[amsat-bb] Re: Latest AMSAT Journal

James French w8iss at wideopenwest.com
Mon Aug 30 02:56:53 PDT 2010

Hello Joe and the list.

If I can explain a little about how bulk mailing works, it might help explain 
some issues that people have with getting the journal. I work for a printer 
that does bulk mailings also and this is how they do things. AMSAT's printer 
may do it a totally different way than how my employer does it.

First, It all depends on when the mailer gets the printed copies. There may be 
issues with paper used, when the files arrive, scheduled deadlines met on time, 
things like that.

Second, the sender supplies a file with names and addresses that need to be 
printed onto either labels or onto the printed material in a certain space. 
This takes about anywhere from 30 minutes to a whole day (equipment issues) to 
set up aligning the print heads. Each process has its own procedures and 
differs between mailers.

Third, depending on what the volume (quantity) is, it could take a day to a 
week to print names and addresses onto the printed material.

Fourth, keeping the addresses sorted so that they are going to the right 
destination can get complex sometimes.

Fifth, after everything is sorted by zip codes and destinations, then comes 
shipping via semi to the separate sort facilities across the country and 
outside country destinations. Yes, depending on quantity, bulk mailing gets 
shipped to sort facilities across the country by contracted carriers.

Sixth, it could take as much as a week to get from the mailers dock to a sort 
facility on the other side of the country depending on where the mailer is 

If you look at the mailing label area on your journal next time, you'll see 
that little square that has this saying in it:

At Silver Springs, MD
and at additional mailing offices

that means that it has gone from the mailer to at least one sort facility in 
the path before it gets to your local post office and your home mailbox.

There is also meeting the criteria of how the USPS wants things sorted and 
weighed and..... The list is endless currently. My place of employment has had 
the USPS reject a load because it either weighed one pound more or less than 
what is stated on the documents. The USPS also has guidelines that have to be 
met about thickness and weight of paper. That can hold up a mailing also.

This is not to say that this is how AMSAT does the mailing of the journal. I 
am just stating how its done at my place of employment to give everyone an 
idea of what it takes to mail the Journal each time. Things do change each 
time the Journal is mailed so that has to be taken into account each time. 
Proposed deadlines have to be met to keep things flowing. If one deadline is 
not met, that can hold things up by a week or more.

The times I gave are based on a mailing of several hundreds of thousands 
having to have addresses printed onto them.

You also have to remember that the printer that AMSAT uses has to make 
deadlines also. The printer could be the same business that does the mailing 
which does help.

AMSAT only has to do roughly almost ten thousand printings of the Journal each 
time. This takes time on the presses to set up. Based on where I work, the 
Journal would go onto the sheetfed press not the 4 color offset press because 
of the quantity amount. Which means a little bit more cost in paper, press 
time, and setup.

Then it moves out to the bindery department to be folded, cut, and stapled to 
its final size for the mailing department.

I hope this explains some about why one person may get a journal before 
another person does. I know it doesn't explain everything but it gives 
everyone an idea of what it takes to get the journal mailed.

James W8ISS

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