In an era of shrinking snail mail volume, can a 90-year-old company best known for selling postage meters persevere?
In 1921, a small company made a big splash by introducing a revolutionary technology: the postage meter. Headlines reported it would enable companies to apply postage at the “lightening fast” speed of 250 letters a minute, making corporate mailings more cost efficient than ever—and turning Pitney Bowes into an overnight sensation.
While many successful startups soon crash and burn, Pitney Bowes grew into a $5.6 billion company, with a wide repertoire of software, hardware and services that integrate physical and digital communications channels. Today, the Stamford, Conn.-based company is also just a decade away from centenarian status—an impressive feat at a time when the average corporate life-span is just over 40 years. CEO Murray D. Martin, who joined Pitney Bowes in 1987 and was named CEO 20 years later, credits a culture of innovation for the longevity. More recently, Pitney Bowes began acquiring companies to expand its software and data management capabilities, as well as developing partnerships with the U.S. Postal Service to process large companies’ mail.
The company also targeted the parcel market by developing technology for e-commerce companies, such as eBay, that let vendors bundle shipping costs into the price of goods and ease the shipping process, even across international borders.
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