Making Mail Affordable

If you think you’ve done everything possible to make mail affordable for your internal or external customers, you might want to take another look.

Everyone has made cuts over the last few years. But there are still ample opportunities to save money on materials, production costs, and postage. Unfortunately, the savings that remain are difficult to recognize – especially for those who work in document operations every day. The very people called upon to find innovative ways to lower costs are handicapped by their intimate understanding of how things have always been done.

Little Change = Big Savings

Consider this real-life example. Statements for a  brokerage company have typically been delivered in a 9” x 12” flat envelope. But by making some small modifications in design, the statements can be bi-folded and inserted into a 6” x 9” window envelope, qualifying the piece for letter mail postage rates. The postage savings? A whopping 32%!

How could this be accomplished? With some judicious trimming of extraneous content and altering the page composition logic to suppress blank or almost-blank pages. Reducing the page count enables a transition from flat mail into letter mail – at substantial postal and handling cost reductions.

Lots of Potential Savings

Making adjustments to document layouts or formats is not that hard – especially with document re-engineering software that is available from several vendors. It isn’t even necessary to have access to the program code that composes the documents. Re-engineering the print-image file is often the most efficient approach.

Some minor reformatting and page-break logic changes could easily trim the statement page counts by 20%. Imagine the benefits if this could be consistently achieved:

  • Shorter print runs – Paper, toner, and maintenance click savings, plus possible labor savings, and perhaps even delayed equipment upgrades.
  • Quicker inserting – Folded mail inserters generally run faster than flats. And lower page counts have a direct effect upon the number of mail pieces that can be finished per hour. Some shops may even be able to reduce the number of inserters on the floor or eliminate a shift – saving capital expense, labor, maintenance, and supplies.
  • Lower postage – There is a significant cost savings when switching from flats to letters.
  • Fewer meters – With more of the statements qualifying as letter mail, it might be possible to pay the postage on a large percentage of the mail by permit, thereby saving on meter rental, ink and print head costs, communication lines, and loss-of-use as money gets loaded onto meters in advance of need.


Page-count reduction is just one of many possible document-production modifications that can turn into big savings. There are lots of other ways to trim costs without affecting quality. Every shop is different, but there are savings opportunities in virtually every operation.

If mail is to remain a critical customer communications medium, it has to be produced with the greatest accuracy, at the lowest cost, and have a significant impact upon the recipients. Failing to take advantage of ways to make mail more affordable puts the departments or vendors that produce the mail at risk of losing the business. Neglecting to make necessary changes because they just weren’t identified in time would be a shame.