US Postal Service (USPS) Mail Delivery Timeline Getting Better

Looking ahead to the 2022 holiday peak season, the US Postal Service (USPS) announced the dates for the “Temporary Rate Adjustments.” This year, the higher price rates will be effective from October 2, 2022, through January 22, 2023.  In addition, USPS National News states that the average delivery timeline is now steady at 2.5 days.  For the quarter, overall mail volumes were down 3.4% over the same period last year (SPLY), while revenue was up 5.0%.

The USPS service performance report during the 4th quarter indicates their scores covering July 1 through August 5  are consistent.

They included:

  • First-Class Mail on time: 93.1 percent.
  • Marketing Mail on time: 94.2 percent.
  • Periodicals on time: 86.3 percent.

One of the goals of “Delivering for America, the Postal Service’s 10-year plan” for achieving financial sustainability and service excellence is to meet or exceed 95 percent on-time service performance for all mail and shipping products.  But, of course, this is once all elemental implementations of the plan.  The Postal Service defines service performance as the time it takes to deliver a mailpiece or package from its acceptance into their system through its delivery, measured against published service standards.


Variable Data Printing (VDP)

What is Variable Data Printing (VDP)?

VDP is a method of digital printing that allows graphic or text elements to be easily and efficiently swapped out throughout a print job – making it more personal to the receiver. It is commonly used in the direct mail industry and generally yields a 42% response rate. This is a great way to cost-effectively personalize your marketing effort for specific demographics.

86% of consumers say that customizing a piece of mail, has some impact on their purchasing decision. VDP can offer to streamline efficiency – it’s easy to change out a name and address on each piece that mails. It also offers a great way to track your customer response with the use of customized codes etc.

Put yourself in the client’s shoes for a moment.

Receiving huge amounts of junk mail, ads, and other promos –  that have nothing to do with their needs or interests – can get old quickly! It gets annoying pretty fast, too. Variable print can change that for you, helping you make a good impression in the long run. It makes you more memorable.

Current clients will be more likely to respond back to you or stay with you, while prospects are more likely to buy something from you the next time they make their next purchase.

How can variable printing be made – uniquely?

Other than changing out the address block, on a typical mail piece, you can also do the following:

  1. You can change the header information, such as a name or salutation. See the example highlighted in yellow.


  1. Adding pertinent information, such as a savings or specific promotion – just for the client it is being sent to. See the example highlighted in yellow.


  1. Personalizing an image is also an option!



And, remember, the address block should always include the following:

  1. Full name
  2. Company name (if needed)
  3. City
  4. State
  5. Zip

Here at BMS Direct Inc., we are committed to helping you strive for that perfect piece of mail that will help you grow.

Print Ready?

Is Your Art File Print Ready?

Many things go into getting a file ready for print. For print, this process is called Prepress, assembling and editing a product (such as a book or newspaper) before printing. (Source: Merriam).

Creating the Perfect Printed Piece

Without the proper knowledge, it’s hard to create the perfect printed piece.  It’s not just about the right design, colorful logo, flowing fonts, and excellent pictures. That’s why a prepress department is so important. Making the correct modifications will ensure that your work outputs perfectly. Below are some step-by-step measures that you, as a client, can make before sending your work to the printer.


Proofreading the document before sending it to the printer is essential. Catching any grammatical or spelling errors, information, or flow of the document before your printed piece is in the hands of the recipient is important.

The Prepress department will essentially check and adjust the spacing such as kerning, leading, and tracking, line breaks, uniformity of the text throughout, and make sure all the fonts are available and embedded within the document.

Image Resolution & Size

There are two different types of images used in a design – a raster or vector graphic. If using a raster image, be sure to not enlarge it more than 15-20% of the original size to avoid pixilation and make sure it is at least 300 dpi. Common file types include PNG, JPG, GIF, PSD and TIF. Vector graphics are a series of lines and curves. You can scale an image created purely as a vector file to any size without loss of resolution. However, most images will still contain at least some raster elements. (Source: BMS).

CMYK Color

 The printing process uses CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow and black). CMYK is a subtractive color model, so this adds pigment or dye to a page to subtract white from an image. (Source: BMS). Did you know that most design software use RGB as a default color mode? It’s true! Since most printers print in CMYK, a good rule is to switch the software color mode from RGB to CMYK.

