Shipping and Mailing | Pitney Bowes

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New technology is enabling posts to meter their mail as they automatically sort it.

At Post-Expo in Geneva, Pitney Bowes introduced the new In-Line Metering function on its Vantage™ sorting solution, the result of continuous investment and evolution in sortation technology.

This new Vantage addition is the first of its kind for a high-speed sorter, with in-line speeds in excess of 24k/hr, eliminating the need for manual metering or separating mail, therefore enabling operators to process mail automatically.

Production workflow is simplified by eliminating the need to meter mail at different rates or manage pre-printed envelopes, thus ensuring higher productivity and more efficient mail processing. The Vantage provides clients with a multi-application system and the in-line metering function means that the operator can use a standard sorting process or set the machine to metering mode, leveraging Pitney Bowes Business Logic Processing (BLP).

The mail is inducted into the Vantage, which processes the sorting. The sorter – in normal processing mode with speeds up to 45k/h – can have the BLP interface configured to sort out what items are required to be metered in a second-pass operation based on delivery partner, mail type or any other physical characteristic.

The new In-Line Metering feature has many advantages. It combines mail workflow into one automation stream, allowing users to process all mail in a single pass, and enabling operators to weigh, scan, print and meter all within one unit.

There will no longer be the need for the floorspace or additional labor required by tabletop metering machines. Often organizations will have multiple meter stations on a given floor, so converting to in-line automation will reduce the time and space it takes to meter large quantities of mail. With this multi-application solution, users can maximize utilization of a single-sorting system and will also benefit from the capability for further upgrades when required. In-Line Metering is exclusive to the Vantage sorting solution.

Connection

When it comes to automated sortation solutions, Pitney Bowes realizes that the underlying software is a true differentiator. Pitney Bowes BLP software is the core for all its letters and parcel sorting solutions. BLP is a platform for intelligent automation, providing the interface needed to satisfy clients’ critical business issues.

Today’s organizations require dynamic decision making to function properly in an ever-transforming market. The BLP software facilitates all manner of external and internal input/output data communications – when performing automated sortation, item data capture is critical. BLP can offer data communications, exchange, translation or interface, according to the client’s business rules and operational processing needs.

A platform such as BLP has the flexibility to accommodate the latest hardware and client applications. The software provides the client with a wide range of benefits, among them multisite network compatibility, reduced burden on client IT resources, ability to customize to exact client specifications, faster time to implementation, easy integration of various system components and technologies, implementation of future system upgrades and expansion, and full use of a comprehensive data stream.

BLP software is mature and trusted in the market, and many clients have come to rely on Pitney Bowes for the correct interface into virtually any back-office platform. The interface is written in a way that not only satisfies the needs of the current application, but also accommodates continual response to rapid business changes. The software enables ease and speed of modification, and budget-friendly enhancements and upgrades. Customers who already have Pitney Bowes assets will be able to reduce implementation time.

Functional simplicity

The Pitney Bowes OneSort® Pro is an ideal first step to automated parcel sorting. This simple parcel induction unit eliminates manual parcel processes that take up valuable time. It provides users with an efficient and cost-effective way of processing parcels. The unit can simultaneously capture weight, dimensions and OCR data in an automated fashion and provide the appropriate barcoded label. It provides versatility for both outbound and inbound applications.

OneSort Pro meets the need for an integrated solution, instantly collecting vital parcel data in a single touch, interacting with the user’s business rules, and generating an output to inform downstream processes. It also consolidates multiple manual tasks in one automated process, just a few seconds long, which replaces manual processes such as measuring, weighing and data entry.

This parcel management process is streamlined to reduce errors and enhance functionality. An item is simply placed under the dimension camera head, which then begins capturing sub-second, certified-accurate dimensions of any shape. There is no special alignment required, no grid to line up with and no buttons to push. Additionally, the OneSort uses automatic address block location (ABL). This will increase processing throughput by allowing the operator to place items in the camera view without concern for targeting the barcode specifically.

Manual data entry can be time-consuming and prone to errors. The additional labor needed for data entry during peak periods, for example, can be expensive, so the ability to process more packages within shorter timeframes gives shippers, postal and mailroom operators the flexibility to respond to higher volume peaks. Additionally, not only does the unit provide access to preferred DIM (dimensional) weight postal classes, but the OneSort Pro also eliminates carrier chargebacks due to inaccurate parcel ratings with NTEP-certified measurements.

Overall, the OneSort Pro is an agile, versatile, and intelligent all-in-one solution. It is a complete parcel induction and management system that instantly captures dimensions from virtually anything, including boxes, flats, documents, poly-wrapped bags, mailing tubes and irregular shapes. It is ideal for exception processing.

Multi-application

Pitney Bowes’ objective for this year’s Post-Expo is to display multi-application solutions. These solutions and multisite communications are key, as they can optimize any operation. For example, by offering multisite communications, Pitney Bowes enables all sortation solutions to be connected across a network or a partner network, so mail or parcels coming from other sites may only need to be sequence sorted along with local mail or parcels. This allows all connected sites to optimize their operations, essentially adding capacity without bringing in additional hardware.

Pitney Bowes is a technology company that facilitates commerce on a global scale. In addition to being a maker of hardware, the company is also an enabler, focusing on providing ways for clients to increase the value they deliver. Clients come to Pitney Bowes because they understand that automation allows for dynamic decision making and the flexibility to adapt to future business application needs.

Whether it is hardware or software, systems can be comprised of a single solution or can include operational functions from receiving to shipping. The key is that Pitney Bowes engineers approach each system as a modular, flexible and scalable solution that will accommodate future growth. All software solutions offered manage people, processes and equipment to meet any requirements, spanning everything from order fulfillment to labor management systems. Pitney Bowes software intelligence delivers real-time fulfillment execution.

Reliability and knowledge

As market growth continues, manual processing can incur higher costs. Furthermore, relying on manual input may not capture the critical data needed for each item. The data communication between hardware, operations and enterprise is vital for overall business efficiency.

Pitney Bowes sortation solutions provide clients with not only scalable, powerful and flexible hardware that meets unique sorting needs, but also the software technology that enables businesses to continue to move forward today and in the future. This has been built on the voice of the customer.

Understanding customer needs has led to the company developing a wealth of experience and best practices within commercial, private and national postal markets around the globe. Critical business issues are looked at in multiple ways to better understand opportunities and review processes from new angles. Everything must be considered, from reallocating resources to training engagements, to ensure that customers have what they need to succeed.