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Everything You Need To Know When Buying Mail Equipment

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At this session, Postal Advocate Inc shares everything you need to know when buying mail equipment and software.

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Everything You Need To Know When Buying Mail Equipment

  1. 1. Everything You Need to Know When Buying Mail Equipment
  2. 2. Adam Lewenberg - Background and Experience • President of Postal Advocate Inc. – The only mail audit and recovery firm in the US and Canada – Manage a portfolio of over 135,000 pieces of mailing and shipping equipment for the largest US companies. – Speak and teach nationally on mail savings and industry trends. • Former Industry Co Chair- Boston Postal Customer Council/Mail Systems Management Association member. CMDSS and MDC Certifications. • Featured Writer for Mailing Systems Technology Magazine. • Worked for one of the largest mailing vendors for over 17 years – Director of national sales for presort, tabletop inserters, addressing hardware/software and green offerings. – Was one of the top 5 account managers nationally working with some of the nation's top accounts. • Not affiliated with any mailing vendor - Unbiased advice. November 20, 2019 2
  3. 3. Overview 1. How to choose the right mailing solutions for your organization 2. How to choose the best equipment vendor 3. How to negotiate the best deal 4. How to eliminate avoidable fees 5. How to find billing overcharges 6. How to pay for postage at the lowest costs 7. How to recover lost postage from dormant accounts 8. How to cash in rewards programs 9. How to save on mailing supplies 10. How to gain visibility to your mailing spends November 20, 2019 3
  4. 4. Choosing the Right Mailing Solution • Postage Meters and Mail Machines • PC Postage • Folders and Inserters • Letter Openers • Check out our Blog for other mailing items including: – Multi-Carrier Mail and Shipping Systems – Incoming tracking systems – Addressing systems November 20, 2019 4
  5. 5. Mailing Systems November 20, 2019 5 PC Postage Hand Feed Mailing Systems Automatic Feed Mailing Systems Vendors Pitney Bowes, Endicia, (Packages Only - Neopost, Hasler, FP) Pitney Bowes, Neopost, Hasler, FP, Datapac Pitney Bowes, Neopost, Hasler, FP, Datapac Typical Monthly Postage Use <$300 (Higher Shipping Volumes) <$500 >$500 Equipment Speed (Pieces per Minute) N/A 20-65 70-310 Envelope Sealing N/A •* • Postage Tapes Labels sheets or label printer rolls Tape Sheets Tape sheets or rolls Weighing 5-100 LB Scales* 2-149 LB Scales* 2-149 LB Scales* Postal Accounting • • • Number of Accounts that can be tracked Unlimited 10-50 50+ Transaction Level Detail • •* Additional Printing Capability Destination Address Printing • Return Address Printing • •* QR Code or Custom Graphic • •* Full Color Printing •** • High End Space Requirements Minimal Minimal Medium to High Monthly Investment $0-35 (Est) >$20 (Est) >$150 (Est) Postage Refill Charge N/A ** ** Postage Advance Charge N/A ** ** Maintenance Charge N/A ** ** Rate Change Fees N/A ** ** Supplies Ink - Manufacturer (Per Impression) N/A $.01-.06** $.003-.012** Tape - Manufacturer (Per tape) $.03-$.07 per label** $.05-.13** $.01-.08** * - Optional ** - Varies by vendor
  6. 6. January 24, 2015 IMPB Requirement – Retail vs. Commercial USPS Rates November 20, 2019 6 Options: 1. Get vendor provided pc postage solution. 2. Look for third party pc postage solution (, 3. Explore multi carrier shipping systems that can also handle USPS. 4. Pay the higher rates Mail Type Stamps Postage Meter PC Postage Savings % Savings 1 Ounce Letter $0.55 $0.50 $0.50 $0.05 9% 1 Ounce Certified Mail with Return Reciept $6.85 $5.60-6.80 $5.60 $1.20-1.25 18% 5 Ounce First Class Parcel $4.39-4.81 $4.39-4.81 $3.18-3.63 $1.18-1.21 25-28% 10 Ounce First Class Parcel $5.19-5.66 $5.19-5.66 $3.82-4.33 $1.33-1.37 23-27% 15 Ounce First Class Parcel $7.35-12.20 $7.35-12.20 $4.94-5.53 $2.41-6.67 33-55% Priority Mail 1LB $7.35-12.20 $7.35-12.20 $6.95-9.91 $.80-2.29 4-19% Priority Mail 5LB $9.80-34.80 $9.80-34.80 $7.81-28.84 $1.99-5.96 17-25% Priority Mail 10LB $13.10-59.90 $13.10-59.90 $9.38-50.38 $3.72-9.52 16-40% Priority Mail Express $25.60-56.10 $25.60-56.10 $22.74-49 $2.86-7.10 11-13% Prices lower than available through postage meters.
