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Tony Edwards

Tony Edwards

Sales Lead
Sefas Innovation Ltd

Document application libraries and the ever changing landscape of mail distribution

How do you effectively manage a large number of document application libraries when the rate of change in mail distribution continues to speed up?  How do you minimise the impact of change to the on-going maintenance of those document application libraries while the rate of these changes increase?  One way is to code the mail distribution decisions directly into each individual document composition or print data stream application, but is that the most efficient and effective way, given the ever changing landscape of mail distribution?

Let’s just take a look at two key areas of mail distribution changes:

  1. Physical distribution prices, service selection rules, and compliance continue to change, as National Postal operators in a de-regulated market are required to maintain the Universal Service, whilst dealing with the on-going pressure of ever increasing competition.
  2. As physical distribution prices continue to increase, large mailers are adopting more effective strategies to switch their document users over to electronic delivery, using either a push (email) or pull (website or web portal) methodology. 

The net effect is of one change affecting the other, with the additional challenge, to be faced by medium and large mailers, of physical volumes that are reducing attracting greater compliance scrutiny and surcharging by the National Postal operators – compliance based upon postal profile, address quality, mail piece quality, machine readability, and so on.

Let’s consider what mail distribution attributes, of the completed mail piece or envelope, affect the creation or on-going maintenance of your document composition or print data stream applications:

  1. Primary document pages – how many pages, either a dynamic or fixed number, per mail piece (data found in document composition or print data stream)
  2. Stationery items – envelope, letterhead, plain paper, items used per mail piece (data required includes item weight, size, and thickness)
  3. Insert items – e.g. regulatory notices, up-sell/cross sell literature, and business reply envelopes per mail piece (data required includes item weight, size, and thickness)
  4. Distribution preference – e.g. electronic, physical, and service level such as, International [Priority or Economy], Domestic [1st or 2nd class, or Economy] per mail piece (data found in business systems)
  5. Mailing run volume breaks – the daily volume variation per document application (data found in document composition or print data stream) and the postal service volume breaks (data found in postal operator literature)

Hard coding each of the decisions for the mail distribution attributes into each of your document composition or print data stream applications means that if any of the mail distribution attributes change regularly then your on-going maintenance of those applications will cost you, both in terms of time and resources.

So how can we solve this?  Real time selection of the relevant mail distribution attributes through a distribution management platform, such as iSORT, will simplify each of your document composition or print data stream applications, as all the mail distribution decisions can be made by iSORT based upon its up to-date mail distribution database.

Linking iSORT to your document composition or print data stream applications via a pre-defined interface, along with linking any preference data from your CRM/ERP system, linking job stationery & insert data from your Document Tracking, Job Production or ADF software system, ensures that you have access to all the relevant and up to-date data relating to the mail distribution attributes.

This enables the document composition or print data stream applications to be mail distribution neutral, by providing the necessary data through an interface to iSORT so that the often complex output splitting decisions, and sorting plans can be achieved without the need to alter each of the individual document composition or print data stream applications each time the mail distribution attributes change in the future.

Please feel free to contact me if you require any further assistance in effectively managing the architecture of your document composition or print data stream application libraries, when the rate of change in mail distribution rules, pricing, and compliance will likely continue unabated.

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