I recently attended an Envelope Manufacturers of Association (EMA) webinar featuring Gary Reblin, Vice President of Domestic Products, USPS. Reblin is responsible for the growth and development of all postal mailing products and services and customer service improvements. The EMA webinar is part of a monthly series focused on packaging opportunities for traditional envelope manufacturers attended by the membership’s most progressive thinkers seeking entry into the steadily growing packaging marketplace.
Reblin spoke about the 4% growth the USPS is seeing in package services and said, “We have bet a lot on this game. All of our big growth areas are in products where we are providing free packaging.”
Reblin’s report stated that Priority Mail Padded Flat Rate Mailers are the fastest growing packaging category. In August of 2012, the USPS provided 2.6m free Priority Mail Padded Flat Rate Mailers, up from 1.9m provided in August 2011.
Marvin Makofsky, President here at Conformer Products questioned why Reblin was talking to owners of envelope manufacturing plants about boxes and bubble mailers, to which Reblin responded that they are very receptive to new packaging options. Reblin went on to say, “We would love to partner with your industry. If we are missing the mark on packaging and there are unique solutions out there, the USPS is listening.”
In reference to audience comments that boxes and padded mailers don’t fill a truck as efficiently as envelopes and paperboard mailers, Reblin replied, “We want the best cube possible. We want to be able to offer the packaging at good pricing. We should be driving solutions that meet what the consumer needs…. Consumers shipping stationary should not be using bubble mailers.” Maybe it’s time the USPS takes a look at the successful implementation of Conformer paperboard mailers over the border at Canada Post.
Reblin’s presentation stated that the USPS has offered lots of new packaging options this year to encourage consumers to use the right size packaging that will be more cost effective for consumers and pack more efficient in USPS freight containers. Of the 1.4 billion parcels shipped by the USPS in 2011, more than half of them were shipped in priority mail and express mail packaging provided by USPS.
We’ve heard the Postmaster General speaking for some time about how the USPS is seeking new markets and opportunities. This was the first time I’ve seen change percolating out to the field.
-Bob Makofsky at email@example.com