ACMA Speaks, USPS & PRC Listen
2017 Postage Rates Approved; ACMA Has Heavy Hand in Shifting to a Pro-Growth Pro-Catalog Postal Policy
Dear Industry Participant:
While the Postal Regulatory Commission’s formal approval of the US Postal Service’s request for 2017 rate changes came yesterday as no surprise, the PRC’s 59-page order (plus 85 pages of charts, appendix, etc.) cited the ACMA’s arguments in three key portions, all helping propel our pro-catalog efforts over the goal line.
For instance, the PRC order highlights a USPS explanation “that feedback from catalog mailers indicates that mailers have significantly reduced the number of pieces sent to potential new customers in FSS zones due to cost mitigation strategies.” That “feedback” came directly from the ACMA. Likewise, the order notes “additional feedback indicates that other flats mailers may be engaging in similar cost mitigation strategies to avoid sending certain pieces to FSS zones.”
Direct ACMA references are also in the issuing order indicating ACMA had an important role in influencing the Commission’s decision. “ACMA explains that elimination of the FSS categories and moving the Carrier Route portion of FSS Standard Mail back to Carrier Route will restore the distinction between Standard Flats and Carrier Route… ACMA states that this change has three impacts: (1) returning recognition of the density of Carrier Route mailings, which is a cost determinant; (2) allowing for a uniform price for Carrier Route mailings that does not vary with destination-specific processing; and (3) the possibility of a positive effect on co-mail decisions and on the uniformity of dropship patterns.”
Further ACMA Influence ACMA actions accomplished more than removing the onerous FSS price categories for Standard Mail Flats. “ACMA comments that the proposal to increase the discount for the use of 5-Digit pallets in Carrier Route will align with costs and will encourage efficient operations,” the PRC order states. This helped persuade the PRC to approve requested proposed workshare discounts.
Lastly, ACMA’s actions helped propel an increase in the proposal to increase the weight break point for Standard Mail flats from 3.3 ounces to 4.0 ounces. “ACMA comments that this proposal will have a negligible effect on Postal Service costs but will increase simplicity and add value to the mail,” the PRC order says. “ACMA states that it expects that mailers will increase paper weight and add profitable content as a result.”
Time For All to Get Involved We sincerely hope that if you’re not an ACMA member but have a vested interest in cataloging, you’ll recognize the long-overdue need to join the ACMA, get involved, and provide the support we need to score more touchdowns for the industry. Achievements like these not only require steady funding; they were also propelled by our members’ aggressive involvement in our work. Without the great feedback we wouldn’t have had much substance to back our pro-catalog arguments.
Members in Action ACMA members made multiple trips to visit with postal executives, hosted meetings in their facilities, and joined teleconferences and webinars to evaluate different approaches and solutions. Most notably, ACMA responses to an FSS Impact Survey we conducted were a linchpin to achieving this incredible progress, which effectively reverses stated Postal Service policy that depressed mail volumes.
Last, the continuing input we receive – and the granular understanding we get from our members’ business and mail plans – help us make sure the solutions we recommend are in service our member needs. If you are not a member, we simply do not know what needs you have. You are not represented in the dialog nor considered in the calculus.
If you ever had questions as to whether a catalog trade association could make a significant difference in the outcomes for your company, this PRC order and the incredible work underlying it over many years should lay these to rest. NOW the question is … will the catalog industry unite behind a proven winner to provide the much-needed support required to continue to advance national policy issues for catalogs? With greater support, there’s more we can accomplish that could help boost catalogers’ bottom lines considerably.
So please join the ACMA today, and to our loyal members also reading this, we not only thank you for your continued support, but also ask that you make sure your peers are also firmly on the bandwagon as well.
President & Executive Director
American Catalog Mailers Association