Taking Back Control of Print and the Mail Room

When taking a look at your business, there are four essential questions you should ask yourself about the communications that you’re producing: Does it have to be perfect? Is it regulated? Do you need to track it and report on it? Does it contain customized or personal information? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, you are dealing with critical communications.

More and more, printers are being approached by companies in the healthcare and financial industries that are looking to outsource the production and mailing of the sensitive documents such as statements, regulatory letters, checks, explanation of benefits, and policy statements. Ensuring that print jobs aren’t only complete but also accurate is necessary for these high-priority jobs, and calls for a level of tracking and reporting that many printers might not currently have.

As we move into an increasingly technological age, many printers’ workflows are still comprised of some manual processes, which are error-prone and time-consuming. Put simply, having 99% accuracy isn’t sufficient if you’re dealing with output where a single mistake can lead to negative consequences for your client or from a regulatory agency.

Modern workflow solutions like Ricoh’s Critical Communications suite afford printers the ability to achieve 100 percent piece-level tracking and control, and produce lists of everything produced and, more importantly, missing items.

Further efficiency can be gained through automating processes like reprinting and inserting using 2D barcodes. Printers can also overcome difficulties in tracking documents—in order to prove compliance—by gaining access to automated reports that give top-level insight into jobs, or granular insight into specific mail pieces.

Printers are also contending with high postal and operational costs, and looking for simple ways to correct addresses and sort their mailing to take advantage of discounts and reduce undeliverable mail.

With many printers doing more with less, and looking to expand into new areas to open up new revenue streams and increase profitability, having an overall view of the broader operation from a single point is incredibly useful. The ability to see the completion statuses of jobs within the context of deadlines and printer utilization enables managers to re-assign jobs on the fly.


CCS’ comprehesive solution

One poignant case study of how printers can grow their businesses through the help of a comprehensive critical communications solution is CCS Printing, a provider of digital and offset print. Seattle-based CCS Printing was founded in 1987 as Centralized Copy Service, an on-site provider of copying and laser printing for a major discount software retailer. Within a year of its founding, the in-plant company began serving other clients after hours and quickly became a 24-hour production facility. Now with more than 100 employees and a diversified portfolio of services, including digital and offset print, fulfillment logistics, graphic design and web development, CCS serves a broad range of customers in a variety of industries.

The company was looking to take on additional business for a healthcare insurance provider, which entailed an unprecedented level of complexity and compliance. In order to meet the integrity needs of the customer and the HIPAA regulations of the industry, CCS had to implement a new system to increase their production capabilities.

The company decided to utilize RICOH ProcessDirector Automated Document Factory (ADF) with an Ironsides Technology Automated Production Tracking (APT) solution. This combination allowed CCS to perform closed-loop, piece-level tracking and reporting on each of the more than the two million documents produced each month. The end result was successfully meeting the deadline to take on a new project, while still keeping up with its established Service Level Agreements (SLAs).

Regardless of what volume of output you are current handling, having a workflow solution that grows with you and can adapt to your changing business needs and the changing demands of the work environment is key to not just taking back control of print, but mastering it.