By Don Dew, ADF Solutions Manager, InfoPrint Solutions Company When John’s bank statement or EOB ends up in Jane’s envelope, it poses a major problem for the mailer. A problem which may very likely have been caused by a vulnerability in the print-to-mail workflow. The price of violating confidentiality via mailings today is more punishable than ever, with a recent flurry of regulatory changes in nearly every sector putting businesses on edge. As a result, outsourcing customers are becoming more interested in the level of integrity available from their providers. For PSPs, a high integrity print-to-mail environment with reporting capabilities is a growing requirement that will become a cost of entry as enterprises continue to look at outsourcing transaction print. Without a high integrity workflow, the possibility of confidentiality and privacy violations are more probable. The repercussions can be enormous. For your customer, this could mean potential identity theft, a damaged reputation for the intended recipient in the public, workplace or even at home. When implemented properly, a high integrity workflow controls and tracks the creation of each document through the entire production process, from “host to post.” A common view of this is Gartner’s model of ADF 2.0. ADF 2.0 includes controlling, monitoring and collecting feedback from composition engines, printers, inserting or other finishing equipment and even coordination with the United States Postal Service. Connecting these systems provides rich information, which can be used for tracking, reporting and demonstrating compliance – as well as creating much more efficient workflows that can save time and money. These days, no matter the industry, our customers are facing an increasing variety of regulations ranging from national financial and healthcare regulations to state and local laws, and even postal regulations — such as Intelligent Mail. Failure of compliance could incur significant fines. For example, the USPS can audit a mailer, and impose a fine in the form of retroactive billing for an improperly prepared mailing. Company reputation is also at risk. Take HIPAA for example - the federal healthcare regulation. If a company experiences an information breach such as the accidental insertion of a statement in an envelope for one person that was destined for another - or improper handling and disposing of rejected mail pieces that involves more than 500 records per year, it must publicize the breach. This means it will be listed on the "Health Information Privacy" page on the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Web site. Here anyone can find the company's name, related business associates (outsourcers), the approximate amount of people affected, the date, the type of confidentiality breach and more. This is a public relations nightmare that could result in potential regulatory penalties and fines, erosion of consumer confidence, and not-hard-to-imagine lawsuits. So what’s the problem? Two arguments we hear: 1) we’ve never had a problem, and 2) cost. To the first, it is seldom that an operation hasn’t experienced a mis-mailing, double-stuff, duplicate mailing, etc, somewhere along the lines of doing business. It just may be that the problem was caught, or mailed without incident. From a cost perspective, the process of moving to a high integrity environment inherently involves evaluating your entire workflow process. The resulting re-engineering of your processes almost always demonstrates a return on investment in 12-18 months, often through labor savings, postal savings or better equipment utilization. Ultimately the hold-up becomes change itself. But you can take small steps in support of the big goal. Identify one really big problem – like managing reprints - and tackle that first. But don’t do it without the big picture in mind. Work with your solution provider to build a phased implementation plan that’s right for your budget, your timeline. There are many resources out there on the Web for more information about the value of workflow, such as Gartner and WhatTheyThink.com. You can also check out InfoPrint’s workflow blog ADFSavings.
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