  7. 7. Folder and Inserters November 20, 2019 7 Convenience Tabletop Production Vendors Pitney Bowes, Neopost, Hasler, FP, Formax Pitney Bowes, Neopost, Hasler, FP, Formax Pitney Bowes, Neopost, Bell & Howell, Bowe Systec, Kern, and others. Typical Monthly Use (Finished Pieces) <5,000 5-200,000 >200,000 Equipment Speed (Pieces per Minute) 900-1400/hr 2,000-5,500/hr 6,000-33,000/hr Number of Feeders (Sheet and Insert) 2-3 2-17 Customized for needs Flats Inserting (9X12 or 10X13) N/A High end models Optional Meter Interface N/A Optional Optional and inline Exit Stacking Catch Tray Catch Tray or Conveyor Conveyor Scanning Intelligence (OMR, Barcode) N/A Optional Optional Mail Run Data File Validation N/A Optional - High End Optional Print Envelope in line N/A Select Models Optional Size 2-3 FT of Counter 4-15FT (Vendor may provide tables) 12+ FT, typically in a L or U Configuration. Complexity Casual user Some training required. Dedicated operator/s Job Changes Quick - Few buttons to press. Quick - Units have 10-20 preset jobs and can auto detect material. Requires a dedicated operator and may take time to set up and test. Price Range $4-7,000 $10-100,000 >$150,000
  8. 8. Letter Openers November 20, 2019 8 Feature Description Speed 30 per minute for hand fed machines up to 650 for automatic feed production units. Cutting Method Basic units will just slice the bottom off the piece where higher end machines will mill the edge off. Adjustable Cutting Heights Provides contol and reduces the chance of cutting the letter contents. Feeding and Stacking How many pieces can it hold in the feeder and onto the stacker after it exits the unit? Also, how flexible is the feeding to mixed envelope sizes? Finally, can the deck handle larger 9x12 and 10X 13 envelopes? Paper Path Access If there is a jam, is it easy to get the contents removed? How are the chips handled When the units opens the envelope, there will be waste (Chips) that need to be stored and then easy to be thrown away or recycled. Make sure this bin holds enough chips that you will not be emptying it too frequently for your mail application. Also, make sure it is easy to access. Noise Levels These units may be placed in an office environment and can be noisy. Get the decibel level for that unit or go see the machine run to make sure it will work in your space. Additional Features Counter To keep track of the amount of pieces processed. Diverter To be able to automatically sort pieces to different bins once the exit the opener. Example would be if you are receiving checks in your business reply envelope vs. other miscellaneous pieces. You may want all of your envelopes sorted to a different bin. Ink Jet Printer As pieces are run through the unit you may want to print the date received, mark confidential or add a custom message/instructions to the envelope for further processing groups. Vendor Names Some of the main vendors in this space are Opex, Neopost, Pitney Bowes, FP, Martin Yale and Formax.
  9. 9. 2. The Right Mailing Equipment Vendor • It is recommended to shop rates between 2 vendors – Pitney Bowes, Neopost, Hasler (Owned by Neopost), FP and Datapac. • Compare the following: – Model features and specifications – Service support in your area – Ask for references – Total cost of ownership/lease – Ease of doing business November 20, 2019 9
  10. 10. 3. Negotiating the Best Deal • Lease or Purchase • Avoid Lease Gotchas – Evergreen Clauses – Remaining Balances – Auto Renewals • Question every equipment description line item. • Make sure agreement is all inclusive. – Equipment, meter, meter resets, postage advances, maintenance and rate updates. • Single Locations – Buy at the end of the month/quarter. • Multi Locations – Use national spend to set contract rates. November 20, 2019 10
  11. 11. 4. Watch Out for Avoidable Fees • Pay bills on time. • Look at each invoice and validate all chargeable items. • Cancel vendor equipment insurance. • Terminate chargeable loyalty programs. • Make sure postage refill and advance charges are included or monitored. November 20, 2019 11 Postage Refill Fees - Rentals $0-20 each Postage Advance Fees Included or up to 1% of the Advance Postage Advance Late Fees 0-15% of the Advance Postage Advance Finance Charges 15% or higher APR Overlimit Credit Charge Varies by Vendor Annual Fee Rewards Program Varies by Vendor Lease Late Fees Varies by Vendor and Lease Value Insurance - Leases Only Varies by Vendor and Lease Value - Automatic enrollment unless proof insurance is provided. Mailing System Fees
  12. 12. 5. Look for Billing Overcharges • We have found hundreds of thousands in billing overcharges that the vendors will refund if you catch them. Here are the most typical: – Locations still being invoiced for equipment that was picked up or not in use. – Meter rentals, refill and advance charges, maintenance and scale rate changes that are being invoiced but should have been included in the lease. – Sites not getting the corporate discount for supplies, meter rentals and maintenance agreements November 20, 2019 12
