Tag Archives: BEB

Postal Rate Hike Approved

It’s official.  The Postage Rate Hike has been approved and will take effect on January 27, 2019.

Prices were approved raising rates approximately 2.5% across the board. Shipping Service price increases vary by product. For example, Priority Mail Express will increase 3.9 percent and Priority Mail will increase 5.9 percent. Although Mailing Services price increases are based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI), Shipping Service prices are primarily adjusted according to market conditions.

The new prices include a 5-cent increase in the price of a First-Class Mail Forever stamp, from 50 cents to 55 cents.  Click below to review Price Comparisons by Type of Service.

FIRST CLASS COMPARISON – BEB Postal Rate Comparison First Class 2018-2019

MARKETING MAIL COMPARISON – BEB Postal Rate Comparison Marketing Mail 2018-2019

NON PROFIT MAIL COMPARISON – BEB Postal Rate Comparison NP 2018-2019

2019 POSTAL RATE GUIDE – 2019 BEB Postal Rate Guide

BBB Honors BEB

We are so excited receive an Awards for Excellence from the Houston BBB for the fourth year in a row!

In 1992, the Better Business Bureau Education Foundation and the University of Houston Bauer College of Business Administration formed a partnership to recognize area businesses for their commitment to quality.  Initially called the Spirit of Texas Awards, the Awards for Excellence are modeled after the Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award.  Today, the BBB Awards for Excellence continue to recognize businesses and non-profits in the Greater Houston area for their achievements and commitment to overall excellence and quality in the workplace.

Applications are judged by volunteers with the Silver Fox  Advisors, a group of former business owners, entrepreneurs and CEOs dedicated to sharing their knowledge, experience and skills, allowing clients to improve their growth and profitability in a cost-effective manner.  All applications were reviewed and scored by a minimum of two different judges.  If additional information was needed customer and vendor referrals were surveyed.

We are one of the oldest members of the Houston Better Business Bureau and we very proud and appreciative of this distinguished honor.

Run for Rama Details

WHEN:

Saturday, May 5, 2018

WHERE:

MD Anderson Mays Clinic | 1220 Holcombe Blvd, Houston, TX 77030

TIME:

6:00AM : Event Opens

6:30AM – 7:00AM : Team BEB Meets for pictures near registration and starting line.  We will have signs so it should be easy to find us

7:30AM : 5K Run/Walk Begins

8:30AM – 9:00AM : Presentation and Award Ceremony

9:00AM – 10:00AM : Post-Race Party

10:00AM : Event Closes

PARKING:

FREE PARKING AT MID CAMPUS GARAGE

7007 BERTNER AVENUE, HOUSTON, TX 77030

PACKET PICK UP:

Starting on Wednesday, May 2 thru Friday, May 4, 2018

From 8:30AM to 5:30PM

AT Business Extension Bureau | 4802 Travis St, Houston, TX 77002

COURSE:

CLICK HERE FOR COURSE MAP

WHAT I NEED TO BRING:

  1. Have race packet in your possession PRIOR to the Saturday event
  2. Pin your bib onto the white & purple Run for Rama T-Shirt
  3. Wear comfortable, loose clothing and walking or running shoes
  4. Wear the Run for Rama T-Shirt with your bib
  5. Arrive between 6:30 and 7am, Saturday, May 5, 2018
  6. FREE PARKING at Mid Campus Garage – 7007 Bertner Avenue
  7. You’ll see all of us near the starting line and registration area (we’ll have signs)
  8. HAVE A GREAT TIME!

DONATE TO THE CAUSE:

CLICK HERE TO DONATE

See You There to Celebrate the Life of Our Rama Moore!

Super Charged Informed Delivery

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SUPER CHARGED INFORMED DELIVERY

Informed Delivery allows users to see images of their mail in the form of an email.  The USPS is hoping that marketers will Super Charge those images by bringing them to life through interactive Informed Delivery campaigns.   Interactive campaigns allow you to create a custom image that can be linked to a URL within the recipients email.

Each unique set of customized supplemental content is associated with an individual mail campaign.  Multiple campaigns can be conducted at one time for a single mailing. Each campaign is triggered by and mapped to a single Mailer ID (MID) that is used on the mail piece and can be customized to be active during a defined date range.

The USPS is very excited about this program and hope that marketers take advantage of this new digital channel that ties hardcopy mail to digital content. Because multiple people within a single household can sign up; you get an extra bang for your mail as additional digital impressions will be fed to the other  household members when they open their email. So far, the USPS is experiencing high email open rates, up to 72% daily as of March.

