The Bristol-based firm took on its first MIP around two years ago. It has now returned to Romford-based Mailing Technology and Support (MTS) for three of the kit developer’s latest systems, the first of which was installed in the past few months while the other two units are due for delivery next week.
The primary function of the MIP is to provide an audit trail of every mail piece, with a time and date stamp in a csv format, which can be imported into Excel to provide critical management information.
The MIP will also activate a mailsort kicker on the output conveyor, which automates the mail sort process, either by batch count or mail break, saving time and labour on the belt.
It does so by reading a 2D Data Matrix code through the window of an envelope as it exits the inserter, typically using Royal Mail’s Mailmark tracking system, which incorporates the required data.
“Our first unit was fitted to a machine that was doing some very sensitive work for the NHS,” said Latcham Direct managing director Mike Hughes.
“That was very successful but the introduction of GDPR has shone a light on the requirement to achieve 100% correct fulfilment and we have therefore been working to build an integrated solution, providing a ‘belt and braces’ approach to quality control and document verification.
“The MIPs significantly reduce the risk of mistakes which can result from mis-feeds and mismatches within the production process. As well as machine enclosing of mail, Latcham produces a lot of small batches every day, which are fulfilled by hand and we have therefore introduced scanning and verification terminals within our hand enclosing department.”
He added: “We’re using the MIPs as well as other systems in the factory to scan, check and verify that everything is in sequence.
“It gives us that confidence and it allows us to keep a log file of that particular activity. So if there are possibly any issues that might be reported later then we’re able to check back and have a full audit file to make sure that every batch we produce is absolutely correct.”
Latcham looked at a range of options on the market before deciding to invest once again in kit from MTS, which is retrofitted onto the firm’s existing Pitney Bowes envelope enclosing lines.
“We also use integrity software and solutions from Pitney Bowes but that’s built into the machines themselves,” said Hughes.
“This MTS platform provides us with a second check over and above the in-built verification on the enclosing machines.”
Latcham Direct delivers a range of data, print, digital marketing and fulfilment services to customers throughout the UK. Its work mix ranges from one-page black and white bills and statements to complex multi-variant campaigns.
The 100-staff company, which is targeting turnover of £10.5m for the current financial year, operates cut-sheet equipment from Xerox and continuous-feed machinery from Ricoh at its 7,600sqm premises.
Last year the business acquired Crawley-based print management company CGL to grow its range of services and addressable markets.