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The Gold Wrapping Paper

22 Dec

In this season of love and giving, may we all remember the beautiful love of a small child. Have a meaningful and love-filled Christmas season and new year ahead. May your days be filled with love, joy, growth, and inspiration.

Merry Christmas from everyone at Mediascope!


Once upon a time, there was a man who worked very hard just to keep food on the table for his Gold Present 3
family. This particular year a few days before Christmas, he punished his little five-year-old daughter after learning that she had used up the family’s only roll of expensive gold wrapping paper.

As money was tight, he became even more upset when on Christmas Eve he saw that the child had used all of the expensive gold paper to decorate one shoebox she had put under the Christmas tree. He also was concerned about where she had gotten money to buy what was in the shoebox.

Nevertheless, the next morning the little girl, filled with excitement, brought the gift box to her father and said, “This is for you, Daddy!”

As he opened the box, the father was embarrassed by his earlier overreaction, now regretting how he had punished her.

But when he opened the shoebox, he found it was empty and again his anger flared. “Don’t you know, young lady,” he said harshly, “when you give someone a present, there’s supposed to be something inside the package!”

The little girl looked up at him with sad tears rolling from her eyes and whispered: “Daddy, it’s not empty. I blew kisses into it until it was all full.”

The father was crushed. He fell on his knees and put his arms around his precious little girl. He begged her to forgive him for his unnecessary anger.

An accident took the life of the child only a short time later. It is told that the father kept this little gold box by his bed for all the years of his life. Whenever he was discouraged or faced difficult problems, he would open the box, take out an imaginary kiss, and remember the love of this beautiful child who had put it there.

In a very real sense, each of us has been given an invisible golden box filled with unconditional love and kisses from our children, family, friends and God. There is no more precious possession anyone could hold.

Thanksgiving Blessings

23 Nov

Today’s blog on Thankfulness is written by David Steinquist, owner of Mediascope for over seventeen years. David has been married for thirty-two years and is the father of three young men.

Happy Thanksgiving, all! I hope that this note finds you all in good health and joyfully reflecting on the year that has, once again, passed by way too fast.

As I write this, it feels like Fall has finally arrived here in Minnesota. We have had a great year for spending time outdoors. The summer was not too hot and the Fall has been mild and longer than normal. I happen to think that Fall is the best time of year to be outside. The colorful fall leaves and mild temperatures make for perfect walks in the woods or for simply enjoying the colors from a living room window.

As Thanksgiving approaches, I think we all spend a little time counting our blessings. AfterThankful all, isn’t that what the first celebrants did? The Pilgrims left Holland in August of 1620 and landed during the Fall in what is now Massachusetts. That first year was brutal for them and a large number of people did not survive. We can be thankful that for us, a brutal year might mean the stock market wasn’t quite what we had hoped it would be, or that we didn’t get a 4.0 in all of our classes. Or something else wasn’t quite up to the expectations we had set. After all, if you are reading this, you made it through the year, so you and I are one step ahead of the Pilgrims.

For me, it really is the simple things in life that I am thankful for. Some of those things are:

  • My family. I truly enjoy spending quality time with all of them. And as the boys get older, now we have fewer and fewer times when we can all get together.
  • I enjoy the challenges and triumphs that come from hard work. Sure, there are some days that I would rather be on vacation but vacation can only last for so long.
  • Living in the USA. Even with all of the turmoil that seems to have sprouted up this last year, I truly believe that as a nation, we are extremely blessed.
  • This nation also allows me to freely worship as I please. I am a Christian, but I appreciate the fact that folks who choose to worship in other ways, or not at all, have that right.
  • You, whoever you are, whether we have met at some point or not. For some reason, you were drawn to my idle ramblings, so I appreciate the fact that you took a few minutes out of your busy day to read my note.

Wherever you are and in whatever circumstances you find yourself in, I pray that you are able to reflect on the blessings you have. Enjoy life and plan for a wonderful 2016. Look positively on your circumstances and be a blessing to those around you.

Just a couple of closing observations, not even closely related to one another.

