Mark Kearns is Vice President, Bancorp Mail & Print Services, for Cincinnati-based Fifth Third Bank. He describes the bank’s in-plant as a high-volume transactional shop, playing a critical role in the organization: “We produce all of our customer correspondence, from customers’ account statements to bank card statements, to mortgage notices—all of our products across the enterprise.”
Fifth Third Bank has a rich American history that dates back to 1858 Ohio. Today, the company’s in-plant operation in Cincinnati is perfectly positioned to help carry on that tradition—with a complete stable of prepress, print, and postpress solutions, including its newest addition: a Standard Hunkeler Roll-to-Stack system, in-line with a Ricoh InfoPrint 5000 inkjet press.
“We’re a 24/7 shop, and we produce approximately 170 million impressions a year, which equates to 70 million pieces of mail,” Kearns calculates. “We have a subset of customers that like to be online, and we supply them with the best online tools and experience, but we have another subset of customers who want to get that piece of print in the mail. They value that channel and, of course, we value it also.”
As some customers have migrated to the Internet, the impact on the in-plant has been less print, certainly, but also better print.
“Our vision is to be the one bank that people most value and trust. With the amount of customer touch-points we have, we know that we have the opportunity to help that vision become a reality,” he explains.
“We really want to make sure our print mail pieces have true value for the customer—that they’re getting the correct information, the correct format, at the correct time, and with the best customer experience—and that we’re getting a good return on that investment. So in order to make that happen, we spent two years researching,” Kearns recalls.
In recent years, Fifth Third Bank’s fleet of print engines included continuous-feed and cut-sheet monochromatic, toner-based technologies. But the in-plant’s interest in inkjet changed the pressroom landscape. “[Inkjet] does require a significant investment, but what it gives you back is tremendous,” Kearns stresses.
“For us, prepress and postpress were always labor intensive,” Kearns recalls. “It has always been a bottleneck in the print process. That was a big concern for us. As we moved toward a very high-speed inkjet printer, we had some concerns that pre- and postpress equipment was not going to be able to keep up—or might even inhibit the printer.”
After great consideration and due diligence, the Fifth Third Bank in-plant made the decision to install a Ricoh InfoPrint 5000—customized with a Standard Hunkeler Roll-to-Stack solution—in April 2013.
The total workflow unfolds like this: the Unwinder feeds the InfoPrint 5000, which outputs to a DP6-II Dynamic Perforator, after that it moves to a WM6 Web Merger, then to the integrated CS6-II Rotary Cutter with chip-out, and finally to an LS6 Stacker.
“We’re particularly excited about the Standard Hunkeler DP6,” Kearns confides. The DP6 Dynamic Perforating and Punching Module creates precise cross and vertical perforations in two-up mode, which can vary from sheet to sheet.
Prior to the installation, the in-plant had to warehouse various types of pre-perforated media. “We had a lot of cut-sheet paper—some with top perf, some with bottom perf, some multi-perf. Now, we can get rid of all that and move to one standard paper, perf that on the fly, and save money on space, inventory, and ordering.”
Kearns reports that he was also impressed with the ease with which the new printer and prepress and post press equipment became part of their operations.
“The Standard Finishing Systems team worked so well with the Ricoh InfoPrint team. Here, space is at a premium, and we’re a production shop. We didn’t stop production just because we were getting the equipment in. They got it in; they got it working. Everything was tested, and it was all done on time. We actually learned a lot about the equipment, just by being involved with the installation.”