Analysis of Damage to Direct Mail in the Postal Stream


Document ID: 
Anthony Stanton, Dr. Mark Bohan, and Lindsay Ferrari


Digital, Non-Member: 
Photo, Member: 
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This study is a follow-up study from work done in 2008 by the Printing Industries of America (PIA) on the damage sustained by advertising pieces sent through theUnited States Postal Service (USPS). The results of the 2008 study are presented in a white paper, Digital Printing and Survivability in the U.S. Postal System.

This study examined the damage done to color cards sent from 11 different U.S. post offices to the Sewickley, PAheadquarters of PIA.All of the cards were produced on the same digital press and the same coated-two-sides card stock. Half of the card fronts were UV-coated. There were 100 UV-coated and 100 uncoated sent from each of the 11 post offices. Fifty random coated and fifty uncoated samples from each post office were selected for analysis.

The analysis answered four research questions. It was found that the coated samples had lower defect scores than the uncoated ones. It was also found that the variability of defect scores for the coated samples was lower than for the uncoated samples.

The backs of the coated cards had lower defect scores than the backs of the uncoated cards. This was surprising because none of the card backs were UV-coated.

The post offices of origin were widely different in their defect scores.Thiswas disconcerting because it indicated that the USPS did not provide uniform quality service throughout its system.

The defect categories varied considerably in their contributions to the overall defect scores. This finding was nuanced because the effects were not the same on the coated and uncoated cards. Overall, the most significant source of damage to the cards was damage to the edges, followed by a miscellaneous category, then rips and tears, then scratches, and finally, scuffs.

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