Royal Mail release statement on reversions
As you know Opus Trust Marketing plays an active role on the Board of the Strategic Mailing Partnership (SMP). A few months ago SMP members raised a concern with Royal Mail as to the level of reversions within the industry, particularly with regards to sealing issues. In response to the strength of representation Royal Mail asked SMP to set up a working party to quickly look at the issue in detail.
Being part of the working party was a bit of an eye opener as to how disconnected the industry had been from the envelope manufacturers, enclosing equipment manufacturers, print and mail providers to the Royal Mail in terms of producing a product that can satisfy the requirements of each of the different parties and meet the specification required by the Royal Mail.
Since the creation of the working party a great deal of time and effort has gone in from SMP members in reviewing specifications beit flap depths or composition of glue to come up with a more compliant envelope. One of the challenges is obviously we all use many different enclosing machines with varying needs. Progress is being made with lots of testing going on so we are not there yet but those involved are certainly much more aware of the process and the potential pitfalls.
As for the Royal Mail they have been working with SMP to improve the processes around compliance to specifications in place for bulk mail products.
Like many of us in the industry Royal Mail has invested heavily in new automation to improve the efficiency of their mail operation, offering significant discounts linked to mail production specifications designed to maximise throughput just as we have specifications for example as to how inserts need to be packed and supplied so we can run our enclosers at maximum speed - curled and crushed documents aren’t machine friendly.
The output so far from the joint working group by Royal Mail and the SMP is that a number of improvements to the current process have been agreed. Below is an extract from the Royal Mail release:
Improved information from Royal Mail
To help companies improve the quality of their bulk mailings, Royal Mail will start to produce a league table of the most common faults together with advice on how they can be avoided. This activity will also highlight any new issues emerging to help the industry address them before they become more serious. This information will be published on Royal Mail’s websites.
Royal Mail will continue to review bulk mail specifications to ensure that they remain appropriate when helping Royal Mail to handle items as efficiently as possible. Royal Mail is pleased to announce an amendment to the envelope sealing specification following testing of the current requirement that there is no more than 25mm of unsealed envelope flap at either end of the mail piece. For items that are no less than DL envelope size and presented in trays, this will change to 35mm. Mail which is presented in bags will still be required to meet the 25mm specification as the handling of items in this way can further contribute to the difficulties caused by unsealed envelope flaps.
Staged approach to surcharging mail that doesn’t meet product specifications
In future we are proposing a more proportionate approach, details of which we have shared with members of the industry today at event hosted by the DMA. A comparable approach for both Retail and Wholesale customers has been developed. Surcharges will now be based on low volumes, medium volumes and high volumes of mail that has failed to meet the relevant product specification. This means that customers will see a surcharge more comparable with the scale and impact of not meeting the specification.
In addition, there will be a phased approach to the implementation of the surcharge for mailings that do not meet the sealing specification. The current moratorium on surcharging mail that fails to meet the current sealing specification ends on 15th September 2012. Between 17 September and 31 October 2012, if mail fails to meet the new specification, there will be a surcharge on 20% of the mail and between 1 November and 31 December 2012, this will move to a 50% surcharge. From 1 January 2013, all mail that fails to meet the new sealing specification will be surcharged.
Following this announcement we will be getting in touch with our customers to talk through what is happening in a bit more detail as it is in all our interest to come up with a workable solution going forward.
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