Even before the holidays, the global pandemic created snafus in the prompt delivery service we had grown to expect from the United States Postal Service (USPS). The Spokesman-Review reported that mail delivery was “mostly on-time until July 2020.”
That was when new Postmaster General Louis DeJoy and his administration made some significant adjustments to standard operating procedures for the organization. This included:
- Eliminating late and extra trips between mail processing plants and post offices.
- Reorganizing headquarters and field operations to cut costs.
- Implementing a pilot at nearly 400 facilities to get mail carriers on their routes sooner and reduce overtime.
Unfortunately, these efforts were initiated nearly simultaneously and in the thick of a global pandemic, when thousands of workers were out sick. The result was that one in five pieces of first-class mail took more than five days to reach its destination and twice that for bulk-rate mail, according to The Spokesman-Review.
However, these challenges were exacerbated by the rise in e-commerce fulfillment carried out by postal workers. In the last nine years, the volume of annual deliveries increased from 3.1 billion to 6.2 billion pieces. The pandemic shot up the latest numbers by an additional 50% by the middle of summer 2020.
Adding insult to injury, effective November 27, until further notice, USPS is unable to accept items destined for select international countries due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
For magazine publishers, this means potential delays in publication distribution to readers, or even the inability to deliver when shipping to certain countries.
More changes — new pricing adjustments in 2021
Earlier this year, USPS filed a case with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) for a proposed price adjustment for all classes of mail. The PRC has approved the proposal, which will be implemented on January 24, 2021.
It seems we had a perfect storm of cause and effect in 2020 that combined to thwart the normally reliable USPS. What’s in store for us in 2021 remains to be seen.
How Sheridan can help
Sheridan has an on-site postal specialist to monitor postal regulations and their impact on our customers. We evaluate your distribution options and help you select the most cost-effective and efficient solution.
Our InSite internet portal allows you to expedite your job submission and proofing approval from any location. Multiple reviewers can collaborate online to make quick changes to go to press faster.
We also offer co-mail services to help you achieve even greater discounts. Co-mail is the process of mixing different-sized publications from multiple sources to produce sorted and bundled packages that are as USPS delivery friendly as possible.
Because your magazines are pre-sorted and grouped with other publications going to the same destinations at the same time, they can enter the mail stream closer to their ultimate point of delivery, bypassing most of the handling by USPS. The benefits of co-mail include:
- Significant net postage savings
- Controlled and reliable delivery schedules
- Reduced chance of damage due to reduced handling
Sheridan is a turnkey solution to your toughest publishing challenges. Contact your Sheridan representative or visit our contact page to ask how we can help you streamline your publishing processes, reduce costs, and keep up with changes in print and publishing strategies.