With today’s increasingly hectic print and mail operations, it is not easy to keep a bird’s eye view of the entire operation and manage the workflow around it.

When businesses attempt to streamline their processes, adding integrity to legacy documents or trying to automate complex applications, they’re often required to make certain manual steps. However, manual processing of document workflow is not always cost-effective and worse, can introduce errors. A tightly integrated, end-to-end workflow process that creates and maintains a streamlined workflow helps companies reuse components, automates manual steps and brings on clients more quickly.

For example, let’s say that an organization has a job printing checks with MICR on one printer and a medical explanation of benefits on another, and these are then merged during the inserting process. This is not only inefficient; it’s a risky business process.

Instead, the business can collate the two applications upstream prior to printing, adding barcodes to each document to ensure the integrity and matching of the contents of every envelope by tracking it through the print and mail process.  Not only does this reduce the need for manual handling, it eliminates risk that could come if someone’s check, or explanation of benefits, was erroneously inserted into the wrong envelope.

So how can organizations move certain tasks upstream, automating their printstream while simplifying downstream operational tasks? What tools are needed to coordinate those “islands”, or production sites, ensuring that all steps are properly completed?

 The devil is in the details

The details in print and mail can truly make or break the entire production process. One small oversight – such as a double-stuffed document – could end up costing large amounts of fines – and subsequently, future business with a client.

Businesses can also lose money when they opt for manual processing of documents. This is a good reason to automate and generalize workflows, not only to eliminate manual steps, but to also reuse components and onboard clients more quickly.

Flexible and automated printers and inserters can help streamline the slower, manual projects. But businesses might still need fewer complex machines for certain projects. How can they intelligently and seamlessly use both types? For example, monochrome and color printers are both good at various types of work. Coordinating those machines together is more efficient than just forcing all of the work through a color printer. Doing so jams up the queue for that machine and wastes ink for an otherwise black-and-white print job – further wasting time and money.

Changing the onboarding process for long-term success

One of the more common challenges facing print and mail operations is the onboarding process. Some businesses might not be able to describe what their onboarding process entails as it is highly dependent upon the applications and job requirements: Will we move from monochrome to color inkjet? What are the Service Level Agreements?  What sort of capacity is required? Do we need new equipment?

Organizations can also be resistant to changing processes. “Why do I need that tool when I already know how to do this job a certain way?” However, when you dig a bit deeper, you often learn that there are additional benefits.  For example, improved client satisfaction and less risk. When you can prove the immediate and long-term benefits, organizations will have an easier time of seeing the forest for the trees.

The onboarding process – whether it’s a new client or a new job with a current client – should be efficient and standardized: reducing alpha management application scripting, simplifying new applications, automatically managing configurations and augmenting print and mail communications with variable data.

All of this digital transformation helps to onboard clients faster. With the right software, print and mailers can align business requirements, data and existing infrastructure, while also managing delivery preferences and Service Level Agreements with centralized configurations and change management. Furthermore, businesses can ensure a complete audit trail.

Time, labor, printer and inserter output are all valuable commodities. Organizations do not need to be bogged down with legacy systems and balancing varied output infrastructures--especially in multiple locations. Opting for an integrated end-to-end print and mail workflow helps automate more and standardize daily operations, leading to reduced operating costs, faster onboarding processes and improved productivity.

At BlueCrest, we work to help you maximize the productivity of your people, processes and technology. Our approach ensures you create a workflow that is easy to set up and maintain, connecting islands of automation across your business.  With BlueCrest’s Output Management software suite, automated workflows across print and mail ensure a smooth onboarding process to enhance your organizational value, help you complete all Service Level Agreements, and maintain client satisfaction.

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