When Mail Managers (formerly Campus & City Mail Services) was founded in 1997 as a contract postal unit (CPU), its founders didn’t imagine that the company would grow so quickly. Although still a part of the original operations in Starkville, Mississippi, the CPU is now dwarfed by the range of services and number of locations now operating under the Mail Managers banner. In addition to its original location, the company family now includes a second branch of Mail Managers in Tupelo and Mailings Unlimited in Columbus. Combined, all three companies total more than 25 employees and its service area is extensive, covering nearly the entire northern half of the state. Not only does it serve a large area, it serves a large number of customers as well with over 100 current accounts, including some of the largest banks in the state as well as Mississippi State University.
After firmly establishing its CPU operation, Mail Managers began its climb up the growth curve by adding tabbing capability, labeling for addressing and then direct impression printing to support enhanced addressing. With its success providing accurate and affordable tabbing and addressing, Mail Managers began receiving requests to offer a complete line of letter shop and presort bureau services. This drove the company to further capital investments so that it now offers a full range of mail creation and finishing services, including:
• Laser printing
• First and Standard Class letter presorting
• Periodical bar coding and sortation
In addition to these classic creation and finishing services, Mail Managers recently added a new service, remote printing. Mail Managers is the first firm in the region to offer this service and as a consequence the company has attracted the attention of many new potential customers. In addition, the service has strengthened the partnering relationship between the company and its customers who use it. “This new service has opened a whole new business area for us,” said Vice President, Jason Perry. “Because we create mailpieces at our facility from a customer-supplied file, remote printing saves our customers not only time, but labor and material inventory expense as well.”
Although sorting is but one of the services offered by the Mail Managers companies, it plays a vital role in its operations. Customers using its sorting services provide individual volumes ranging from 200 to 250,000 pieces per day. These pieces are then commingled and sorted, which allows all customers to receive the maximum presort discount. With Mail Managers’ three locations, the mail can be entered into the USPS mailstream at any one of several Business Mail Entry Units, depending upon the type of mail and the cut-off time of each location. “We started with an encoding desk for bar coding of the letter mail when volumes were small, said Mr. Perry, “but within a year our volumes grew to the point where we needed to invest in the next level of technology.” After examining several possibilities, Mail Managers found the best fit for its needs at the time was an ID Mail Optimizer. The Optimizer performed an automated lookup within the CASS database using its MLOCR reader and assigned an 11-digit barcode, reliably processing up to 3,000 letters per hour. The Optimizer was an important step for the company, helping it to increase customers’ postage savings and their confidence in doing business with the growing company.
However, like the ultimate employee, the Optimizer worked itself out of a job. It generated so much additional business that it couldn’t keep pace with the additional demand. This brought about Mail Managers’ second upgrade in mail finishing technology in a relatively short span of 3 years. But this time the search for the next technology level was much easier. “We felt comfortable dealing with ID Mail based upon our experiences with the Optimizer,” said Mr. Perry. “So our decision to purchase the Dispatcher Universal Mailing System for our expanding sorting needs was an easy one.” In addition to creating capacity for additional presort mail volume, the Dispatcher allowed the Starkville location to process all of its mail in much less time and with considerably less labor, providing a payback measured in months rather than years.
With its ability to process mail in excess of 9,000 items per hour, the Dispatcher is ideally suited to a growing business such as Mail Managers. When configured with a USPS CASS database and DRS lookup, the Dispatcher can feed, image, read, code and sort outgoing mail pieces ranging from the smallest postcard to the largest automated flat (13” x 15” x ¾”). When configured with ID Mail’s INC.ware product and a customer’s database, the Dispatcher also provides the ultimate solution for processing incoming mail streams, whether within a corporate, educational or governmental organization. And with ID Mail’s WORLD.ware product, the Dispatcher provides the solution of choice for international re-mailers and foreign postal authorities.
Since its installation in January 2003, the Dispatcher has been used primarily to sort commingled letter mail, but it provides Mail Managers with additional benefits as well. The Dispatcher’s high resolution, multi-line OCR reading system is used to obtain greater presort discounts by reading and bar coding items which cannot be assigned an 11-digit barcode by the company’s addressing software. Although this ability wasn’t planned on prior to purchase, it does underscore how multi-functional the Dispatcher has become for Mail Managers. Although the number of flats available from customers in the area isn’t large, the Dispatcher is also called upon to sort these as well, adding to its presort discounts.
In the near future Mail Managers plans to expand its use of the Dispatcher by using the unit’s 1.5 inch print width capability to perform addressing directly on the mailpiece, just prior to sorting the items into a bin. Printing and sorting in a single pass will allow the production of Standard Class mailings in significantly less time than is possible using the company’s current combination of addressing software and laser printers. Because the Dispatcher can perform incoming sortation as well, Mail Managers has also begun discussions with some of its larger customers regarding the processing of their incoming mail streams. If achieved, such an agreement would almost eliminate these customers’ incoming mail sortation expense and send this once small company up the growth curve yet again.
About ID Mail Systems, Inc.
ID Mail Systems, Inc. of Middletown, Connecticut manufactures and markets the Dispatcher Universal Mailing System. ID Mail was established in January 1997 and has become a major supplier of mail processing solutions for domestic and international markets. Its customers include international re-mailers, domestic presorters, private couriers, incoming mail processors and foreign postal authorities. In addition to the Dispatcher, ID Mail offers a range of products, including MAX-M for flats and parcels manifesting as well as MailTrak for accountable mail processing. ID Mail also offers a complete range of service offerings to ensure reliable operation and maximum uptime.