Merging Print and Mail Can Yield Big Benefits
With today's questionable economic times and changes in the print and mail industry, many organizations are looking to identify ways to control costs and still remain a viable business. While there is no crystal ball that can identify just where the print industry is going or when the economy will turn around, managers of in-plants can still take steps to be profitable.
One change that Brigham Young University's Print and Mail Services made back in 1999 that has proven to be very helpful was the merging of the in-plant, copy centers and digital print operations with the university's mail services. This merger has proven to not only provide for greater financial stability but has also improved customer relations and employee job satisfaction.
Merging the two sizable yet separate organizations was no small task. And while it would be nice to say that everything went smoothly as planned, that would be less than truthful. Still, there have been many benefits. For example, the merger positioned our operation to absorb the unforeseen explosion in benefit costs and declining volumes in both traditional print and mailing volumes. It has allowed for "right-sizing" the employee base through attrition, reducing our employee count by 30 percent since the merger. Retiring employees' responsibilities were, in many cases, absorbed by others, often made possible as a result of the merger. Some positions have also been replaced with ¾-time staff that, until recently, had few benefits.
We've also been better positioned to adapt to the ever-changing postal regulations. In the past, we would receive brochures and recruitment campaigns that would cost more to mail because of design or content issues such as dark envelopes, nonprofit mailings containing unapproved travel or credit card promotions, square and odd-shaped letters, self-mailers requiring multiple tabs, etc. This became particularly problematic when the USPS implemented its "Shaped-Based Rates" back in 2007. Yet, as a result of the merger, we've been able to face these challenges with minimal negative impact, resulting in considerable savings in both rework and in postage.