1953: The history of Flexible International Mail Systems begins with the international freight-forwarding firm of T. A. Coleman & Co., Inc., founded in 1953. T. A. Coleman distinguished itself by expediting ocean freight shipments for the United States Department of Commerce, the United States State Department, and numerous multinational companies.
1959: T. A. Coleman expanded into the airfreight industry by creating Coleman Air Freight System, a member of the International Air Transportation Association (IATA). Coleman Air Freight was at the center of a worldwide network of air cargo agents, building a reputation for integrity and customer service.
1979: T. A. Coleman created Publications Despatch Service (PDS), becoming the first company in the United States to specialize in the international delivery of subscriber copies of American magazines and journals.
The 1980’s: World’s First “Hub” Mailing System
During the early 1980’s, meetings with major international publishing companies – as well as professional, trade, and membership organizations – revealed the need for an alternative to the international services offered by the United States Postal Service (USPS). After analyzing circulation data, air and ocean transport schedules, and international postal services, PDS created the world’s first hub mailing system. PDS distribution centers were established in Canada, the United Kingdom (for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa), Singapore (for Asia, the Far East, and the Pacific) and Panama (for the Caribbean and Latin America). The combination of air and ocean freight, coupled with regional mailing, outperformed USPS services in both cost and delivery. Within a short time virtually every major international publisher and organization subscribed to PDS’ pioneering distribution system. PDS became the largest sender of American publications to foreign countries of any company in the United States.
The 1990’s: Development of “Direct Entry”
The rapid pace of technology and industrial development during the 90’s meant that publications needed to be distributed even faster than before. PDS recognized the limitations of the hub system of mailing and in response created a worldwide Direct Entry Network. Publishers could now have the vast majority of their worldwide circulation air freighted directly to the subscriber’s country, then posted (or hand-delivered) locally. PDS became the first company in the US to enter into contracts directly with postal services overseas. For an increasing number of destinations, publications were prepared to letter-carrier specifications at PDS sorting facilities, then consigned directly to the postal service in the country of destination. Post office vehicles met the incoming flights and the publications immediately entered the mail stream. This eliminated the time and costs of customs clearance, transport and agents’ sorting operations.
Today: Using Technology to Optimize the Mailing Process
The new millennium ushered in many changes at PDS. PDS engaged with Flexible Systems to implement an ERP system and to develop custom software that would revolutionize the way international mail was processed. The two businesses worked closely on these projects and when the original owners retired in 2003, PDS was acquired by the owners of Flexible Systems.
The new company was re-branded as Flexible International Mail Systems, Inc. The new owners believed that combining PDS’ network of global mailing points with state-of-the-art technology would vastly improve delivery times and reduce customer rates. Today, from the time your mailing list is received until your publications are speeding to subscribers around the world, technology is used throughout the entire mailing process.
Technological innovations have helped Flexible International Mail Systems’ optimize mail routes, reduce handling costs, shorten turnaround times. We offer clients an international mailing service that’s unmatched by any other provider. We are committed to delivering innovative solutions that help our clients grow and succeed.