Central Document dispatch with DocBridge Pilot Output Management at LVM

"Our project to realign the Output service with comprehensive restructuring of the production processes showed us that the decision to use DocBridge Pilot and the output service close to production was the right one."

Ute van Heek LVM
Ute van Heek
LVM

A Healing Separation

The LVM Group truly understands how positively centralized document mailing affects the company's entire infrastructure. As one of the 20 largest primary insurers, LVM separated document creation from distribution and since then has been enjoying both significantly higher performance in output management and less programming effort. The core technology is Compart DocBridge Pilot software, which acts as the central hub in the enterprise's communications.

77,000 letters and documents daily

Open for all output channels 

Since 2009 in use

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A healing separation

The LVM Group truly understands how positively centralized document mailing affects the company's entire infrastructure. As one of the 20 largest primary insurers, LVM separated document creation from distribution and since then has been enjoying both significantly higher performance in output management and less programming effort. The core technology is Compart DocBridge Pilot software, which acts as the central hub in the enterprise's communications.

When the unexpected happens, how do you switch over to a different distribution channel swiftly and smoothly without having to significantly reprogram the system? This was the central question for LVM insurance as they redesigned their output management system. Since 2009 the company group, among the insurance industry's top 20 in Germany, has been using Compart DocBridge Pilot, the platform-independent software solution that can generate customized mailings for every type of output: print, e-mail, fax, archive file, download file in Web portals, as well as the new social media channels, digital letters and virtual mail portals. The principle: The import of the documents to be processed is kept separate from the output of the mailings. The software developed by Compart copies the data and converts it while retaining the file format. At this stage, the document can be modified, distributed, classified, indexed, and converted into all the standard formats. This enables documents to be displayed, printed, archived or otherwise analyzed and processed in any way needed. The information for this process is extracted as metadata. While the software assigns the files to a central pool, the metadata is stored in a relational database.

Then there are the different functions for outputting the documents, such as sorting or "enhancing" pages with additional information for continued processing, including enveloping. It is also possible to bundle multiple documents from different sources and in differing formats which are destined for the same recipient. Depending on the software configuration, this task can be done completely automatically or initiated at some definable point in time. The advantage: the software takes into account the allowable weight limit for a particular postal rate when it generates the mailings. Overall postal charges can be optimized in this way.

One Pilot for Every Need

At LVM, DocBridge Pilot controls the output (print) and further processing of documents independent of the application in which they were created. The process runs at night in batch mode. LVM sends out an average of 77,000 letters and documents every day, mostly in hard-copy form (approx. 90%). The insurer plans on increasing the percentage of digital documents. This is where one advantage of DocBridge Pilot is especially valuable: the solution can be easily extended for new delivery methods, such as sending out future correspondence in digital letter form. It is an option that is certainly conceivable for LVM, since the insurer basically makes use of all channels. Invoices, account statements and other transaction documents are already being sent to customers electronically. They can view and download their documents from a digital mailbox. If the mailbox is not emptied within 28 days, a workflow is triggered that automatically sends DocBridge Pilot any unread documents to send out in standard hardcopy form.

The introduction of Compart software was integrated in a fundamental restructuring at LVM. At its core was the separation of document creation from document delivery. Why? For over 20 years, the mailing of the document was always programmed in the application in which it was created. Numerous production networks were used to form mergeable stacks and execute separate formatting. Technical add-ons, such as for OMR code (optical mark recognition) or document reprints, were always included in the actual document application-all in all a rather complex affair.

Document Creation Now Separate from Dispatch

Today the tasks are clearly separate. Application development concentrates on implementing the technical requirements for document creation, whereas all of postprocessing – conversion, modification and output – is in the hands of the central output service. All input goes to DocBridge Pilot, which outputs all the documents through the appropriate channels specific to their destination and optimized for mailing costs. Instead of having to define how a document should be sent in every application, the programming is done centrally in the Compart tool. DocBridge Pilot is controlled via TLEs (tag logical elements). These are standalone AFP data records that contain only net data to control processing.

Both application development and the central output service are involved in implementing new requirements for document creation and output. Ingo Knein, IT project manager at LVM: "Relieving application development of programming tasks is a significant benefit in our new output landscape." LVM is now able to bundle documents by address and save substantial mailing costs, according to Knein. Another criteria for choosing Compart was its support of features such as simplex/duplex, single-sheet/continuous form printing and the ability to control electronic and physical attachments.

Not Without Partners

The LVM insurance group converted initial areas to DocBridge Pilot in 2009. The "Augsburger Aktienbank" was first out of the gate. The LVM subsidiary needed completely new banking software, which prompted LVM to direct output centrally through the service center. Up until then documents were sent through a separate print provider and letter shop. The migration was successfully completed in November 2010. Ute van Heek, Division Manager of RZ Production at LVM: "The project at the Augsburger Aktienbank showed us that the decision to use DocBridge Pilot and the output service close to production was the right one."

Restructuring was underway at the LVM insurance group at the same time. No easy task, recalls John Vogt, system specialist for DocBridge Pilot. "Correctly configuring the printing, folding and enveloping machines is no trivial task. It takes expert know-how." Know-how that Vogt and his colleagues first had to acquire. Numerous modifications were necessary, some workflows were completely redefined. "The Compart team gave us great support. We observed them closely and then tried things out ourselves. It was intensive learning by doing." Today he is extremely well versed in the new product. So everything went off without a hitch? Vogt admits that changing over to the current 2.11 version of DocBridge Pilot took more effort than originally planned. He and his employees were trained especially for the upgrade, but specific features within DocBridge Pilot still needed development. Overall, however, Vogt and his colleagues are satisfied with the conversion. "Day-to-day operations run smoothly with the new software; we need support from Compart only for very specialized enhancements." LVM continues to benefit from Compart's profound knowledge of data stream optimization, according to Vogt, and advises companies wishing to turn their document and output management into a business driver to bring an OM specialist on board.

© LVM

LVM

The LVM group is one of Germany's top 20 in the insurance industry. About 3.1 million customers with more than 10 million contracts rely on the LVM Versicherung.

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