With great opportunity comes great responsibility

Derek Adam, enterprise mail business manager, Quadient
Monday, November 22, 2021

Print and mail processes must have integrity and compliance built in. Quadient’s Derek Adam considers how print service providers (PSPs) and mailing houses can verify every sheet.

Digitisation has made it easier to collect  data
Digitisation has made it easier to collect data

PSPs and mailing houses manage complex as well as bulk mailing jobs. In the past, marketing mailings were generally standardised, with the same generic inserts going to every person, but now they are increasingly tailored to individual recipients. This makes them similar to transactional mailings, such as policies and invoices, which are specific to each person, and which carry a heavy burden of compliant document insertion. If personalised content goes to the wrong person, the consequences can be serious.

This is the third blog in a series examining how PSPs, as ‘print and mail providers’, can meet the challenges of varied and bespoke mail. The first blog explored how to thrive through accelerated change, the second how to generate new revenue streams through hybrid mail. This blog explores integrity and compliance in the document inserting process.

A high cost of failure
According to a Genesys survey, 92 per cent of UK consumers are concerned about how companies use their data.

Digitisation has made it easier for businesses to collect and hold more customer data. This benefits both sides - companies that know their customers better can meet their needs.

Customers therefore benefit from products and services tailored to their requirements. However, collecting and holding personal details comes with serious responsibility.

Businesses are required by law and through regulatory compliance to protect customers’ data.

Added to this, customers can request not to be contacted through particular channels, be those electronic or print. It is incumbent on companies, and their print and mail provider partners, to ensure these preferences are met through robust channel management processes.

The cost of a single error is potentially significant. If a data breach has occurred, it can be punishable with a fine. The reputational damage is likely to be significantly more. Added to this, there are potential reprint costs and a delay to mailing processes which will impact customer satisfaction, and potentially business cash flow. If marketing mailings fail to go out on time, this can affect projected sales and impact planned response handling.

Compliant mailings start with good data
Most people think ‘online’ when they hear ‘data breach’ but companies are also duty-bound to protect privacy in written communications. Print and mail providers must demonstrate that, when printed customer data goes into the machine at one end, compliant mailings come out the other.

There is risk end-to-end in the mailing process. Without measures to ensure accuracy, documents going into envelopes could be the weak link in the chain.

Tracking and monitoring documents
Manually inserting documents into envelopes is exceptionally time-consuming, and also error-prone. If checks rely on a simple count verification there will be no audit trail of what has gone where. Should an error occur, it will be impossible to locate it without undoing work already done.

Most print and mail providers have moved on from manual processes but automation, while saving time and improving efficiency, must also have compliance and integrity built in.

Verifying every sheet of paper, instead of monitoring sequences of completed envelopes, provides superior process integrity, also the highest level of management information. If a mail piece has to be taken out of the run, the exact content, operator and time is recorded.

The right enclosing equipment, that automates document folding and inserting into envelopes, helps deliver ‘fail secure’ processes that ensure the proper actions are taken by operators. This helps minimise the risk of human error and ensures that every action is evidenced for a reliable audit trail.

Integrity and compliance must be built into print and mail processes. Failing to do so could jeopardise data and therefore client and customer relationships. A comprehensive approach can clearly demonstrate how document insertion complies. That gives print and mail providers a competitive edge to help them grow existing business and compete for new accounts.


About the author

As business development manager for enterprise mail in the south of the UK, Derek is responsible for the design and implementation of Quadient’s high-end inserting, compliance and reporting solutions. With over 21 years of industry experience, Derek understands real-world production workflow challenges and how to apply automation and world class production principles to drive efficiency and optimise productivity. Derek strives to ensure that automation solutions not only maximise flexibility and efficiency but also deliver the highest levels of process accuracy, integrity and reporting.

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