With the recent postage rate hike, the likelihood of additional rate hikes and ever-increasing maintenance costs, coupled with the labor shortage and the Internet’s overall affect on the mailing industry, it has become imperative that mail center managers operate at maximum efficiency. The increasing costs necessitate using every technological advantage available.
Mailing Systems Technology asked several leading industry vendors to provide information on products they feel are of great benefit to the advancement of the mailing industry. We haven’t attempted to include all vendors or products; this is just a sampling of what’s out there. These new products and services not only cut costs by increasing production efficiencies; they offer the option of a new production direction. They can be utilized not only as cost cutting but also as income generators.
The technologies in the mailing industry’s products and services affect everything from document creation to response and payment — it’s all covered and it’s all improved. The year 2000 yielded a number of technological advancements for the addressing industry. Useful to any mail center seeking unprecedented speed and ease-of-use, these addressing systems provide versatility. In the more traditional hardware side of the industry, these products are the latest to join the industry.
• Pitney Bowes W680 Address Right Printer uses the latest inkjet technology to print addresses directly on envelopes. It can print in black up to 600 dpi or in color up to 300 dpi on material ranging from a 3 1/2-inch by five-inch postcard to a 12 3/4-inch by 13 1/2-inch envelope up to one-eighth-inch thick. It prints up to 9,000 #10 envelopes per hour and delivery point barcodes required for postal discounts. This system enables you to design your envelopes and was created to meet the needs of small- to mid-volume mailers. www.pitneybowes.com
• Neopost introduces the SA60, a direct address printing system with 10 variable print speeds printing up to 36,000 addresses per hour. Featuring Hewlett Packard’s fixed-head inkjet printing technology, the SA60 prints up to nine lines in a single pass. It handles a wide variety of mailpieces and includes 12 internal fonts with the ability to print downloadable fonts in various sizes and styles. It features nine programmable job settings and a memory buffer that reprints up to 20 addresses should an interruption occur. The software companion provides CASS certification, removes duplicate records and presorts for PAVE certification. For mid- to high-volume mailers, it processes up to 500,000 mailpieces per month. www.neopostinc.com
• Riso’s Addressing System lets you print and address materials in-house while allowing you to add personalized messages, color and highlighting to your mailpieces. It allows you to print and address envelopes in one pass and can be converted into a network printing solution that prints sizes up to 11-inch by 17-inch in 18 different colors on paper stocks from carbonless to #110 card stock. www.riso.com
• With a triple fixed head and a 11/2-inch print area, Rena’s Envelope Manager II prints up to 22,000 envelopes per hour at four different dpi settings. Select from the 12 internal fonts or download your own PCL fonts. Free JETMate software supports envelope design, barcoding and graphics, while self-cleaning cartridges provide letter-quality addressing. It utilizes four megabytes of memory and a high-capacity hopper, which helps reduce loading time. www.renausa.com
• Seacap USA’s (formerly Datatech) Bryce 30K is graphics and spot color capable and interfaces with Windows. The machine upgrades by disk or computer and includes a driver and two head banks that can print a three-inch graphic or 24 lines. While feeding paper up to one-half-inch thick, it’s one of the very few address printers that interfaces with Pitney Bowes mailing software and is compatible with upgraded legacy systems. Designed for a wide variety of mailers, this system prints up to one million pieces per month. www.datatechusa.com
• The Videojet PrintMail printing and imaging system from Marconi Data Systems bridges the gap between continuous inkjet printers and high-volume, dedicated mailing systems. The system is easy to set up and has a print definition of up to 600 dpi. Throughput at 11,000 pieces per hour, which can be boosted to 33,000 pph at lower dpi settings. It is Windows 95/98-based and employs HP inkjet technology. Also, the system has a WYSIWYG display and prints true type fonts, variable and fixed text up to 7 3/5-centimeters high, bit-map graphics and barcodes. The system is aimed at organizations with a capacity for 250,000 to two million pieces per month. www.marconi.com
Though not as evident as the strides made in addressing equipment, insertion equipment has become easier to use with more user options and a higher throughput. New technologies in insertion equipment have significantly increased productivity in the mailing industry.
• Bell & Howell has upgraded its BH 12Ke inserting system to support a wider range of applications and has enhancements including a cutsheet input, which enables increased cycling speeds. The new design of the BH 6000 offers high-speed pin-fed or pinless Web processing. Its right-angle turning device, RASTAR, enables high-speed landscape processing and the Network User Interface supports centralized job programming. All Bell & Howell inserting systems can be equipped with Advanced Vision System (AVS), a mailpiece tracking device. www.bellhowell.com
• The EMC Maximizer C200 Document Processor was designed to process single page (two-plus) continuous forms into folded letters in line with the inserter. A specialized collector allows for some accumulation after folding. Optional function-mark reading allows users to intelligently select inserts. This system may be added to many existing inserters and allows users to side step the bindery. The Maximizer C200 is targeted to high-volume mailers printing one-page documents on two-up continuous forms. www.emcdocsys.com
• The Böwe Systec Quattro flat inserter comes with automated mailing and cutting systems and has a new method of flats processing. It has been outfitted with multiple optical character recognition (OCR) cameras to provide increased flexibility. By strategically placing the OCR cameras into the three feeders, the system is transformed into an intelligent flats inserter with the ability to match all personalized documents. www.bowesystec.com
Mail Handling/Processing Equipment
Mail handling equipment has made great strides in productivity as the speed and accuracy of mail processing equipment has increased. Ease of use and setup has helped mailers become more efficient.
