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Clarity from Pitney Bowes: How the Industrial Internet drives a connected mail center

At a time when digital innovation empowers businesses to achieve more with less, an emerging technology promises to usher in a new era of efficiency.

It’s called the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), and it describes a connected world in which sensors embedded into the machines around us – from kitchen appliances to industrial equipment – communicate data insights to drive smarter operations.

The Industrial IoT is already paying dividends in the global manufacturing, energy, aviation and transportation industries, to name a few. Smart home applications help everyday individuals better manage their home heating consumption, while connected medical devices help doctors craft a more intelligent plan of care for their patients. Connected cars will promote safer driving conditions, while smart cities will allow entire municipalities to better manage the challenges of urban development.

In-house enterprise mail centers and service providers also stand to benefit. These businesses already strive to improve equipment efficiency, maximize mail center productivity and optimize workflow to better control operational costs. A connected, IoT-enabled mail center will help them take these efforts a step further by providing the real-time automated insights they need to dramatically increase the value of their investment in technology.

Pitney Bowes delivers these capabilities to the mail center with Clarity, an IoT-enabled solution for inserting systems. Clarity collects, integrates and organizes existing sensor data, job information and operator data from remote inserters to support real-time insight, predictive analytics and preventive maintenance.

Supported by Pitney Bowes DirectView analytics technology and the GE Predix cloud-based big data and analytics platform, Clarity brings the power of the Industrial IoT to the mail center, enabling enterprises and service providers to achieve world-class operational excellence in three critical areas: service monitoring, operational productivity, and capacity and job scheduling. Here’s how.

Clarity Advisor: Intelligent service monitoring, diagnostics and analytics

The enterprise mail center is a tightly integrated and interdependent network of machines that work in concert. When one part of that system underperforms or fails, it can lead to inefficiencies in the overall process, which contributes to delays and extra expense.

You can reduce the risk of downtime by scheduling planned maintenance or repairing a machine quickly when its breaks, but IoT-enabled service monitoring allows you to proactively care for your mail center by providing system health data directly from the machines and performing planned maintenance based on condition of a part. By observing degradation over time even they IOT application will prescribe replacement before the regular schedule maintenance preventing failures. This shifts your maintenance operation from a break/fix model to one that’s focused on proactive, outcome-based support.

Clarity Advisor offers predictive indicators that can point out issues before they occur. As a result, you can be more strategic in how you address performance issues. That might mean scheduling maintenance hours at a convenient time that will create the least amount of pressure on the overall system, or replacing a faulty inserting system before it has the chance to derail overall operations.

Powered by the rich data analytics and reporting capabilities from DirectView and GE Predix, Clarity Advisor allows service to resolve issues before an outage occurs and provide faster diagnostics and improved maintenance scheduling. The result? Guaranteed up to 10 percent higher machine efficiency, increased runtime capacity and reduced risk of downtime.   

Clarity Optimizer: Improved system and operational productivity

How well is your mail center performing? Are you printing, inserting and sorting mail effectively, making the most of every minute and meeting your throughput targets? Or, are you wasting resources, spending too much time to achieve too little output and falling short of corporate production goals?

Clarity Optimizer helps businesses determine where they stand by providing deep insight into the performance of your mail center. It allows you to evaluate current and historical throughput metrics, establish overarching thresholds for acceptable, marginal or unacceptable levels of system productivity and analyze equipment effectiveness at every level – whether you’re examining a single inserting machine, an entire mail center site or several sites across multiple locations. And with the ability to compare against industry benchmarks, Pitney Bowes Client Success professional services can define the most productive combination of jobs, machines and operators to optimize your operational performance.

With Clarity Optimizer, you gain enterprise wide visibility of overall equipment effectiveness (OEE), which describes equipment availability, performance and quality. As a result, you can eliminate or re-assign an under-utilized inserting system for maximum cost efficiency, or take corrective steps to address an under-performing mail center site before it becomes a drain on your bottom line. These improvements could result in up to 20 percent better throughput and effective capacity.

Clarity Scheduler: Smarter capacity and job scheduling

Scheduling in most mail centers today is an unorganized and imperfect science. Managers can do their best to schedule jobs based on print job readiness, the skills of staff currently working on the floor, or factors like job format or pick-up time. However, at the end of the day, there are too many variables to consider, and too few tools to create an optimized production cycle.

Clarity Scheduler changes the dynamics of mail center management by parsing real-time and historical production information for the most complete and accurate picture of your organization’s productivity. Adaptive scheduling capabilities, which accrues scheduling knowledge over time for better accuracy, account for a wide range of factors, including inventory, machine type, planned maintenance, staff skillsets and much more.

With this level of insight, managers can think strategically about mail center management. You can re-allocate staff in a way that maximizes their skills on the mail center floor, shift high-production workloads toward the best-performing machines and ensure that each system is tasked with the most appropriate and productive job. Ultimately, Clarity Scheduler can help you achieve a 10-percent increase in overall document factory efficiency.

A new era in mail center management

As our world becomes more connected, machine-to-machine communications will revolutionize how businesses in all industries manage costs and achieve higher levels of productivity.  It’s no different in the enterprise or service provider mail center, where world-class operational excellence means smarter spending on equipment, resources and maintenance, as well as highly optimized throughput and performance.

Clarity from Pitney Bowes brings the power of industrial data science to the enterprise. With Clarity, enterprises have the insight needed to draw more value from their existing investments and create new models for business growth.

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