Informed Delivery interactive campaigns provide additional benefits, allowing mailers to enhance the presentation of the scanned mail piece images that consumers are already receiving.

It gives the mail recipient or other household members the opportunity to take action immediately on the     mail piece by clicking on a campaign image/website link –regardless of whether or not they retrieve mail from the physical mailbox.

You can coordinate multi-channel campaigns, and collect information on campaign reach and results (e.g., open rates, click-through rates) through data analytics too.

Virtually any mailer can conduct an Informed Delivery campaign if the following criteria are met:

  • Mail pieces must be automation compatible
  • Mail pieces must contain a valid IMb
  • Mailer or MSP must be IMb certified

At this time, there are no fees associated with conducting  an Informed Delivery campaign.

There are a couple of drawbacks to the program though.  Not everybody is jumping on the bandwagon to opt-in yet.  So far, 50,000 users in the Houston metropolitan area have signed up and 12 million have opted-in to the program nationwide.

Also, packages and flats are not available yet; but should be coming online very soon.

The USPS is leading a huge push to get people signed up and are courting marketers across the nation to experiment with this technology.

Ironically, after signing up some people have reported that they have stopped going to the mailbox every day.  Instead they are using the email to determine the priority of the contents and visiting the mailbox less frequently.

A lot of people are really excited about this program and believe it will “deliver” the post office into a healthy state.  At least it is good to see the USPS  heading in the right direction to try and make mail and digital a powerful and sustaining combination.

 

 

PRC Next Steps

As you have already heard, the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) has issued a proposed change to the rate setting process that would authorize a series of over -Consumer Price Index (CPI) increases that could sharply increase postal rates over the next five years.  (For details see our blog; The PRC is Threatening Your Livelihood)

March 1, 2018 marked the deadline to receive comments about the proposed changes, and the PRC got plenty.  The comments received had a consistent theme from industry associations, individual mailing companies and direct mail organizations.

The American Mail Alliance represents associations and individual signers that have come together for the sole and limited purpose of showing unanimity in asking the PRC to reconsider its proposed solution.  The AMA is by far, the largest ad hoc group submitting comments.  They criticized the prefunding burden and noted that the PRC was placing too much focus on the financial health of the USPS as impacted by the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA), stating that most stakeholders in the industry, predictability, rate stability, and transparency have been achieved.  In turn, the group argued that the commission over zealously sought ways to pay the accumulated debts caused by the unnecessary prefunding requirement.

Another rally against the proposed plan came from three groups commenting jointly; (the National Postal Policy Council, Major Mailers Association, and the National Association of Presort Mailers).  They not only argued against the higher prices but questioned whether the PRC has the authority to advance changes to the CPI-based rate setting system.

Other powerhouse organizations that “chimed in” questioning the PRC’s authority to move forward included the Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers, the American Catalog Mailers Association, the Association for Postal Commerce (PostComm), Idealliance, and the Association of Magazine Media.

So, what’s next?  March 1st marked the first phase of comments; reply comments in which commenters critique each other, are due by the end of the month.

After that, the PRC faces the task of digesting the input it has received and developing responses to comments.  They can produce a revised proposed rule (presumable acknowledging the industry’s concerns); or they can issue a final rule presenting the changes it plans to implement.

A second proposed rule would repeat the comment and, perhaps, reply comment periods, while a final rule would set a timeline on which it would be implemented.

The commission’s deliberations could reasonably take at least sixty days, meaning a revised proposal or a final rule shouldn’t be expected until late May or early June at the earliest, with implementation (under a final rule) sometime later this year. If a second proposed rule were issued, that would add another sixty to ninety days, at least.

Whether a presumed late-2018 rate filing by the USPS would be impacted is unknown at this time but, regardless, nothing will change about how USPS rates are set until the PRC’s rule making is concluded.

Of course, it’s widely anticipated that a law suit in federal court against the PRC’s final rule – no matter what it is – particularly given the opinion of some commenters that the commission lacks the legal authority to do what it’s proposing. If there is litigation, the final outcome is anybody’s guess!  We will keep you posted as this important issue unfolds.

