Correspondence Management System : Financing Software

By: Nicole Summerfield

In this case study, we will explore how a financial services management company automated the printing aspect of their Correspondence Management System to improve the efficiency of the operation and reduce the costs associated with printing and distributing printed communications to their customers.

Company - This Company is one of the world's leading providers of financial services for corporations, institutions and affluent individuals around the world. The specific entity within the company examined in this Case Study is one that provides fund management services for banks and financial companies around the United Kingdom.

Business Problem - The Company's Correspondence Management System (CMS) requires many different types of letters to be printed on many different styles of letterhead stationery. Each bank they provide fund management services for has different letterhead paper and different business rules regarding additional pages of standard and/or variable information that needs to be bundled along with the letters being printed (this can be different by type of letter being printed within a single bank also).



To accomplish their letter printing, the CMS user would place the right number of pages of the appropriate letterhead and continuation sheets into a nearby printer, then print the document from within the CMS to the printer they had chosen. As they print they are hoping that:

Nobody else sends any letters to that printer in the meantime

They have inserted enough of the correct sheets of paper for the document being printed ensuring that the job is complete when printing is finished and the letter can be mailed to the end customer

This process is very labor intensive and time consuming, resulting in low productivity among the users of the CMS system, and is fraught with potential for error.

Key Challenge - The key technical challenge is the fact that the Windows Spooling system has no inherent functionality to determine if a particular form is loaded in a printer tray, which tray that is, and hold print jobs and only release them if and when the correct form is mounted in the printer. An additional challenge involved the low level of productivity of the staff utilizing the CMS because they needed to individually and manually manage their printed output to ensure it was correct before it was mailed to the end customer.

Technical Solution - The first step in implementing a solution to their challenge involved re-locating the CMS printers to a central location. Then they assigned a team of operators in the central printing department to remove the letters from the printers and assume the responsibility of ensuring that any other pre-printed documents or literature required is bundled with the letter before it gets sent in the mail. Additionally, the central printing department now manages the supply of letterhead paper and is in charge of mounting the paper in the appropriate printers as required. Note: There are over twenty different Bank's the company provides its services for, each with their own letterhead, and some with their own type additional paper for multi-page letters.

Because the letter-creating employee no longer physically managed the paper and inserts that were appropriate for the letter, the customer also required the implementation of an Output Management System (based on OM Plus) to provide the overall control of the documents through their central printing department. OM Plus' advanced print spooler software capability provides the needed central management and control to separate the creation of the document from the task of printing it on the correct letterhead and bundling it for mailing.

Example of how the Output Management/Advanced Print Spooler solution works

An employee creates a letter for an end customer for "Bank A" via the CMS application and prints the document to a central print queue.

The document is automatically searched and given a name that tells OM Plus:

a.Which bank's customer is receiving the letter-Allowing OM Plus to know what form is required

b.What type of letter it is

c.Which department is submitting it

d.How the central print department operators must process it for mailing.

After the job has been searched and re-named the OM Plus Server scheduler system receives it.

OM Plus examines the arriving print jobs and applies business process rules based on what the name of the job tells it (see point 2 above). It does this by reading through a set of rules until it finds a match. The rules examine the title of the incoming document and apply attributes so that the OM Plus scheduler module will release the job to the correct printer tray where the appropriate letterhead is mounted. It also applies a more descriptive title to the print job so that central print operators can manage the jobs using the OM Plus management screen more easily.

This more descriptive title tells the print operators whether to print the job and mail it, or print the job and include standard enclosure documents or marketing materials or print the job and include specific other printed documents with the letter.

The operators monitor the printing via the OM Plus management screen to see what jobs are waiting, whether particular jobs have been printed successfully, and to tell OM Plus when letterhead has been changed.

When OM Plus is told that a certain letterhead is available in one of the printer's trays, it then allows jobs requiring that letterhead to be released.



This OM Plus based output management/advanced print spooler solution results in much less reliance on the CMS users to have to manage the printing of their letters on the correct letterhead - leaving them to carry on with their work and improving productivity significantly. The central print management operators now focus on handling the letters being produced for the company.

Utilizing the Central Management screen within OM Plus, the central print operators review held jobs waiting for specific paper and load the paper into an available printer and allow the print to continue. No jobs are printed if OM Plus does not find the appropriate letterhead mounted in one of the central printers (eliminates waste, and removes the risk of sending letters to customers on the letterhead of the wrong bank).

Implementation - On site services including installation, system configuration, testing and user training were delivered by service engineers from our partner in the UK with offsite support provided by Plus Technologies. In this case, the implementation was completed and in production within two weeks of the order. As is the case with many implementations of our products, the customer requirements for handling of the documents and the processes associated with the documents evolved during the implementation. Due to the extremely flexible nature of OM Plus' configurability, our service engineers and partner service engineers were able to address additional document delivery challenges quickly.

Plus Technologies Case Studies - The Plus Technologies case study series includes real examples of how companies use Advanced Spooling Solutions to streamline operations, reduce cost and/or add functionality to existing business processes. For more information on these case studies, contact Plus Technologies.

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