Envelopes are a crucial but often forgotten part of the data distribution process. From a production point of view they can mean the difference between a smooth running job with no problems and a poorly running job fraught with jams and re-prints. Jams and re-prints mean additional costs for the production facility and the potential to miss deadlines.
In our experience there are good reasons why some envelope manufacturers are a cut above the others. How the envelopes are shipped is a good indicator of what you’re getting. Are the cartons stacked so high on a skid that the bottom rows are getting crushed? Some manufacturers have moved to tape-less cartons that accommodate a single row of envelopes and don’t have smaller inside boxes. These don’t require box cutters to open, are easier for the operators, and produce less packaging waste.
Outside seams, either diagonal or vertical make a big difference. We started using outside side seams for all our #10 and 6×9 delivery envelopes several years ago and have seen excellent results. All inserting machines “push” the paper into the envelope and if there’s anything in the way, like a poorly glued seam, it will cause a jam. Outside seams remove this obstacle.
Speaking of glue, how well the manufacturer manages the glueing process can make or break an entire shipment. Poorly glued acetate window patches and residual spot glue inside the envelope can be job killers. Inadequately glued flaps can result in envelopes not sealing properly and require additional work to make sure they are properly glued.
Since paper prices have risen 17% since the spring of 2018, envelope costs have also skyrocketed. One way we mitigate this is to purchase envelopes in very large volumes and pass the savings along to our clients. We purposely designed all our stock envelopes with double windows allowing multiple clients to use them for branding and messaging by adjusting document composition. StatementOut offers compatible sets of #10’s (up to 5 sheets), 6×9’s (up to 9 sheets), and flat envelopes (up to 81 sheets). By compatible we mean your document can be tri-folded, half-folded, or not folded and the address and barcodes will show through the window with the appropriate USPS clearances.
The envelope is also where the postage is paid. Typically there is a pre-printed indicia, metered postage, or a stamp.
The pre-printed indicia is the easiest and StatementOut’s company permit is printed on all our stock envelopes, except flats. This means the U.S. Post Office debits our postage account as soon as any mail is presented to a Business Mail Entry Facility. Most of the mail you see in your own mailbox will have somebody’s pre-printed indicia on it.
Metering is printing the postage from an approved meter directly on the envelope and is generally a weigh-on-the-way process where the envelope is weighed just prior to the meter mark being printed. Meters and ink are controlled by only a few companies like Pitney Bowes, and are therefore very expensive to purchase, supply with “approved” inks, and maintain. Meters also introduce an additional mechanical process that will cause opportunities for jams or other problems.
Stamps are seldom used on transactional documents but are still employed by direct marketers and non-profits who believe the stamp gets people to open the envelope. Transactional documents don’t have that problem.
In summary, the envelope is a really important component in the mailing process and involves a lot more than meets the eye.