Run for Rama

HELP US RAISE MONEY TO FIGHT OVARIAN CANCER

RUN FOR RAMA – MAY 5, 2018

 

This race is about creating and raising awareness about ovarian cancer.  It is the cancer with the lowest survival rate and has no cure. The staff of Business Extension Bureau (BEB) are raising funds and participating in this event to pay homage to Rama Moore, whom we lost on Christmas day last year to this devastating disease.  Rama worked for our family owned business for over 40-years, and is missed today.  Won’t you join us in helping to raise money to combat this type of cancer that often lays in wait for long periods of time before being detected.  Help us to honor the life of a wonderful woman who gave so much love and was the “face and voice of BEB” for many years, our Rama Ray Moore.

Also, you don’t have to be a “BEBer” (an employee of BEB) to join us for this fabulous event.  Join our team and bring the family with you to take part in this important gathering.  It is a Run AND a Walk so that everybody at every fitness level can enjoy.

Our goal is to raise $1,500 – please donate as much as you can today.  All donations are tax deductible.   We are grateful to you.

Go to RUNFORRAMA.COM to donate or to join our team!

 

UID’s Explained

A unique identifier (UID) is a numeric or alphanumeric string that is associated with a single entity within a given system. UIDs make it possible to address that entity, so that it can be accessed and interacted with.

Examples of Unique Identifiers:

URI-Uniform Resource Identifier is a unique identifier that makes content addressable on the Internet by uniquely targeting items, such as text, video, images and applications.

URL-Uniform Resource Locator is a particular type of URI that targets Web pages so that when a browser requests them, they can be found and served to users.

UUID-Universal Unique Identifier is a 128-bit number used to uniquely identify some object or entity on the Internet.

GUID-Global Unique Identifier is a number that Microsoft programming generates to create a unique identity for an entity such as a Word document.

UDID-Unique Device Identifier is a 40-character string assigned to certain Apple devices including the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.

IoT What Does it Mean?

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a system of interrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines, objects, animals or people that are provided with unique identifiers and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction.

A Thing can be any natural or man-made object that is assigned an IP address and can transfer data over a network.  A dog that has a microchip implanted or a car that has built-in sensors to alert the driver when a car is too close to stop safely are good examples of a “thing” in the Internet of Things.

IoT has evolved from the convergence of wireless technologies, micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS), microservices and the internet. The convergence has helped tear down the silo walls between operational technology (OT) and information technology (IT), allowing unstructured machine-generated data to be analyzed for insights that will drive improvements.

PRC is Threatening Your Livelihood

The Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA) dictated that the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) conduct a study of the past decade to determine if the current system for regulating rates and classes for Market Dominant Postal Products was achieving its objectives.

Those results were published on December 1, 2017 and the PRC concluded that the current system achieved some of its goals, but overall the system has failed.

The PRC issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would give the USPS the authority to raise rates by at least 2% above the CPI for each market dominant rate class for five years.  It also allows for an additional 1% increase if they hit service and productivity standards, and will be required to raise prices for “underwater products” (Periodicals and Nonprofit mailings for example) by a minimum of an additional 2% above the price change authority to move prices toward full-cost coverage over time.  This could drive rate increases for standard letters (officially known as Marketing Mail Letters) up by 27% and flats by more than 40% over the next  five-years.

These proposed changes to the current postage rate ceilings are inflated and threaten the vitality and efficiencies of the postal service and our industry as a whole.

The PRC is an independent agency that has exercised regulatory oversight over the Postal Service since its creation by the Postal Reorganization Act of 1970. It is composed of five Commissioners, each of whom is appointed by the President and subject to confirmation by the US Senate, for a term of six years. To ensure bipartisanship, not more than 3 of the Commissioners can belong to the same political party.

The PRC is tasked with ensuring transparency and accountability of the USPS and fostering a vital and efficient universal mail system.  They act as an independent regulator for engaging postal stakeholders to promote a robust mail system through objective regulatory analyses and decisions.  Normally, the PRC does not have the final say when it comes to postage rate increases.  That is for the USPS Board of Governors.  However, this is not a rate case.  This is a 10-year review of the system which the PRC reigns supreme.

The argument that the USPS has accumulated losses of $59.1 billion include the $54.8 billion needed to prefund their already financially healthy retiree health plan; even though no other entity is required to do the same.

The current regulations force the USPS to reduce costs and raise efficiencies which is needed now more than ever as many economists expect inflation to increase.

Thursday, March 1, 2018 marks the end of a 90-day comment period.  There is another 30-day (one month) period allowed for replies to comments before a ruling can be implemented.

We are very active with industry associations and sit on several industry boards.  Together we are  fighting to prevent this travesty from happening.  The industry will continue to stand united and push the USPS to focus on rate increases specifically tied to cost efficiencies only.  We will keep you abreast of the situation as it unfolds.