Pitney Bowes is a global technology company most known for its postage meters and other mailing equipment and services, and with recent expansions, into global e-commerce, software, and other technologies. The company was founded by Arthur Pitney, who invented the first commercially available postage meter, and Walter Bowes as the Pitney Bowes Postage Meter Company on April 23, 1920.
Pitney Bowes provides customer engagement, customer information management, global e-commerce, location intelligence, and mailing and shipping services to approximately 1 million customers in about 100 countries around the world in 2016. The company is a certified "work-share partner" of the United States Postal Service, and helps the agency sort and process 15 billion pieces of mail annually. Pitney Bowes has also commissioned surveys related to international e-commerce.
Pitney Bowes is based in Stamford, Connecticut, and operates a 300,000-square-foot Global Technology Center for manufacturing and engineering in Danbury, Connecticut. The company has 33 operating centers throughout the United States, and additional offices in Hatfield (United Kingdom), New Delhi, and Tokyo. As of December 2016, Pitney Bowes employed approximately 14,000 people worldwide.
In 1902, Arthur Pitney patented his first "double-locking" hand-cranked postage-stamping machine, and, with patent attorney Eugene A. Rummler, founded the Pitney Postal Machine Company. In 1908, English emigrant and founder of the Universal Stamping Machine Company Walter Bowes began providing stamp-canceling machines to the United States Postal Service. Bowes moved his operations to Stamford in 1917. These two companies merged to form the Pitney Bowes Postage Meter Company in 1920 with the invention of the first commercially available postage meter. The company created its first logo, which "[symbolized] the security of the metered mail system", in 1930. In 1950, Pitney Bowes initiated an advertising campaign in national publications with the message, "Metered mail makes the mailer's life easier". In 1971, the company introduced a new logo, which represented the "intersection of paper-based and electronic communication". Pitney Bowes was valued at around $18 billion in December 1998.
In April 2003, Pitney Bowes filed a lawsuit in Seattle's King County Superior Court against Mark Browne and Howard Gray, who founded the competing company Nexxpost in 2002, as well as six other former employees, for "[engaging] in transgressions ranging from misappropriation of trade secrets to violating confidentiality agreements". The two companies reached a settlement in August 2003.
The company reported a profit of $498.1 million in 2003. In 2005, Pitney Bowes' revenue and earnings increased by more than 11 percent, and the company employed 32,500 people. In 2006, the company had $5.7 billion in annual revenue, and more than 35,000 employees.
In 2008, in conjunction with other companies, Pitney Bowes donated two of its 3,400 patents to the Eco-Patent Commons, which is operated by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, in an effort to reduce pollution. One of the patents increases the lifespan of electronic scales, reducing landfill waste, and the other is an inkjet printing technology that reduces ink use. In 2009, Pitney Bowes was named one of the world's largest software companies by Software Magazine. The company earned $98.6 million during the last three months of 2009, compared to $74 million the year before; during the same time, revenue decreased by 6 percent, from $1.55 billion to $1.45 billion. In December 2009, Pitney Bowes opened its first customer innovation center in Shelton, Connecticut.
The company sold its I.M. Pei & Partners-designed headquarters in Stamford for nearly $40 million in 2013, and relocated to a new, smaller headquarters in the city. According to the Hartford Courant, Pitney Bowes was eligible to receive as much as $27 million in subsidies over five years as part of the state's "First Five" program, for keeping 1,600 employees and adding 200 more. In 2014, the company announced plans for a rebrand. Pitney Bowes unveiled its new logo in January 2015, replacing one used since 1971; the rebranding campaign, which included an updated website and marketing, reportedly cost between $40 million and $80 million.
In February 2012, the credit rating for Pitney Bowes International Holdings was lowered by Fitch Ratings from BBB+ to BBB. The ratings agency said its main concern was "the downward trajectory" of Pitney Bowes' revenue, and added that they have a "negative outlook." In March 2014, Moody's assigned a long-term rating of Baa2 to the company's proposed $350 million senior unsecured notes (due 2024) and reiterated their stable outlook on PBI. Moody's cited "an improvement in the company's operating margin to around 19%, from about 15% historically, following the sale of its labor intensive management services business" and "an operational restructuring which could yield annual cost savings of up to $170 million by 2016."
