For more than two decades, the healthcare services and technology company had been a client of a production print systems provider to source equipment to output tax and utility invoices for county and city agencies in the Southeast U.S. Through the years, the provider had replaced older printers with newer models — or reconditioned older units and put them back in place. But the health services and technology company needed more than hardware solutions. They wanted operational insight to help them innovate, improve workflow and reduce costs.
The production print workflow was outdated and inefficient, relying on operators to manually process files, quality check files for counts, review mailing lists, report undeliverables and calculate billing. Printing was done on one- and two-color production units. Scheduling was first-in, first out — with no variation during peak-volume periods from September through November each year. Furthermore, inventory of pre-printed shells, envelopes and other materials needed for production print were housed at a mix of on-site and off-site storage facilities.
As the organization began to bring its four independently run companies together, they realized that, as a whole, they needed assistance from industry experts to incorporate quality into the daily production print processes. Without a clear picture and documentation of their current state, there could be no roadmap for enterprise-wide innovation and change going forward.
With consolidated production print operations, the health services and technology company is on track to reduce its costs by 30% — while producing more jobs in its print center. With a color-on-demand infrastructure, the company has eliminated pre-printed forms from its process, further reducing costs. Going forward, the company will incorporate standardized templates and envelopes, enabling them to save significant costs and eliminate boxes and skids full of personalized envelopes on-site and off-site. In addition, the company is now equipped to serve its marketing and creative services departments, which has reduced outsourcing costs by 25%.
The company now has end-to-end tracking to meet compliance mandates for customer privacy and help ensure mailings are delivered to the right recipients. Ricoh also instituted a householding process to reduce the number of envelopes being sent to the same property. In the first year of implementation, the company’s year-end process of producing tax notices went extremely smooth, and automation of previously manual processes cut one to two weeks of production time during peak season.
Now that the company has proven, repeatable solutions in place in the company’s government division, Ricoh is poised to implement these solutions enterprise-wide. By providing consulting services upfront — rather than simply recommending solutions blindly — Ricoh has become a trusted partner to the company. In fact, the company’s vice president compared the quality of Ricoh’s consulting services to the top five U.S. consulting firms.
Before there could be a roadmap for innovation and change organization-wide, the health services and technology company needed to understand the current state of their production print landscape. Our team took a consultative approach and worked collaboratively with the company’s business unit to establish benchmarks and key performance indicators and conduct an in-depth analysis of their environment.
To get a complete picture of the operation, we interviewed key personnel in management, sales, marketing, purchasing and operations at two locations. In addition, we performed discovery and analysis of financial data, production statistics, outsourced print spend and customer and employee details. We learned the two locations generated more than six million impressions annually, produced more than 1,500 jobs per year and more than four million mailing packets with six full-time production print employees and three part-time workers. These two locations also had a combined inventory value of nearly $200,000 and a profitability ratio of 45% and 33% respectively. From this analysis, we identified their cost to produce statements and forms and the associated postage and processing charges.
Once all of this information was collected, we analyzed and summarized the data to develop a findings report detailing the current state of the company’s production print operation, strengths, challenges, opportunities and recommendations. We then presented that information to the division’s vice president and 12 other stakeholders — with the vice president deciding mid-way through the meeting to greenlight the recommendations and switch to Ricoh for production printers and other technology solutions that would drive the organization toward innovation and change.
On the hardware side, we replaced outdated equipment with three advanced production printers, an envelope printer and a programmable guillotine cutter and consolidated production print to a single location. We implemented a color-on-demand infrastructure and installed workflow automation software to aid compliance and ensure mailings are delivered to intended recipients. Going forward, we’re talking to the company about further improvements for production print including print-to-mail, variable data, cross-media marketing and cloud-based intelligent image recognition software platforms.