• Pitney Bowes DM300 Digital Mailing System is a semi-automatic system that processes up to 65 letters per minute and also handles flats using pre-cut self-adhesive tapes. Postage refills are available any time with the Postage By Phone System, and it includes an internal modem and a clock that automatically advances the date and reports expenses for up to 25 accounts. Designed for low- to mid-volume mailers, this product includes a delivery confirmation option to track Priority Mail packages. www.pitneybowes.com
• Francotyp-Postalia’s (FP) digital business-class mailing system JetMail, processes 7,600 mailpieces per hour. It allows users to process mixed sizes and weights using a vertical feeder. This system tracks up to 300 customer accounts, and its modular options include folding, inserting, addressing and weighing. It features EZ card accounting, remote postage refill and a KARAT interface. Even while working at high speeds, JetMail provides users with whisper quiet operations. www.fp-usa.com
• ID Mail Systems, Inc. releases an updated Dispatcher Universal MLOCR sorter. The dispatcher can be configured with software to barcode and sort outgoing, incoming and interoffice mail. Utilizing its new Gunther Inc. jet printer, it can CASS certify a list of addresses, print them on envelopes of any size, then sort them — all in one pass. All Windows true type fonts are available in a print area that can be nearly anywhere on the envelope. www.idmailsystems.com
• MailCode, Inc. introduced the Olympus II for pre-sorters and postal operations. It provides mailers with a mixed mail, multi-line (MLOCR) transport system with a 9 1/2-inch field of view for processing large volumes of mail. While utilizing OCRs and software-based technology, it allows for processing speeds up to 36,000 pieces per hour and is easily configured to support anywhere from eight to 160 sorting pockets. Intended exclusively for high-volume mailers, the Olympus II is easily customizable by local video encoding (LVE) or remote video encoding (RVE).
• Voice Scheme Manager (VSM) and Voice Sort, also by MailCode, Inc. are two voice recognition systems that provide high-speed, accurate manual mail processing. Training for these systems is minimal, and they adapt well to employee dialects and regional accents. VSM allows any postal employee to sort parcels, letters or flats with no prior scheme knowledge. This system also has the capability to combine multiple internal databases. www.mailcode.com
• The new SmartSort by Ascom Hasler Mailing Systems, Inc. is a voice sorting system that streamlines mail sorting. It features large fonts and access to optional screens that eliminate training time, password protection and reporting, which allows evaluation of employee productivity, all mail volume tracking and list production. It also includes a feature that reduces mystery mail. Simply speak the person’s name addressed on a piece of mail and SmartSort will show and tell you where to sort the item. www.ascomhasler.com
• Lockheed Martin Distribution Technologies released its Automatic Tray Tagging Systems (ATTS) and Desktop Tray Tagging System (DTTS) to commercial mailers. With an ATTS (for high-volume operations) and a DTTS (for lower- to mid-volume operations), a commercial mailer realizes reductions in mail staging time, mail preparation and production costs, while throughput and customer service improves. These efficiencies are achieved by aligning the mailers production operation with the USPS Acceptance, Collecting and Induction (ACI) processes. Operators scan, weigh and automatically assign ground and airline transportation routine tags to mail trays ready for dispatch. Both products provide mailers a method to capture the benefits of the U.S. Postal Service’s PostalOne! program. www.lockheedmartin.com
Production and Management Software
The development of production and management software has been evolving as mail centers move further into the digital age. The direction of mail centers is one where the work place is less labor intensive and more software driven. In order to meet the changing demands of the mailing industry, production software has taken the place of many labor-intensive tasks, increasing speed and efficiency in the mail center. The new economy of mailing is dependent on these efficiencies.
• Neopost Logistics Systems introduced iLS.X, a modular suite of Web-enabled logistics applications designed to help businesses control shipping and mailing operations. · The suite consists of five modules that offer shipping management, outbound logistics, tracking and budgeting solutions all from a central server. Companies are now able to combine functions to create their own virtual shipping room. iLS.FORM allows users to access an electronic form document on their desktop, while iLS.RATE allows you to identify the best rate. iLS.TRACK then gives users real-time or batch file access to multi-carrier parcel tracking information and delivery confirmation data. iLS.PRE-SHIP lets users preprocess a parcel at their desktop, add shipping instructions and print pre-ship labels. iLS.MANIFEST, a multi-carrier rating and manifesting system, prints carrier-compliant shipping labels, airbills or waybills. iLS.X is an add-on package that includes CASS certification, international package shipments and rating and credit validation.
