New Folding, Inserting Systems Get the Mail Flowing

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Small company mailers and large mail centers alike seek new technologies and services to better manage the flow of critical information throughout a company. Mailers and mail centers, like other operating divisions, now focus more on organizational efficiency. As a result, companies are turning the mailroom into a service and profit center by improving the core process of handling and distributing paper mail.


One way for your mail center to add value to the bottom line lies in the technology it uses to fold and insert paper mail. If your mail center can automate the inserting process of multi-page documents; collect and fill them into various envelope formats with enclosures, when needed, and easily deliver stuffed envelopes directly to the postage meter via an integrated tray, productivity will improve and costs will decline.


The main purpose of a folding-inserting system is to automate handling of outgoing mail so minimal human intervention is needed. Organizations are looking for automated solutions, and manufacturers of mailing systems and solutions are working to help you improve this process. The goal is fast and accurate automated solutions that can manage folding and inserting jobs such as invoices, newsletters, event mailings and direct mail campaigns generated throughout your company.


How the latest systems work. Folding-inserting solutions reduce the need for manual sorting of wide-ranging inserting jobs by customizing and programming based on your collating, folding and inserting needs. The technology can classify documents based on weight and thickness. It can capture documents and assemble personalized mailings based on select optimal combination of supplements for filling envelopes to the maximum allowable weight or divert extra copies away from the envelope via optional optical marks reading.


Folding/inserting systems can handle the daily mail or massive quantities of monthly or quarterly mailings to ensure that you deliver your mail most efficiently. Cutting-edge solutions generally provide:


* Manual feed for handling small daily quantities of paper, envelopes and envelope-shaped enclosures.


* Feeder swap stations for uninterrupted automatic operation when processing high-volume single-item mailings with or without enclosures.


* Multi-page feeds per job.


* Optional automatic optical mark recognition technology to read marks on the document to determine number and sequence of pages per addressee.


* Optional high-volume envelope hopper that saves time and space by collecting filled envelopes.


* Fold function to produce brochures and fliers from material of varying sizes, loose or stapled.


* Programmable nine-job memory for ease of operation.


* Double-feed detector that eliminates false double-feed messages.


* User-friendly display screens on systems control panel.


* Compact and ergonomic tabletop and freestanding designs.


* New clamshell design with hinged lid for easy access to clean machine.


The systems can fold every outgoing piece of mail, from daily mail to postcards to fliers and prefolded documents. They then can determine what documents need to be inserted in an envelope by reading where they need to go. If an envelope needs multiple pages, such as an invoice, return envelope and flier, the OMR will read and classify the pages to ensure the system can insert all pages requested. Double feeds sometimes occur, and in that case, the system operator can easily access material transport passages to retrieve stalled materials and send them straight to the envelope. Finally, the systems' data memory lets you program different jobs and offers unlimited possibilities to process the mail.


Many mailrooms have several common goals: increased productivity, reduced invoice processing times, decreased paper flow throughout the organization and timely direct marketing mailings for new business purposes. Installing a folding/inserting system suited for your daily mailing and mailroom needs can improve the quality of handling outgoing mail, eliminate manual document folding and inserting and improve customer interactions by processing the mail quickly to ensure on-deadline deliveries.


Case study. Many organizations have implemented folding/inserting technology in their mailrooms, including the payroll department of Acuity Brands Inc., a provider of lighting fixtures. It needed to meet multiple invoice and payroll mailing deadlines nationwide. The organization contracted a mail center solutions provider to identify outgoing mail processing opportunities and prospective bottom-line improvements for its payroll department. The provider installed a folding/inserting system that let Acuity's payroll department effectively process monthly payrolls and invoices by automatically feeding multi-part enveloped-shaped inserts into envelopes and funneling them to the department's digital postage meter.


"We believe that the new folding/inserting features are a major step forward in handling complex payroll and invoice mailings," said Clarissa Teagee, senior payroll technician at Acuity, who has used the technology to handle thousands of payrolls and invoices outsourced daily to the company's facilities on the East and West coasts. "With these new capabilities, it only takes minutes to fold and insert documents into 30-35 envelopes. We handle about 24 different payrolls in multiple batches per week, so the system has allowed us to streamline our process. We are already experiencing cost benefits."


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