Updates from the 15th Annual ACMA Conference

After being virtual for the past few years due to the pandemic, the ACMA Conference came roaring back with an informative and engaging in-person conference in Washington DC. The conference illuminated wins, most notably the recently passed postal reform, as well as discussing current and future challenges that we are all facing.

With postal reform and postage increases being hot topics, the audience was fortunate to hear directly from USPS Postmaster General Louis DeJoy. Mr. DeJoy spoke regarding his plans to get the USPS headed in the right direction. He talked in-depth about the logistics and inefficiencies within the post office and what changes can be made to save everyone money. He also spoke about package delivery but did not touch much on flats or the current move to twice a year rate-hikes, which tremendously impacts anyone who mails. Mr. Hamilton Davison, President and Executive Director of the ACMA, plans to follow up with Mr. DeJoy on some of these issues for which time did not allow.

Sales tax was another issue where mailers are feeling the pressure. States are coming up with creative new ways to collect more tax, including Colorado’s $0.27 fee on retail deliveries, which is set to start in July of 2022. This tax means retailers will have to collect an additional $0.27 on every delivery within the state. Many of the new laws suggested by states for collecting tax are overreaching and place an undue burden on businesses which operate or deliver across state lines. The ACMA is working tirelessly for fair taxes for catalogers and direct mailers.

We also heard from a new group who has formed an alliance with the ACMA, Keep Us Posted. Having been operational for a year, this group is working tirelessly to show the importance and connection physical mail brings us all. They want everyone (that means you!) to mail their representatives about the importance of daily mail.

And of course, there was much talk about supply chain issues, gas prices, and what the heck is going on with paper! Many in the room expressed their concerns over the rising cost of doing business. Healthy looking top lines are misleading for many due to price increases on products and more expense going to postage, labor, shipping containers, raw materials etc. This led to perhaps the biggest question on everyone’s mind, “will there be any relief from the pinch?” Unfortunately, the short answer is “probably not.” While we are seeing a decrease in the cost of shipping containers, the price is still much higher than before pandemic. Some aspects of the paper market are starting to soften ever so slightly, but 2023 stills look like a difficult time to precure paper.  Printers talked about labor shortages and raw material shortages causing bottle necks and disappointment during holiday 2021. On a positive note, holiday 2022 is expected to be much smoother than holiday 2021.

Lastly, it is important to remember that when we all stand together on these issues, we have a much better chance of being heard. I encourage anyone reading this learn more about the ACMA. Discover what the ACMA can do for your business and what you can do for the ACMA.