Tag Archives: BEB

Informed Address Where There’s No Address At All!

The Postal Service has put an emphasis on enhancing the customer experience by evolving the marketing in the digital world. The USPS is now piloting a new technology platform called Informed Address (IA).

The concept will enable mail to be sent and delivered without a physical address. Instead, Informed Address allows recipients to use identifiers that include email, social media handles, or a custom name for mail processing and delivery functions.

Informed Address will replace the delivery point with a unique code where the usual IMB (Intelligent Mail Barcode) is substituted with an “Informed Address IMB”, which contains the physical address information. This allows customers the enhanced privacy and identity protection, as marketers will no longer need to obtain or hold a physical address for their mail communications.

During the testing period, the USPS will assess consumer engagement, gauge mailer interest, and determine technical feasibility. This new technology provides the opportunity for marketers to provide additional services, including vanity address development and enhanced targeting for B2B and B2C marketing.

The Urban FF Center

What is larger than 14 football fields, has twice as many robots as human workers, and handles 50% more inventory than traditional warehouses? – Amazon’s first New York City distribution center.

Located in Staten Island, this urban fulfillment center can package more than one million items a day during its busiest period even though the site is 20% smaller than a typical Amazon fulfillment center.

In urban settings, space must be used with military precision combined with automation that allows for building up rather than spreading out. Computerized pickers that are approximately the size of a robotic vacuum, pick up inventory that is stored on shelves and then deliver the items to a human associate at a workstation. This limits the number of steps an individual has to take and allows storage of more goods in a robot-only section of the fulfillment center.

Smaller warehouse and fulfillment sites is a good example of how online sales are reshaping logistics in the US.

USPS Driverless Test Run

The US Postal Service has entered into a contract with self-driving truck startup TuSimple to haul mail between Dallas and Phoenix. Founder, Xiaodi Hou says that this USPS pilot gives them fuel to help validate their system and expedite the technological development and commercialization progress.

TuSimple will complete five round trips between May 28 and June 10 while a safety engineer and licensed driver ride along in the cab. Its Level 4 self-driving system (see below for self-driving categories defined), uses 8 cameras to detect cars, pedestrians, and other obstacles over one-half a mile away, even in inclement weather.

TuSimple’s camera-based system allows it to achieve three centimeter (1.18 inch) precision for truck positioning even in inclement weather and tunnels with real-time decision making. By keeping aware of traffic flow ahead, trucks are able to maintain a given speed more consistently than human drivers which can cut fuel consumption by as much as 15%.

The USPS has been interested in self-driving technology for a long time. In 2017, a report published by the Inspector General detailed plans to add semi-autonomous mail trucks to its fleet as early as 2025. Placed into service on 28,000 rural routes, they would free up about 310,000 postal workers to sort and deliver packages.

TuSimple has R&D labs in San Diego and test facilities in Tuscon. It expects to close out 2019 with a 200-truck fleet in the US and a 300-truck fleet in China, making it the largest self-driving truck solutions company in the world.

Later this year, TuSimple will operate several self-driving trucks for 22 hours each along the I-10, I-20, and I-30 corridors through Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. It says freight along the I-10 corridor accounts for 60% of the US’s total economic activity. It expects its semi-autonomous trucks to be a frequent sight along that route in the months ahead.

Self-Driving Systems are categorized by five-levels:

Level 1- Driver Assistance-Under specific conditions, the car controls either the steering or the vehicle speed, but not both simultaneously. The driver performs all other aspects of driving and has full responsibility for monitoring the road and taking over if the assistance system fails to act appropriately. Cruise control is Level 1

Level 2- Partial Automation- The car can steer, accelerate, and brake only in certain circumstances. Maneuvers such as responding to traffic signals or changing lanes largely fall to the driver, as well as scanning for hazards.

Level 3- Conditional Automation-The car is able to manage most aspects of driving, including monitoring the environment. The system prompts the driver to intervene when it encounters a scenario it can’t navigate. The driver must be available to take over at any time.

Level 4 -High Automation-The vehicle can operate without human input or oversight but only under select conditions defined by factors such as road type or geographic area. In a shared car restricted to a defined area, there may not be any. But in a privately owned Level 4 car, the driver might manage all driving duties on surface streets then become a passenger as the car enters a highway.

Level 5- Full Automation-The vehicle can operate on any road and in any conditions a human driver could negotiate.

BEB Wins Communitas Award

We are so excited to announce that Business Extension Bureau has earned our first Communitas Award.  The award represents Excellence in Community Service and Corporate Social Responsibility for our Run for Rama 5K.

Communitas, a Latin word meaning the spirit of Community is an international effort to recognize corporate programs involving volunteerism, philanthropy or ethical, sustainable business practices which benefit communities. Presented by the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals (AMCP), this several thousand member organization hosts international competitions for marketing professionals involved with the concept, writing, or design of marketing programs using print, visual or audio.

Communitas nominees are evaluated based on the extent and effectiveness of their program. This is an international competition and previous winners include recognizable companies such as MasterCard, Honeywell, Dow Chemical, Toyota, and Vonage.

The statuette symbolizes peace and harmony and was created by the same firm that crafted the CLIOS, Golden Globes, MTV’s VMA, and Academy of Country Music Awards!

The Run for Rama 5K means a great deal to Business Extension Bureau and our “BEB Family”. We are honored and humbled to be recognized for this event which is so close to our hearts.  (click here to learn more)

Mail Professional Certification

This year, in an effort to better serve you, our operations managers, client services
representatives and executive staff are becoming Certified Mail Professionals from the
program provided by global think tank and industry giant, Idealliance.

The Certification requires 11 hours of classes covering 28 modules that focus on postal
compliance and regulations. This comprehensive training has been challenging and spawned a lot of lively discussions.

 

PIGC Women in Print

We had a fantastic time today at the PIGC – Printing Industries of the Gulf Coast #WomenInPrint luncheon at Harold’s in the Heights. Our very own Joy Zehrbach was the feature speaker!  The topic? Social Media Blitz.

Women representing the printing and graphics arts community of Houston gathered today for networking, education, and comradery.  Our Angel Vierna & Veronica Comisso were there too.  Participating in industry education and networking events is a priority to for us.  Our Joy Z also serves on the Board of the PIGC, and Angel & Veronica serve on the Graphic Excellence Awards planning committees.

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.