Sunday, December 15, 2013

Why Not MSMA?



I was asked to be a Guest Writer for the “Why MSMA?” portion of this Newsletter and I did not hesitate to say, Yes.   I gave it a lot of thought and I decided to change it up a bit.  So, this article is called “WHY NOT.”


If you are new to the industry here are a few items that make up your job description:

·         Manager of People

·         USPS and Express Carrier Liaison

·         Mail Piece Design Expert

·         Consultant

·         Savings Guru


WHY NOT be a part of an organization that provides you a huge network of mailing industry experts, unlimited education, meeting topics that broaden your horizon and conferences that cover all the areas of your job description.


WHY NOT join an organization that provides the resources you need to manage mail.  Attending chapter meetings and conferences such as MailCom provide you with the information needed to manage your mail operation.


My network of mailing industry professionals has contributed to my success.  I continue to add professionals to my network.  This year I attended the 2013 MailCom and met a handful of professionals from Ohio.  I added these individuals to my list of contacts.


WHY NOT join an organization that provides education through certification.

·         Mailpiece Design Consultant (MDC) – tested and certified for knowledge of proper mailpiece design

·         Certified Mail and Distribution Systems Manager (CMDSM) – tested and certified on the body of technical knowledge, sales skills and management skills for the mailing industry profession

·         Certificated Mail and Distribution Systems Supplier (CMDSS) – tested and certified with tests for CMDSM, but tailors to quality assurance, customer relationship management, business ethics, negotiation and selling


WHY NOT join an organization that is affordable and will provide you with a wealth of information you cannot achieve anywhere else.


I have been in the mailing industry for 15 years and a member of Mail Systems Management Association (MSMA) since 1999 (14 years).  I am successful due to the world of information that surrounded me as well as my network base.


WHY NOT go for it and sign up today, I did.  You are worth it, do it!


Written by:  Connie Compton, EMCM, MDP, MQCS, MDC

Manager Distribution Center

Western & Southern Financial Group

Top Five Reasons to Join an MSMA Chapter

MSMA Chapter Benefits

MSMA Chapters The association’s commitment to supporting local chapters is our strength in expanding the MSMA network. In addition to the resources provided by MSMA headquarters, local chapters offer members a wealth of educational and networking opportunities.

      Top Five Reasons to Join an MSMA Chapter

1. Local Networking with professional peers MSMA chapters create the best possible environment for establishing beneficial working relationships on a local level. Chapter members exchange information, knowledge and expertise; and share similar issues, problems and solutions.  There are more than 20 chapters across the country, making them accessible for most members.

2. Chapter-specific member resources In addition to information and tools available through your MSMA membership, chapters offer resources specific to your local interests. Many chapters maintain their own Web sites, publish newsletters and local membership directories, and provide employment referral services. Chapter resources are important to your career growth, industry knowledge and networking.

3. Best practice sharing with local peers through chapter Web sites, meetings and events; you have the opportunity to talk with peers about workplace challenges and pose industry-related questions, receiving timely answers. Chapters bring MSMA resources directly to you, making your membership experience more personal.

4. Local professional development programs Chapters sponsor MSMA educational seminars, offer round table and panel discussions, and present “hot topic” speakers to members. Chapters also organize certification study groups designed for members planning to take MSMA’s CMDSM, CMDSS, and MDC exams. Peer support and knowledge sharing contribute to enhancing your professional development.

5. Leadership Opportunities

Chapter committees and leadership positions allow members to contribute in areas such as program and event planning, marketing, Web development and member recruitment. As a source of personal development, participation as a chapter leader or organizer is highly rewarding. Chapter involvement is a source of pride, accomplishment and honor.

Be a part of the local community of MSMA Members! Interaction, information, career support—the benefits of chapter membership are unsurpassed!


MSMA offers its members the opportunity to grow into more effective mail systems managers. By joining MSMA, you are welcomed into a network of professionals that share information, expertise, experience and friendship. These opportunities are offered through:

Education: With state-of-the art technology, service providers and postal regulations constantly changing, education is a primary goal of MSMA. MSMA also strongly supports professional training in management and administration. MSMA's educational activities are centered around: local chapter meetings and seminars; the MAILCOM Conference; and the national newsletter, POSTSCRIPT.

