Improving Mail Production, Reducing Cost and Waste

Two of the biggest challenges a printing and mail production operation faces when processing statements for healthcare industry customers are accuracy and mailpiece integrity. Add more than 3 million pieces of mail monthly, and it could overwhelm any operation.

That’s the conundrum North Carolina-based technology company AccuDoc Solutions found itself. As its statement processing business grew, it found itself playing catch up. As a result, the company looked for a solution that would handle its volume. It additionally need a solution that would help reduce cost and waste, and improve efficiency. After exhausting its options, AccuDoc successfully found a solution that fit its requirements.

The Challenge

AccuDoc was running into bottlenecks in its print and mail production processes that were making it difficult to keep up with growing demand. Its print solution at the time comprised four color printers that ran for 19 hours a day.

AccuDoc President Robb Cass said the company went from a single shift to a first shift with a modified second shift, then finally adding a full second shift and a modified third one, just to keep up with the growing volume.

“We quickly came to the realization that we would soon hit the limit on how much we could produce,” he added. “If we continued to bring on new business, we were going to need to rethink our infrastructure and identify a print solution that eliminated the bottleneck.”

In addition, their mail production operation faced another challenge – the cost of buying and stocking envelopes that AccuDoc sourced through a third-party supplier.

“We often discussed how nice it would be if we were able to make our own envelopes,” he said. “That’s because we always felt like we were out of sync with the envelope companies. If you order too many, they go bad sitting in a warehouse. If you order too few and you need more quickly, we would run into a backlog and would have to pay for expedited shipping.

Developing a Strategy

The AccuDoc team determined that in order to help grow its business and reduce its operating costs, it would need to look for a different print solution to handle the sheer volume of business that was coming in.

To research its options, the team headed to GRAPH EXPO, an annual tradeshow that touts itself as a showcase of digital, inkjet, offset and other technologies for businesses looking for print and mail solutions.

A demonstration Cass noticed at the expo was of Bell and Howell’s Inveloper®, which is designed to create envelopes on-demand using wrapping technology, leverages advanced color printing capabilities, and ultimately enables a complete plain-paper-to-finished-mailpiece process that converts envelopes into cost-effective and high-impact messaging vehicles. Additionally, the system runs at increased operating speeds of up to 30,000 mailpieces per hour – fast enough to handle AccuDoc’s current volume with room to spare.

“There was no hesitation on our part on selecting the Inveloper®,” Cass said. “After seeing it, we knew it had the potential to revolutionize our business. There is no other piece of equipment that does what it can do.”

Installing the Inveloper also relieved AccuDoc of its need to purchase envelopes.

“What tipped the scales towards Inveloper® was knowing just how much we spent on envelopes alone every month,” he added. “We now had a machine that made a better envelope for us using just a roll of paper. So we no longer needed to worry about stocking 3 million envelopes at a warehouse every month.”

Return on Investment

Prior to acquiring the Inveloper®, AccuDoc had eight operators running machines for 22 hours a day. Currently, the machine operates on a 10-hour day with five operators who are cross-trained on all machines.

“We’ve been able to create a schedule where each operator works four 10-hour days,” Cass said. “This has been fantastic from a team-morale standpoint since it allows our operators to take three-day weekends now.”

AccuDoc currently produces about 150,000 pieces daily using the Inveloper®.

AccuDoc General Manager Mark Freeze said that the service provided by Bell and Howell ensures that his operation continues running smoothly.

“The Bell and Howell service people make the organization truly stand out,” he said. “And Bell and Howell as a whole has been instrumental in AccuDoc’s success. Without them, we wouldn’t be where we are.”

Looking Ahead

With its current setup, AccuDoc sees itself having a tremendous amount of growth. They foresee their business extending beyond its traditional strength in transactional mail production. For example, the company now has the ability to handle direct mail marketing projects for its clients. As a result, they can delive unprecedented levels of mail personalization.

Curious to learn more about plain paper factories? Check out this blog.