Not only is the State of Colorado's Integrated Document Solutions (IDS) Print and Mail Operations embracing evolution, they have become one of the notable pioneers and guiding influences in the evolutionary process. IDS front-line staff and leadership have worked hard to change the paradigm of a government employee. Taking a step back, one realizes that the work performed at this level carries a huge responsibility to identify opportunities to increase effectiveness and efficiencies. The taxpayer and state should expect nothing less.

What's IDS?
IDS is a unit of the Division of Central Services (DCS) under the Colorado Department of Personnel & Administration (DPA). One of the biggest challenges for in-plant support services in today's government is being able to show the value of the services they provide. Not only do you have to stay up with the latest technology, but they also have to be able to develop and have ongoing training for staff.

The problem all government in-plant print and mail operations have to solve is how to survive in today's economy. The budget cuts that governments have to absorb make it very challenging to educate your operators, network at conferences, and purchase new equipment.

With those challenges, IDS had to look for ways to become not just good, but one of the top government in-house support organizations overall. What they have done is something that, in the past, did not work in government - the front line employees are taking the lead by initiating change.
IDS is now the one-stop shop for all local governments in the state of Colorado. They are now offering their services not only to state agencies but also to counties and municipalities. The days of "Why should I care about their budget?" or "It's not my job to correct them" are gone. We no longer have customers, we have partners, and those partners are now willing to help us help them be successful.

Bringing it all together:
With changes in customer demands and a rapidly changing economic environment, IDS went through a detailed analysis of the Interdepartmental Delivery System, while remaining focused on the customer's business needs.

In developing new and more efficient routes, IDS procured hardware and software used to track packages in the network. In developing the actual route maps, IDS acquired route development software to allow a reduction in miles traveled and time spend between stops. As a result of this analysis, IDS has been able to reduce total routes by close to 50% as well as total miles and fuel used.

Copier Program:
In an effort to save the State of Colorado money, IDS transformed the copier program into the IDS Multifunction Device Program. The IDS Copier Program is a distributor of copy machines to state agencies. The Copier Program operated on a budget of $85,000.00. Using the economies of scale approach, we are able to drive down the cost of these machines leasing them at a bulk rate. In addition, we are able to drive down paper cost associated with our devices using the same methodology. The IDS Copier Program distributes copiers statewide, only charging a flat rate copy fee to state agencies, which includes the paper. Machine size and speed are determined by volume. The Copier Program set volume standards, and split them into seven categories.

IDS Print Operations
In 2011, IDS completed its transition to "Variable Data" printing. IDS now offers various forms of variable digital printing, which includes text, graphics, and images. Each file can be changed from one printed piece to the next without hindering the process. This process has increased efficiency and volumes while reducing costs. With the business model Print to Post, all under one roof, data files are prepared, and then sent to the digital printers. Once printed, they are moved to the mail inserters and sorter before being trucked to the Denver General Mail Facility.

IDS is working with customers in developing more efficient communication with variable data print in areas like: property tax appraisals; parks registration cards for snowmobiles, boats, and off-road vehicle owners; business licenses and letters; teacher licenses; and election mailings required for counties. Another use is converting MS Word mail merge files to variable data in order to reduce preparation time and make it more efficient to print and send to mail.

IDS Mail Operations
In 2011, IDS Mail Operations implemented numerous cost-effective processes that saved customers immensely. Management implemented daily production meetings to increase communication between all areas including customer service, mail, and print teams. IDS started to analyze each job sent to them by their customers to find new ways to cut their postage, labor, and/or material costs.

By replacing older equipment, including an inserter, letter sorter, and inkjet machine, productivity increased by 30%, lowering the cost passed on to the customer. IDS was able to install a tabletop inserter for small inserting jobs, which helped minimize hand labor and set-up time on the floor inserters. IDS implemented an electronic ordering system for our customers to include with their mail request, relaying their bill code, mail rate, and contact person, which aids in processing the job more efficiently. The state of Colorado is also the first state to have the state seal on the USPS Flat Rate Priority boxes. Government agencies like this added value because it identifies government from private sector and the visibility makes it easier to track.

IDS offers 5-digit pre-sorting, which has increased postage savings by more than 10%, saving the state and customers an estimated $1.6 million in postage in the last year. IDS also found new savings with a Flat Manifesting System. This system paid for itself in less than nine months, saving the state taxpayers a minimum of $100,000 in postage in 2011.

Address Quality Program (AQP)
The State of Colorado is the first and only state in the nation to be its own NCOA vendor. All government entities in the State of Colorado are under the state's umbrella and can have IDS run their addresses through the NCOA.

In order to receive presort discounts, the USPS has made it mandatory that every 95 days, the address data file must go through a pre-approved program for address hygiene. If you do not do some type of address quality, then you will lose your discounts and be subject to added fees to that mailing and lose all future discounts. The savings last year, just from the presort discounts we received from USPS, were gained because we had a process in place that was close to two million dollars just in discounted postage savings.

