Leading Direct Mail House Reaps Rewards

Cox Target Media’s Valpak Manufacturing Center (VMC) in St. Petersburg, FL, is a highly automated printing and fulfillment centers. Valpak serves more than 60,000 advertisers, prints more than 20 billion coupons, and ships over 500 million of the familiar blue envelopes to more than 43 million homes annually.

Cox's new facility, the result of a collaboration with 30 technical partners, is constructed around lean manufcturing processes. Bowe Bell + Howell (BBH) (Booth 3612) provided a customized collating and mailing solution involving hardware and software that is fully integrated into the automated workflow.


The focal point

At the center of the VMC are multifunctional, highly-automated collation systems engineered by BBH. Ten BBH Invelopers trim and cut pre-printed signatures, collate with supplied inserts, then wrap the inserts at high speeds.

In the Inveloping process no envelopes are used, minimizing waste and cost, and eliminating stoppages due to misinsertion of materials into envelopes. The wrapping mechanisms operate at the same speed as the trimmers and cutters that shaped the individual inserts, so no time is lost. With materials traveling more than 250 feet from start to finish, the efficiency, accuracy and control of the Inveloper assures flawless production.

Valpak produces highly targeted mailings, allowing clients to deliver a coupon insert to their target demographic. BBH’s Bowe One automated document factory software suite, helping to manage the targeted mailing process, is seamlessly integrated into Cox's enterprise management system, and drives job download and system configurations, all personalized information, and the ability to adjust inventory in real time. The system monitors every stage of the process and promotes zero tolerance for mismatches, ensuring the integrity of targeted mailings. The software also monitors material usage in real time to maintain the highest levels of quality and productivity.

After the inserts are wrapped and inkjet addressed, the mail pieces proceed to sorting bins using a robotic mail traying system.

Cox has achieved its goal of increased capacity, and it hopes to grow from 20 billion inserts per year to 30 to 40 billion. An integrated end-to-end digital facilty, the company has reduced its inserting fleet from 80 systems to 10 BBH Inveloper systems while more than doubling capacity, and projects that used to take four days can now take as little as four hours.