  • Did you know that George Washington, in 1789, declared Thanksgiving the first National holiday?
  • I can only think of one movie that had a Thanksgiving setting, and it is one of my favorites: Planes, Trains and Automobiles. I get the chuckles just thinking about it. Be a blessing to the Del Griffiths in your life.

Fulfillment Services: Warehousing, Logistics and Shipping

17 Apr

Storage and warehousing

You will most likely need a place to store your inventory. You may also need a place that is willing to accept shipments on your behalf from your manufacturers. Storage options range from an informal self-storage facility where you drop off and pick up inventory yourself to a tightly-run warehousing operation that manages thousands of square feet of inventory, and handles receiving and shipping for you. Storage facilities are available for perishable items requiring refrigeration, temperature-sensitive items requiring air conditioning or heating or, more typically, warehousing providing protection from the elements. Third-party fulfillment services often charge a storage fee based on the product storage requirements and any required special handling.

Logistics defines logistics as the planning, execution, and control of the procurement, movement, and stationing of personnel, material, and other resources to achieve the objectives of a campaign, plan, project, or strategy. In the first article of this series, Fulfillment Services . . .so much more than filling orders!, we compared basic fulfillment without any other services to a turkey dinner without anything but turkey. To continue the comparison, it is logistics that turns the simple turkey dinner into the outstanding meal complete with mashed potatoes, cranberry, stuffing, and pumpkin pie. It takes planning and execution to create a mouth-watering, sumptuous dinner where all the food is done at the same time and the quantity is abundant enough to leave everyone satisfied. Likewise in fulfillment, it takes planning and execution to have the needed products on hand, and then fill and ship the orders according to customers’ expectations.


It is rare for a fulfillment company to provide its own courier services. In most cases, companies outsource shipping to courier or delivery companies. However, many times fulfillment companies—because of their large shipping volume—can negotiate larger shipping discounts with major delivery companies such as UPS, DHL, FedEx and USPS than small retailers can. Fast, dependable shipping is critical to the success of your online business and your fulfillment company’s top priority should be getting your orders to your customers quickly, accurately, and to their specifications.

Most fulfillment companies offer a range of shipping options to ensure  the most reliable and cost-effective delivery methods. Options range from overnight delivery to slower, but more economical, forms of shipping. Several options are available for international shipping but be sure to discuss this with your fulfillment provider to make sure they are capable of shipping to (and providing the customs paperwork for) the countries you expect to do business with.Full-Service Fulfillment Options

Two other topics to discuss with your fulfillment provider are turnaround time and accuracy rate. Can your fulfillment provider ship out orders the same day they receive them? What is their typical turnaround time? A good fulfillment company will ship out expedited orders the same day they receive them and the remainder of orders within two days of receipt. Also, a good fulfillment company will have an accuracy rate of 99% or better. This means orders are picked, packed and shipped correctly, and to the customers’ specifications. This is important as errors are costly in expense, time, and customer satisfaction.

Next week we’ll wrap up this series with a final look at a few remaining pieces of the fulfillment puzzle: customer service, reports, and procurement.

A New Year Isn’t Just About New Beginnings

27 Dec

“Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.”

―    Carl Bard

What is it about a new year that makes us yearn to do things differently and, hopefully, better? Is it the sentiment of the Holidays that makes us relook at the truly important things in our lives?  Is it because we often pause to reflect back on the previous year, which allows to see things we might have done differently?  Or is it the simple physical presence of a new calendar — a fresh, new slate, so to speak? Whatever the reason, the start of a new year is often full of  thoughts of new beginnings.

Not everything we do is a new beginning, though, because of decisions we have already made. We can, however, affect the outcome of something by simply making a choice to take a different path. Poet Carl Bard phrased it well when he said, “Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.”

Think back to a life-changing decision you made. Now think about the other options you could have chosen. Perhaps you took a job right out of school rather than going to college. Maybe you joined the military. Perhaps you debated between a 2-year and a 4-year school and chose the 4-year school. How might have the outcome been different if you had chosen a different option?Happy New Year

Most beginnings can take one of several paths towards completion. Sometimes, especially when things around us change, we need to change direction midstream. What things in your life are heading in the right direction? What things should be redirected down a different path? Are you content in your personal life?  Happy in your professional life? If not, what changes can you make to affect the outcome?