Certification: To further the professional development of its members, MSMA has established a certification process for mail Systems managers. Today, there are nearly 400 accredited managers, who have proven through examination and participation their professional competence.

Discounts: Over and above the rewards of meeting information and networking opportunities, there are financial benefits of up to $2000. Please contact Barbara Fahy for details and account numbers for the following:

• Discount to take CMDSM (Certified Mail & Distribution Systems Manager) certification: (Value $200)

• Discount on MAILCOM registration: (Value over $350 total for Spring & Fall shows)

• 10% Discount for Pitney Bowes Basic Mail Management Seminar: (Value $130)

• 15% Discount for Pitney Bowes Production Mail Management Training Course: (Value $650)

• 15% discount on books at Barnes & Noble

• 20% discount on books at Border’s Book Store

• 10% discount on lowest price at Avis Car Rental

• 10% discount on lowest price at Hertz Car Rental

• 5% discount at Office Depot

• Discounts on AAA memberships

• Discounts to Local Chapter luncheons and events

Representation: MSMA is a member of the Postmaster General's Mailers' Technical Advisory Committee (MTAC), representing members' interest on all mailing issues and postal regulations.

Recognition: Each year, the Association recognizes a Manager of the Year for outstanding contributions to the profession. The Association also presents awards for Distinguished Service, Chapter of the Year and The Cliff Bennett Memorial Award.

How to Get Approval to Attend the MAILCOM Conference

How to Get Approval to Attend the MAILCOM Conference

By Wes Friesen, CMDSM and James P.  Mullan, CMDSM  MSMA National Board Members 

Getting the approval to attend important conferences like MAILCOM has always been challenging – even more so under the current economic conditions.  But actively participating in MAILCOM is a key to success for you as a professional in the mail industry, and is important to the success of your organization.

We and our organizations have both benefited from our involvement with MAILCOM, and would like to see you join us in Washington DC April 15-18, 2012.  Here are some ideas to help you obtain approval to attend.

Keys to Get Approval to Attend MAILCOM

Approval often comes down to the ROI to your organization – are the benefits worth the costs?  Before discussing benefits, let’s start with the costs.  There are ways to lower the cost to attend.  First, if you are a MSMA member you qualify for a MSMA discount.  There is also a discount  if 4 or more people from your local Chapter register for the conference.

Second, you can shop around for the least expensive transportation method.  There are three close by airports (i.e. Regan National, Dulles and Baltimore) and also Amtrak.  Attendees will often double up on rooms to cut that cost.  We know of a number of attendees that will offer to pay some or all of the travel costs out of their pockets.  People that do that look at it as an investment in their careers – and it shows your management chain how committed you are to developing yourself and adding value to your organization.

The biggest key to getting approval is to explain the return (benefits) to you and your organization.  Here are some benefits that you can tailor to your own situation:

Learning ways to reduce costs and improve efficiency.  You will learn updated information on how to minimize postage and shipping costs, and learn ideas to improve the efficiency of your operations.  We have seen our organizations and others save thousands and even millions of dollars via learning and implementing work share postal discounts, shape based pricing, targeted mailing, cleaner addressing and reduction of undeliverable mail, intelligent/selective inserting, full-service intelligent mail discounts, applying QR 2D bar codes, implementing six sigma and lean principles – the list goes on and on.

Learning Best Practices and ideas for Process Improvements.  You will learn from the industry’s top experts, peers and vendors in the Exhibit Hall the Best Practices of the country’s leading high performance organizations.  You will also hear ideas about process improvements that can drive improved efficiency, effectiveness and quality.  You will learn how to improve quality and have more sustainable operations and eliminate waste.  Included can be practical tips related to work flow, job design, process analysis and ergonomics.

