The Partnership of the Printing Industry and the Postal System

Author: Camille Lehmann, Marketing

To explore the relationship of the printing industry and the postal system, I needed to get expert insight from Nahan’s Postal Logistics Team. I had the opportunity to talk with Nahan’s Postal Logistics Manager, Gary LaBarre, to discuss the importance of the two entities working together for a common good. Gary’s career in print and logistics is a major asset to Nahan. After graduating high school, Gary started working at a printing company, unknowing that it would become his life-long career as he worked his way up in the industry, spanning forty-eight years. Gary has worked in the postal logistics division for forty-five of those and has dedicated over ten years to Nahan.

From the Press to the Consumers

A beautiful new catalog just rolled off the press, eager to be placed into a consumer’s hands to be used for its purpose. Before it can end up in a consumer’s mailbox, however, it must go through the postal system. As a result, the printing industry must have a relationship with the postal system to be able to take a finished product to its final destination – the people. Gary’s wealth of knowledge about both the printing industry and the postal system make him an excellent resource for brands that are new to the world of print.

“At Nahan, our goal is to get the best postage price possible and to get it to the consumers at the time they want it – not too early or too late.”

Gary LaBarre , Postal Logistics Manager at Nahan

In the next few questions and answers, we explore the logistics of working with the postal system to minimize cost for our customers.

1. There are various ways that a finished product can be shipped to a consumer. Three of the most common methods include co-mail, commingle, and drop ship. What are the differences between these methods?

  • Co-mail – This method is used for catalogs and flat-sized pieces. Multiple jobs are put together in one shipment, the idea being to enhance the pre-sort, which gives the customer the lowest postage price and deeper delivery to the USPS.
  • Commingle – This method is for letter-sized pieces and follows the same logic as co-mail. The shipments are intermixed with other customers to save money on postage in addition to deeper delivery to the USPS.
  • Drop Ship – This method consolidates pallets with other pallet jobs and then delivers it to postal facilities around the country.

2. Out of the three methods mentioned above, why is each beneficial to the customer?

  • Co-mail and commingle are beneficial because of their lower postage rate and delivery to the post office. If a customer has a smaller quantity, drop shipping would not be cost effective.
  • Drop ship is beneficial due to its low postage for large, geographically concentrated quantities, as well as the ability to hit a tight in-home window.

3. Why is timing so important in shipping a finished product?

Depending on what a brand is printing, there can be time sensitive information. For example, a company might be advertising a sale in a catalog or providing a limited time coupon code in a piece of direct mail. If a shipment gets delivered too late, the sale or coupon code will no longer be valid. Conversely, if a shipment arrives too early, customers are trying to order products that are not available in stores yet or score sales that are not set up in the system.

4. What is Informed Delivery? Why should companies sign up for it?

Informed delivery is a free service offered by the United States Postal Service, in which people can sign up to be notified of mail expected to be arriving soon. The service allows users to see a digital preview of their letter-sized mail and packages en-route to their mailbox. Users can access Informed Delivery on any computer or mobile device. It is beneficial to companies from a marketing standpoint. Companies can choose to participate in the Informed Delivery Interactive Campaign and include a link with the image. Companies then receive a summary report of users who clicked on links. While this marketing method is still growing, it is also relatively risk-free and does not eat up a marketing budget.

5. Overall, what is the essence of why the postal system is so crucial to the printing industry?

The printing industry could not exist without the partnership of the postal system. Without the USPS, your eye-catching and action-driving piece would never arrive to your consumer. To be a successful company, you must work with the postal system to deliver the best quality and service to the customers.

Minimized Postage Costs = More Consumer Reach for Your Money

When selling a product or service, no matter how wonderful it may be, marketing is what gets it out there. Print – whether in the form of catalogs, envelope packages, or self-mailers – is a significant contributor to a brand’s marketing strategy. Printing is all about a service that takes a brand’s vision and puts it on paper and makes it a reality. At Nahan, our job is to minimize their postage and transportation costs to allow them to mail as many pieces as possible for their money.

Curious about the current USPS postage rates? Check out our postage rate chart!

Contact us to learn more.

Bio: Camille Lehmann is on the Marketing team and started with Nahan in January of 2020. Camille is responsible for assisting in Nahan’s marketing strategies and goals. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in Marketing with a specialization in Project Management. In her spare time, Camille enjoys writing, going to coffee shops, and spending time with friends and family.