• SMART Online is an Internet-based tool produced by Pitney Bowes for the insertion operation in the automated document factory. This tool is used to provide information concerning inserters, operators and jobs. It has a real-time and a historical component allowing customers to manage their operation using current data as well as past production data. It allows management to view their operations local or remote and works to minimize mail center costs. www.pitneybowes.com
• Firstlogic, Inc. releases Entry Planner 1.0, which enables publishers, printers and mailing agents to analyze information in a Mail.dat file and generate a post-presort entry plan. It generates postage statements, creates an electronic audit trail and offers an archiving process for electronically storing mailing information. www.firstlogic.com
• User Solutions, Inc. introduces Resource Manager 2001. Designed as an add-on to the Excel spreadsheet, it is a planning and scheduling solution, that can be immediately implemented. It allows for the management of manpower, materials and work centers in real-time. For small- to medium-size operations, this product reduces cycle times and inventory shortages.
• Pitney Bowes ForwardTrak Net, an option to the SmartMailer Addressing Software, enables mailers to identify changes of address online, thereby answering the USPS “Move-Update Requirement.” The system sends a mailer’s list over the Internet to a client-server connection and then to the USPS FASTforward system. Working in conjunction with the software, the mailing list is updated with the current move as well as deliverability information. By complying with the USPS’s requirements, mailers can be sure and take full advantage of First Class presort and automation discounts. www.pitneybowes.com
Mail Handling Software
At a time when mail centers are evolving and incorporating more technology, updating your software has become a very necessary facet of mail center maintenance. As the industry has progressed, it has shifted toward using more software-based and automated systems. The following software options were generated to meet the growing technology needs in the industry.
• Anchor Computer has released MaxPrint Software, which uses the WYSIWYG protocol for controlling high-speed printers easily. It employs a Graphical User Interface (GUI), enabling mailers to produce mailpieces faster, while Anchor’s Deceased Software appends date of birth or death, enabling mailers to save money by eliminating deceased individuals from mailing lists. www.anchorcomputer.com
• Archer Management presented the Océ Office Exec, a document output management system, featuring centralized control, intelligent job routing and accounting. It offers increased ROI and streamlines the organization with a centralized point of control to simplify management and maintenance. The unified print driver provides multifunction from desktops, a single driver for network devices, e-mail, fax and an archive with one command. www.archermgt.com
• The MOS Mail Center Manager is a MAC-certified Manifesting option that eliminates delays in processing mail or parcels due to out-of-spec documentation. To take advantage of the MAC certification, users just simply indicate on the USPS Manifest application form they are using the MOS Mail Center Manager. Any organization that mails or ships at least 200 pieces or 50 pounds per day can benefit form the USPS Manifest application. www.mos-intl.com
• ChangeAddress.com provides online technology solutions for the change-of-address process. It creates an electronic conduit between US citizens who have moved and mailers who are maintaining address records of their customers. It is a simple and secure online solution that allows for easily updating mailing lists. It offers customers a simplistic four-step process. Users provide their old address, new address and move date, then select the institutions they wish to notify of their move. Next, they provide requested information to the institutions and complete the process by submitting their payment of $9.95. The information is verified and the consumer notified prior to the change taking effect. www.changeaddress.com
• Anchor Computer releases its Max COA Proprietary Change of Address software that improves mail deliverability by capturing the maximum number of address moves. With 60 months of move data, this software identifies customers and prospects that have moved, which may not have been identified in other mover processes. The Max COA software can be licensed to process files in-house or may be provided as a service. www.anchorcomputer.com
Products like Lockheed Martin’s new ManageMail system give us a preview of where the hardware and software evolution is now taking the mailing industry. Demonstrating a marriage of customary mailing practices of the past and new efficiency-driven software technology working together, this integration of the two has helped bring about increased productivity and cost reduction throughout the industry.
• The new ManageMail system from Lockheed Martin is a bridge between traditional mail services and an organization’s IT infrastructure. By leveraging the existing IT structure and incorporating it into the mail center, the ManageMail System provides real-time integration of physical and electronic mail addresses, which enable automated or semi-automated sortation and delivery of mail and other physical documents. It uses Microsoft Outlook and employs the ST3000 high-performance mixed mail sorter with automatic optimal carrier and mode selection, improved accuracy in mail addressing and faster delivery. Because it is built on an open platform, the system may be implemented as a stand-alone solution or integrated with legacy systems. www.lockheedmartin.com
The vendors mentioned in this article, like most mailing industry vendors, are acutely aware that your and their success is closely intertwined. And so, mailing industry professionals must also upgrade production techniques and technologies — enhancing the continued success of your mail center.