Learn about the latest technology and automation and other tools.  MAILCOM is a great source to hear about the latest relevant technology from the speakers, peers and vendors.  We have seen for ourselves and others significant costs savings and improved operations from wise investments in equipment and software.  Here is the chance to see what might be of value to your organization.  You can visit the Exhibit Hall and expand your list of vendor and supplier contacts for current and future reference.

Build a strong network and support group.  MAILCOM provides an opportunity to meet the industry’s top leaders and experts first hand.  One of the great features of this conference is how approachable the speakers are.  Also, there are many opportunities to network with peers from around the country – and then to build your own professional support group.

Become inspired to succeed.  The keynote and seminar speakers will inspire you to push even harder to help your organization to be more successful.  MAILCOM is noted for its wide selection of seminars including those aimed at our personal and leadership development.

Add more value to your key stakeholders.  The investors of your organization will benefit from the cost savings and efficiencies that you adopt.  In addition, you can learn ways to add more value to your customers and improve customer satisfaction and favorability.

MAILCOM also offers a number of sessions geared to leadership and management best practices, and proven ways to provide more positive work environments for your employees that will drive improved morale, motivation and performance.

Improve your credibility within the industry and your organization.  You will learn important information that will benefit you personally – and your organization.  As you go home and apply what you know you will gain greater respect and recognition.  In addition, you can earn one or two professional certificates while at MAILCOM.  And, you can take advantage of the opportunity to earn the professional certifications sponsored by MSMA, including the MDC: Mailpiece Design Consultant; CMDSM:  Certified Mail Distribution System Manager or CMDSS: Certified Mail Distribution Systems Suppliers.  Note: for more information about these programs visit  HYPERLINK ""

Become a teacher, inspire others and build a stronger team.  With all the learning, networking and inspiration you receive, you will be equipped to go back home and inspire and teach others.  This will be rewarding to you – and your team!

One final tip:  if you do attend MAILCOM, make sure you prepare a thorough, written report and share with your boss and team.  Also do a verbal presentation of the key highlights from your report and let your excitement show through at what you gained at the conference.  Jim has a great personal example of a report that he would gladly e-mail you upon request.

Good luck to you as you pursue getting approval to join us at MAILCOM 2014!

Wes Friesen and James P.  Mullan are members of the MSMA National Board and have both earned multiple professional certifications including the CMDSM.  Wes and Jim were also the recipients of the prestigious 2010 Franklin Award in recognition of their achievements and contribution to the mailing industry.  Both speak regularly at MAILCOM on a variety of leadership, management and operational topics. and Jim at  HYPERLINK ""  For information about MAILCOM, visit  HYPERLINK ""




Why MSMA? (Mail Systems Management Association)



I have my current position as National Operations Manager for an insurance company in NJ thanks to my MSMA association. Though I had been employed at the time I was approached about this particular position because the client actually knew of me through the MSMA. 


I have been a member of the MSMA since 1995.  Having just left the records management industry I was now entering an entirely new and different world, the world of mail!  I knew that I would need to be involved in an association that would allow me to meet folks like myself in this industry that was new to me, folks who could show me the way, who I could use as mentors!  


It has allowed me to continue to expand my network of professional contacts and reach out to obtain assistance for any issues or concerns related to my new job responsibility. 


MSMA is all about NETWORKING!


As I said I was new to the industry and knew very little about mail operations within an office environment, and by joining the MSMA that all changed.


One of the highlights of membership was the fact that I would get to tour numerous company operations in various industries, as well as attend educational sessions regarding management and staff development.  It also gave me numerous opportunities to discuss outstanding issues or concerns I was having in my new career.  Being able to meet seasoned industry professionals at the MSMA meetings made my transition into my new world seamless and painless.   


MSMA is all about EDUCATION!


As I learned throughout the years, the MSMA is a excellent forum for personal and professional growth.  I have obtained both my certifications as a CMDSM (Certified Mail and Distribution Service Manager) and MDC (Mail Design Consultant)  because of the MSMA!   


Join MSMA; we are MUCH more than mail!

