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Guest Article: Almost Perfect Isn’t Good Enough

February 10, 2020

Do you remember when 99% accuracy used to be OK? Clients and end-users accepted occasional document processing errors. “Nobody’s perfect” was a widely accepted refrain. That’s no longer the case. Customers aren’t as tolerant anymore. They’ve become accustomed to the benefits of automation and expect perfection-even from complex production systems that generate, move, and manipulate large volumes of paper at high speeds! Fortunately, technology to prevent errors such as inserting pages from multiple accounts in a single envelope or printing duplex pages out of sync exists, but coordinating multiple quality control solutions isn’t easy.

For a long time, document print and mail operations relied on manual methods of quality control. Document industry professionals worked with what they had, which wasn’t much! Print files often arrived for processing with little information about what they contained. How many pages should print? How many mail pieces and electronic documents are to be distributed? Which pages go into each envelope? Even when IT specialists could extract such information from the data, verification wasn’t automated. Clipboard-carrying humans typically compared actual results to expected outcomes.

New Challenges Arise

Today, few shops risk their reputations on a system that depends on batch balancing for quality control. Over the years, they’ve added hardware and software to add barcodes to documents. They automatically inspect and track pages as they progress through the production steps, invoking business rules that detect when items are out of sequence or missing critical elements. Technology has supplied document operations a better way of ensuring accuracy. The trouble is that you are now managing an eclectic collection of systems, some of them purchased to satisfy the requirements of a single customer or application. None of the solutions paints a complete picture. It’s kind of a mess!

Complete accountability is crucial as documents become more personalized, more targeted, and therefore more valuable. Customers are demanding better returns on their investments in printed and electronic documents. Communication strategies frequently involve a combination of integrated multi-channel messages. Assuring document integrity has simultaneously become more difficult and more important. Yikes!

Customers expect comprehensive tracking data to tell them which documents were distributed through various channels so they can measure results. If you cannot create and distribute these critical documents with accuracy, integrity, and security you will lose the work to competitors that can meet those requirements.

Get it Under Control

Uniting multiple document production components under a common control system and reporting on the operation’s status through an easily understood dashboard is what we designed Alchem-TM to do. With Racami’s tools, you can be sure all your quality control processes are working as designed. When something goes wrong, Alchem-TM will help you pinpoint issues, fix problems, and get the machines moving again.

Emerging technologies like artificial intelligence will make it even more critical for document processing centers to implement modern tools and iron-clad practices. Thinking machines will soon generate content where document versions aren’t controlled by only a few variables, but by hundreds. The documents of the future will be constructed for an audience of one, making any kind of document composition, production, or distribution error costly to the originator of the messages and also to the in-plant or outsource service providers that do the work. Document operations will have to produce near-perfect results.

Failure to install available technology will be difficult to explain when a failed mail or electronic document job causes customer financial or public relations consequences. Automatic accuracy controls are mandatory functions for any company that produces mail today and a means to tie all the processing steps together is quickly rising to the same level.

Racami’s Alchem-e Flow TM and Alchem-e Dashboard TM allow you to design complete automated workflows and then execute them. Racami products include all the monitoring and reporting necessary to support today’s demanding document production environments. Document operations managers need to handle increasingly complex jobs with high accuracy while meeting client requirements for functionality and speed. Alchem-TM   is the way to do it.

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