The minimum wage of EUR 8.50 per hour that has been in force in Germany since January 1, 2015 has had a particularly severe impact on the direct mailing industry and its numerous distributors of printed advertising. Unlike newspaper publishing companies with their successful weekly newspapers and large numbers of automatically inserted inserts, direct mail companies do not have a carrier for their softcover books and flyers. Instead, they deliver the insert sets loose to mailboxes and have them sorted manually by the delivery personnel beforehand.
Carriers and Foils are Too Expensive
And that is precisely where the problem lies: to date, the delivery personnel were paid a piecework wage for sorting and distributing. Now, however, the minimum wage also applies to delivery personnel. Manual sorting means that direct mail companies suddenly have to pay up to 250 percent higher wage costs, which means that the process is no longer cost-effective. As a result, their margins are rapidly approaching negative territory.
Direct mail companies could place a cover or foil around their insert sets, but both those options are pricey. An A3 cover printed on four sides and folded would come to around EUR 3 million a year for weekly delivery to 5 million households. Foil wrapping would cost some EUR 1.5 million per year for weekly delivery to 10 million households.
At the gathering line of the MailLiner, one of the inserts is used as a cover and folded using an air blade – a Muller Martini innovation.
Insert Serves as Cover
Now, however, Muller Martini is presenting direct mail companies with an innovative concept for the brilliantly simple sorting of unaddressed advertising. Based on its proven FlexLiner newspaper inserting system, the Swiss machine manufacturer has developed the MailLiner specifically for direct marketing. The gathering system, which is coupled to the FlexPack bundle builder and controlled by the Connex.Mailroom system, is unique in the market and provides new options for the automated direct mailing of softcover books thanks to its high-performance folding process.
At the gathering line of the MailLiner, one of the inserts is used as a cover and folded using an air blade, a Muller Martini innovation, after all the other inserts have been applied. The gathered insert sets then enter the FlexPack. Since the integrated bundle builder, unlike other compensating stackers, does not compensate layers, it is ideally suited to this innovative insert gathering process in terms of flexibility and product quality. First, the individual inserts can have different sizes, without the inset sets becoming unstable. Second, the various bundles can be of different sizes without losing stability.
“The Optimal Solution – Cost-Neutral and Environmentally Friendly”
“The MailLiner is the answer to the minimum wage, not only in Germany, but also in other industrialized nations,” says Volker Leonhardt, Director of Sales & Marketing at Muller Martini Print Finishing Systems AG. “The MailLiner’s high-performance folding system provides direct mail companies with the optimal solution for the error-free, automatic sorting of their inserts, allowing them to recover profit margins hit by the minimum wage. And since no additional carrier is required, our new system is not only cost-neutral, but also environmentally friendly.”