Nahan University: Investing in our Employees

Author: Melissa Fransen, Marketing Manager

Since the opening of Nahan University in July of 2019, a lot has been happening with our training programs and our leadership team is proud of how things are progressing. From an employee perspective since launch, several of our 300+ employees have been involved in a training course thus far and the plan for 2020 is that every one of our employees will have a training opportunity. Doug Karls, an employee of Nahan for over 25 years, is leading the Nahan University initiatives.

“We are just getting started and I’m excited about all of the training opportunities that are in store for our employees. Our employees are our number one asset and if there is one thing that I believe in investing in, it’s our people.” Doug Karls, Trainer

Nahan University Goals

Here are the goals that our Leadership team has set for Nahan University:

  • Basic equipment functionality
  • Educate our team on our quality standards
  • Generate a career path for team members
  • Empower our employees
  • Team building
Nahan University Opening

Training Recap

The focus of the training has started with Operator training on Folders and Inserters, as well as Leadership training. Here is a quick overview of the training thus far:

Operator Training:

  • Basic equipment functionality
  • Problem solving skills
  • Mechanical aptitude
  • Math aptitude
  • Quality standards

Leadership Training:

  • Communication Skills
  • Servant Leadership
  • Creating Effective and Empowered Teams
  • Coaching and Delegating for Success

“One of the biggest differentiators of Nahan in the industry continues to be our quality. The quality of our print, the quality of our service levels, and the quality of our people.” John Klumb, Vice President of Sales and Marketing

Nahan University – What’s Next

Our team is in the beginning stages of launching Brainer’s LMS (Learning Management Solutions) program. This platform will provide learning opportunities for our employees through module-based training on a variety of topics. Topics include everything from Safety, Team Building and Problem Solving to Web Presentations, Marketing, and Microsoft Office. These training sessions can be customized to the individual and tailored to topics that are applicable to our employees.  The full implementation of Brainer’s LMS program is planned for Q2 of 2020.

“At the end of each day, I ask myself what I learned that day. Each and every day I try to learn something new. My goal is for our employees to learn something new every day as well.” Doug Karls, Trainer

Want to learn more about a career at Nahan or Nahan University? Contact us today.

Bio: Melissa Fransen is our Marketing Manager. She started with Nahan in May of 2017. Melissa is responsible for Nahan’s marketing initiatives, which includes everything from conference planning to social media initiatives. In her spare time, Melissa enjoys spending time with her husband and enjoying time in the outdoors with family and friends.

Nahan Named As a Printing Industry Best Workplace in the Americas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Melissa Fransen                                                          
Phone: 320-217-7319
Email: melissa.fransen@nahan.com

ST. CLOUD, MN – February 6, 2020 – Nahan Printing, Inc. of St. Cloud, MN has been awarded the Best Workplace designation in the 2020 Best Workplace in the Americas (BWA) awards competition. The BWA awards are awarded to companies that create the best environments for their employees in the printing industry. The BWA awards, presented by Printing Industries of America (PIA), is awarded annually to only those companies meeting rigorous standards in human resources practices.

A panel of printing industry HR professionals evaluated applicants in three categories: Communications & Culture, Employee Resources & Benefits, and Safety & Work Environment.

PIA Best Workplaces

“Nahan Printing is one of the premier companies in the printing industry for employee experiences,” said Adriane Harrison, Vice President of Human Relations at PIA. “This award is a testament to Nahan’s leadership in developing an ‘employer of choice’ culture.”

“Winning a BWA award is an honor. We are on a journey to give our employees an exceptional workplace. There have been a number of initiatives that we have put into place this past year that are making a difference: we have implemented values-based leadership, we have opened Nahan University, and we have empowered our employees to ‘Never Stop Being the Best’ by sharing new ideas and exceeding customer expectations,” said Mike Nahan, CEO.

Michael F. Makin, president and CEO of PIA, agrees. “The Best Workplace in the Americas award winners stand among the most distinguished printing industry leaders by human resources standards. Congratulations to Nahan Printing for its outstanding achievement in human resources excellence.”  

ABOUT WINNER

Nahan Printing is a Minnesota-based, independent, family-owned, world class printer committed to providing end-to-end solutions that add value to our clients. Since its inception in 1962, Nahan has specialized in catalogs and direct mail for industries such as retail, financial services, non-profit and hospitality. With a client roster of legendary brands, Nahan prints iconic work that represents the highest level of quality and innovation in the industry. For more information about Nahan, please visit http://www.nahan.com.

ABOUT THE BEST WORKPLACE IN THE AMERICAS AWARDS

The Best Workplace in the Americas (BWA) awards, presented by Printing Industries of America (PIA), recognizes a company’s commitment to quality and excellence, passion for success, and dedication to providing a safety-focused work environment. For more information about the program, visit: www.printing.org/bwa.

