Raising the Bar on Variable Data Accuracy and Efficiency

Accuracy and accountability is critical at Data-Mail, a full-service direct mail company based in Newington, CT, which produces over 1.5 billion pieces of correspondence annually, many containing personalized variable and customer data. The content and logic changes combined with the high volumes of individualized documents make traditional proofing methods costly, time consuming, and error prone.

Data-Mail’s customers—major companies in finance, insurance, utilities, and healthcare—use complex variable data in their new client acquisition efforts. Because the documents change regularly, ensuring that every change that is made correctly is a major challenge. The validation process must look beyond basics such as dates, names, and addresses to subtleties like differences in construction, positioning, and embedded data. Not only are companies’ brands reflected in these documents, increasing regulatory exposure makes accuracy a paramount concern.

To enhance Data-Mail’s comprehensive QC procedures, Data-Mail CTO Chris Bennett wanted the flexibility to handle the challenges common to managing changes in complex variable data output projects. He sought to compare words and fonts, sometimes independently of each other, and make contextual comparisons of content, but the tools available were unable to provide that level of detail

“Most of the software tools can compare one character to another,” notes Bennett. “But when a client wants to change the font on a large section of a document, or make changes based on variables in the data, the other tools are useless.”

Positive Impact

“Using DocBridge Delta we ran comparisons using several documents,” explains Bennett. “We saw right away that it could make the proofing process around changes faster, more accurate and more efficient.”

DocBridge Delta from Compart North America (Booth 549) is now an integral part of Data-Mail’s data center. When documents are output, DocBridge compares them to an original version to identify any changes. When the Data-Mail team is working on a proof with a large number of pages, they produce a QC proof internally. If they find changes or if a client wants to make changes, they output another proof and use DocBridge Delta to ensure only the intended changes were made. Some of the key advantages include:

  • Portions of a document can be “masked” to exclude them from comparison. This speeds up comparison so only areas that have changes are examined.
  • Comparisons can be made on a contextual basis so individual words can be compared without the fonts also having to match.
  • Areas containing a different font can be examined to ensure they fit on a page correctly and that text flows properly.
  • Characters and spacing can be compared at the pixel level to ensure fonts, spacing, and the flow of text are accurate.

Compart DocBridge Delta has had a positive impact on Data-Mail’s productivity and quality. ”We can check more pages and do audits more accurately and much faster than with traditional methods,” affirms Bennett. “And we can be confident that proofs are accurate when we give them to customers.”

Data-Mail makes a point of recommending effective software tools to its customers, has recommended DocBridge Delta to a major financial institution. “The product managers wanted to know how we did such a good job, and we told them about DocBridge.”

“We’re always looking for ways to add new technology that will allow us to do more, and do it better, but it can be a challenge to find solutions that have a clear impact on production. Compart DocBridge Delta is a product that has a positive impact.”