As the mailing volume of catalogs and magazines nears its seasonal peak, Quad/Graphics, Inc. reports that it is now breaking company and industry records for co-mail pool sizes, aggregated volume and customer postage savings. Company co-mail analysts are projecting that annualized co-mail volume will top 4.9 billion pieces in 2011.
“Mailing and distribution represents more than half the cost of typical catalog and magazine programs, so our ability to save money for customers in this area is a critical value,” says Joel Quadracci, Quad/Graphics Chairman, President & CEO. “Given the potential for more changes in postage rates and services in the near future, that advantage will become even more important for our customers.”
Quad pioneered co-mailing almost 30 years ago. The process combines mailstreams from multiple customers into a single mailstream that creates mailing efficiencies through combined volume and drives postage savings. Quad/Graphics became the largest U.S. printer and co-mailer of catalogs and magazines in 2010 when it acquired Worldcolor, and is now maximizing the benefits of that combined volume for its customers.
Dave Riebe, Quad/Graphics’ President of Logistics & Distribution, says volume drives the ability to pre-sort and deliver mail to the deepest sortation facilities of the USPS platform to achieve the maximum postal discounts available. “We now have more volume, co-mail equipment and capacity than any of our competitors, but the key isn’t just size, it’s our unique co-mail optimization software that analyzes multiple cost components of the process – manufacturing, inline/offline co-mail, distribution and postage – to produce the maximum savings,” he said.
Another improvement cited by Riebe and his co-mail team is increased flexibility in co-mail services and solutions. Pools can now be created on a more customized and flexible basis to accommodate a greater range of mail classifications, formats and versions, including catalog and periodical classifications, saddle-stitched and perfect-bound products, larger tabloid-sized and polywrapped mail, as well as specialized formats and features such as belly-bands and tips. “Many mailers have had some or all of their product locked out of a co-mail solution in the past, but our enhanced platform, volume, and capacity are allowing us to be more flexible in accommodating these specialized needs,” Riebe said.