The third week of September is National PCC Week in the U.S., during which most regional Postal Customer Councils host their big annual events.
Local PCCs are not-for-profit organizations sponsored by the United States Postal Service that serve as an open channel for USPS-to-business communication, providing information and best practices for cost-effective and profitable mailing, education and training, and solving local challenges. Through regular meetings, educational programs, mailer clinics and seminars, PCC members learn about the latest postal products and services that may help them grow their business. According to the Boston PCC, there are nearly 80,000 PCC members around the country.
Bell and Howell representatives attended a number of these events around the country throughout the week.
I attended the Greater Boston PCC in Foxboro, MA after having been asked to speak to the audience on the value of preventative maintenance and the real cost of downtime. Not an overly sexy topic for this audience, but we felt it was important to share the results of our recent research. You can download our reports Assessing the True Cost of Operational Downtime and The Value of Preventative Maintenance on our website to get an idea of the substance of the talk.
The event took place at Gillette Stadium, home of four-time Super Bowl champions, the New England Patriots. The night before, in that very stadium, rookie quarterback Jacoby Brissett (who happens to be from my alma mater, North Carolina State University), led the Patriots to victory over the Houston Texans.
The event was attended by more than 200 people and featured keynote speakers, Deputy Postmaster General Ronald Stroman, Dr. Sean Joyce from Omega Consultants and Steve Grogan, former New England Patriots quarterback.
After the ceremonial introductions, we watched a welcome video of Postmaster General, Megan Brennan and enjoyed a live presentation from Stroman. Brennan told the audience that the USPS is focused on simplification of bringing value to mailers through initiatives such as informed visibility and other customer-focused investments. She acknowledged that they have not been as effective as they would like at marketing the value of the capabilities enabled by the IMB (Intelligent Mail Barcode). She promised that a forthcoming marketing push from the post office will help remedy this.
Stroman focused much of his talk on the growth the USPS is experiencing in parcels and the associated investments they are making to accommodate the growth.
“The challenge created by growth in eCommerce is the biggest in the history of the USPS,” Stroman said.
He added that they are addressing this by investing in parcel sorting systems, upgrading their vehicle fleet, considering driverless vehicles and even drones, among other things.
As Gold Sponsors, we were fortunate to be able to share a video with the entire audience. The video highlights the story of an innovative mailer, AccuDoc Solutions, who recently converted their entire operation over to a Plain Paper Factory and realized substantial savings by producing their own complete finished healthcare mailpieces from plain white paper. Watch the video here.
This was a very well-run event and, as sort of a mini-National Postal Forum, has me anxiously looking forward to next year’s Postal Forum in Baltimore.