In the past, the NCOA was used as a quick way to qualify mailings for presort discounts or to make sure that mailpiece was sent to the new address. In most instances, as the mail is going down the letter sorter, a program called FASTforward would run against the NCOA and make the changes at that time. This qualifies that mailing for presort discounts rates; the only problem with this process is that the damage is already done. Print, materials, and postage have already been wasted!

This process causes confusion and lack of understanding such as:
· Many mailers will say they have been doing the NCOA for years by using FASTforward/Move Update as it goes down the letter sorter.
· FASTforward/Move Update is a quick way to qualify mailings for presort discounts.
· Governments used to budget for Undeliverable As Addressed (UAA) mail.
· The majority of the time, the information of all the upgrades and move updates are not communicated to the original agency so that they can clean up their database.

The IDS Address Quality Program is not just for the state to be able to get presort discounts. It is also a tool that used to help government agencies become much more efficient in the complete process from start to finish of that mailpiece.

Tactical Postage Budgeting (TPB):
Tactical Postage Budgeting is the process from start to finish on identifying efficiency with regards to how you mail, what endorsements you use, and what rate you would use. This program is for government agencies that have statutes that tell them how to mail.

TPB for County Election Mailings:
There are 64 different counties that have to follow certain procedures on how they mail out election mail. There are strict guidelines that they must follow on how they contact registered voters by mail. The only way a registered voter can have his information changed is if they do it themselves. So if a registered voter moves to another county the old county still has to mail to the address they have on file.

The process for mailing out voter registration:
· County uses nonprofit postage in most cases.
· Because it is nonprofit and it is an election mailing, they have to put Address Service Requested on the mailing piece. If that person has moved, the post office will send information back to the county that will have the new address, but the cost of this service is .50 per piece on top of the postage already used.
· Once the county receives the notice, they research and then generate another mailing to that new address.
· A piece of mail that originally cost about .22 to construct and mail is now costing close to 1.00 or more with the extra postage, paper, and printing.

Example: Election Move Update Mailing
· Use the NCOA program to indentify all moves and bad addresses.
· Did not have to use the Address Service Requested endorsement and was able to mail a letter to the new address asking the voter to update their records.
· IDS was able to save on postage, printing, paper, extra fees, and labor on all the research of returned mail with new address
· Only half the 64 counties are at nonprofit status; since IDS was doing the mailing on behalf of all 64 counties, we were able to blend all the counties' mail that was for elections under a nonprofit permit.
· Because of the volume, IDS was able to leverage better pricing on print and materials.
· By allowing IDS to do this mailing for the counties, the savings for just this one mailing statewide was close to $150,000.00.
· The savings from not having to use the address service requested endorsement alone was $85,000.00
· 64 different counties, two different state agencies (Secretary of State and IDS ), and one Federal (USPS) worked together in developing this one mailing.

The Results
IDS is now seeing new mailings being developed by the government agencies that use them. These mailing pieces are not just new but they are the highest level of integrity of mail. USPS is seeing the fees going away but they are now also seeing UAA mail disappearing and being replaced with good mail.

The Future
IDS is now working with USPS executive management to create an advisory group that will be just governments that all 50 states will be able to use. This group will use the foundation of how IDS now approaches print and mail and the importance of working with government agencies as partners instead of a customer vendor relationship.

IDS Commitment to All their Partners

The Division of Central Services' IDS exists to provide customers with the product or service they need, at a price they can afford, and at a level of quality for which they can be proud. Through our consolidated, volume-based approach, Central Services IDS helps participating state agencies to:

· COMBINE STATE VOLUMES to impNot only is the State of Colorado's Integrated Document Solutions (IDS) Print and Mail Operations embracing evolution, they have become one of the notable pioneers and guiding influences in the evolutionary process. IDS front-line staff and leadership have worked hard to change the paradigm of a government employee. Taking a step back, one realizes that the work performed at this level carries a huge responsibility to identify opportunities to increase effectiveness and efficiencies. The taxpayer and state should expect nothing less.

· ELIMINATE REDUNDANCY by creating one contract and solicitation process, providing one shop which minimizes facility costs, improve labor efficiency, reduce and share management and administration costs, and reduce the need to invest in duplicative equipment and infrastructure.

· IMPROVE PROFESSIONALISM AND QUALITY with dedicated functional expertise, improved information and systems, and consistent processes and methods translates to increased technical expertise and higher quality service.

· REDUCE UNIT COSTS by maximizing equipment use, diluting fixed and overhead costs, and extending large volume pricing to small agencies.

If governments are going to get better, it starts with each one of us. We are the ones that can make a difference. I know this because I have already made a difference in the State of Colorado.

Mike Sexson is the Project Manager for the Department of Personnel & Administration, Division of Central Services, Integrated Document Solutions. Mike helped develop and currently manages the State of Colorado IDS, Address Quality Program.