After 7 years, a major university copy center in the Baltimore area has finally decided its current envelope stuffing machine can no longer handle the thousand-item mailing jobs it has to accomplish on a day-to-day basis.
This copy center services the whole campus and frequently gets called upon to send mailed notices to all 25,000 students. We interviewed one of our mail room specialists to understand why the Formax 6404 folder inserter was the right model for the job.
An interview with one of our top mail room specialists...
Why did you become a mail room specialist?
I have been finding solutions to office problems for nearly 20 years now. It has always made me happy to interact directly with customers as a consultant. I really enjoy identifying a need and then finding the perfect, economical product for that need.
Why would a company need a folder inserter?
For that, I’d like to share a story. Last year, in order to understand more about the metrics involved in folding and stuffing envelopes, I spent several days with a group of ladies that were tasked to fill 13,000 envelopes. It took them three full days to fill the envelopes by hand. With a machine like the Formax 6404, two people could have accomplished the job in 1.5 hours. We have amazing machines that save time and, in extension, money.
Right now, you could buy a used folder inserter dirt cheap on Ebay or Craigslist. But with Whitaker Brothers, you are buying the company right along with the product, which will save you a lot of money in the long run on servicing, extra parts and training.
What are some specific types of jobs where the copy center would use a folder inserter?
The university uses the copy center to send its bills and invoices, appointment reminders, marketing and promotions materials, course catalogs, graduation announcements, newsletters and magazines, postcards, enrollment notices, group memberships information for the university gym etc. So you can imagine it handles very high volume jobs.
Can you tell me about the envelope stuffer the copy center currently uses?
The copy center uses an 8-year-old Neopost M8000. It was a very good model 8 years ago, but now it is outdated. Realistically the machine can stuff 2-3 thousand envelopes within a work day. Sounds like a lot, but keep several things in mind. First of all, this model jams frequently. The copy center needed two staff members to be constantly watching for, and fixing, jams that would occur roughly every 10-15 envelopes stuffed. Whats more, the catch tray in this model is tiny-- it only holds 100 envelopes at a time, so one of those staff members also has to use his time to make sure the tray doesn't overfill and stop the machine. The small tray size is also problematic when your average pack of envelopes is 500.
With a newer, more user-friendly model, the copy center can increase its output and minimize the number of staff needed to watch that the machine runs smoothly.
Why does the copy center need a new folder/inserter now?
The short answer is, the M8000 can no longer handle the types of jobs the university needs it to handle. This is the main copy center on campus. It services all of the departments on campus and the student population. It is called upon to stuff mail for all of the students on campus--that’s over 25,000 students. The current envelope stuffer can only handle several thousand envelopes a day, so these big jobs take days to finish.
What did the copy center find most attractive about the Formax 6404?
The Formax 6404 can stuff up to 4,000 envelopes in an hour. You think that’s impressive, remember how I said the center’s current machine jams every 10-15 envelopes? I tested this machine at another location that did 15,000 mailings in one go. There was only one jam for every thousand envelopes stuffed. And when it did jam, all we had to do was input a command on the touch screen and the machine would shoot the envelope out and unjam itself. So the stuffing capacity per hour, the low frequency of jams, and the user-friendliness of the touch screen were all things the copy center was excited about.
Another key advantage was the size of the input and output trays. With this model the copy center can stuff three-page letters plus a BRE all in one pass. The output tray can hold up to 500 filled envelopes.
Aren’t there other places to buy Formax 6404? Why buy it from Whitaker Brothers?
Let me tell you something. Right now, you could buy a used folder inserter dirt cheap on Ebay or Craigslist. But with Whitaker Brothers, you are buying the company right along with the product, which will save you a lot of money in the long run on servicing, extra parts and training.
This is key: not only does Whitaker Brothers sell Formax, they also have the capacity to service the machine--quickly. It would regularly take 3 days for someone to come and fix the machine.
Not only that, because of the age of the M8000, the contract was getting very expensive. With the old machine, the copy shop was paying a yearly contract with Neopost to have its old machine serviced. Since the service company only provided yearly contracts, there was nothing preventing Neopost from raising the service rate, which they did, at 5-7% every year. Near the end they were paying almost $2,000 per year for servicing.
Whitaker Brothers will service the machine the same day and offers servicing at a locked in rate for 5 years.If you bought that dirt cheap machine off Ebay, who’s going to teach you how to use it? The manual? What if it doesn't come with a manual? If you buy it from Whitaker Brothers, the mail room specialist will come the day the machine arrives, help you set it up and show whoever the copy center should deem necessary how to program the device to do regular daily tasks. Once the machine is programmed on how to stuff one, two, three sheets, with or without a BRE, and with correct orientation of the address in the address window, having it perform these tasks is as easy as selecting option 1, 2, 3 etc. Wow it sounds like the whole package. What's next for the copy room? What else could they do to increase productivity? The next step will be to look into presorting software and ways to save on postage. We concluded early on in the consulting process that the copy center could save a lot of money if it took advantage of the postage discounts available. Of course we would need to know more about the center's address data and some specifics about mail volume, but these savings stand to really add up at the end of the year. For a look at our diverse range of paper folders and envelope stuffers, click here.