Nahan Provides Print & Mailing Solutions for Many European Brands Marketing to US Customers

Author: Melissa Fransen, Marketing Manager

One of the questions that we frequently get asked is if we provide print and mailing solutions to an International customer base that is interested in mailing to the US Market. The answer is a resounding Yes!

In fact, this continues to be one of Nahan’s specialties and something that we feel truly continues to set us apart in the industry. We have quickly become a printer of choice for retailers and agencies alike in the European market.

Nahan Provides Print & Mailing Solutions for Many European Brands Marketing to US Customers

“If you are a start-up or even an established brand looking to market to a US audience and are looking for a trusted print partner, look no further, our team at Nahan is here to become a seamless extension of your marketing team.  We continue to work with so many great people abroad that have become not only clients but good friends, that really trust our Quality & Service.”

Kelly Marthaler, US & International Catalog/Direct Mail Sales Consultant

Commonly Asked Questions

1. We have formats developed for our UK audience and foreign postal requirements. How do we convert our formats to meet the US postal requirements?

Nahan is highly experienced in working with customers to develop efficient size formats for the US postal stream. Weights and size formats that work in Europe don’t always work here in the US. We specialize in adjusting these sizes or format templates to US formats to help minimize cost and reduce postage rates.  Our focus is really on guiding clients closely through the entire process.

2. What about paper? How does this work?

Our team at Nahan is very familiar with foreign paper spec differences and can help transition to US paper stocks that are of equal or greater paper quality and still be competitively priced.

3. With the time difference, can I expect a quick turnaround on quotes?

At Nahan, you can expect a quote within 24 hours or less. We take a lot of pride in quick-turn quotes and communication. You can come to expect the same timely response from our purchasing and customer service teams even when your office is in a foreign country. 

4. What about mailing schedules? How does this work?

Our postal/logistics team at Nahan works with our customers to develop timely schedules based on in-home dates. We walk through this entire process with each of our foreign clients to ensure there is a clear understanding of what in-homes dates work best with each individual marketing plan and how we can minimize cost as well.

5. What about USPS postal promotions, can I take advantage of these?

Absolutely. Our team at Nahan will guide you through the promotions process to ensure you are getting the most cost-effective rates based on your marketing objectives.

6. What about mailing to other markets, such as Canada?

At Nahan, we utilize the assistance of a third party partner to mail to other foreign markets, such as Canada, and do this quite frequently.  We are close proximity to Canada so this is a very close entry point for us.

7. I’m new to this – how do I even start?

Many of our customers that start out with us don’t have experience in expanding their mailing to the US market. No problem at all! We’ll be very happy to guide you through this process so maximum ROI can be achieved.  We want to take the stress of printing and mailing here in the US out of each foreign marketer’s job. 

Interested in learning more about Nahan’s mailing services? Contact us today! 

Bio: Melissa Fransen is our Marketing Manager. She started with Nahan in May of 2017. Melissa is responsible for Nahan’s marketing initiatives, which includes everything from conference planning to social media initiatives. In her spare time, Melissa enjoys spending time with her husband and enjoying time in the outdoors with family and friends.

Is Nahan a Printing or Technology Company?

Author: Pat Nahan, Vice President of National Accounts

As the printing landscape has evolved over the past two decades, we have all seen huge changes in the way we do our jobs.  Long gone are the days of film and even hard proofs in some cases. We have all seen the benefits of other new and exciting technologies that make getting ink, toner or dyes onto your chosen substrate.  All of this is great, but if your printer of choice doesn’t have the IT infrastructure to support your growing needs then are you really seeing the full benefit of what these advancements can do for you?

Digital Workflow

There are many benefits to a digital workflow but the 4 that I feel benefit the customer most are:

  1. Flexibility
  2. Brand Continuity
  3. Speed to Market
  4. Being able to create a truly tailored message to your consumer

Upon entering into the digital printing arena, it became glaringly apparent to us that to take advantage of this new technology we needed to embrace and fully utilize all that these machines could do.  To execute this we had to take a two pronged approach, the first being security. The second focus was being able to adapt to our customer’s unique needs and to mold our processes around those.  Along with this we had to step out of our comfort zone to truly develop technologies that can meet those needs.  

“Looping back to the title now, I feel that we are rapidly becoming a Technology company that is really great at printing.”

