Print and mail providers: the benefits of automation
Automation helps businesses keep up with the pace of change, streamlining workflows, making processes more efficient, increasing productivity and reducing costs. For Print & Mailing Service Providers (PMSPs), the right choice of technologies can support the business now and in the future. Equipment and software can streamline document insertion to deliver complex, as well as simple, print & mailing jobs efficiently while providing detailed job information for tracking and quality management.
McKinsey research of last year reports that two-thirds of responding organisations are at least piloting business process automation in one or more business units or functions, but that only 61 per cent have met their automation targets.
Whilst businesses may be sold on the benefits of automation, implementation clearly lags intent. For PMSPs, that could mean incurring higher operational costs and lower job accuracy than is necessary.
Manual ways of working are labour-intensive and costly. They are also error-prone, which can result in a significant data protection issue should documents be sent to the wrong people. Indeed, corporations are duty-bound to handle data in a way that meets specific regulation and need to demonstrate compliance with a range of standards.
Manual print and mail processes don’t scale and, furthermore, don’t lend themselves to comprehensive, accurate reporting - something today’s corporate and commercial customers are likely to expect. Without a high level of visibility into the status and progress of jobs, clients might be inclined to look elsewhere.
An investment in automation must help address the shortcomings of manual processes but it must also support operational flexibility. The events of the past 18+ months have shown just how much businesses need to adapt when situations demand it. For PMSPs, this means meeting sudden demand for high-volume batch mailings and taking on jobs that clients used to fulfil themselves when they were in the office.
Hybrid and complex mail
Many organisations have accelerated their digital strategies in response to a rapid migration online. That means they are likely to want multichannel customer communications, with email and other digital formats in addition to traditional physical mail. For PMSPs, this has accelerated the need for hybrid mail, providing digital alongside advanced print and mail as part of a must have core offering.
Companies are also responding to customer expectations for highly targeted, personalised communication. That can mean mailings with a range of document inserts, some standard, some common, sent to customers through channels they each prefer. Complexity adds to the challenge of putting together and issuing high-volume communications. Automation helps fulfil complicated mail runs without slowing down delivery, compromising on accuracy or incurring high variable costs.
How automation helps
Automated solutions help deliver batch mailings and short, bespoke runs. For PMSPs, this means:
- Using the same high-capacity production environment for all jobs, not just high-volume batch mailings. This makes for more rapid job changeovers and reduced set-up time.
- Folding and inserting documents in-line and automatically. Mechanising this critical operational process improves speed, accuracy and cost-effectiveness and reduces the need to hand fill envelopes.
- Improved management information because an automatic audit trail is created for every job down to mail piece ID. Automated document insertion verifies every sheet for transparency and integrity of process. What’s more, it paves the way for enhanced analytics across individual and all jobs, providing business insights in support of decision-making.
- Digital dashboards and reporting to meet clients’ needs for transparency and accuracy. Folder inserter equipment, together with management software, provide detailed job reports that identifies every document that went into each mailing.
Automation helps PMSPs achieve operational improvements and at the same time equips them to support customers’ evolving needs.
The right automation technology saves time and cost, reduces errors, speeds up job turnaround times and scales as volume demands change. It helps equip PMSPs to provide a full-service solution in line with clients’ hybrid mail requirements, increase product offerings and generates new revenue streams.
What’s more, it supports decision-making through insights and reporting that also provide a digital audit for clients charged with meeting internal and external demands for transparency. For further information, look at Quadient’s intelligent folder inserters.
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