Over the next few months, I will continue to answer the simple question: Is your Customer Communications workflow SIMPLE? In my experience with customers, workflows are never simple, but I believe they can be SIMPLE-fied through use of technology and strategy. That is, SIMPLE meaning: Streamline, Innovate, Measure, Profitable, Leverage and Extend. Really, it is all about how you approach your Customer Communications Management (CCM) workflow.

The last four months we discussed how to Streamline, Innovate, and Measure and how to become more Profitable; this month we will discuss how you can Leverage your CCM workflow.

If you missed the first four parts of the series, please take a look at the January through April issues.

1. Eliminate costly manual processes: From an Enterprise wide perspective this is one business process improvement that will affect many different departments. Consider all the times you touch the customer communications output process through manual or human interaction. These are areas that can slow down, complicate your workflow and add cost. From the reprints and productivity tracking mentioned earlier, to moving to a white or plain paper factory, these reduction or elimination of manual processes will greatly enhance throughput, reduce errors, improve information time to customer and reduce your output and customer service costs. How much can you affect your profitability, consider no form changes when you move to white paper in and variable print out. What if you could add barcodes, kick off automatic reprints of damaged pieces and get them back into the workflow to make your optimized mail balanced? Each step that you can automate allows for your valuable FTEs to be doing work that impacts the business more. You are not only saving dollars, but utilizing your resources better.

2. Co-mingling of print jobs: From a print and mail perspective there is often optimization that can occur in what communications you are sending out, where they are going and how you can bundle them. Look at your workflow today and see if you can easily co-mingle print jobs by geographic delivery area. What is the impact? Bring more work together and make sure it is optimized by the mail sortation software to provide the best mail densities. The result is reduced mailing cost; and for those moving to onserts and TransPromo, it can offset the changes in your mailing weight, volumes and densities.

3. Whitespace management: the management of whitespace on the page has been talked about for many years now. The basic premise is that you can analyze your print stream or print file after it has been composed to find the whitespace and drop value-add content in for additional benefit to the customer. You can also use document reengineering techniques to modify your communications in order to optimize page counts through this type of management. In short, the management of the whitespace on a document is akin to optimizing your mail densities and shipping palettes. The more value you get out of every page, the better it is for your CCM.

The above examples are just a few of the ways you can make your customer communications more SIMPLE. Next month, I will cover ways you can Expand your existing investments to extend their value and make your customer communications more SIMPLE.

David Day, EDP brings over 32 years of experience in the document management & mail industry. As an active member of Xplor for over 17 years, David frequently presents at local and global Xplor meetings. He has also been a guest speaker at various company user and industry groups including National Postal Forum, Graph Expo and Mailcom. David, Product Marketing Manager at CrawfordTech, is responsible for worldwide for their Enterprise Output Management Products. He works with customers, prospects, sales and product development to identify customer requirements, evaluate solutions and make product recommendations