Are you having issues downloading funds to your postage meter? Do you need to update your equipment to be compliant?
The mailing equipment providers are now requiring new postage meters to be connected to the network vs. typical analog phone lines. Overall, this is a good change with reducing costs of analog lines and faster transmissions that allow meters to do more things. The issue is how do you get this done and what is the impact for not complying. There are over 1,175,000 postage meters in the US and Canada today and the majority are connected through analog connections that will need to be connected. This article is designed to give you all the information needed to make this change.
Issues with Analog Connections
Let’s start with the hard truth: It is going to be harder and harder to get analog phone lines in the future. Many of the large phone companies are pushing the FCC to allow them to stop providing analog services and in turn raising prices.
- Analog lines cost $3-600 per year and may only be used for the postage meter.
- Meter vendors are charging $100-400 for analog adapters to retrofit existing systems.
- Mailing equipment renewals and replacements will need to be updated to network connections.
Know the truth to avoid paying more than you need.
You most likely do not need to update your system. A simple network cable and or adapter should work with most mailing systems.
Here’s a handy link to our website on the “How Tos” of getting your postage meter connected to the network. We’ve heard horror stories where companies have changed their mailing equipment fleet as early as one year before the lease expiry because they thought their machines would no longer be compliant but all their machines were digital already.
PC Postage is also an option to your mailing needs when networking, firewalls and security are a concern to your organization. These systems are easy to use and save an average of 14% on Priority and Express Mail.
What you need to know to get your meter connected
The biggest challenge our clients encounter when switching mailing systems from analog to network enabled is firewall issues. The systems are basically designed to work when you plug them into the network jack, but many companies have security standards that require IT to get involved. This can delay the installation and require multiple departments to be brought in with what used to be a simple process. This issue gets multiplied when you have meters scattered throughout your locations and a plan may need to be put in place to get this change completed.
What happens if it does not work?
The main reason we typically see this not working is the firewall is blocking the connections to these ports or IP Address ranges. The only way we have found to solve this is to bring in the IT departments along with documentation provided by the meter vendors. At times, it requires someone technical from your organization connecting directly with the meter vendor support staff (either over the phone or in person) to diagnose the issue. We have included links to the meter vendor’s support websites where you can go to get help if needed. They all have good documentation on the sites with the steps required for your mailing system.
It was made clear at a recent product launch by Pitney Bowes that the future of the mailing system will be web enabled functions that can be added to the system to increase its value to the customer. It is adding cloud based applications that will allow the appliance to do more than just printing postage. We have seen the same thing from Neopost where they are creating value having a computer tied to the mailing system to be able to automate shipping and accounting. We see this trend increasing as the vendors try to offset declining mail volumes with the increase in USPS shipping. We strongly recommend that as clients migrate to new mailing systems, that they connect them to the network vs. holding onto antiquated analog phone lines with expensive adapters. There will be savings across the board along with increased capabilities and information available.
Adam Lewenberg, CMDSS, MDC, President of Postal Advocate Inc., runs the largest Mail Audit and Recovery firm in the United States and Canada. They manage the biggest mail equipment fleet in the world and their mission is to help organizations with multi-locations reduce mail related expenses, recover lost postage funds, and simplify visibility and oversight. Since 2013, they have helped their clients save an average of 58% and over $33.8 million on equipment, avoidable fees, and lost postage. He can be reached at (617)372-6853 or firstname.lastname@example.org.