“Unprecedented” has to be the clear frontrunner for word of the year, right? If you’re tired of seeing it in every article and news blurb, you’re not alone.

It’s been a year of volatile and polarizing events, which are likely to continue as election season heats up.

Based on one analysis, the 2020 election could draw more than 80 million mail-in voters – that’s more than twice as many people that voted by mail in 2016. In a way, that could be expected due to the pandemic’s social distancing restrictions. However, the concern is an overwhelming influx of mail-in votes could outpace capacity – especially after the U.S. Postal Service made several concerning declarations back in July.

If you’re unfamiliar, the USPS has been dealing with funding issues. The pandemic placed a financial burden on the USPS’ shoulders, as many businesses cut back on advertising. In turn, that reduced the volume of first-class and marketing mail – a big moneymaker for the postal service. To counter insolvency risks, the USPS announced it would eliminate overtime for mail carriers, shorten post office hours, and remove hundreds of mail-sorting machines. None of which is good news for timely mail.

Outpaced capacity could lead to delays, which caused a stir nationwide. Ultimately, the USPS elected to postpone these efforts after a wave of backlash. But that hasn’t totally alleviated public apprehension. In addition to future voters, businesses have expressed concerns about postal delays too.

What we’re seeing

Sepire’s team is monitoring mailing trends and delivery timeliness. Here’s what we’re seeing:

  • Compliance mail sent to rural areas is experiencing 48 to 72-hour delays as a result of fewer workers.
  • Thanks to our mail tracking heat map, we’re seeing delays of 24 to 48 hours for in-home daily and weekly mail compared to the same period last year.
  • To date, we haven’t seen a notable amount of delays at the Sectional Center Facility (SCF) or Bulk Mail Center (BMC) levels. Instead, most delays have occurred at destination deliveries.

Direct mail still matters

Whether you’re trying to fulfill SLA obligations within designated windows or generate demand for a marketing campaign, the importance of timely direct mail cannot be understated. It’s integral to business processes. So, recent disruption is understandably concerning.

That said, we’re employing various tools alongside our proprietary communications technology, CompliChain, to ensure our clients’ mail is delivered on time, every time. Thanks to CompliChain, we’ve successfully delivered over 2 million pieces of mail within our clients’ respective SLA windows.

People and businesses alike are still hesitant about the current state of the USPS. And that’s understandable. If you or your company want to explore what we are doing with our clients to mitigate this risk, I would be happy to share some of the tactics we’re using.