How to manage big data of shipping postal spending


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How do you keep track of all the costs for parcel shipments? (Including those extra shipping fees and chargebacks?) As well as the postal expenses for mailings? In the era of “big data,” accumulating, categorizing, and understanding all the spending activity can be both manually intensive and frustrating. Yet the need to manage costs - and budget appropriately for each new year - never goes away.

What are “best practices” for data management on these operational spends? Learn how to track and manage this valuable information.

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  • Hello and thank you for joining me for this discussion.

    What few people realize is how much data exists when it comes communicating with your customers. To get a communication out – whether it is mail or parcels - requires resources, effort, and money to produce and process. These mail and shipping costs directly impact your bottom line, and therefore should be actively managed and not just considered a sideline expense. Active management may mean regular monitoring, perhaps auditing, and most often recovery - by way of a cost center chargeback or customer invoice.

    But we have our challenges with collecting and managing this data. This is the subject of our discussion today, and I hope to help you not only discover the value of this data, but lead you on a path to manage it more efficiently.
  • Tom Ryan is the director of marketing for Pitney Bowes. Tom has worked with small businesses and large corporations for over 30 years, partnering with business mailers and shippers to optimize their workflow and manage costs. Tom directed product development and has been a part of landmark changes in the industry for information management, mailing and printing solutions.

    Today, Tom is going to share some of his ideas and expertise that can help you be a hero in your organization – showing you how to leverage data related to postage meters, Permit and business reply Mail, and monies spent with 3rd party mail houses.
  • Data … can be like a dust storm – it can surround you, envelop you, it can make your eyes tear up and your vision weaker.
  • I love sand when I’m at the beach – but NOT when it gets in my eyes. And data can do exactly that.

    Think about all the data that is in your world – budgets, financial results, customer records. We have become more sophisticated in this digital world – but sometimes our ability to absorb data properly, and turn that data into usable information can be very difficult.

    What’s important is to have tools and processes that help you sort that data and understand what IS important. With so much data out there, available to us, how do we keep focused on moving forward – on being more efficient, and on maximizing the dollars and the effort we put into our mail stream process.
  • And when it comes to managing the data, here is what your peers have told us about the difficulties.

    Organizations don’t always know what’s happening with active postage meters – In an organization with more than one site, we see that organizations have difficulty managing postal funds between meters, monitoring activity from each site, and consolidating the information so that they can reclaim or allocate funding.
    Clients know they have missing information – Our business processes evolve – and often move from manual, labor intensive steps to more automated processes. But as the processes evolve, elements of data can become scattered and not be available for a proper analysis.
    Clients find it difficult to manipulate data – because it is often in different formats.
    Clients find too many multiple steps – As you evolve, the steps seem to get more complicated, not easier. We layer on procedures and processes for auditing and oversight that are necessary, and yet can make managing data more difficult.
    We still find errors from manual input – and as crazy as it seems, in this digital automated world of ours, I see clients like you still rely on manual inputs – sometimes laced with imperfections. And what does that do to the integrity of your overall operation? Well, it certainly doesn’t add to it.
    And the consequence to many is that the challenges we just spoke of have their consequences. One that was highlighted by clients like you was the fear of running out of postage funds at a time you need it most. This is probably the most glaring consequence because it interrupts the mail actually getting out.
  • So now I’d like to talk specifically about managing postage purchases for your postage meters, Permit accounts, Business Reply mail, and 3rd party mail house service bureaus.

    Let me try an analogy with you … which helps me highlight how these business expenses for postage can be managed like your personal expenses.

    So first, we use our bank statements as a way to get visibility into the checks we write and the funds we transfer to buy things or move money between accounts.

    But there is something different about a Credit Card – isn’t there?
  • The credit card isn’t one specific cost – but rather a convenient way to lump multiple costs together. If you really want to know where your money went, you would go one step deeper – and review the details of your credit card statement.

    There, you will find the information as to why you exceeded your monthly budget. Was it the items you charged for Gas, groceries, clothes, a vacation?

    In our own personal finances, we have to admit there are a lot of leakages. That’s why we monitor not only the checks we write, but the details of a credit card statement.

    Leakages in the business setting can amount to thousands of dollars if not examined – if not exposed. But – you can’t expose it unless you have something like a credit card bill for the mail center – where you can look at what you actually spent money on – giving detailed visibility to your outflow.

    So let me now relate this to your business expenses.
  • Let’s look across – where within the arena of managing mailing costs, you also have the responsibility to manage accounts like a Business Reply Mail Account, your 3rd party mail service providers if you outsource anything, and your Permit Mail accounts you use for Direct Mail.

