"We quickly realized that Compart had the know-how and the capacity to develop stable and powerful software of this kind."
A Centralization Peak: Centralized Printing and Mailing of Office-Documents at the print provider krz Minden-Ravensberg/Lippe
Centralizing printing and mailing of individual correspondence can cut costs by as much as 30 percent. For the Minden-Ravensberg/Lippe Municipal Data Center (krz), it was just one of many reasons to pass on its customers locally created office documents to the central output management system (OMS) using an automatic process. Another reason is the high level of process reliability inherent in centralization. The DocBridge© FileCab solution, which collects and checks documents against different criteria, has an essential role in this process. It is expected to handle nearly 30,000 documents per month. And the volume is growing.
Costs cut by 30 percent
30.000 office documents – growing volume
High level of process reliability
Future- and investment- proof
In any administrative organization, it doesn't matter how automated document processing is. There is always "outlier" correspondence that doesn't lend itself to standard batch-processing. This type of correspondence is usually related to a specific, individual case and generated by a processor on a branch office PC or by a field agent on his or her laptop. Various studies report that individually generated documents can comprise up to 60 percent of a company's entire document volume.
While that figure may be debatable, it is clear that individual correspondence is a significant cost factor. Studies have shown that printing an office document on a local office or department printer costs 8 euro cents.
But that is just one side of the coin. Consider all the extraneous tasks the processing clerk faces: printing and checking the document, adding inserts, enveloping, franking, delivery to the mailroom, and so on ad infinitum. Occasionally the toner needs changing or printer problems need troubleshooting. It's not uncommon for queues to develop at the printers when several processing clerks are trying to print at once. Valuable time is lost – time stolen from swift case resolution.
Perhaps even more important is the lack of process reliability when clerks generate and send correspondence outside of central processing. How can they guarantee compliance without a reliable, readily available instance to ensure that all compliance requirements are met?
Centralized Printing and Mailing of Office Documents
Spelling, grammar, and syntax errors or incorrect handling of protected colors, images and logos are the least of the problems. Violations of legal specifications or mailing mix-ups are even more serious.
If processing clerks were able to send decentralized correspondence to a central output instance (mailing center, external or internal print provider) right from their PC or laptop, not only would they be free of annoying busywork, but their company would benefit from the considerable discounts that mailing service providers now guarantee through bundling and services such as presorting.
DocBridge© FileCab: Collection point for office documents
For the Minden-Ravensberg/Lippe Municipal Data Center (krz) headquartered in Lemgo, these were reasons enough to consider centralizing office documents. One of the largest municipal print providers in North Rhine-Westphalia, krz has been using DocBridge© FileCab software to collect remotely generated documents from its internal and external customers since 2015. Such documents include registration confirmations for adult education courses that providers send to participants via krz. DocBridge© FileCab also "picks up" change notices related to property fees (changes in trash collection, etc.) from the specialist applications of the connected energy supplier and forwards them to central processing at krz.
Specifically, processing clerks use the application developed by Compart to send their correspondence via the Internet (WLAN) to central output management (OM) at krz. The process is set up so that documents are picked up automatically. The OM system is technologically based on another Compart software product, DocBridge© Pilot, which automatically prepares and outputs documents of various types and formats on all the popular physical and electronic channels (such as a traditional paper document, an e-mail attachment, secure De-Mail or E-Post mail, or a download file in a web portal). Every day at 2:00 p.m., all documents pending processing show up in DocBridge© Pilot's "incoming" directory.
There they are checked for compliance with the customer-specific criteria saved in the system. If a document does not meet the defined standards, DocBridge© Pilot automatically kicks it back to the customer for correction. The check criteria also include production parameters: Can the document be printed? Is there white space for applying control codes (barcodes/QR codes for page bundling, for adding inserts and for enveloping) and IT franking? Is the address field in the correct position?
A future-proof solution was an important criterion
krz has yet to take advantage all the features of DocBridge© FileCab. Product Business Head Dirk Niemeyer explains that although krz is still in the "fledgling" phase, they do expect the volume of individual correspondence to markedly increase over the next several years.
That would expand the company's customer base and significantly boost both the volume and diversity of individual correspondence. The planned customer-base expansion to job centers is expected to add even more momentum. After all, Niemeyer continues, the volume of individual correspondence, especially in the "benefits receipts" sector, cannot be underestimated.
In any event, Niemeyer and his colleagues expect the 15,000-document volume currently collected by DocBridge© FileCab to double in the next few years. Then krz will definitely use even more of the software's features.
The Compart solution came to their attention in 2011 at a meeting of the German arm of Guide Share Europe, an association of IBM users. At that time, Niemeyer and his associates presented a home-grown solution to the group. "Even back then, we were struggling to fold locally created office documents into the standard process as efficiently and automatically as possible. But we didn't want to rely solely on our own software, so we were looking for alternatives."
Even more potential for centralization
The GSE meeting was where krz began talking with Compart. "We quickly realized that Compart had the know-how and the capacity to develop stable and powerful software of this kind," recalls Niemeyer. krz has been working with DocBridge© Pilot since 2012, and it has been a positive experience for the manager and his employees. So why not turn to a known specialist in optimized mailings for the company's individual correspondence as well?
Back then, looking at DocBridge© FileCab was like "seeing the light of day." The initial presentations were extremely promising. "The DocBridge© Suite solutions are future- and investment-proof. An innovative development team stands behind the product. As a Compart user, you know the technology is always state-of-the-art," says Niemeyer, citing the reasons krz ultimately chose DocBridge© FileCab.
The software offers another benefit: customers can easily make any needed modifications themselves. For krz Ravensberg-Minden/Lippe, that's no trivial matter, because the customer base is extremely heterogeneous, as are the structures and workflows. DocBridge© FileCab and DocBridge© Pilot have to accommodate them. Not only are different document formats and data security guidelines part of the equation, but also release handling and service level agreements (SLA). According to Niemeyer, krz is well equipped in this respect. "I still see considerable growth potential in DocBridge© FileCab."
The Minden-Ravensberg/Lippe Municipal Data Center (krz)
The Minden-Ravensberg/Lippe Municipal Data Center (krz) is a public corporation in the form of a special-purpose association. It is funded by the three districts of Minden-Lübbecke, Herford and Lippe as well as all 36 cities and communities in these regional districts. krz was founded in 1971 and is headquartered in Lemgo. Its core responsibilities include the development, implementation, and maintenance of specialist applications for local municipal administrations, professional operation of the data center including providing the network technology and hardware as well as services such as consulting, training, installation, maintenance, and support.
krz has more than 270 employees and is known for its strong data protection. It was the first municipal service provider in Germany certified by the Federal Office for Information Security (BSI). krz currently supports approximately 8,000 PC workstations with nearly 10,500 end devices in the municipal administrations of the associated area. Data availability is nearly 100% and data access by customers is guaranteed around the clock throughout the entire year. Today, cities and communities that serve over 11.5 million residents use krz applications and technologies and rely on its services.
The in-house printing and mailing center produces nearly 30 million pages a year, bundles them into eight million mailings, places them in envelopes, and sends them to nearly 550 customers throughout Germany. Seventeen employees handle these tasks.