When we get caught up in life, it is too easy to jump from one thing to another without taking time to evaluate where a particular path is leading us. Take a few minutes this New Year’s holiday to see where your paths are leading you. You may be surprised at what you see when you look ahead to one year, three years, or five years down the road. It’s never too late to change direction — we just need the foresight and the courage to do it.

Happy New Year!

The Meaning of Christmas

19 Dec

In the spirit of Christmas, David Steinquist, owner of Mediascope, Inc., offers these words . . . .

The hustle and bustle of the Christmas season is in full swing. For some, we are done with the crowds and packed parking lots at the mall. Maybe we even have all the gifts wrapped and tucked under the tree. For others, we are just getting started, with the resolution again playing through our heads that we won’t wait until the last minute next year. Whichever category you fit into, take a few minutes to relax and reflect. This should help to put the craziness of the season into some perspective.


The Meaning of Christmas

Author unknown

 Just a week before Christmas I had a visitor. This is how it happened. I just finished the household chores for the night and was preparing to go to bed, when I heard a noise in the  front of the house. I opened the door to the front room and and to my surprise, Santa himself stepped out next to the fireplace.

“What are you doing?” I started to ask. The words choked up in my throat and I saw he had tears in his eyes. His usual jolly manner was gone. Gone was the eager,boisterous soul we all know. He then answered me with a simple statement….


I was puzzled. What did he mean? He anticipated my question and with one quick movement brought forth a miniature toy bag from behind the tree. As I stood bewildered, Santa said,


“Teach them the old meaning of Christmas. The meaning that now-a-days Christmas has forgotten.” 

Santa then reached in his bag and pulled out a Fir Tree and placed it before the mantle.“Teach the children that the pure green color of the stately fir tree remains green all year round, depicting the everlasting hope of mankind, all the needles point heavenward, making it a symbol of man’s thoughts turning toward heaven.”Tree

He again reached into his bag and pulled out a brilliant Star. “Teach the children that the star was the heavenly sign of promises long ago. God promised a Savior for the world, and the star was the sign of His fulfilled promise.”

He then reached into his bag and pulled out a Candle.“Teach the children that the candle symbolizes that Christ is the light of the world, and when we see this great light we are reminded of He who displaces darkness.”

Once again he reached into his bag and removed a Wreath and placed it on the tree. “Teach the children that the wreath symbolizes the real nature of love. Real love never ceases. Love is one continuous round of affection.”

He then pulled from his bag an Ornament of himself. “Teach the children that I, Santa Claus, symbolize the generosity and good will we feel during the month of December.” 

Holly WreathHe then brought out a Holly Leaf. “Teach the children that the holly plant represents immortality. It representsthe crown of thorns worn by our Savior. The red holly berries represent the blood shed by Him.”

Next he pulled from his bag a Gift and said, “Teach the children that God so loved the world that he gave his begotten son.” Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift.

Santa then reached into his bag and pulled out a Candy Cane and hung it on the tree. “Teach the children that the candy cane represents the shepherd’s crook. The crook on the staff helps to bring back strayed sheep to the flock. The candy cane is the symbol that we are our brother’s keeper.”

He reached in again and pulled out an Angel. “Teach the children that it was the angels that heralded in the glorious news of the Savior’s birth. The angels sang Glory to God in the highest, on earth peace and good will toward men.”

Suddenly I heard a soft twinkling sound, and from his bag he pulled out a Bell. “Teach the children that as the lost sheep are found by the sound of the bell, it should ring mankind into the fold. The bell symbolizes guidance and return.” 

Santa looked back and was pleased. He looked back at me and I saw that the twinkle was back in his eyes. He said, “Remember, teach the children the true meaning of Christmas and do not put me in the center, for I am but a humble servant of the One that is, and I bow down to worship him, our Lord, our God.”


My prayer for you all is that Christmas is filled with all the joy and gifts of our Savior.  May God bless you, your families, and your friends all throughout the year.

                                                                                                    ~David Steinquist

Why is Accuracy Important in Fulfillment?

