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Increasing Productivity and Customer Engagement Plain Paper Factory 2.0

April 24, 2017

Bell and Howell recently gathered representatives from three leading companies to discuss their progress in developing efficient, cost-effective document printing and finishing processes with Bell and Howell’s Plain Paper Factory 2.0 (PPF2.0) technologies.

  • Bill Gaddy, Senior Director at Broadridge Financial Solutions
  • Rob Cass, President of AccuDoc Solutions
  • Dave Fox, Executive Vice President of Operations at ValPak

In this Article Series, the panelists share the automation initiatives they employed to successfully meet their companies’ productivity and customer engagement objectives.


Part 1 - Bill Gaddy, Broadridge

Bill Gaddy BroadridgeIn Part 1 of this 4-Part Plain Paper Factory Series, we learn how Bill Gaddy, Senior Director at Broadridge Financial Solutions, describes how his company uses Bell and Howell technology to address its internal and customer communication needs.

Broadridge is a leading provider of investor communications, including mailings, and data, and data analytics. While some of this information is distributed digitally, Mr. Gaddy’s comments focused on printed mail that he divides into three areas:

  1. 1. Proxy mailings devoted to tabulation;
  2. 2. Transactional processing such as statements and mutual funds;
  3. 3. Shareholder mailings.

Mr. Gaddy’s presentation focused primarily on shareholder mailings.

“Twenty years ago, we were mailing this information in 6 x 9-inch booklets. Those were printed by outside printers, and we’d print buck slips with each recipient’s name and address and then mail them in a window envelope.”

Bell and Howell’s PPF2.0 leverages state-of-the-art data processing and high-speed digital presses to produce highly customized or personalized materials on plain paper instead of costly pre-printed forms. A key component of Bell and Howell’s PPF2.0 technology is its Inveloper. Rolls of paper from the digital presses are fed into the Inveloper which cuts and trims the continuous feed rolls into individual documents and encloses them in a secure wrapper. The Inveloper then imprints the wrapper with USPS compliant mailing information. Inveloper is the best in automation for the best in Plain Paper Factory processing.

While functional, this process lacked the speed, and efficiency to handle Broadridge’s fast growing print and mail volumes. In an interim move, Broadridge used an inkjet printer that could address envelopes at speeds of up to 30,000 an hour, but throughput was still severely limited by an inserter which only ran at 1,500 an hour or 5% of the speed of the printer.

Broadridge logo

“We had poly-wrapping machines that normally wrapped magazines,” relates Mr. Gaddy, “so we modified the machines to put a plain paper wrapper around the 6 x 9-inch books and added inkjet print heads for addressing. The first machine paid for itself in about three months. We now have nine of these machines that produced 1.5 billion pieces in 2016. That is probably going to grow to 3.5 billion in 2017. A third of these jobs are now run on Bell and Howell Invelopers.

Customer and business benefits

Broadridge was not the only high volume print and mail services firm making a move to a faster and more automated enveloping system. But where were the benefits for the companies and their customers? And did it matter?

“I'd be surprised if 1% of the people actually read what we mail,” admits Mr. Gaddy, “but by regulation, it has to go out. So, there's no real impact for the customers. But operationally, we literally could not put enough insertion capability into our plant. Each of the nine Invelopers runs up to 35 million mail pieces a year which has dropped our costs considerably.

Challenges and Obstacles

As productive as Broadridge’s system is today, technical transitions are rarely smooth. The first challenge Mr. Gaddy and his team faced with the Inveloper was glue, which came as a surprise.

“The problem was that temperatures in the back of a mail truck in a southern state like Florida or Texas can reach 170 degrees. The wrappers would pop open, but if the glue was too secure customers complained that they couldn't open it. Most manufacturers didn’t make a hot-melt glue for this application, but we ultimately found the right glue and put perforations on the wrapper that made it easier to open.”

“We also had to find the right paper,” says Mr. Gaddy. “We wanted a certified, recycled paper that would not tear apart, could take the ink, and still be cost effective.”

Another Inveloper Advantage

Some of Broadridge’s communications rely on printer-sealed self-mailers. But a problem arose when they wanted to add customer information within the self-mailer. With their old print and sealing method, nothing could be put inside a self-mailer, which was an important limitation.

Mr. Gaddy shared that by “…using the Bell and Howell Inveloper we can put in whatever we want, like a note, or a card. We’re also putting messages onto the mail piece itself—a little more information that we think is of value to our customers.”

The next installment of this 4-Part Plain Paper Factory Series will cover how ValPak is using Bell and Howell PPF2.0 technology to support mailings that reach almost every mailbox in the country each month.

Next week, in part 2, we will learn how Dave Fox, Executive Vice President of Operations at ValPak integrated Bell and Howell Inveloper technology to streamline operations and significantly improve throughput. With responsibilities spanning manufacturing, supply chain, content and design, and client services, Mr. Fox was a key project director in planning, design, construction, and systems integration in the ValPak manufacturing center.

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