In 2016, the company launched its first television advertising campaign in nearly twenty years; "Craftsmen of Commerce" cost $20 million and included three advertisements for national news and sports networks. Pitney Bowes announced a six-month startup accelerator program, "Scale-Up", in August 2016. Companies that participated in the program, which was a collaboration with NASSCOM's 10,000 Startups initiative, included: eCourierz, an online automated shipping tool; Infinite Analytics, a data analytics company; the digital health platform Medimojo; Niki, which uses artificial intelligence to make ordering processes simpler; Sponsifyme, a geolocation-integrated marketing platform, and Wedosky.
The company employed 15,700 people and earned $3.4 billion in revenue in 2016, which was a 5 percent decrease from 2015. Profits in 2015 totaled $408 million, but were reduced to $95 million in 2016. Pitney Bowes' executives said the declines were caused by "the changeover to a new U.S. enterprise-business platform — a change that disrupted short-term business, but one they have said would significantly improve the company's long-term operations." In March 2017, Pitney Bowes left the S&P 500 Index, having been listed since the stock market index was established in 1957, and joined the S&P 400.
In 1995, Pitney Bowes sold Dictaphone Corp., which produced communication and dictation recording systems, to an affiliate of the investment group Stonington Partners Inc. for $450 million. Imagistics International was spun-off from Pitney Bowes' copier and fax business in 2001.
Since 2001, Pitney Bowes has spent $1 billion on acquisitions. In 2001, Bell & Howell sold its international Mail and Messaging Technologies business to Pitney Bowes. Pitney Bowes also acquired Danka Services International (part of Danka Business Systems PLC) for $290 million in cash, and the French postage meter company Secap. In 2002, Pitney Bowes acquired the Omaha, Nebraska-based mail presorting company PSI Group for $130 million, followed by the Landover, Maryland-based DDD Company, which developed mail and messenger services, for $49.5 million in 2003.
In 2004, Pitney Bowes acquired the Lanham, Maryland-based company Group 1 Software, which develops mailing technology, for $380 million, as well as International Mail Express for $29 million. In February 2005, Pitney Bowes completed transactions in Brazil and India, expanding into both markets for the first time. In Brazil, the company partnered with Semco Participacoes to form Pitney Bowes Semco Equipamentos e Servicos, offering mailing equipment, production mail, and software services. Pitney Bowes acquired the mailing division of Kilburn Office Automation Limited, forming the New Delhi-based Pitney Bowes India. Pitney Bowes acquired the litigation support services provider Compulit Inc. one month later, creating Pitney Bowes Legal Solutions. Pitney Bowes purchased the marketing services company Imagitas in 2005 for $230 million in stock, which was sold to Red Ventures in 2015.
The company spun-off Capital Services in 2005 to New York private-equity group Cerberus Capital Management. Pitney Bowes acquired multiple companies in 2006, including Emtex and its output management software for $41 million, and the Providence, Rhode Island-based company Ibis Consulting, Inc., which provides electronic discovery services, for nearly $67 million. The company also acquired Advertising Audit Service, PMH Caramanning, and the Bellevue, Washington-based company Print Inc., which provides print management solutions.
In 2007, Pitney Bowes acquired MapInfo Corporation and its location intelligence solutions. The company moved out of MapInfo's building in North Greenbush, New York's Rensselaer Technology Park, and into other offices within the science park. Pitney Bowes also acquired the Toronto-based customer relationship management services company Digital Cement for nearly $40 million in cash.
The British software development company Portrait Software was acquired by Pitney Bowes in 2010 for nearly $64.8 million in cash. Pitney Bowes sold its management services division to Apollo Global Management in 2013 for $400 million. In May 2015, Pitney Bowes acquired the online shopping services provider Borderfree for about $395 million. The company also acquired the cloud-based software developer Enroute Systems Corp. for an undisclosed amount, followed by the presort services provider Zip Mail Services.
In mid 2016, Pitney Bowes acquired Maponics, which provides "geospatial boundary and contextual data", for an undisclosed amount. In February 2017, the company acquired the Naperville, Illinois-based mailing solutions company ProSORT for an undisclosed amount. Pitney Bowes merged its Des Plaines operating center into a larger Naperville facility. The company acquired Newgistics, an Austin-based e-commerce and retail logistics company, for $475 million in September 2017.
Marc Lautenbach has served as Pitney Bowes' president and CEO since December 2012. He has been credited with prioritizing innovation and moving the company into e-commerce and other technology services. In 2016, Stanley Sutula III was named executive vice president and chief financial officer; he succeeded Michael Monahan, who continued in the role of chief operating officer. Other key personnel include: Mark Shearer, who serves as executive vice president, as well as president of global SMB solutions; Lila Snyder, president of global e-commerce; Bob Guidotti, president of software solutions; and Roger Pilc, who serves as chief innovation officer.