22 Aug

Imagine this scenario. Tomorrow is little Johnny’s birthday. A couple of weeks ago, you ordered his gifts online from four different places. One of the gifts arrived in just a few days, impressively packaged, and in great shape. A second gift arrived two days ago but was improperly packaged and arrived damaged. The third gift arrived today, but when you opened the box, you didn’t find the item you ordered but something entirely different and not age-appropriate. The fourth gift? Well . . . online tracking shows that it is still in transit but it is somehow being sent to an address five states away.

Imagine Johnny’s disappointment when he has only one present to open. Which of these four companies will you order from again?

Don’t overlook the importance of accuracy when you look at fulfillment. Accuracy doesn’t just mean that your customers receive the items they order, but that they receive them on time and in good shape. By using a fulfillment company which prides itself on accuracy, you will have happy customers, and happy customers make for repeat customers.

Also, cost savings are substantial when products ship correctly the first time.  If the wrong item is picked during the order fulfillment process, someone needs to pay for the time to re-pick, re-package, and re-ship the order. And, too, products damaged during shipping due to improper packaging are expensive to replace and shipping companies are not always willing to accept their portion of the responsibility for careful handling of packages, or packages not delivered on time.

Here at Mediascope, we like to say that we’re not just picking orders and shipping them out, but that we are creating smiles. Customers are happy when they receive the right products, in good shape, and on time. For you, a happy customer means your company deepens relationships, sells more products, and benefits from a better bottom line. That should make you smile, too. And with Mediascope’s 99.996 accuracy rate, we think we are creating a lot of smiles.

Benefits of Corporate Volunteerism

15 Aug

While the first goal of any business is to make a product or provide a service in a way that maximizes profits, many companies also have a keen sense of corporate social responsibility. They believe in providing a positive contribution to the quality of life in the community where they do business and where their employees live.

The community in which we live greatly affects the quality of our everyday lives. A vibrant and attractive community which attracts and holds people is in everyone’s best interest. An active volunteer sector is essential to a healthy community. Since the well-being of business is linked to the health of communities, the corporate sector also has a stake in ensuring our communities are well served.

Feed My Starving Children

Mediascope team members help package food at a Feed My Starving Children event.

The benefits of corporate volunteerism are many: not only does volunteering provide employees with a way to make new professional or business contacts, it also allows them to:

  • increase their understanding of community needs and issues.
  • develop teamwork and leadership abilities.
  • balance their work and personal life by getting involved in something they care about.
  • find personal satisfaction and increased sense of self-worth.
  • learn new skills, broaden their experience, and develop their careers.
  • improve their mental and physical health.

Mediascope participates in a variety of volunteer opportunities. We provide a team of two people one day a week to help deliver lunches through a Home Delivered Meals program. We also participate in a program called Feed My Starving Children, where a team of co-workers help package a special blend of foods sent overseas. We have also helped build Habitat for Humanity homes and have participated in a community beautification program.

What types of volunteer opportunities does your company provide? Please feel free to go to our Facebook page at and let us know.

Postal Service Presents Modified Network Consolidation Plan

30 May

The United States Postal Service (USPS) in mid-May announced plans to move ahead with a modified plan to consolidate its network of 461 mail processing locations. The first phase of the consolidations will begin this summer, resulting in up to 140 consolidations through February 2013. Unless USPS circumstances change in the interim, a second and final phase of 89 consolidations is currently scheduled to begin in February 2014.

The Postal Service has committed to ensuring the consolidation process will not impact the election and fall mailing seasons. With that in mind, the consolidation process will start with 48 locations and is scheduled to be completed by late August.  No consolidation activities will take place from September through December 2012.  Consolidations of the other first phase locations will continue early next year.  A list of the 140 first phase locations is available at  USPS Chief Operations Officer Megan Brennan stated, “The Postal Service will be communicating with our customers and employees in great detail.  We will work closely with our customers to ensure there are no surprises as we move forward.”

