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Take a bigger picture view when buying an inserting system
Customer demands bring about tricky investment decisions for many mid-size mail operations. For those service providers, the decision to buy a new inserting system is all about staying competitive.
“Companies that would normally handle their mail in-house, such as healthcare, finance and telco, are now looking to outsource. It’s important for mid-size providers to start building capabilities to bid on those jobs,” explained Eddy Edel, VP Inserting Product Management at Pitney Bowes. “When a client asks if you can handle sensitive mail, at a certain volume, with certain reporting capabilities, you want to be able to answer ‘Yes’ to all three.”
Unfortunately, it’s hard to say yes when existing capabilities can’t fulfill a customer’s request. Budget concerns also restrict mid-size operations from investing in a new inserting system at a moment’s notice. But, as Edel explained, it’s possible to make smart investments in production mail technology that improves competitiveness without breaking your budget. You just have to look at the bigger picture.
That’s what Pitney Bowes experts did when evaluating how the Epic™ inserting solution would suit the various workflows of small, medium and large U.S. and international production mail operations. The idea was to identify operational inefficiencies that drive up the cost of mailpiece production.
According to Edel, there are three key expenses that make up the full cost of producing a single mailpiece:
- Equipment costs: e.g. the initial purchase of a new inserter system
- Operational costs: Staff, labor and maintenance including third-party services
- Consumable costs: paper, ink and other related consumables
Of those factors, consumables are the biggest driver of cost, Edel said. What’s more, poorly optimized operations can also be a problem.
“If you buy a high-speed inserter, you might need an army of people to feed the beast, and that drives up cost,” Edel said. “You could choose a low-speed inserter that only needs one person to maintain, but will you be able to serve large customers? It’s important not to just focus on throughput. Instead, you need to think about how you’ll optimize the financial cost per hour.”
The Pitney Bowes team spent time considering how these adjacent challenges could be solved by a single flexible and efficient inserter. The result was the Epic inserting solution, which provides the financial flexibility, complex use cases and value-add capabilities that mid-size operations need to compete against larger peers for lucrative clients.
Take advantage of financial flexibility.
By looking at the bigger picture, the Pitney Bowes team was able to optimize the Epic solution for multiple real-life workflow situations. The result is a solution that can fit any number of financial and operational models.
“We’ve done about 80% of the pre-purchase evaluation or justification that an operation would conduct when they make an investment decision,” Edel said. “The solution was designed specifically to increase yield while optimizing labor, maximizing uptime and reducing costly reconciliation.”
In-depth tracking and reporting allows operations to further optimize workflow to fit their financial reality and achieve better efficiency in terms of labor, materials and throughput. With productivity solutions such as DirectView, which provides real-time feedback on job progress and operations efficiencies, operations can easily implement continuous improvement initiatives to ensure they’re producing mail at the lowest cost per piece.
Additional financial flexibility is built into the Pitney Bowes service relationship, including service staff training to enhance productivity. There’s also the option to build certified hybrid solutions: Pitney Bowes can combine remanufactured legacy inserting systems with new Epic inserting modules. That allows operations to benefit from the latest technology and lower the cost of their initial investment.
“We put ourselves in the shoes of the CFO,” Edel said. “It’s not just about speeds and feeds, it’s about growing your ability to ensure high yield, greater workcell efficiency and a low total cost of ownership with a no risk solution that can evolve with your business.”
Support new, complex use cases.
Another way to lower total cost of ownership is to support a wide range of applications from a single system. The modular design and automation of the Epic inserting solution allows operators to switch between formats in minutes, covering more complex applications and use cases for their clients.
A rising number of operations are investing in high-speed inkjet printers, but lack inserters that can keep up with a high rate of production. The inkjet investment is driving the need for operations to revisit their workflow to ensure they have flexible, high efficiency, high yield inserters to keep up with the new inkjet print capabilities.
That was an important consideration for Financial Statement Services, Inc. (FSSI), a mail service operator that processes flats, 6x9 envelopes and standard #10 envelopes. Switching between configurations took too long, said Chief Operating Office Henry Perez.
“If your system runs at a high rate of speed yet remains idle for extended periods of time during changeover, well, that’s a production killer that simply doesn’t work in our environment,” said Perez. Today, the Epic system supports more than 70 changeovers per day for FSSI, significantly reducing downtime.
Perhaps most importantly, the Epic system offers high yield and high efficiency without sacrificing quality.
“From a compliance standpoint, operations need to be able to tell their customers that they produce mail with 100 percent accuracy,” Edel said. “Epic provides the mailpiece tracking and reporting capabilities to do that.”
The right inserting systems can also support the creation of higher value communications, which help operations drive more revenue from mail. For example, businesses are willing to pay more for physical communications that are personalized to the recipient because they know this level of personalization drives better customer engagement than a standard envelope. A precision inserting solution ensures customized mailpieces are sent with a guaranteed level of accuracy to the right recipients.
Ultimately, the right inserting system delivers a healthy return on investment not just by delivering operational efficiency, but also by opening doors to new forms of revenue. We help our customers grow by building new revenue opportunities.
Read about how inserting systems can increase mail processing speed and accuracy. Learn about how the Epic™ inserting solution can help you achieve higher levels of throughput while maintaining a high degree of mail integrity and accuracy.