    Often times those are specific payments for specific services – not unlike paying your home mortgage, water bill or car payment.

    But look at the Postage Meters! A huge percentage of your spend went through those meters. Where did it go?
  • So you have two things I want you to consider looking at. First, it is how much you spend across all your mailing and shipping accounts. That’s the top piece, where your postage meter is just one element of your spending.

    And second is to look at the greater detail of your postage meter spend. Because within the postage meter spend, like the credit card, there is a deeper level of information you should have – so that you have a complete picture of how your money is spent, and ultimately what you can do about it.
  • There is a wealth of data available to know HOW the funds are spent within each postage meter of your operations.
    With this information, you can get better insight into your efficient use of different carriers available, opportunities for presorted discounts, and misuse of expensive classes and services of mail. The data you need for this is piece counts and postage expenses over specific time periods, and allowing you to analyze cost trends and patterns that can lead to better decision making.
  • Let’s layer onto that knowing WHERE the funds are spent. The WHERE, of course, not only referring to a physical location, but also a department allocation or cost recovery from a client.
    What are the consolidated costs by Department or Cost Center across all locations – not just by each individually?
  • And a third element – one that I believe is crucial to your management of postage and shipping costs – is the funding sources.
    With a postage meter, the costs go well beyond knowing how much postage you purchased and put INTO your postage meter. Because buying the postage doesn’t mean you spent the postage. Buying postage is a commitment – YES.
    But why would you put $1,000 or $10,000 into a postage meter if you are not going to use that amount for a long time? So in this respect, the postage meter is merely a vault.
    It’s logical that overbuying postage for a postage meter is a POOR cash flow decision if the money isn’t going to be spent immediately or in the short term. But we do it out of the fear – fear of running short. It’s a risk trade-off – one that balances cash flow funding with a true postage expense.
  • And so let me summarize this …
    First, we have data on funding, which has a direct impact on cash flow. Remember how I said in the beginning, your peers agree that they don’t always know about what’s happening with all active postage meters in their organization, they see missing information or it is difficult to get the information in a usable format. Running short of postage funds is a sin, but having too much money locked in a postage meter is an equal sin.
  • And so funding sources being one element of data – but also important is to know HOW the funds are spent. This is the Carrier, Class, Extra Services – perhaps consolidated from your locations, or broken down by individual locations. This is a deeper insight into your operation – allowing you to control expenses and stop expensive leakages that we talked about earlier.
  • And then there’s the WHERE – where by physical location, where by department or cost center. In today’s modern world, with digital information, it is possible to remotely access what is happening in each of your locations – never having to rely on a manual report, a phone call to the mail room manager, and never worrying about the integrity of the data you have.
  • Funding and cash flow – how postage is spent – where physically, and by whom – these are all questions where data is available, and easier to access than you may have been aware. Having THIS information at your fingertips, on the web, in a consolidated format with simple reporting – that’s what I have heard from a multitude of clients.
  • Access and visibility – access and visibility. That’s what I hear from the managers and directors who oversee business operations. They want more access and visibility into the costs of mailing and shipping because without this information, you cannot make informed decisions.

    But access and visibility to relevant data is made more difficult today because of several factors.
  • First, we have certainly seen a lot of structural changes in the business environment. Operations are more spread out than ever. Mailing functions are becoming more distant from each other, and more distant from the managers who oversee them.

    Second, managers have taken on broader responsibilities – now managing from a higher level than before. Talented managers have been asked to take on managing more cost centers and more functions of business operations. Again, sometimes these functions are not conveniently located in the same place anymore.

    Third, our finance and operations managers are having less hands on management than in the past. That doesn’t mean we don’t know what’s going on, but our time to work directly with the employees and processes is squeezed. We have to manage from afar – that’s just the nature of our organizations today.

  • Pitney Bowes has two web-based solutions that may help you gain the insights you need – to get to the information that is MOST critical to helping you manage your operation. The first is a FREE service we offer to Pitney Bowes clients.

    If you want to research this more, the key words to remember are Total Postage Management. This is one element of the Pitney Bowes INVIEW Analytics suite of solutions. And again, this is a no charge service for Pitney Bowes clients.

    With Total Postage Management, you can view and manage your postage expenses in one place – easily. It makes managing accounts easier by providing real-time information across multiple postage accounts in a dynamic, online system. It allows you to spend less time managing your overall postage expenses. This includes not only your Pitney Bowes postage meters, but postage meters from other manufacturers. It includes your Permit accounts, Business Reply Mail accounts, and expenses for mail through 3rd party services like a mail-house or presort consolidator.