  13. 13. 6. Postage Funding – Prepay or Advance • Prepay Advantages – No fees • Advance Advantages – Convenience • Don’t be fooled by earning interest on prepaid balances. • Choose one postage payment method and stick with it - don’t flip flop. • Check balances in the meter and in the postage account. • Don’t send money to the USPS – Use the vendor provided methods. (Easier for them to track) • Think twice about ACH. November 20, 2019 13
  14. 14. 7. Recover Lost Postage • We have found over $1,000,000 in lost postage sitting in dormant postage accounts. This happens because: – Offices close, merge or just turn in their meters. – The money is expensed once sent in for postage. – The advance account is used when funds sit idle in the prepaid. • Steps to find money. – Find account numbers of your current and past meters. – Enter these account numbers online on the vendors website to see if any data is available. – Contact your meter vendor to validate funds available. – Check the unclaimed funds databases to see if funds were turned in. November 20, 2019 14
  15. 15. 8. Cash in Loyalty Points • Pitney Bowes has a rewards program that gives you points for purchasing postage, supplies or other services that can be linked to the Purchase Power account. • These points oftentimes sit idle or are not understood. • Points can be turned in for: – Purchase power credits that can be used for postage and supplies. – Personal gifts. November 20, 2019 15
  16. 16. 9. Supplies Strategies • Buy in bulk – Most vendors will give you published discounts if you buy multiple ink cartridges and meter tapes. • Check third party non OEM – There are many companies out there offering non mailing vendor based supplies that may be a consideration. The major office supply stores are also carry this ink for low end meters. Find out from your manufacturer if there is any binding agreement where you are required to use their supplies. • Ask for discounts – If you have multiple sites or are buying large amounts of supplies, ask if you are eligible for any additional discounts. It never hurts to ask. November 20, 2019 16 Low Mid High Typical Supply Costs - Ink and Tape (Per Impression) Ink - $.01-.06, Tape $.05-.13 Ink - $.003-.03, Tape $.04-.08 Ink - $.003-.005, Tape $.01-.04 Mailing System Type
  17. 17. 10. Visibility and Oversight • Get reports from your vendors that list: – Account Numbers (Install, Lease, Prepaid and Advance Postage) – Lease Information – Rate, Term, End of Lease, Items covered. – Meter rentals and maintenance agreements. – Model, serial number and description of every item. • Enter your account numbers on the vendor websites. • Monitor your inventory, invoices and postage balances online. • Find all active locations with equipment. • Set up a schedule for continual review. November 20, 2019 17
  18. 18. Summary • Buy the right level of equipment with only the needed features. • Make sure you are buying from the right vendors at the lowest prices. • Look at every bill and watch out for fees and overcharges. • Pay attention to postage funding, recovery and rewards. • Maintain detailed visibility and oversight to all aspects of your accounts. November 20, 2019 18
  19. 19. Helping multi-location organizations streamline their mailing costs Over 135,000 pieces of equipment, managed by Postal Advocate Recovered over $14,000,000 in lost postage, vendor overcharges and fees ENTERPRISE-WIDEMAILAUDITANDRECOVERY OVER $57,000,000 IN CLIENT SAVINGS $1.5M 58% Average Client Savings Average Equipment Savings HOW WE DO IT • 200+ years of industry experience • Comprehensive web-based tool providing visibility of all mail and equipment spend • Time Savings - Assistance in fleet management visit or call (888)977-MAIL(6245)
  20. 20. Sign Limited Agency Agreement/Kick-Off Call. Provide copies of vendor invoices, AP export, location list, equipment inventory list. Present savings opportunities and get client approval. Postal Advocate provides ongoing support, manages renewals, billing and vendor compliance. Provide enterprise visibility of all spend, costs and documented savings through enterpriseAdvocate. Provide client log-in. 1 2 3 4 5 6 HOW IT WORKS Work with current vendor to build population report, contract terms/start/end dates, postage volumes, costs. Analyze spend, check for contract compliance, billing errors, vendor fees/overcharges, lost postage. Identify savings opportunities. Submit vendor credit requests, lost postage forms and eliminate avoidable fees. Negotiate pricing. Create catalog. Work with locations - asset validation, rightsize, termination… Full implementation of savings. visit or call (888)977-MAIL(6245) Conduct Analysis NO COST – AUDIT PHASE CONTRACTED CLIENT
  21. 21. Upcoming Webinars January 2020 USPS® Rate Change – What You Need To Know Dates: December 18, 2019 at 11am EST January 21, 2019 at 11am EST January 23, 2019 at 1pm EST November 20, 2019 22
  22. 22. November 20, 2019 23 Contact: Adam Lewenberg - President 888-977-MAIL X 501 Questions?