– Pat Nahan

Every day we are taking our years of experience with the ‘big iron” of printing and using it to make the new digital presses better.  The amount of technological development and custom programming that we are doing on a daily basis to meet the needs of our customers is constantly expanding.  Processes that were cutting-edge just 5 years ago are rapidly being replaced with new words like, API’s, web interfaces, and custom integrations.  Is your printer ready to help take you to the next level?

Questions to Ask Your Printer

Ask yourself these five questions when you consider partnering with a printer:

  1. What is their programming strength?
  2. Can they do more than just a presort of my data and take advantage of all their digital equipment can do?
  3. What sort of custom integrations have they done before?
  4. Do they have the knowledge to build any sort of return processing or continuity process that I might need?
  5. Are they a printer that thinks they know how to program or a true four color variable expert? 

Contact us today to learn more about Nahan and how we can help with your next project.

Patrick Nahan has over 20 years of print experience and is the Vice President of National Accounts with Nahan. On a daily basis, Patrick shows the “Nahan Difference” to key accounts and has been instrumental in launching Nahan into the forefront of the ever-changing print landscape. When not at work, he enjoys spending time with his wife and two boys, working on cars, boating and trying to keep up with a hectic youth hockey schedule!    

2019 In Review: An Interview with Nahan COO, Curt Tillotson

Author: Melissa Fransen, Marketing Manager

2019 was another great year for Nahan and I thought it would be a great time to take an opportunity to interview Curt Tillotson, who serves as Nahan’s Chief Operating Officer. Curt started with Nahan in 2011 after many years at a regional grocer and at Best Buy in business development and financial roles . Outside of work, Curt is kept quite busy with his wife and their seven children. So, without further ado, let’s get started!

What are three accomplishments that you are particularly proud of that Nahan achieved in 2019?

Curt: Well, 2019 was an amazing year with many all-time records established.  I can only pick three?  This is not easy but I will give it a shot:

First, we managed to land over 100 new accounts.  We are very appreciative of all of the companies that trust us to print for them.

Second, our new website was launched in 2019 and it looks amazing!  Take a look when you have a chance.

Third, we continue to invest in our business and have purchased industry-leading equipment which allows us to amaze our customers even more

In three words, tell me what you think made Nahan stand out in 2019.

Curt: PEOPLE! PEOPLE! PEOPLE!  We are so proud of our people.  We continue to create opportunities for them and they step up again and again.

What do you like most about working for Nahan?

Curt: I really enjoy working side by side with this amazing team here at Nahan.  We accomplish far more than I could ever ask or imagine.

Nahan won several awards again for the quality of our work through Gold Ink, Sappi, and PIM – something we are very proud of. Tell me from your perspective, what this means to you.

Curt: Plain and simple, we are the best printer in North America.  All of these awards are a testimony to what our customers tell us every day.  We truly never stop being the best.

Nahan opened Nahan University, our employee training center in 2019, which has already benefited many of our employees. Tell me about how things are coming along with the training center.

Curt: As we go into 2020, there will be a lot of training opportunities for all of our employees.  We believe that is the best way to equip our people to win in the marketplace.

Do you have any New Year’s Resolutions you’d like to share?

Curt: Suffice it to say, I will be part of a weight loss team!

You speak quite often about our Nahan Values. Tell me about one of those values and what it means to you.

Curt: Never Stop Being the Best!

This value epitomizes Nahan Printing and our founders and owners.  We are never satisfied with the status quo.  We always want to make things better. It has been said that the slowest a piece of equipment runs is the first day it comes in the building. That is our attitude day in and day out.  And, it is absolutely critical.  Competition is fierce in the print industry.  Our customers have many choices when it comes to printing.  We have to be the best in the business in order to win.

“It has been said that the slowest a piece of equipment runs is the first day it comes in the building.”

– Curt Tillotson, Chief Operating Officer, Nahan Printing

Nahan supported a number of local charitable organizations again in 2019. Tell me about one that stood out to you this year.

Curt: We supported the United Way more than ever in 2019.  I love the work that United Way does day in and day out.  Not only do they help many, many people who are truly in need but they also make sure that our charitable donations are spent wisely.

What are you most excited about as Nahan goes into 2020?

Curt: Winning!  We have made tremendous strides as a company and I look forward to making even greater progress in 2020.  We have great employees who operate as a team.  We have industry leading equipment.  We have a customer base that LOVES our work.

Bio: Melissa Fransen is our Marketing Manager. She started with Nahan in May of 2017. Melissa is responsible for Nahan’s marketing initiatives, which includes everything from conference planning to social media initiatives. In her spare time, Melissa enjoys spending time with her husband and enjoying time in the outdoors with family and friends.