The Changing Face Of AAPS

   The Association of Alternate Postal Systems (AAPS) has officially reached middle age, turning 43 years old this year.

   Since its beginning, a lot has changed regarding the Association’s focus and direction. AAPS was founded in 1973 by a group of individuals that determined there was a need for private distribution companies to intervene during postal rate cases and postal reform bills in Congress that could potentially harm private enterprise operations competing against the government controlled post office. Education, legal and communications components were quickly added as well as an annual conference.

   In 2016, no longer is the central issue just trying to stay afloat by intervening in postal rate cases because the Postal Rate Commission no longer exists, instead giving way to the Postal Regulatory Commission which mediates matters between the United States Post Office and the U.S. Congress with input from the public (usually these parties are referred to as stakeholders since the outcome of postal changes can have a positive or negative effect on those who have a “stake” so-to-speak in postal delivery).   

   Most of today’s private distributors that deliver doorhangers, Total Market Coverage (TMC) newspaper packages, yellow page publications, saturation bags, etc. direct to the door have taken advantage of the new technologies to facilitate and verify delivery, yet still face a host of obstacles new and old.   

    As direct to door delivery grows nationally, more third party national and regional distributors than ever before are developing as indicated under the list of companies on the AAPS Website’s Membership Directory. These companies contract distributors that are already anchored within markets, contract regional distributors who travel their crews to designated markets as well as travel their own crews as necessary. Many of the relationships between third party brokers and individual distributors have begun with meetings at the annual AAPS Conference and from their annual membership in the trade organization of AAPS itself.           

   AAPS has evolved the website to include information at each member’s fingertips in order to deal with states and municipalities that seek to create or enforce laws or ordinances that ban door to door delivery. Additionally, a vital test can be performed on the website to determine if your company is compliant with the laws and restrictions that the IRS lists to determine if your carriers are contractors or employees.           

   Although postal rates are set annually according to the CPI (Consumer Price Index) the overarching issues with the USPS nowadays is keeping an eye on postal measures that allow contracted rates with private parties delivering bulk mail; the prolonged debate over a five day delivery versus a six day delivery; and, remaining focused on what opportunities that some day may result in the USPS working together with more private parties to deliver heavier mail such as magazines and catalogs.           

   Canadian companies deal with a much more lax postal regulatory system and AAPS now has several members in Canada. Each has found that is to their benefit to stay in tune with what is going on with the USPS as well as within AAPS. Many companies that contract national distribution brokers have a Canadian as well as Hispanic marketing strategy as part of their global plan.           

   The AAPS Conference annually seeks to provide speakers and presenters that can bring new or improve on current ideas, services, products and technology. It is organized to provide ample time to network with colleagues as well as an opportunity to familiarize you with potential new clients. More information about the 2014 AAPS Conference is now posted on the AAPS website at          

    AAPS Updates such as this one seek to inform AAPS members what is going on in our industry and in related industries that may have an effect on our business.           

   Annual dues in AAPS are more than modest, in fact, they are surprisingly low. Depending on the size of one’s distribution operation, annual dues run from $371 to $894 annually. Dues have only been raised once over the past 15 years since the expenses of the association have managed to be met for the most part from conference revenues each year.           

   Still, for AAPS to do even more, such as marketing and response studies, public relations, etc. it will take more money as well as more effort from others. For the support that a member company receives from an AAPS membership it is the best bargain of any trade association in the country. If you don’t agree then it’s your prerogative to step away but if you agree and better yet, think we can do even more then step up.

   Make it a ritual to come to the conference each year no matter what it takes. Make it a necessity to stay in touch with AAPS regarding opportunities you think may benefit us all. Make AAPS a community by making it a priority to stay in touch with fellow members around the country.

If you really want to see the changing face of AAPS then look in the mirror.