Five Easy Pieces: Five Guidelines for Eco-Friendly and Cost-Effective Mail Management Practices

Five Easy Pieces: Five Guidelines for Eco-Friendly and

Cost-Effective Mail Management Practices



Many of the worlds’ enterprises, large and small, are committed to environmental sustainability by launching innovative programs. A significant number of these initiatives are not only reducing energy consumption and waste, but also saving money – a critical element of any corporate strategy in today’s challenging economy. To help promote these goals in the document management arena, Océ Business Services periodically shares our insights on implementing sustainable and cost-effective practices across the document lifecycle, which spans document creation through disposal.


Five Easy Pieces

There are several mail management practices that can help companies reach both their environmental and cost-reduction goals. From the sustainability perspective, these practices can significantly reduce the use of paper, thereby saving trees, gas in shipping the paper and physical space to store it. From the financial perspective, respondents participating in Océ industry surveys have indicated that mail and shipping practices have a high impact on reducing costs, driving faster time to market and improving operational efficiency.


Following are five mail management practices that can help organizations improve the environment as well as drive the cost-effectiveness and efficiency of their operations.


House list hygiene

Companies can lose a substantial amount of money by not updating their mailing lists. It’s estimated that two percent of all mail is returned and the total cost of re-mail is $3.50 to $4.50 per mail piece. The need to update is a constant challenge because about 15 to 20 percent of consumers and businesses move every year. The solution: save money and paper by regularly updating mailing lists to limit duplication and waste. Make sure that addresses are correct before the mail goes out, and when a mail piece is returned undelivered, update the database as soon as possible before the next mailing cycle. Consistently updating databases can have a significant, positive impact on sustainability and cost-reduction initiatives.


Document design dividends

Paying attention to document design can reap solid dividends. For example, printing on both sides of the paper (duplex printing) can substantially cut paper use and reduce mailing costs. Simply decreasing the margin and font size can reduce the number of pages in a document. Additionally, variable data and document composition tools enable companies to combine two documents/ mailings into one. One example of this approach is TransPromo, in which a document is created that combines a piece of transactional printing, such as a bill statement, with promotional or marketing content - all in one document.


Defaulting to duplex

While mentioned earlier as an element of document design, duplex printing is a major cost-effective and sustainable practice worthy of additional mention. Most multi-page documents don’t require the text to be printed on one side of the page. Newspapers, magazines and books use both sides. Companies can decrease paper use by up to 50 percent by making duplex printing the norm, a move that can also help the environment. Océ implemented a green campaign as a joint effort to help a financial services company client reduce paper usage. Through initiatives such as moving print production to copiers that can print on both sides of a page, the company acknowledged that Océ helped it significantly reduce paper consumption and realize thousands of dollars in cost savings.”



Certified paper trails

The United States Postal Service (USPS) recommends that when sourcing paper, make sure it comes from forests managed with practices certified by independent, third-party organizations such as the Sustainable Forest Initiative (SFI). SFI forest certification promotes responsible forestry practices. To be certified, forest operations across the United States and Canada must be audited against the SFI forest standard. While this sourcing practice focuses mainly on sustainability, it does have business benefits. By choosing SFI-certified products, a company can use its buying power to improve forest management while sending a clear signal to customers it cares about forests.


Greening direct mail

In a sustainability campaign, the USPS asked “How ‘green’ in your direct mail?” Organizations have many opportunities to lessen the environmental impact of direct mail, which accounts for 2.3 percent of landfill waste. One way to spare the environment is the inks. Companies can look for agri-based inks and use them whenever possible as well as opt for less ink usage/coverage (fewer colors mean fewer chemicals). Working with the right business partners also can help. Companies can seek out partners located nearby in order to minimize transportation, reducing cost and using less fuel. Two other initiatives include finding vendors that use renewable energy sources and using print-on-demand technology instead of printing large quantities and warehousing them until they’re needed.


Any organization can implement these strategies – internally or with an outsourcing partner – to benefit the bottom line as well as the environment. As many companies are demonstrating every day, green business can also be good business. 

