5 Guidelines for Calculating Mail Costs
The responsibility for multifaceted mailroom expenses can be distributed across several departments, with each managing a separate budget. Analyzing and controlling total costs require a cooperative, holistic approach. Organizations must study the entire process, including the pieces to be mailed, the purchase and storage of mailing supplies and the costs of preparing and shipping mail pieces.
Traditionally, businesses have focused on shipping supplies as an area to trim.
Now, shape-based postage has changed the situation to some extent by enabling businesses to choose more efficient packaging to minimize postage expenses. Yet businesses must also look at the costs of fulfillment, freight and storage and, for a growing number of companies, environmental impact.
Bob Makofsky, general manager for Conformer Expansion Products, Great Neck, N.Y., offers the following checklist to help organizations look beyond mailing supplies and gain an accurate picture of total costs:
1. Determine postage fees. Consider how packaging affects mailing costs. Padded mailers, for instance, now ship as parcels in most cases due to their thickness. The additional $0.33 per piece in postage decreases the cost benefit of using this type of packaging. Paperboard mailers may cost a few cents more at the point of purchase, but they often yield a net savings by qualifying as a flat, rather than a parcel. Also evaluate the shape of the materials being mailed. Redesigning a brochure from letter size to digest size, for example, saves $0.39 in postage. It may require an initial investment, but it will save money in the long run.
2. Calculate fulfillment costs. Boxes and padded mailers require manual insertion, and the former also involves assembly. This human element elevates costs considerably—in addition to increasing the potential for error. Using automation-friendly mailers can cut fulfillment costs in half, more than compensating for any price difference in packaging materials.