Introduction to Automating Your BCC Mail Manager-equipped Workflow

Posted on Dec 4, 2017

Did you know that 79 percent of mailrooms are going to be automated by 2019? This statistic may seem scary to some – but it shouldn’t be. Automating your workflow saves time and money, allowing you to take on more jobs. Getting started with automation can seem daunting. So, how do you get started automating your workflow? Continue reading to learn about the very basics of getting started with TaskMaster™, the comprehensive automation tool available for use with BCC Mail Manager™.

A Task vs. a Job

TaskMaster is an optional add on for BCC Mail Manager and is included with BCC Mail Manager Full Service™. It allows our customers to set up jobs in a way that automates their workflow. A job is a series of tasks, each of which outline one step in the process. In turn, each task is made up of commands that lay out the specifications and settings to be used for that task. Tasks range from a small modification to a field in your list, to a complete batch presort, breaking out one list into multiple drop shipments. Each task contains certain required commands as well as optional commands – all of which contribute to create the desired results.

For example, in a presort task, a user could be specific in choosing commands and specifying things such as piece weight and thickness directly in the script. A full list of all the tasks and commands available is provided in the BCC Mail Manager Manual, in the section titled “Tasks and Commands,” which comes at the end of the chapter on TaskMaster.

Creating Scripts

There are three ways to create a script, which is saved as a text file with the .MJB extension.

  • Usually, BCC Software's professionals recommend starting by recording several basic tasks – this process allows you to manually run through parts of your process and have TaskMaster translate those actions into tasks and commands.
  • Making the initial transition easier, users can work their way through the process just as they would when running a job manually.
  • Once each task is completed, it will show you the selected task and command based on your actions. This will work for the vast majority of the steps in your process and will give you a good template to work with that can be used immediately.
  • The Job Editor can be used to manually create each task and set the relevant commands, which creates cleaner tasks as the recording function adds every imaginable setting, even if it is just to leave it at default.
  • It is important to note that to use this effectively, you will need to know what commands translate into what settings or specifications.

Notifications and Errors

The TaskMaster Tasks and Commands section of the manual will be extremely beneficial in showing you all the possible commands for each task to help narrow down what is needed. You can also create and edit jobs in any text editor. As long as the files are saved as .MJB and placed in the Jobs folder in your BCC Mail Manager directory, it should be able to pick them up and use them for automation.

  • For this operation, users need to be very exact, and just like with the job editor, need to know what commands are available for which tasks. Some customers prefer this method as it gives them more control than recording or using the job editor.
  • When a job is run, a log file with the same name is created in the jobs folder. This allows you to see how long each task takes and if any errors occurred.
  • Most errors will generate a pop up to let you know in which task there was an issue, and what the issue was. This can be disabled so as to not interrupt your workflow. In both cases, the log will keep a record of the errors encountered so even if you do not receive the pop up, when the job fails you can check the log to get an idea as to what happened.
  • Often running a job and checking the logs and errors will be the easiest way to troubleshoot a large job. Once a problem is found, the job will fail and generate an error message in the log that clearly outlines what might be missing or misplaced.

Batching

Using TaskMaster, you can set up a single list that uses one presort task to define the settings for multiple smaller sub-sorts using records from that list.

  • This can be as simple as a “sort by state,” where all of the mail from certain states is grouped into two separate sorts to make it easier to ship and package.
  • Batching can also be as complicated as multiple-part distinction involving many fields of customer data. TaskMaster takes this a step further allowing you to condense the various post-presort tasks for all these batches in to a single task for each report or function.
  • By adding the Command ALLBATCHES=Y, a single Postage Statement task will produce a separate statement for each batch, with the ability to customize the filenames and paths to include the batch name.

Additional Resources

There are many additional resources available to help you on your way to setting up automation within BCC Mail Manager. Besides the TaskMaster section of the Manual which was previously mentioned, BCC Software also offers an Enhanced Learning session on TaskMaster. Offered once a month by the Customer Support Technicians, you’ll get deep dive into how automation can transform your company.

If you’re interested in incorporating the power of automation into your operations, please contact BCC Software at 800.337.0442 or email marketing@bccsoftware.com.

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