Six Ways to Waste Money on Print/Mail Projects

Sometimes we get so caught up in the minutia that we overlook the obvious. Make any of the mistakes below and the results can be devastating – and expensive!

Wasteful Print And Mail Practices:

Producing Duplicates

Just defining what constitutes a duplicate can be a challenge. The rules will change from job to job depending on the purpose of the documents and the condition of the data. Customers should confer with the document center for guidance. The duplicates can be eliminated or combined with tools at the disposal of the experts in document operations.

Designing Documents with Incorrect Aspect Ratios

Print ProjectsThis mistake happens all the time. Designers create self-mailers or custom marketing pieces to stand out and get noticed. There’s nothing wrong with that. But incurring an unanticipated postal surcharge for non-machinable mail can be a shock. Something as simple as making the piece a bit too tall or printing the address parallel to the short side can cause a compliance issue.

Allowing Data Errors to Affect Deliverability

The effectiveness of many a mailing has been decimated because someone forgot to include address line two or three in the output file. Conversely, there could be too many address lines to fit your print format. Or data fields could be too long for the envelope window. Another common problem are zip codes stored as numeric data, resulting in the loss of leading zeros in some zip codes. There are dozens of ways data can mess up a document. And many of them take an experienced eye to discover. The more complex or personalized the document, the more important the data.

Misusing Endorsements

Ancillary endorsements tell the Postal Service how to handle the mail if it is undeliverable as addressed. Be sure to understand the effect of an endorsement and the costs. Check with the experts in the document center for guidance as the rules can be confusing. This is especially important with USPS Standard Mail. The quality of your mailing lists and your ability to deal with returned mail pieces or corrected address data should also be considered. All these questions need to be answered before the envelopes are ordered. Remember that some classes of mail require printed endorsements in addition to the service codes contained in the intelligent mail barcodes.

Letting Material Decisions Impair Production

Will the toner or ink stay affixed to the substrate without smearing? Will the tabs obscure important messaging or content? Will the perforations hold up through printing, folding, and inserting? How many pages can fit in the envelope? What’s the maximum number of nested pages that, when folded, still allow for the address to show through the window? Is there enough envelope clearance for high-speed inserting? Is the window in the right place? Are the margins on the document aligned with the envelope window? Do you have the right permit indicia? There are all kinds of issues related to material. Getting mail piece mock-ups reviewed by document operations is a good practice.

Failing to Consider Return Processing

If the project requires a business reply envelope or courtesy reply envelope does it bear the correct Zip+4? A valid intelligent mail barcode? How many return pieces are anticipated? Can you save money by participating in high-volume return programs like QBRM? Will the document to be returned fit in the return envelope (this mistake gets made a lot!)? Consider how the returned documents will be processed. You might save handling time and money by placing barcodes or OCR data on the reply pieces.These are just a few of the many items that printing and mailing professionals need to evaluate way before a job hits the production floor. An error or oversight in any one of these areas can add unnecessary costs to projects. If you’re not careful or don’t have the knowledge and experience to anticipate problems, the ROI may be a lot harder to achieve than you thought.

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