    So I would encourage you to check this out. This web solution is as robust as you want it to be, giving you insight by meter locations, cost centers, chargeback codes and even your campaigns. You can produce a comprehensive report for YOUR management with a single click – showing them the level of detail that you are managing the business, showing the effectiveness of your auditing and cash flow management expertise.
  • The other piece that I would encourage you to look at is called the INVIEW Dashboard.

    Each of your Pitney Bowes postage meters may already be collecting the data for pieces, postage, and departmental chargebacks. Well, this web-based tool automatically collects that data from each of your locations, and puts it into a simple dashboard view.

    Each element of data can be simply analyzed – such as looking at a trend of pieces and postage spent over time, or to a more detailed report showing your cost center allocations – all consolidated from each of your sights. What a relief it is to be able to go to the web, go to a single, secure site – and generate the EXACT report you need to show your finance team or your senior management. The INVIEW Dashboard does the analysis for you.

    And one secret – you don’t have to tell anybody HOW you got the information! That can be our secret.
  • We know mail happens every day – important letters, documents and parcel shipments have an intended audience. But the costs can get out of hand quickly without your close management.

    The goal of these two tools – Total Postage Management and INVIEW Dashboard is to put an analytics tool into your hands, so that you have complete access to the data you need. The data is converted into USABLE information – which can help you make better recommendations and to be more influential in your organization.

    I want to thank you for participating in this webinar. I hope I was able to give you something to think about – and I hope we can continue to be of service to you in the future.
  • What’s changed

    Scope of data management

    So our agenda today will talk more specifically about the scope of data management – including the payment sources for mailing and package delivery.
  • How to manage big data of shipping postal spending

    1. 1. 1 Presented by: Tom Ryan, Director of SMB Marketing, Pitney Bowes July 2014 How to Manage BIG DATA of Shipping & Postal Spending
    2. 2. 2 Tom Ryan Director of SMB Marketing Pitney Bowes
    3. 3. 3
    4. 4. 4 Data can be like a dust storm …
    5. 5. 5 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% Missing Information Don't Know all Active Meters Difficult to Manipulate Data Too Many Multiple Steps Errors from Manual Input Run Short of Postage Funds Key Pain Points  Don’t Know all Active Postage Meters  Missing Information  Difficult to Manipulate Data  Too Many, Multiple Steps  Errors from Manual Input  Run Short of Postage Funds
    6. 6. 6 Think of it like your personal finances ... Mortgage WaterBill Taxes CarPayment CreditCard Your banking statement provides visibility into the checks you write…. Access & Visibility
    7. 7. 7 Think of it like your personal finances ... Mortgage WaterBill Taxes CarPayment CreditCard Gas Groceries Clothes Vacation Your banking statement provides visibility into the checks you write…. ….but you have to review your credit card statement to see how the money was spent Access & Visibility
    8. 8. 8 Think of it like your personal finances ... Mortgage WaterBill Taxes CarPayment CreditCard You have SOURCES of funding and spending with mailing operations … BRMAccount MailServiceProvider PermitMail PostageMeters Total Postage Management Access & Visibility
    9. 9. 9 Think of it like your personal finances ... Mortgage WaterBill Taxes CarPayment CreditCard Gas Groceries Food Clothes You have SOURCES of funding and spending with mailing operations … …. But do you have visibility into how those funds were spent? FirstClassMail® PriorityMail® StandardMail® Int’lMail Total Postage Management Postage Meter Reporting Access & Visibility BRMAccount MailServiceProvider PermitMail PostageMeters
    10. 10. 10 How Funds are Spent?
    11. 11. 11 Where Funds are Spent?
    12. 12. 12 Funding & Cash Flow
    13. 13. 13 Funding & Cash Flow What Information is Available?
    14. 14. 14 What Information is Available? How spent Funding & Cash Flow
    15. 15. 15 What Information is Available? How spent Where spent Funding & Cash Flow
    16. 16. 16 What Information is Available? How spent Where spent Funding & Cash Flow
    17. 17. 17 17 Access and Visibility
    18. 18. 18 18 Distributed Operations Broader Responsibilities Less Hands-On Management
    19. 19. 19 Total Postage Management
    20. 20. 20 INVIEW™ Dashboard
    21. 21. 21 How to Manage BIG DATA of Shipping & Postal Spending Tom Ryan
    22. 22. 2222 Remote Access Drill Down into Spend Details Report and Export Data to Better Manage Your Operations
    23. 23. 23 23