What A Leader Must Know to Be Successful

What A Leader Must Know to Be Successful


Today there is too much focus on analytics, technology, and software as the answers to management problems. Many experts will tell you that systems dictate process rather than support process. Many experts will also focus on managing things like process, equipment, inventory, space, data, and information. But very few experts will tell you that without leadership intertwined with reality, the improvement efforts of enabling technology, information systems, process reengineering, and knowledge management are doomed from the start.


In your Transportation and Logistics operations and your workers’ eyes, your leadership is everything you do that affects operation accomplishment and his/her well-being. If you want to be a respected leader, concentrate on what you are (your beliefs and character), what you know (human nature, process application, your job), and what you do (provide direction, implement, and motivate).




The four major factors of leadership are The Follower, The Leader, Communication, and The Situation. They each have a significant impact on what actions a leader should take and when he/she should take them.


The Follower. The first major factor of leadership is the follower. Different workers require different styles of leadership. For example, a truck driver fresh from driver training requires more direct supervision than an experienced driver. An inventory analyst with a poor attitude requires a different approach than a highly motivated one. A union shop warehouse with older, long term employees requires different work incentives than a non-union, high turnover facility with a mostly under 30 or “GEN Y” workforce. A purchaser with very little industry or commodity expertise will need more coaching.


You must know your employees if you want to take the right leadership actions at the right time. The fundamental starting point for knowing your people is a clear understanding of human nature (needs, emotions, motivation). You must understand the be, know, and do attributes of each one of your people. The be is what he or she is - human nature, beliefs, values, and character. The know is his or her knowledge based on experience, training and expertise. The do is what he or she is capable of accomplishing through their skill sets.


One of the keys to good leadership is to hire the right people in the first place. How? It comes down to two factors: job competence and values fit. You must know what job performance factors are key to being successful in your environment, and hire for a values fit with the functional team you already have. If the person doesn’t have both of these elements, do not hire them under any circumstances.


Also, you need to remember that you are a follower as well as a leader. You have to find ways of meeting the goals of your boss, other key people, and yourself. To accomplish this, you must understand the different levels of people, have good communication with each, and develop relationships based on trust and respect.


The Leader. The second major factor of leadership is you - the leader. You must have an honest understanding of who you are, what you know, and what you can do. You must be able to separate perception from reality. By way of example, good leaders show clear thinking and coolness when under pressure. Do your perceptions of yourself and your employees’ perceptions of you coincide within the reality of high pressure situations? This understanding is necessary in order for you to control and discipline yourself and your employees effectively. Remember that leadership is:


- 10% technical direction

- 20% administration

- 30% employee guidance

- 40% employee motivation


Communication. The third major factor of leadership is communication. You lead successfully through effective two-way communication. Much of this is not verbal. You teach, coach, counsel, persuade, and discipline through both verbal and non-verbal communication.


The way you communicate in different situations is important. Your choice of words, tone of voice, physical gestures, and the look in your eye affect the way a person feels about what you communicate. Leadership is more than just setting the example. The right word or the right body language spoken quietly at the right moment or an acknowledgement gesture after a difficult job is also an important part of leadership!


What and how you communicate either builds or harms the strength of your relationship between you and you employees. In a healthy relationship between people, there are bonds of mutual trust, respect, confidence, and understanding. These bonds form the basis of productivity and cohesion in any supply chain or logistics operation. They are built over time as your followers learn - from training, from experience, and from what you communicate - that you are a competent leader whom they can trust and respect.

9 Great Reasons to Drink Water, and How to Form the Water Habit

9 Great Reasons to Drink Water, and How to Form the Water Habit


We all know that water is good for us, but often the reasons are a little fuzzy. And even if we know why we should drink water, it’s not a habit that many people form.


But there are some very powerful reasons to drink lots of water every day, and forming the habit isn’t hard, with a little focus.


The thing about it is, we don’t often focus on this habit. We end up drinking coffee, and lots of soda, and alcohol, not to mention fruit juices and teas and milk and a bunch of other possibilities. Or just as often, we don’t drink enough fluids, and we become dehydrated — and that isn’t good for our health.


