Mail Call

All In One

The laBODY mailing systems are multifunctional, handling everything from printing, folding, stapling, inserting, sealing, labeling, weighing and stamping to sorting, stacking and putting on a wrapper or binder. Many interact with a computer so you can track exactly how, when and to whom orders are sent out. Some PC-based systems can be programmed to simultaneously handle different sized paper--checks, invoices, brochures--without stopping the machine to reset the equipment.

Besides postage meters, the second crucial piece of mailing equipment most businesses need is a postal scale. Scales are sold in 5-, 10-, 30-, 100- and 200-pound capacities and can be purchased as stand-alone units or combined with a postage meter. Most electronic scales digitally display the weight of your mail piece and the postage needed. Some scales allow users to comparison shop for postal rates.

The most popular mailing equipment combines meters with electronic scales; other machines have additional capabilities such as automatic feed and envelope-sealing functions. Speeds can vary from 25 to 200 envelopes a minute.

Besides faster delivery time and the ease of resetting by telephone or computer, metered mail machines offer other benefits:

*Postal accounting.
Tracking and controlling money spent on direct mail, letters, parcel post, priority and express mail is easier. Because there is one dispenser with precise postage, accounting is streamlined and you know exactly how much postage remains in the meter.

*Parcel post dating.
If your third-class letters and packages are metered, the stamp date requires the post office to expedite those items on the date received, thereby providing better service on less expensive classes of mail.

*Postmark ads.
Postage meters not only print stamps on your mail, they can print an advertising message, too. Postmark ads can include your company logo and name, giving your company extra advertising exposure. Pitney Bowes' PostPerfect Mailer, for example, has an ad cartridge that stores four different messages.

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This article was originally published in the February 1997 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Mail Call.

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