Star product: Pitney Bowes DM220 digital franking range

Hannah Jordan
Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Machines that calculate postage and stamp automatically

What is it and when was it launched?
Pitney Bowes launched the DM220 franking range in August 2012 and according to the manufacturer’s channel and marketing manager Matthew Lampton, the range has generated "a huge amount of excitement" among its customers. The series, which is comprised of the DM220i and the DM160i, has generated 43% of Pitney Bowes’ total franking machine sales (by units) since first being launched.

What does it do?
The DM220i can frank up to 45 letters per minute on envelopes up to 9.5mm thick. It has an integrated weighing scale that can handle loads of up to 5kg, but the range also offers an additional weighing platform that will withstand up to 35kg.

The DM160i can frank up to 40 9.5mm envelopes per minute with a maximum weight of 2.5kg.

Both machines feature an account management facility, thereby allowing the tracking of 25 and 100 team or client accounts for the DM160i and the DM220i respectively, which is intended to help businesses manage their budgets and accurately apply cross-departmental charges. Lampton says: "Tracking client accounts is the smart choice for small businesses that want to control their costs. It gives the opportunity to track targeted direct mail shots and related expenditure, and then record ROI." 

Both machines automatically calculate exact postage and stamp accordingly, while an integrated ‘smart meter’ allows them to reclaim VAT on any applicable Royal Mail services. Other features of the DM220 series include the use of Pitney Bowes’ trademark Intellilink technology that connects the machines with a secure server from which they can remotely download software updates, postal tariff changes and envelope messaging.

And to improve connectivity, Pitney Bowes has introduced local area network (LAN) connectivity to the range. This allows businesses to integrate the machines into their own computer networks and saves on the cost and time of an analogue line.

"It has a much faster connection, so it is far more efficient and has a much richer data feed. It really improves communication with both Pitney Bowes and Royal Mail," says Lampton.

Who is it aimed at?
DM220i was designed with SMEs – such as smaller print businesses and small e-commerce firms – in mind. "DM220 offers both cost and efficiency savings such as the LAN connectivity, "says Lampton.

He points out that the Royal Mail’s price changes on 30 April this year have meant that franking is more beneficial than ever for businesses, particularly SMEs – with savings of 16p on First Class letters and 19p on Second Class.

"They introduced a huge differential between the price of stamps and franking, which means that if you are sending just eight Second Class letters a day, a franking machine is easily going to pay for itself."

Lampton says that another great benefit is the capability to apply "free advertising" slogans next to the postage marks. He adds: "It gives their mail a far more professional look helping to increase open rates, which in turn will help drive up revenue."

What is its USP?
According to Lampton, the DM220 range offers numerous ‘stand-out’ features. "The speed is impressive; 40 and 45 pieces per minute is fast," he says. He also touts the account tracking feature that allows business to record expenditure and measure ROI. And one of the most exciting features, he explains, is the additional weighing platform. He adds: "It ties in neatly with lots of e-commerce-type businesses out there who want to weigh larger parcels."

How much does it cost?
The DM160i is available to buy for £2,190 while the DM220i costs £2,915. Leasing arrangements are also available with weekly fixed payments ranging from £16-£22 for the DM160i and £21-£27 for the DM220i, depending on contract terms. With the leasing option allowing users a fixed price for up to five years, Lampton says it is the preferred option. Payment options can be arranged on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis.

Pitney Bowes customers can also choose the firm’s ‘Postage Power’ service, a 55-day free credit facility designed to help businesses maintain cashflow.

What support service is on offer?
For an annual payment of £299, the PB Inclusive service offers customers next-day response for emergency calls, although a six-hour target response time is available (price on application). This includes all of the emergency repairs, labour and spare parts. Customers are also offered access to an online self-help portal or telephone service. 


SPECIFICATIONS

Max speed
40/45 letters/min
Max letter thickness
9.5mm
Weighing range
Up to 5kg (35kg optional)
Price
DM160i: £2,190 or up to £22pw lease DM220i: £2,915 or up to £27pw lease
Contact
Pitney Bowes 0800 748639 pitneybowes.co.uk

ALTERNATIVES

Frama Matrix F2-L
The F2-L machines is described as an end-to-end solution that builds on the "comprehensive" Matrix F2. It features 18 programmable keys so that users can
preset their most common jobs.
Max speed
21 letters/min
Max letter thickness
10mm
Weighing range 
2-15kg
Price
Price options available on request
Contact
Frama (UK)  01992 451125 www.frama.co.uk

Neopost IS-330
This model sits among Neopost’s smaller machines, designed for use by those franking up to 100 items per day.
Max speed
40 letters/min
Max letter thickness
10mm
Weighing range
Up to 2kg
Price
£2,365 or leasing options upon request
Contact
Neopost 0800 011 3997 www.neopost.co.uk

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