Electronic bill presentment and payment is nothing new. After a decade of begging, online banking’s “go paperless” pleas finally are being heard, as tens of millions of bill-payers no longer write checks or affix stamps on return envelopes, to the USPS’s chagrin. That many customers still...
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In fact, about 20 percent of such bureau sites globally produce some 80 percent of transaction print volume, or approximately 18 billion documents annually, PRIMIR reported. For example, Regulus Group (3i Infotech and now part of TransCentra) is America’s largest independent remittance provider and a leading bill processor, receiving and storing some 1 billion images and processing more than 2 billion transactions annually through 10 centers across the U.S. Its blue-chip clients include one-third of the Fortune 50, including several banks. Printing industry heavy-hitters IWCO Direct, QuadDirect, and RR Donnelley Business Communication Services (BCS) play in the transpromo arena as well. From three production sites, Donnelley BCS reportedly outputs some 30 million pages annually for one of its financial customers.
Commercial print case studies of transpromo applications are difficult to find, as most printers cannot afford to experiment with transpromo. The capital equipment investment is substantial; plus, it is difficult to compete with the aforementioned “big boys” on price, Xerox’s Sweeney acknowledged. The exceptions are general commercial printers that have added transactional marketing services by acquiring firms with that expertise and existing accounts, she said, but such examples are few and far between.
InfoTrends’ Hamilton concurs. “I think transaction is a pretty difficult market to ‘dabble’ in,” he noted, “though with the purchase of high-speed, continuous-feed color inkjet by commercial printers, we will see them try to leverage those in transactional applications. I think that will be more likely to happen through market consolidation as commercial printers buy transaction service bureaus, or vice versa.”
PRIMIR measures average monthly page volume rather than page- or feet-per-minute speeds because financial and transaction printing often occurs in bursts: 2 million pages may need to be printed during a five-day period, for example, followed by 25 days of downtime.
In Texas, Broadridge Financial Services prints and mails more than 2 billion images within the first days of each month. Spun off by ADP (Audomated Data Processing) five years ago, the NY-based firm is the de facto provider of proxy voting services to U.S. corporations. Its facility in Coppell, TX, is one of three processing centers that prints brokerage statements. To keep up with such a large volume in such a short time frame, Broadridge deploys some 100 printers between its four locations. Data is digitally printed, then rewound, cut and stacked, or folded inline. Finished output is transported to one of more than 100 inserters of various types. To handle such a wide range of applications, the firm uses a variety of Lasermax Roll Systems feeding and finishing solutions.
Xerox customer Advanced Business Graphics, Mira Loma, CA, produces some 400,000 records per run (3.8 million impressions). The firm outputs trans-informational and trans-educational documents such as benefits explanations and personalized health passports.
Digital Mailbox Impact
InfoTrends expects digital mailbox services to deliver 2 billion paperless transaction documents to consumers in 2015. That figure represents 7 percent of all transaction documents, 19 percent of all paperless delivery, and $323 million in transaction document delivery fees alone. Its forecast shows that from a base of 13 percent paperless delivery in 2010, paperless transactional business-to-consumer communications is expected to grow to 36 percent in the next 30 months (see chart). “While businesses want to see that needle move more rapidly, consumer inertia and resistance to change, among other things, are likely to slow overall adoption,” said Matt Swain, an InfoTrends associate director specializing in document outsourcing. Swain recently presented in June at PostalVision 2020, where he discussed the role of the U.S. Postal Service and what it would look like eight years from now.
“All players in the customer communications delivery value chain will be impacted by digital mailbox services as volumes shift, the economy changes, and new competitors, partners, and suppliers emerge,” continued Swain. “It is critical that companies understand the opportunities that digital mailbox services present and the future impact this emerging channel will have on their businesses.” Existing and announced providers in the U.S. to date include doxo, Manilla, Volly (Pitney Bowes), and Zumbox, which all enable paperless delivery options of multiple types of critical customer communications, among other services.
Released in late 2011, “The Emergence of Digital Mailbox Services: Moving Beyond Online Bill Consolidation in the US” report is based on an extensive analysis of surveys with more than 1,500 consumers; 300 businesses across eight vertical markets; and in-depth interviews with 25 leading service bureaus, billers, financial institutions, and digital mailbox service providers.