different formats, such as PDFs, often used for direct mailing. Having the ability to automatically extract addresses from these files and break the document into separate mailings is a time-saver. Being able to feed the data into your own production and mail files is another way to improve your workflow process. Another challenge that mailers face is being able to efficiently and easily correct addresses. “Undeliverable as addressed mail” is an enduring reality, but what’s changed is how mailers (and the USPS) can perform address correction. Not only is it possible for mailing data from PDFs to be captured, mail centers also need to be able to edit this data for cleansing and sorting. Connecting to the USPS’s CASS (Coding Accuracy Support System) for address verification can also be incorporated into the overall automated mailing processes. With the deadline for mandatory IMb approaching in 2014, many mailers are looking to implement it into their systems. What some do not realize is that the workflow solutions that were often relegated to invoicing are equally useful for organizing the processes and tracking of mailpieces. If you have already implemented barcodes but are scanning those barcodes by hand, there is an opportunity to automate that step as well. Just by incorporating a tabletop inserter, a camera and document-level barcodes, mailers can have the power of automated piece-level tracking. 2D barcodes can also be used for inserter cameras to control the insertion process. This information can then be reported on precisely, including files of only which mailpieces are missing and need to reprinted. As mail center managers, being able to act on information in real time is an asset. Assigning deadlines for time-sensitive jobs, seeing those
deadlines in a central location and being able to compare them to a job’s status provides actionable insight into which jobs are falling behind — and which should be prioritized. Looking at the big picture is also necessary for mail center managers. Being able to generate reports on consumables, how printers are being utilized, where and when interventions are taking place, job run times and even specific user activity is valuable in ensuring that the mail center runs like a well-oiled machine. The end result is what all mailers strive for: 100% delivery. In addition to integrity, lowering mailing costs and taking advantage of postal discounts is another opportunity that many mailers are pursuing. The USPS is making a significant push for mailers to barcode their pieces but stresses that a barcode alone is not enough to qualify for discounts. There are certainly high-volume discounts available but these require specific sortation software that is Presort Accuracy Verification and Evaluation (PAVE)-certified and can handle the mail types you deal with — Standard or First-Class mail, letters, postcards, etc. Not only does presorting allow the USPS to process mail more efficiently, it benefits mailers by giving you access to lower postal rates and decreases in delivery time — another factor that is often important for critical communications. Staying informed of the latest discounts that are available to you is only half the battle. If you don’t have a system in place to use those discounts, or if the system you have is so inefficient that it requires an investment of another valuable resource — time — then you should consider a system that makes the process work more efficiently for you. Miranda Reeves is senior product manager, Ricoh.
www.MailingSystemsTechnology.com ¡ SEPTEMBER - OCTOBER 2013