Mail Integrity solutions 101: True compliance, or false security?
The issue of compliance and integrity has become a key topic for service providers who touch and manage sensitive customer data, whether that of their own or their clients’ customers. The increased demand for quality and audit-proof process control often does not translate into capital budget increases, making it even more important to analyze investments made in quality or process improvement.
In the case of production mail integrity, discriminating between true compliance and false security is most important, as credibility, hard-dollar fines and loss of business are at stake. The question is: which solution truly validates total integrity?
The most common approach is scanning finished envelopes for a sequence number. This is a “false security” solution, since the rest of the content of the envelope is unknown; it must be assumed that the operator loaded the correct material (inserts, return envelopes, etc), and that the inserter correctly assembled the pieces.
Most intelligent inserters will be able to disqualify and outsort any piece that does not contain the proper sheet count. For a non-integrated, bolt-on output scanning system, this will cause the inserter to stop unnecessarily. There is then some form of operator intervention (read “opportunity for error”), a drop in productivity and a false alarm that can eventually numb the operator to the point of reflexively pushing “start” or turning off the camera in order to get the job out on time.
Another option is combining bolt-on input scanning with bolt-on output scanning in an attempt to perform an “input-to-output” match. However, in the event of any subsequent machine stoppage or jam, there is absolutely no way of knowing if an operator has manually (and incorrectly) repaired a damaged piece. And, in the event the machine erroneously combines collations, it is still up to the operator to take corrective action when (and if) the output scanner catches the error. Is the error in the piece that caused the stop, the piece now already on the output stacker, or the piece before? The recovery process now requires the operator to touch all three pieces to verify them, increasing opportunity for error before proceeding.