A prepress technician will always check for color accuracy of the design and images before sending it off to print.

Bleed or No Bleed

 A bleed is the image or color area that’s extended beyond the final trimmed product. It’s just a way to reduce misprints and provide a margin for error. The general rule of thumb allows for .125” bleed extended past the trim mark.

Cutting machines will trim the printed image to your specifications in the printing process. If you haven’t left a bleed, the cutting machines will trim 0.5mm past the edge of your graphic. If you haven’t extended the image beyond a bleed area, this cutting will leave a noticeable white line and look unprofessional.

Need more help, BMS Direct, Inc. is here for you.



For Transactional, Direct Mail, and In-Plant Printers

This article is a reprint from Canon Solutions America.

How Production Inkjet Can Help You Achieve Your Sustainability Goals

The Digital Advantage

If you currently print predominantly on offset or other non-inkjet technology, reducing your environmental impact and boosting your reputation for sustainability are just some of the substantial benefits you could achieve by moving to inkjet production printing.

By its very nature, digital printing offers many sustainability benefits, such as less waste, chemical-free production, and reduced make-ready and set-up time

By its very nature, digital printing offers many sustainability benefits, such as less waste, chemical-free production, and reduced make-ready and set-up time. You also can add cost-efficient production of shorter runs matched to actual demand, even down to a run length of one, among its green attributes. And being a digital process, efficiencies and consequential sustainability benefits can be enhanced—and the risk of human error reduced—by putting in place fully automated workflows managed by software.

Digital printing also gives print providers access to more sustainable business models, such as:

  • On-demand Printing: Sell first, then print.
  • Dynamic Publishing: Highly targeted content based on streamlined data workflows and automated production processes, resulting in lower page counts.
  • Programmatic Print: Linking marketing automation platforms and highly-automated print production workflows.

If you’d like to find out more about these business models, you can read our reTHINK Commercial Print guide here.

Elevated by Inkjet

Through the use of production inkjet technology, however, the environmental benefits of digital printing can be elevated to an even higher level—starting with the printheads.

Engineered for precision and durability, these printheads can have a lifespan of thousands of hours and may only need to be replaced after years of use.

Most inkjet sheetfed and web presses use piezo printhead technology, which works by rapidly passing an electric charge through a piezo crystal that flexes and, in doing so, forces a drop of ink out of a nozzle. Engineered for precision and durability, these printheads can have a lifespan of thousands of hours and may only need to be replaced after years of use. The longevity of the print heads also is aided by the close interdependency between the printhead technology and inkjet inks, resulting in minimal maintenance costs.

Eco-Friendly Inks

As for inkjet inks, the most environmentally friendly are stringently manufactured aqueous pigment inks. Being water-based, the inks emit low odor; do not carry substances of very high concern (SVHC); and are free of mineral oil, aromatic hydrocarbon (MOAH), and saturated hydrocarbons (MOSH). Look for process-color inks listed in the Nordic Swan database of approved printing chemicals that show good deinking properties, according to INGEDE method 11, when combined with appropriate substrates.

Look for process-color inks listed in the Nordic Swan database of approved printing chemicals that show good deinking properties.

Solvents used and produced in the manufacture of inks, coatings, and paints contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs), human-made chemicals that may have adverse health effects. However, sustainability-conscious suppliers see to it that the VOC emissions of ink and paper conditioning products remain well below the levels allowed by governmental guidelines. In addition, some inkjet presses use innovative technology to further reduce the impact of VOCs. For example, some drying technology uses a sufficiently low temperature that any VOC particles that do enter the paper fibers are not released into the air, so no exhaust air cleaning is required. Other presses also have integrated exhaust air cleaning systems that can eliminate VOC emissions.

Even More Sustainable Credentials

The main sustainability benefits that can be gained through adopting inkjet production technology offer a lot to consider. But there are other features and sustainable benefits to seek out when evaluating an inkjet press investment. For a start, energy consumption: while a press that is robust enough for heavy-duty 24/7 operations is a given, there are inkjet presses that feature low energy consumption per printed page.