I’ve made drinking water a daily habit, although I will admit that a couple of years ago I was more likely to drink anything but water. Now I don’t drink anything but water, except for a cup of coffee in the morning and once in a while a beer with dinner. I love it.


Here are 9 powerful reasons to drink water (with tips on how to form the water habit afterwards)


Weight loss


Water is one of the best tools for weight loss, first of all because it often replaces high-calorie drinks like soda and juice and alcohol with a drink that doesn’t have any calories. But it’s also a great appetite suppressant, and often when we think we’re hungry, we’re actually just thirsty. Water has no fat, no calories, no carbs, and no sugar. Drink plenty to help your weight-loss regimen.


Heart healthy


Drinking a good amount of water could lower your risks of a heart attack. A six-year study published in the May 1, 2002 American Journal of Epidemiology found that those who drink more than 5 glasses of water a day were 41% less likely to die from a heart attack during the study period than those who drank less than two glasses




Being dehydrated can sap your energy and make you feel tired — even mild dehydration of as little as 1 or 2 percent of your body weight. If you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated — and this can lead to fatigue, muscle weakness, dizziness and other symptoms.


Headache cure


Another symptom of dehydration is headaches. In fact, often when we have headaches it’s simply a matter of not drinking enough water. There are lots of other causes of headaches of course, but dehydration is a common one.


Healthy skin


Drinking water can clear up your skin and people often report a healthy glow after drinking water. It won’t happen overnight, of course, but just a week of drinking a healthy amount of water can have good effects on your skin.


Digestive problems


Our digestive systems need a good amount of water to digest food properly. Often water can help cure stomach acid problems, and water along with fiber can cure constipation (often a result of dehydration)




Water is used by the body to help flush out toxins and waste products from the body.


Cancer risk


Related to the digestive system item above, drinking a healthy amount of water has also been found to reduce the risk of colon cancer by 45%. Drinking lots of water can also reduce the risk of bladder cancer by 50% and potentially reduce the risk of breast cancer.


Better exercise


Being dehydrated can severely hamper your athletic activities, slowing you down and making it harder to lift weights. Exercise requires additional water, so be sure to hydrate before, during and after exercise.


How to form the water habit

So you’re convinced that water is healthier, but you’d like to know more about how to make drinking water a daily habit.


Here are some tips that have helped me:

How much water?


This is a debatable question. What’s clear is that the old recommendation of “eight 8-ounce glasses a day” isn’t right, for several reasons: that amount includes all dietary water intakes, including food and non-water beverages; it also ignores a person’s body weight, which is an important factor in figuring the amount; it also varies if you are sick or exercise. It’s also not good to just drink when you’re thirsty — you’re already dehydrated by then. Best is to form a routine: drink a glass when you wake up, a glass with each meal, a glass in between meals, and be sure to drink before, during and after exercise. Try to generally keep yourself from getting thirsty.


Carry a bottle


A lot of people find it useful to get a big plastic drinking bottle, fill it with water, and carry it around with them all day. I like to keep a glass of water at my desk, and I drink from it all day long. When it’s empty, I fill it up again, and keep drinking.


Set a reminder


Set your watch to beep at the top of each hour, or set a periodic computer reminder, so that you don’t forget to drink water.


Substitute water


If you would normally get a soda, or an alcoholic beverage, get a glass of water instead. Try sparkling water instead of alcohol at social functions.




Instead of spending a fortune on bottled water, invest in a filter for your home faucet. It’ll make tap water taste like bottled, at a fraction of the price.




Exercising can help make you want to drink water more. It’s not necessary to drink sports drinks like Gatorade when you exercise, unless you are doing it for more than an hour. Just drink water. If you’re going to exercise, be sure to drink water a couple hours ahead of time, so that it will get through your system in time, and again, drink during and after exercise as well.


Track it


It often helps, when forming a new habit, to keep track of it — it increases awareness and helps you ensure that you’re staying on track. Keep a little log (it can be done on an index card or a notebook), which can be as simple as a tick mark for each glass of water you drink.