With Compart software, Bluegrass Mailing takes statement automation to the bank
After struggling with outdated manual processes for statement printing and production, a regional Kentucky Bank was ready to modernize. They were tired of the costs and delays involved with their old approach and consulted Bluegrass Mailing to help them find a better way. For over 36 years, Bluegrass Mailing has grown by understanding and resolving customer problems and capturing the resulting opportunities. Now here was a chance to add new services and expand the business again.
The bank had become highly decentralized with its processing, and had to physically collect statements from ten different sites, each with its own systems, data and even envelopes. Bluegrass Mailing then picked up the mail-ready statements in southern Kentucky, transported them 75 miles and processed them at their mailing facility in Lexington, Kentucky for metering, presorting and mailing.
This was their first run at this type of statement work for a financial customer. “We do other types of transaction applications, but this one was unusual because of the need to convert data from all those bank locations,” said Bill Nichols, Bluegrass Mailing Vice President of Marketing.
"Conversion Scares Me"
To help the bank with this dramatic change, and automate and consolidate statement workflow for maximum efficiency, Bluegrass Mailing needed the unprinted digital output files. “We have to convert the data before it can be used. This is a complicated service, not a print commodity,” said Nichols. Bluegrass Mailing looked to Compart’s DocBridge Mill to tackle the problem. Bluegrass Mailing Data Center Manager Tom Patterson found Compart online, then referenced another industry contact to learn how they used the software for a similar bank customer opportunity. Patterson found that DocBridge Mill was reasonably priced, didn’t require extensive training, and had no problems getting up and running. That was enough to feel confident and get started.
"Some banks can give you what you need, but for this particular application, we have to convert and read the data stream," Patterson said. "We had to find some output format they could give us. The data comes as a PDF file from the bank, but the PDF files are so big, the biggest hassle becomes large data transmissions."
In addition, BlueGrass Mailing needed a PCL data stream for its digital printers, and Patterson was skeptical they could get from PDF to PCL for each statement. "The word conversion scares me to death,” he said. "We thought the customer could do this. They have control of their data, but they couldn’t put it in a usable format for what we needed to do. Compart let us step in and do it."
Keeping Track of Statement Integrity
Today data comes daily from the bank as PDF files containing information for up to 8,500 individual accounts. With transaction applications like financial statements, there is no margin for error – period. That means production controls must be included, in addition to conversion. For this reason, a 2D barcode goes on the front page of each statement to make sure it’s properly included.
For example, if Bluegrass Mailing receives a file of 20,000 multi-page statements from the client, Compart DocBridge software numbers the front page of each set from 1 to 20,000. DocBridge also goes through each statement and counts the number of pages it contains. Bluegrass Mailing then puts in a separator for page numbers, front pages, end pages, and other key breaks. "Compart lets us apply barcodes and separate by sets. It creates all the numeric data for identifying barcodes from our software and for the barcodes DocBridge will place on each document," Patterson said.
With this tracking in place, Bluegrass Mailing can ensure all documents are prepared correctly, so if statement 1 and statement 2 get comingled accidentally, the system will catch it right away. Then they can print the run with greater confidence knowing that if something jams, they can easily find where the run stopped and pick up from there. This was a valuable capability they didn’t have before. Otherwise, they would have to reprint the whole job, resulting in a significant waste of time and money.
Preparing Workflow for Intelligent Inserting
Bluegrass Mailing has three systems for intelligent inserting of transaction mailings. As part of the production process, Compart adds 3-of-9 barcodes for these inserters to read. Additional statement data is contained in a second barcode to further ensure each page and statement are processed, and that none are missed.
Compart provides data stream management capabilities that break the print stream into mailing order as 1 and 2 oz. and flats packages. With this information, operators can set downstream postal meters for the appropriate rates and do flats manually. This keeps workflow organized and moving with the greatest efficiency. Compart also identifies the specified Do Not Mail pieces and pulls them out of data stream, thus avoiding problems with wrongly processed statements.
Forging a Tighter Bond with Customers
Compart automation has helped modernize the bank’s statement production, and the fast turnaround makes the customer happy. Bill Nichols likes the outcome because it gives Bluegrass Mailing a stronger hold on this business. With the DocBridge software, Bluegrass Mailing accomplished something the customer couldn’t, and in the process, forged a tighter bond with a valuable financial client. The application represents new business from an existing account, the most valuable and cost-effective type of relationship, according to many marketing experts.
Bluegrass Mailing has a track record of adapting and growing to keep up with market opportunities. This application solution joins a long line of successes that have kept the company at the top of its game.
Compart DocBridge Mill software was acquired for just for this bank customer’s problem, but the results have Bluegrass Mailing looking at other ways to use the software. With Compart, the company is positioned to replicate this success with other clients who want to modernize their documents and mailings. And that’s success you can take to the bank.