Former CEOs include Murray D. Martin, who served from 2007–2012, and Michael J. Critelli, who served as chairman and chief executive for ten years. Other previous CEOs included: George Harvey, Fred Allen, John Nicklis, Harry Nordberg, and Walter Wheeler.
Pitney Bowes introduced the Model M Postage Meter, which was authorized by the United States Postal Service on September 1, 1920. The company released the first mass-market meter designed for desktops in 1949. The first automatic mail sorters were launched by the company in 1957, and mail inserters were created in 1961 to increase productivity and decrease costs associated with volume mailing. In 1968, Pitney Bowes created the first bar code equipment for retail use.
The company launched Postage by Phone in 1978, reducing reliance on post office visits. In 1986, the company began offering fax machines and scales with microprocessors. Pitney Bowes introduced Paragon, which calculates and affixes postage based on size and weight, in 1992. Line of credit for postage was launched in 1996, followed by D3 software, which allowed message management via email, fax, hard copy, and web, in 1998. In the 2000s, Pitney Bowes introduced its DM1000 Mailing System and IntelliLink technology, a new collection of digital postage meters called the DM Infinity Series, four AddressRight printers, and the IntelliJet Printing System.
The company enhanced its Internet-based shipping service in 2011 with the introduction of its 'pbSmartPostage' mailing tool, which "[integrates] postage, package routing, shipping management and reporting into a Web app that can be accessed from any PC with a printer". In 2015, Pitney Bowes launched its AcceleJet inkjet system, which targets transactional printers and is intended for companies printing at high volumes. In addition to stuffing envelopes, weighing documents, and printing postage, the 2015 model of the Relay Multi-Channel Communication Suite scans and uploads files and offers email marketing functions. Pitney Bowes launched its EngageOne Video software solution in September 2015, providing interactive and personalized video delivery experiences.
In January 2016, Pitney Bowes began using technology by Electric Imp to enable Internet connectivity for postage meters. The software creates a maintenance program, describes and tracks problems with machines, and enhances data sharing. In March, Pitney Bowes introduced Single Customer View, which uses the company's Spectrum Technology Platform to facilitate data sharing. The customer relationship management aggregator is not specific to the medical industry, but marks a push into the healthcare field. In April 2016, Pitney Bowes launched its "Commerce Cloud" system, allowing customers to calculate payments, print labels, and process international transactions, among other tasks, using the company's applications.
In mid 2016, the company introduced its first channel program and partnered with information technology providers, including global systems integrators Accenture and Capgemini, to help companies find and communicate with customers. The company released a digital device, called SmartLink, in July 2016; the product was developed in collaboration with Electric Imp and connects postage meters to Pitney Bowes' cloud-computing technology, and enabling other maintenance and monitoring services as well. Pitney Bowes also released a suite of digital services, including: Clarity Advisor, which collects machine data to "combat unplanned downtime"; Clarity Optimizer, which uses analytics to increase productivity; and Clarity Scheduler which, according to Computer Weekly, "automates placement of the right job on the right machine at the right time".
In September 2016, the company partnered with Lighthouse Computer Services to create data solutions designed to help businesses identify and keep customers, improve marketing initiatives, and reduce fraud. Pitney Bowes released its SendPro300 product in October, and announced its Commerce Complete for Retail platform for expanding global e-commerce businesses. One month later, the company released its location intelligence tool, called GeoVision, which uses data provided by PSMA Australia and allows companies to "visualise, analyse, and ultimately make use of that data to inform decisions". Pitney Bowes launched its SendPro C Series in September 2017.
In 2012, Pitney Bowes ranked number 1,630 overall on the Forbes Global 2000, ranking number 1,535 in sales, number 957 in profit, and number 1,884 in assets. In 2016, the company ranked number 478 on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers". The magazine ranked Pitney Bowes number 394 on their 2017 list of "America's Best Employers". The company was ranked number 634 on the Fortune 500 in 2017, having previously ranked number 636.
In 2016, Pitney Bowes earned the Best Business Transformation Solution award for its SmartLink product at the IoT Solutions World Congress. In 2017, the company earned Xplor International's Technology of the Year Award, which recognizes individuals, companies and organizations that have "conceived and developed an original concept leading to a significant advancement in the industry", for its Clarity product, which uses data analytics to increase productivity and decrease printing and mailing costs. Pitney Bowes ranked number nine on The Economic Times' 2017 list of the best companies to work for in India, jumping up from number 29 on the same list in 2016.