Then, hand in hand with durability are longevity and upgradability. Though digital machines have at times been associated with “built-in obsolescence,” look for an inkjet press that has proved itself in the market and offers a clear upgrade path for new features and speed enhancements, maximizing the lifespan of the system and making it truly sustainable. An inkjet press that has been built to last and to operate around the clock—especially one that incorporates preventive maintenance concepts—is most likely to deliver the high levels of uptime and productivity required and, potentially, up to 10 million impressions per week.

An inkjet press that can be refurbished and has multiple recyclable parts also will add to your sustainability credentials.

Finally, an inkjet press that can be refurbished and has multiple recyclable parts also will add to your sustainability credentials. So, look for a supplier that maximizes the economic life of its inkjet presses with a high refurbishment rate and that recycles, within industry standard recycling processes, a high percentage of the parts in its presses.

Plus Canon’s Commitment

With sustainability becoming an increasingly important topic for print service providers, it is even more of a reason to think about moving some, if not all, your work to production inkjet and assessing which technology partner is going to be best for your business. Not only does Canon Solutions America offer a range of production inkjet presses to suit every application and run-length but, for us, sustainability is a key consideration from the very start of the inkjet innovation and development process—including using sustainable and/or recycled materials and energy-efficient manufacturing processes and eliminating hazardous substances wherever we can.

Solar panel jackets? Yes – windows, furniture, and beyond – it’s a revolution in solar power!

The square panel is out? No, but imagination might be the only thing holding us back. 


Solar power is booming. In the U.S. alone, installation jumped 40%, and costs dropped 70%. Currently, this country generates 4% of electricity from the sun, but a particular administration wants the country to generate almost half of its electricity from the sun by 2050. So last November, funding passed, billions of dollars for clean energy projects to help move this industry forward! 

 Change in what solar looks like is here. Today, designers have started a new movement called the “solar movement.” Increasing solar application diversity – things like windows with solar cells. This resource looks affordable to many as innovative applications emerge, and 2022 may become a banner year for solar energy. 

Today, our buildings integrate as the panel – wow!

It is called, “Building Integrated Photovoltaics.” Tesla’s solar shingles are one example, but more and more examples are cropping up around the globe.

 Like phones, the more options individuals and businesses have to switch to solar, the more likely they will adopt it. Helping this industry is the steady decline in cost, but “transactional friction” must be worked on. It is just like bureaucratic red tape.  Think like when you’re securing a permit downtown and then next counting the cost of money saved on bills in the long run. So again, due diligence comes into play for your organization when deciding on installing new panels. 

Our sun’s light never ends, and solar panel energy uses this light.

We are creating a renewable source of electricity. Naturally replenished, energy is used constantly without running out. It takes 5 minutes of shining streams of beams to supply the entire United States’ electricity demand for 30 days. Solar energy is renewable, unlike fossil fuels. In addition, fossil fuels lack the benefits of renewable energy and are detrimental to our environment.

All this to say, like ripples on a pond, solar energy could work like a ripple effect. Solar is going to have a huge 2022 year. A promising mission for it is to accelerate the shift to cleaner, cheaper energy.

One of the largest solar installations in the state is right here at BMS. With 922 panels on our roof – yes, they’re square. This system provides approximately 55% of the power needed to run our plant, thus saving energy costs and reducing our carbon footprint.

Join the movement – solar power is here to stay.

Paper Industry Update – PGAMA webinar

Thank you, PGAMA, for putting this webinar update together.

We continue to monitor how markets tighten - specifically paper.  We believe it is important to stay abreast of how paper mills reach their monthly reservations, as they are currently oversold - this means limits even with reservations. Mills are allocating a percentage for awarded tons.  It is not in stone; it can change.  The market changes daily; are you keeping up?  Each mill is very different, and it involves many other variables based on supply chains other than paper, such as trucking logistics, nails, and many other surprising factors.

Watch this webinar with two guest speakers:

  • Domtar Paper Update - Gilbert Goodworth
  • Verso Corporation - Mike Robinson


It’s the Thought That Matters – Recognize Your People This Holiday Season

Guest post by Roger Burnett

It is always a pleasure to share knowledge with like-minded people.  Roger Burnett is a respected friend, writer, and lover of all things Promotional.  When he accepted our invitation to share his wisdom with our readers, we were thrilled.  We know you will be as well.


The Great Resignation.

The Great Reset.

