validity of such claims.

2) 84% agreed that paperless bills and statements are being promoted to reduce costs.

In another recent study of paper versus electronic services done by Infotrends on behalf of Consumer for Paper Options, 80% of US consumers said it was not appropriate for companies to cite environmentalism when it is not their real motive.

This data is greatly helping our campaign to challenge and remove the claims. As of today, we have engaged with 61 companies, 17 of which have removed their anti-paper environmental claims. Most of our discussions with corporate marketing and legal staff have been productive. Due to the size of the companies and the attempt to “turn the ship”, patience and persistence is key.

A progress report on our campaign is available to Two Sides members.

The Bad News
“Go Paperless – Go Green” claims still create a misleading view of print and paper products for many people. They link paper to permanent forest loss or deforestation and they suggest that not using paper will save forests.

Truth is: Paper comes from a renewable resource and is highly recyclable. US forest area has been stable and growing. There is 49% more wood volume than 50 years ago. Forest loss is caused by urbanization and development, not forestry. In fact, US pulp, paper and other wood products provide an incentive for forest owners to retain well-managed forests instead of converting the land to non-forest use. If our forestland loses its economic value, it will gradually disappear in favor of other land uses.

The green claims also suggest that using electronic media instead of paper will help the environment. However, over its life cycle, electronic media has many environmental impacts that are sometimes unknown and often ignored when companies make the switch from paper to electronic. The interplay between paper products and electronic services is complex and depends on many variables. For example, in many cases the use of paper is just shifted to the consumer with 34% of people printing statements or bills at home.

The role of Two Sides is to ensure people and corporations receive both sides of the story and the science behind our facts. In the end, it’s not rocket science and many people understand the environmental, social and economic value of paper products.

After all, 72% of people we polled said that when print on paper is responsibly produced, used and recycled, it can be an environmentally sustainable way to communicate.

For more about the above facts, go to  and

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September 25, 2013
WASHINGTON, DC—September 25, 2013—The United States Postal Service (USPS) announced proposed price changes, including an increase in the price of a First-Class Mail single-piece letter from 46 cents to 49 cents. The proposed changes, which would go into effect in January 2014, are intended to generate $2 billion in incremental annual revenue for the Postal Service.

Highlights of the new single-piece First-Class Mail pricing, effective Jan. 26, 2014 include:
• Letters (1 oz.)—3-cent increase to 49 cents
• Letters additional ounces—1-cent increase to 21 cents
• Letters to all international destinations (1 oz.)—$1.15
• Postcards—1-cent increase to 34 cents
Stamp prices have stayed consistent with the average annual rate of inflation of 4.2 percent since the Postal Service was formed in 1971. Pricing for Standard Mail, Periodicals, Package Services and Extra Services also will be adjusted as part of a filing to the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) scheduled to take place Sept. 26.

The Governors of the Postal Service voted Sept. 24 to seek price increases above the typical annual increases associated with changes in the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

In a letter disseminated to customers, Board of Governors Chairman Mickey Barnett described the “precarious financial condition” of the Postal Service and the “uncertain path toward enactment of postal reform legislation” as primary reasons for seeking price changes above the CPI increase. He also indicated that the price adjustment above the CPI increase is necessary in order to ensure that the Postal Service will be able to maintain and continue the development of postal services of the type and quality which America needs.

“Of the options currently available to the Postal Service to align costs and revenues, increasing postage prices is a last resort that reflects extreme financial challenges,” said Barnett in the letter. “However, if these financial challenges were alleviated by the timely enactment of laws that close a $20 billion budget gap, the Postal Service would reconsider its pricing strategy. We are encouraged by the recent introduction of comprehensive postal reform legislation in Congress, and despite an uncertain legislative process, we are hopeful that legislation can be enacted this year.”

Except in exceptional or extraordinary circumstances, postage price increases are capped at the rate of inflation as measured by the CPI-U. The Postal Service is filing a price increase above CPI-U due to extraordinary and exceptional circumstances which have contributed to continued financial losses. The Postal Service recorded a $15.9 billion net loss last fiscal year and expects to record a loss of roughly $6 billion in the current fiscal year, and has an intolerably low level of available liquidity even after defaulting on its obligation to make prefunding payments for retiree health benefits.

The PRC will review the prices before they become effective Jan. 26, 2014, and must agree the prices are consistent with applicable law. The new price proposals are scheduled to be filed Sept. 26, and will be available on the PRC Website at and also will be available at .

Click here for the full text of the board chairman’s letter sent to postal customers about the pricing decision .

The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations