It is no surprise that the printing industry and United States Postal Service (USPS) work hand in hand. This blog has previously discussed how some magazines are planning to work around the USPS decision to eliminate Saturday mail services. However, one industry expert believes that higher postage prices – what the USPS plans to do to help relieve some of its outstanding debt – will further hinder the printing sector’s ability to stay strong in a digital world.

Joel Quadracci, chairman, president and CEO of Quad/Graphics Inc., testified Wednesday during a Senate hearing on the “Crisis Facing the U.S. Postal Service.”

According to Quadracci, the printing industry has been able to have productivity gains of more than 4 percent annually. This was due in large part to technological advances and process changes that resulted in productivity gains. The USPS can find similar success without raising its prices.

Furthermore, Quadracci said that he was afraid  that the printing industry would be affected by the USPS wanting to fix its current financial situation by raising postage rates to “cover the costs.” He explained that such increases will be extremely damaging to the already struggling sector.

“There is a direct negative correlation between rate increases and volume,” he said. “Our customers demand predictability and affordability and if prices suddenly increase more than expected they react by reducing their volume to cover the extra postage or move away from print altogether.”

Customers do expect reliability from their printing providers, but they also expect durable and professional products. Regardless of how the USPS decisions play out, printing companies should ensure that they invest in machines that can help them create polished pieces.

Using laminating sheets and binding equipment can help design durable pamphlets and documents that will not fall apart easily, especially if sent through the mail.