The Postal Service also announced it will be modifying its existing Service Standard for overnight delivery. A final rule will soon be published in the Federal Register which will shrink the geographic reach of overnight service to local areas and to enable consolidation activity in 2013. The change will allow the Postal Service to collapse the distance for overnight service to the distribution area served by a particular mail processing facility. The new rule would further tighten the overnight service delivery standard in 2014, enabling further consolidation of the Postal Service mail processing network.

When fully implemented in late 2014, the Postal Service expects the network consolidations and Service Standard changes to generate approximately $2.1 billion in annual cost reductions and lead to a total workforce reduction of up to 28,000 employees.

Why Look for Integrated Services?

18 Apr


1. combining or coordinating separate elements so as to provide a harmonious, interrelated whole: an integrated plot; an integrated course of study.

2. organized or structured so that constituent units function cooperatively: an integrated economy.

Consider some of the key words in these definitions: organized, structured, coordinating, harmonious, interrelated whole. These are interesting and powerful words. What do they mean for businesses?

As a company which offers integrated services to our clients, we’re proud of the fact that we provide shortened turnaround times on projects, save valuable employee time for our customers, provide a deepened sense of partnership, offer improved project knowledge, and take on greater responsibility for our client’s projects — all of which provide a better experience and help our clients save time and money.

Shortened Turnaround Times

Companies who offer several services under one roof seamlessly move projects from one area to another. No transport time is needed, nor is there a need to wait for paperwork to be completed at each step of the process.

Save Valuable Employee Time

Not only can businesses save time on an overall project by having all the work done at one place, but just think of the time you can save by working with only one contact person, generating only one purchase order, and paying only one invoice.

Deepened Sense of Partnership

The bigger the project, the more trust you and your vendor need to have in one another. Both parties need to trust that all of the information is available and the processes are in place to do the work completely and efficiently.


Not all companies want to take responsibility for mishaps or miscommunication and when services are split between several companies, it is easy to assign blame to other parties. When services are kept under one roof, errors happen less often, and fewer opportunities for finger-pointing are present.

Improved Knowledge

By working with a company which offers integrated services, valuable information about your product or service is readily and easily passed on from person to person or department to department. For example, integration between creating e-commerce shopping carts and fulfillment services is ideal because everyone works with the products and becomes very familiar with them while creating an e-commerce site.

To summarize, there are many advantages to working with companies who offer integrated services. Keep these benefits in mind the next time you are looking to save time and money on an outsourced project.

Benefits of National Change of Address (NCOA) Services

21 Feb

Each year, approximately 40 million Americans change their place of residence and/or place of business. While most people file an address change with the United States Postal Service (USPS), it can take years for businesses to update their existing mailing lists. As a result, mailings continue to be sent to old, outdated addresses which means not only wasted money, but lost opportunities and sales. The USPS estimates that at least 8% of standard mail is undeliverable because of incorrect addresses.

What is NCOA?

NCOA is a national system of updated addresses as filed with the USPS. In 2008, the USPS Move Update Standard mandated that all Standard Mail (letters, flats, parcels and not flat machinables) as well as automation- and presort-rate First Class Mail be updated within 95 days of mailing to qualify for discounted postage rates.

Undeliverable Mail

NCOA Reduces Undeliverable Mail

How NCOA Works

Mailing lists are first processed through NCOA to standardized them to conform to USPS requirements, including Zip +4. Once the address is standardized, an attempt is made to match the address against the master NCOA file which contains approximately 115 million records or 48 months of permanent address changes. Old and outdated addresses are replaced with current information. Since 1986, NCOA and its predecessors have saved mailers millions of dollars that would have otherwise been wasted in postage and materials.

Mailing Service Companies and NCOA

Quality mailing service companies make NCOA a standard part of doing business. The costs are minimal and the benefits are many:

  • Lower postage, printing and mail preparation costs
  • Reduction in delayed and undeliverable mail
  • Increased return on investment in mailings
  • Addresses are updated in real-time via the Internet
  • Meets USPS requirements

If all of these great reasons to do NCOA aren’t enough, it is important to know that penalties may be applied against companies who bypass NCOA standards. If your mailing house doesn’t talk to you about NCOA, you may want to ask them about it. If they are not adhering to the Move Update Standard, you are at risk of being penalized.