The Global Address Data Association (GADA) and Xplor (The Electronic Document Systems Association) announced the formation of the International Hybrid Mail Coalition last week. This is great news for anyone sending printed items by mail.
For all its advantages, hybrid mail remains an under-used option. France, Italy, the U.K., and the U.S. are among the countries that have robust options for hybrid mail. (I am sure there are other countries that belong on this list. These are the ones where I have knowledge of the options. The cost savings are significant for a mailer in the U.S.) However, many postal operators of the world see little or no advantage in encouraging or promoting hybrid mail.
Charles Prescott, Executive Director of GADA, pointed out, “The digitalization of all communications, but especially postal communication, has not been met by the Universal Postal Union (UPU) system with the attention this subject merits. The terminal dues system [payments system between countries] rests on the assumption that all mail is still created and delivered in paper form by 19th Century bulk methods. In short, the UPU settlement system has not adapted to the electronic delivery of correspondence and other mail which can be digitized or printed on paper anywhere in the world, across any border, with the push of a button.”
The International Hybrid Mail Coalition will address this by engaging in research and advocacy to promote the inclusion of hybrid mail communication models within the UPU regulatory environment. Enrico Barboglio, Secretary and Treasurer of Xplor Italia, said, “…our first work plan includes research on the size of the market, publication of more information on hybrid mail as an important business tool, and preparation for attendance at the forthcoming UPU Congress in Doha, where a resolution will be debated regarding conducting more research on hybrid mail.”
I have mentioned hybrid mail in posts to this blog before (“Services that Help Save on International Mailing Costs” – April 19, 2012 and “Six Keys to Improving International Mailings” – September 14, 2011). Hybrid Mail is a recent option to send text and documents as electronic files for printing and mailing either domestically or internationally. Since digital files are easily, quickly, and inexpensively sent across national borders, there are obvious international applications. And because digital documents are easily customized, personalized letters, invoices, and marketing mail can all be printed in this way within the country of destination. Some providers of hybrid mail services can handle bound books as well. As with other services, quantities matter; different service providers offer different options; and quality varies among those service providers.
The new International Hybrid Mail Coalition deserves the support of the international mailing community. For more information, contact Charles Prescott, Executive Director of GADA, or Enrico Barboglio, Secretary and Treasurer of Xplor Italia.