No matter what you name it, it’s clear there is a major change happening in the United States Labor Market. 

Most Americans (55 percent) who are either employed or looking for a job – what economists would describe as “being in the workforce” – say they are likely to look for new employment in the next 12 months, according to Bankrate’s August 2021 Job Seeker Survey. Even more surprising, some 28 percent of working Americans who currently say they’re NOT looking for a new job are still expecting to search for a different position at some point in the next year. (Bankrate Blog, 8/23/21) 

Most, if not all employers in the marketplace would benefit from additional employees, and many companies generate a significant portion of their revenues in Q4 and Q1, so open headcount means lost revenue, plus, a dynamic job market suggests some percentage of your current workforce might be on the move to new positions in 2022.

How do you compete for the talent you need and retain the talent you’ve developed? How do you capture the lost revenue opportunity you KNOW you could get with more staff?


The statistics tell the story for themselves. 

Awards and Recognition thought-leader O.C. Tanner studied employee engagement and how managers can tailor their workplaces to promote it. An employee survey they conducted included the question “What is the most important thing your manager or company currently do that would cause you to produce great work?”

Respondents answered in their own words, providing a variety of responses, but a clear pattern emerged.

37% of respondents (the clear majority) made their desires for more and better recognition clear.

If this is true for your company, if you need to find more staff PLUS hold on to your existing team of winners, it’s high time you started thinking about the ways you’re going to recognize them and acknowledge their efforts. It will keep your people and bring more candidates to your door. Awards and recognition can take many shapes and work with a promotional marketing/awards and recognition expert is incredibly important this year for one VERY important reason.


If you’ve shopped anywhere this year, in a store or online, you’ve been witness to the disaster that is the shipping industry. We’re not immune to the fact there are millions of items in containers stuck in the ocean, waiting for the opportunity to unload. In the meantime, there are wild swings in product availability and shortages of things like black hoodies, blankets, and even screen-printing inks are wreaking havoc on our marketplace. 

I recently hosted a panel of participants from a cross-section of the promotional products supplier base, in an attempt to learn how best clients could navigate these product shortages and save their opportunity to recognize their staff and key clients this holiday season. While the discussion was realistic and a little somber, the following 3 things came to light as being incredibly important if you want to come thru for your people this year:

  1. Don’t Go It Alone: the internet is proving to not be nearly as reliable as in years past. Just because you ordered an item online that showed as being in stock does not mean the product is actually there. You may have an order, but it might be months before your delivery. Even if the product ships on time, there is no guarantee UPS, Fed-Ex, etc are going to deliver the said product in time. Work with a professional in the awards and recognition or promotional products industry to give yourself the BEST chance at a successful outcome.

  2. If You See It, Buy It: if you’re working with a professional, the products they’re showing you are available, TODAY. There’s no guarantee that the same product will still be on the shelf next week, so, if you like an item, it’s best to move forward immediately than to continue to shop in hopes of finding something better. Don’t delay. 
  3. Substitutes > Waiting: if you order hooded sweatshirts or any of a litany of categories where supply is constantly changing, don’t be surprised if you get more than one label in the lot. Don’t focus on the fact that you got a combination of Champion and Russell branded sweatshirts when the order arrives – be thankful that your people were able to know you cared about them; remember, it’s the thought that counts!

By navigating the complex waters of employee recognition this year, you’ll give yourself the best chance possible to grow your team in 2022 while holding on to your top talent. In what is clearly a rapidly-changing environment, your employees will appreciate knowing they’re working for a place that truly understands what 37% of the respondents in the survey made clear. 

Happy Holidays.


Promise Maker

Political Elections

3 Musts for Your Election Campaign


It’s crunch time for your campaign! Due to our current environment, the election season looks a bit different than in previous years – but things are improving slowly.  With this in mind here are some options to connect with your voters.

Get your name out there with a direct mail campaign

Direct mail is a great way to make a personalized touchpoint for voters. Sending a postcard with a customized name and the right target audience gives them a reminder of who you are. Make sure you have a call-to-action with a unique QR code. Keep your message focused – and create a memorable campaign.

Strengthen your campaign with customized products and apparel

Follow-up your direct mail campaign with a tee-shirt or ball cap! Tailor your promotional products to meet the needs of your target audience. These items double as great gifts to thank supporters, as well as, more exposure for the campaign. Say someone wears a campaign shirt to the grocery store.  Now everyone in the store is aware of the nominee and may even ask questions or look them up to learn more.

