This is a guest article from Solimar Systems, a valued BCC Software partner.
As a mailer, you are always looking for ways to optimize your print and mail production, as well as save on postage costs. So, how do you start the process of optimizing your production workflow? The answer is job batching.
Why is job batching so important?
Simply put, the larger your batches of jobs are, the more you create an optimal operating condition that will maximize the utilization of your printer. Companies often deal with hundreds and sometimes thousands of small batch jobs every day. That’s a lot to track, and SLAs can become extremely costly when missed. Batching begins to solve many of these problems by automating processes and reporting when orders are at risk of missing SLAs.
But let’s take a step back. Sometimes it's helpful to define what we mean by batching. The word “batch” is often defined as a quantity or consignment of goods produced at one time. From a printing perspective, when we talk about a batch of print jobs, we mean a collection of print jobs all being produced at one time. Overlay that with the new batching feature within SOLitrack, a module of our Chemistry platform, and what you have is a solution that optimizes productivity.
What makes this significant?
Our job batching capability creates rolling-queues based on mailpiece aggregations that dynamically schedules jobs – a capability that can be effectively used by direct mailers and transactional printers alike. It combines multiple jobs into a single large one to achieve operational efficiency and reduced postage. By utilizing the batching feature, any company with several small or medium jobs can combine them for production and mailing while recognizing like product formats, such as using the same stock, envelopes, finishing requirements, etc.
Automated job scheduling allows work to be held as long as possible and digitally commingled with like work to optimize householding, postal optimization, production, and distribution. Work can be combined and released into production completely based upon distinct rules, which set up an automated batching process. Batches can then be reshuffled as new work is submitted.
And to add value for BCC Software and Solimar clients, there is an additional feature that allows for manual batching, which provides a flexible, interactive user interface that allows operations personnel to build batches that optimize efficiency on-the-fly. Operations can fine-tune work by size, SLA, product type, and more. Users can also manually release automated batches, or the batches can be set to auto-release.
With the SOLitrack batching feature, it is possible to tackle persisting complications in the print and digital communications production process. Consider what would happen if you had the ability to leverage the following:
- Digitally commingling the mail together can bring a greater geographic concentration to each new total batch of mail.The USPS® refers to this as presorting, and it can provide generous postage discounts by lowering the cost of delivery. BCC Software is the leader in providing presort software solutions — by digitally commingling prior to processing your jobs in BCC Mail Manager™, you are able to skip the use of mechanical sorting machines and generate a greater discount.
- Provide more accurate delivery by stripping off addresses in the composed print file and allowing BCC Software to provide the NCOALink® information, as well as other address standardization services. Then with the help of Solimar, apply the correct address back onto the job prior to the print and mail step of your production workflow.
- Household mailings together into one envelope. Matching based on business rules allows content going to the same address to be mailed together, which saves not only the cost of envelopes, but more importantly the cost of postage on multiple pieces. Dramatic savings can be realized with this.
- The ability to easily track and monitor orders helps to eliminate costly missed SLAs. Stiff penalties can occur when mail has missed a deadline by even one day, but alerts and automated processing can eliminate that problem. When there is unused production time available, batching can even reach forward and select batches due in the future according to selected criteria. This benefits the mailer with reduced costs by utilizing labor hours more efficiently.
At this point, many want to know what the real impact of this type of batching capability will be on their print, mail, and digital communication delivery environment. A key component is the reduction of manual processes so that your staff can focus on doing more productive activities to drive your department and organization. On the cost savings side of the equation, our team’s R&D makes achieving a 5% reduction in costs possible for many clients.
In partnership with BCC Software, Solimar Systems is here to not only provide software solutions, but help you navigate through the complexities of your environment to find the right modular solution for your operations—bringing Chemistry to print and mail in order to empower communications. We invite you to learn more through our downloadable SOLicasts or to contact our team today.