Envelopes do more than carry letters and inserts. The right outer envelope can help improve deliverability, increase open rates, promote offers and communicate a positive brand image.

That's why high-volume mailers and printers are excited about the latest innovations in envelope wrapping. Recent advances in paper production and mail technologies make it easy to help save significant money for producing both transactional and direct mail while actually improving mailpiece effectiveness.

Instead of stuffing contents into pre-printed envelopes, now mailers can "wrap" their letters and inserts on-the-fly - in essence, printing and manufacturing envelopes at production mail speeds. Rolls of white paper replace traditional outer envelopes. When integrated with your mail finishing system, you can print, personalize and seal mailpieces-complete with address, barcodes, postal indicia and personalized messages-all in a single pass.

This continuous wrap is estimated to lower mailpiece costs by twenty to forty percent through a combination of reduced paper usage, improved warehouse management and significantly less scrap. In addition, the streamlined workflow dramatically boosts operational efficiency and productivity.

Lower Mailpiece Cost, While Increasing Productivity

In addition to the reduction in materials costs, and the increased productivity, these next generation mail finishing solutions can reduce labor requirements in large mailings. For example, if a company was to run a two-up, pin-less, roll fed variable page credit card statement, these integrated wrapping and printing solutions can:

· Print process and cut full-color documents, and verify the sheets against a job file
· Tri-fold the mailpiece, with selective inserts added to the collation and buffered to the wrapping engine
· Replace the traditional envelope with a continuous roll wrap material that is fed into the wrap module where the side glue is applied
· Synchronize the document collation, transfer to the wrap module
· Cut the web to the specified length and complete the job with finished mailpieces

Since the rolls of wrapping material typically output more than 50,000 envelopes, your print job can run uninterrupted for up to two hours-printing, personalizing, gluing and sealing up to 26,000 pieces per hour-without having to "reload" envelopes.

Drive Efficiency without Sacrificing Versatility

The continuous roll of wrapping material is just as versatile as standard envelopes, in that wraps can be configured to produce closed-face envelopes with scalloped flap or windowed envelopes - all with the same look and feel as the more costly traditional options. And, more importantly to consumers, this new generation of wrap offers the same ease of openability as a traditional envelope. Essentially, the next generation of wrapping technologies can produce mailpieces with the familiar appearance and all the features of the envelopes you use today.

Envelope wrapping also enables you to more closely link print and mail. With intelligent, high-integrity software driving your production runs, you can personalize envelope wraps with messages and images based on specific customer profiles-and match envelope messaging with transpromo content on the primary document within. In addition, it allows organizations to print variable content in black-and-white or full color on-the-fly as part of their normal print and mail production run.

This capability drives an additional twenty to twenty-five percent boost in productivity by eliminating the need to stock inventory and manage the insertion process, while helping to ensure that all the relevant up-sell, cross-sell and promotional information is delivered to the specifically targeted customers in the appropriate communications piece. Additionally, companies can minimize postal weight costs by adding messaging on the wrap and reducing the use of inserts and buck slips.

What to Look for in a Next Generation Mail Finishing Platform

For most high-volume mailers, factors such as envelope appearance, openability, print quality, message relevance and flexibility are just as important as savings, so organizations need to select envelope wrapping technologies that support a broad range of goals and objectives.

The most cost-effective of these solutions offer the highest throughput with the highest degree of flexibility, running up to 26,000 mailpieces per hour and enabling companies to create, send and track millions of multipage, data-rich documents each month. Best of all, these solutions are easy to implement with no change to mail processing workflows or applications. Operating systems, user interfaces, reporting, servicing and support can all mirror today's experience-with identical material, page count, footprint and specs as a traditional inserter line.

To achieve the level of productivity, flexibility and integrity necessary for today's effective customer communications, look for a mail finishing platform that combines hardware and software solutions that can deliver:

· Up to forty percent lower mailpiece costs
· Offset and digital printing in color or black-and-white, before or after the wrap
· Appearance, quality and features of traditional envelopes
· Complex mailings with high degrees of personalization
· Optimization of inserts without exceeding postage limits
· Generation of on-demand logos, graphics and messages on the fly
· Glue reheat features to minimize in process spoilage
· Integrated web-fed paper wrapping engine

Given the sensitivity and personal nature of transaction mail, select software applications that provide end-to-end tracking to help ensure mailpiece integrity through constant, real-time tracking of the collation positioning, gluing, folding and mailpiece cut accuracy.

Today's best-in-class platforms will even allow companies to maximize their existing assets and reduce operating expense through a retrofittable design; there should be no requirement to replace an operable legacy system, this should merely be an in-house upgrade. Also, with any new mail finishing technology, it is important that the solution is backed by world-class customer service and technical support including training, diagnostics, parts and maintenance.

To learn more about how to integrate next generation mail finishing platforms and techniques into your high-volume print and mail operation, go to www.pb.com.