Before the Postal Storm Hits...What to Do Now
2. The more drastic change is to shift from a flat-size catalog to a letter-size catalog, he says. “Slim Jims” are generally 6-1/8” x 10-1/2”; “digest-size” is generally 5-1/4” x 8-1/4”. For a number of years — and most notably, of course, in the PRC’s recommendations, letter size Standard Mail gets a significant price break because the USPS has made considerable investments in equipment that automates the processing of this type of mail. But again, in order to qualify for letter size rates, catalogs must weigh less than 3.3 oz.
3. Printers will be requesting that catalogers standardize trim sizes in order to capture potential co-mail savings, Hayes says. Co-mailing normally requires some standardization in order to meet equipment specifications.
For more on letter size conversion, see Gene Del Polito’s Understanding Postal column from the January (print) issue of Catalog Success magazine, pg. 38. To access it online, go to www.catalogsuccess.com/story/story.bsp?sid=44117&var=story
As for cutting costs in paper grades, Dave Norman, director of purchasing for Arandell Corp., offers up a number of possibilities. For one, he points out that the brightness specifications of most of the traditional coated paper grades have changed over the past couple of years, which can impact how much you spend on paper going forward.
For instance, a couple of years ago, the American Forest and Paper Association (AFPA) revised its brightness/grade scale to try and maintain some sort of integrity in how paper was marketed and sold. Many of the mill-marketed #3 coated freesheet products meet the brightness specs of a #2, for example. That and other changes, he says, can work in catalogers’ favor.
1. Today, he points out, “many papers are designed to look brighter and whiter under fluorescent lighting.” That’s because optical brightener agents have become increasingly popular and under fluorescent lighting, they give the illusion of whiter, brighter paper. So, he suggests, “Try to look at the samples in the actual light your end users will view the product.”