Start with a blank sheet of paper…
Clive Stringer, Business Development Director for Pitney Bowes, looks at changes that are transforming print and mail strategies across the world. The expression “Start with a blank sheet of paper” is synonymous with a fresh start; with new beginnings, innovation and entrepreneurialism. Visionary leaders are often said to begin ordering their thoughts and founding their businesses in this way.
When it comes to physical communications, many businesses are also beginning with a blank sheet of paper – quite literally. Inkjet technology is facilitating a shift in production mail. It enables speed, print quality and affordability as each job begins with blank paper and white envelopes, and delivers the flexibility required by many organisations in fast-moving business environments. This print-to-mail environment combines high-performance precision printing with data-driven high-integrity software. We call this a White Paper Factory. The White Paper Factory™ makes use of the latest production management software and digital print sophistication. Data is printed onto plain white paper, enabling users to highly customise each individual envelope and document with logos and relevant marketing messages. It’s becoming more and more popular, as businesses are increasingly working this into their print and mail management strategies. But what are the benefits, and why should a blank piece of paper be deemed transformative?
Delivering tailored communications
Mail personalisation and customisation are now seen as key to successful customer engagement, and today’s empowered consumers expect to receive tailored, accurate, highly-personalised communications. Historically, the need for mail personalisation has conflicted with the driving down of costs, as facilities managers and mailroom operators sought low cost, efficient processes. Now, innovation in inkjet technology is helping eliminate this conflict as cost-effective customisation can be achieved, striking the balance between operational efficiency and marketing effectiveness.
Pre-printing reams of letter-headed paper and forms is no longer a viable option for many businesses, as they can quickly become out-of-date or left unused. Errors such as a wrongly-printed phone number on a letterhead, a mistake on a pre-paid return envelope or an inaccurate email address are costly but common mistakes. Add to this the inevitable changes required as businesses evolve – a new logo or new website details for example – and it becomes clear that high volume pre-printing doesn’t always match the pace of change, flexibility and agility required in today’s commercial environment.
Consumers with a conscience
In the ‘Business to Consumer’ world, from food to clothing, consumers expect businesses to wear their hearts on their sleeves when it comes to revealing their Corporate Social Responsibility merits. The same can be said of the Business to Business market. Over the past few years, international sustainability standards and industry certifications have come into play, requiring companies of all sizes to make firmer commitments to reducing business waste. 50% of business waste is composed of paper1 . Employees each waste around 6,800 sheets of paper a year, and forget to collect more than 600 sheets of paper from the printer2. In one year alone, the US generated 5,260,000 tons of paper waste, equivalent to 23,377 statues of liberty3.
Certainly, businesses benefit from the cost saving elements generated by sustainability measures, but they also have the costs which come from the risk of being snubbed by consumers, partners and suppliers who choose to do business with an organisation which pays more than just lip service to its commitment to creating a positive environmental impact.
For those businesses with high-volume transactional mail in particular, eliminating inaccuracies and reducing waste is having a major impact on their organisations. Incepture Print Solutions, for example, operates one of the largest commercial print-to-mail operations in North Florida. The business is now producing more engaging, colourful statements and bills for its health insurance customers than ever before. Moving to a new White Paper Factory™ solution has helped it to transform its print and mail operation into a highly efficient manufacturing environment for greater efficiency and effectiveness.
Similarly, New Zealand Post has recently implemented a White Paper Factory™, allowing it to offer expanded services to its clients. The solution has made the organisation operationally more efficient and strategically more versatile. It can now print personalised, relevant, full-colour marketing messages directly onto the envelopes for its clients’ transactional mail.
CFH Docmail, one of the UK’s leading print and mail specialists, keeps a close eye on its environmental impact. Its White Paper Factory™ environment helps it to meet its Corporate Social Responsibility objectives by eliminating the need for pre-printed forms and envelopes. Without hundreds of different envelope styles, and the associated inventory costs and challenges, the organisation has achieved a reduction in waste, with a positive effect on its environmental commitments.
By 2018, 63% of the 24.5 billion bills and statements delivered annually will still be paper-based4 . Balancing marketing effectiveness and operational efficiencies, maintaining cost controls and meeting sustainability regulations are objectives will remain at the top of the business agenda. Now, these objectives are achievable, thanks largely to innovation in Inkjet technology – and this is why the humble sheet of white paper is transforming print and mail strategies across the world.
1 Source: Environmental Degradation facts
2 Source: cited on Newmanbs.co.uk
4Source: Infotrends 2014