In 2015, the company invested £1.3m in a variety of personalisation kit from Pitney Bowes, including a Mailstream Productivity Series high-volume inserting system, a Print+ Messenger Colour Inkjet System for colour envelope printing and a Print+ Response Inkjet module.
It has been using this setup for ad-hoc bulk mailings but is now making it available to smaller customers using its Docmail arm.
The insertion lines integrate Print + Response with Print + Messenger.
Newly appointed CFH managing director Bill McFedries, who replaced outgoing managing director Dave Broadway in July, said that the service to SMEs would be available within the next fortnight and described the move as a “gamechanger”.
McFedries said: “What is nice about this innovation is bringing that personalisation in-house and adding a competitive advantage to the marketplace.
“We are one of the few providers that own and develop our own hybrid mail platform as well as controlling the production side, so we didn’t need to sit and wait for a third party.
“It has proved itself on the simpler, higher-volume work so now we can add it to Docmail, which is lower-volume, more complex packs. The first time you see a hybrid mail pack it has to go out, you don’t have the luxury of being a large transactional customer, but we now have the confidence to use it in this way.”
The service removes the requirement to use pre-printed envelopes and facilitates printing speeds of up to 26,000 mail pieces per hour, also streamlining the application changeover.
“We have a good partnership with Pitney Bowes so when it comes down to innovation chats, the likes of Clive Stringer (Pitney Bowes vice-president of enterprise solutions) give us the visibility in where they would like us to head innovation-wise,” added McFedries.
He described the February 2015-installed kit as “spot-on and trouble-free” and said that he envisaged the service would be used by the likes of GP surgeries.
Stringer said that the upgrade was another example of Pitney Bowes reinventing mail to help clients achieve better results.
Along with the upgrade, Pitney Bowes has also published new marketing research highlighting the need for businesses to incorporate personalised messages in colourful marketing communications and consumers’ frustrations with irritating marketing materials.
The research, which involved a survey of more than 1,000 British consumers and is entitled The Future Marketing Mix, found more than half (59%) of British consumers put “irrelevant communications” in the bin within five seconds of seeing them and 42% think brands need to engage better with customers.
CFH employs 370 staff, 200 at its Radstock site, 40 in Scotland, 30 in its Slough office and the rest split among its Velopost cycling delivery sites in Bristol, Bath and Edinburgh.