Leading by Example

Successful companies grow, expand, change, and flourish. What contributes to longevity more than profitability? The people behind successful companies are the “true difference makers.” At Progress Printing Plus, many tenured employees undeniably continue to lead a culture of excellence for the largest privately held commercial printer in Virginia.

One particular employee offers much more than decades of experience; she offers a commitment and initiative to continue expanding her education and leadership skills. Lola Scruggs, a Progress Printing Plus highly valued employee, begins her 42nd year with the company by earning a new certification. Lola has recently become certified through the U.S. Postal Service as a Mail Design Professional (MDP).

“We have been blessed to have Lola as an integral member of our team for many years. Her dedication to being the expert in her field is so impressive and inspirational. We value Lola, not only for her years of service, but for her commitment to excellence,” explains Mike Thornton, President of Progress Printing Plus. “She is a true leader in her field.”

We sat down with Lola to learn more about the certification and her goals for offering value to her internal team and to Progress customers.

1.     Tell us about your career at Progress Printing Plus.    

I have been employed at Progress for 42 years. I began my career January 29, 1973. I began working in the Bindery/Shipping department; then in 1982 I became a shipping clerk. Five years later, I was promoted to Shipping Manager. On December 6, 2004 I took over as the Mail Center Director and six years later I became the Shipping/Mail Center Director. This is the position I currently hold.

           2.     What does the MDP Certification allow you to do?

The Mail Design Professional Certification is the only certification approved by the U.S. Postal Service. The MDP Certification helps build trust and partnerships because our customers can be assured our Progress team is knowledgeable of the USPS DMM regulations and qualified to answer a multitude of questions. This certification allows us to provide professional advice regarding:

  • USPS DMM regulations

  • Postal addressing standards

  • USPS Move Update requirements

  • Class of mail and processing categories

  • Intelligent Mail bar-coding formats and print specifications

  • Designing automation letters, flats, (tabbing polywrap, deflection, flexibility, etc.)

  • Designing Reply mail

3.     What prompted you to seek this United States Postal Service certification?

We love our customers and we want to help them reap the most benefit and value from every piece they mail. It is important to remember the most basic component of any mailing is the mailpiece itself. A simple mailing may consist of hundreds, or millions of mail pieces. A properly designed mailpiece qualifies for the best postage rate possible. It’s important for us to pass this savings on to our customers! We want them to clearly see the cost/benefits equation of print marketing—so they will continue to print. Also, we obviously want them to continue printing with Progress Printing!

USPS Regulations are difficult to understand and I am now a direct source for our customers to provide assistance and recommendations to improve efficiencies. This is a great value added proposition for our valued clients.

4.     How will having a Mailpiece Design Professional help your customers?

The USPS regulations are intense and quite complex. We are trained to “guide” customers through this complex process to gain maximum efficiency within the USPS system. Offering professional services and consultation for our customers will ensure the mailpiece is designed correctly to meet USPS regulations and meet customer expectations of postage cost and deliverability. We provide the knowledge and expertise to coordinate a successful mailing at the best rates.

5.     Is it common for commercial printers to have a MDP on site?

No, it is not common and this value added benefit demonstrates Progress Printing Plus’ staunch commitment to providing the very best consultative input to our clients. We want to be our customers’ most trusted and highly valued resource for mailing projects. Period.

If I were to offer any final words of wisdom, I strongly recommend asking your Progress print consultant or sales representative to get involved early in the mail piece design process so he or she can enhance the effectiveness of the piece and mail it as cost effectively as possible.

Julia Baker