Your message is our mission – with signage and wearable’s

You can’t be everywhere all at once – but your name can! Since larger in-person rallies are still limited a great tool to advertise your name is wearable promotional products and setting up signage!  This allows voters to interact and see your name outside of the rally environment.

Prepare today – to win tomorrow!

Election Day is just around the corner, so discover what we can offer you!  Contact us today at 866.816.2378. We would be happy to discuss your goals and how to achieve them.

National Nurses Week (May 6-12, 2021)

National Nurses Week (May 6-12, 2021) and International Nurses Day (May 6)

We thank all our nurses.  Who will you thank?  The National Nurses Week will raise awareness of the value of nursing. It will help educate about the role nurses play in meeting healthcare needs. The World Health Organization recognized 2020 as the “Year of the Nurse” to elevate and celebrate nurses’ essential contributions everywhere. #ThanksHeathHeros

As one of the most significant healthcare professionals within the U.S., nurses play a vital role in providing health services. They’ve become heroes during the global pandemic for their selfless dedication to the patients they serve. Nurses most often are the primary healthcare professional when it comes to tending to patient needs, providing medical care and tending to personal and spiritual needs. 

We can only imagine how much this work has increased in the last year.

As these frontline workers continue to care for the sick, suffering extended absences from their families and putting their lives at risk – we cannot just stand by and watch. Showing appreciation for all their strenuous efforts is a must!

What are some things you can do to show your appreciation or say thank you?

Donate what you can

Donations are a great way to show your support. Monetary donations or giving supplies – and we all probably know a local hospital or two that need help.

Could you provide them with the necessities they need?

Since nurses are risking their lives every day, it is essential to keep them safe and comfortable – supplying them with PPE kits, masks, gloves, sanitizer, lip balm, and more. 

If you are looking for any help in finding items to donate or gift – to say thank you – we are here to help you in any way. Customizing is always an option.

Call Marisa Banke today with any questions – 866.816.7823 ext.7752.

Earth Day – Looking for Ways to Protect Yourself & the Planet?

People are living in an ever-changing world – and just one year ago, the pandemic was a big one.

How has it affected us as a society? How has it affected our lives personally? The daily adjustments every one of us had to make to cope and live amongst one another was a definitive change – let’s all think about this during Earth Day. In this case, we adjust to three new practices – wearing masks, sanitizing our hands, and practicing social distance.   Each item protects yourself and the Planet.
The pandemic has not only affected the population but the environment too. Improvements in the air and water quality – due to quarantining – occurred in the latter half of 2020. Although significant, the haphazard disposal practices of organizations and society have created a negative impact. It makes one think, though.

What part can we play to lessen that negative impact?

A fundamental question as a person or business you should be asking yourself. In short, we can start with how the pandemic has worked its way into our daily living, as stated above.

For one, you are wearing a mask.

Choosing to use a reusable mask, such as fabric, is a start. Disposable masking offers a quick and easy solution to protect oneself – if not correctly disposed of, and it later can have negative impacts. Reusable masks will not be just safe for you and your community but the environment as well. You cannot only choose unique styles that suit you, but you can also relax in the knowledge that you won’t be adding unnecessary risk to the planet (source: Kalopsia).

Sanitizing is and will always be important going forward.

Hand sanitizers are green because most of the active ingredients are natural sources. A majority of hand sanitizers do not contain fragrances or dyes, which adds to the “environmentally-friendly” position (source: Clean link). Using eco-friendly brands is a must – and of course, if you do not have hand sanitizer at your reach – wash your hands!

Lastly, practicing social distance has been difficult for most of us, but it is necessary and doable.

If you are a small-business owner or work for a large organization – it can be not easy. The right signage – floor decals, wall graphics, window signs, or flags – can make this enforcement easier. Eco-friendly options are out there – and with the use of the graphics, it would not only protect your patrons but the environment too.
BMS prides itself on working hard and safely throughout this year.
During this last year, BMS worked tirelessly to keep employees safe and client projects going. We did this by following the key points listed above. If you need any products to help with your struggle, take a look at what we have to offer here:
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