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November 2005

The statement was further personalized in other ways meaningful to each individual recipient. Content was written in either Spanish or English, depending on the associate's language preference. A personalized letter from the appropriate division CEO was included, along with the employee's specific benefit selections by category, making all included information relevant to the recipient.

[How It Was Produced]

Worth, Higgins & Associates (, a commercial printer in Richmond, VA, handled production of the benefits documents. Its digital print division, Worth Digital, produces variable data and short-run color printing—exactly what was needed for the PFG assignment.

The materials were produced using an HP Ultrastream 3000 along with a combination of software: Lawson Human Resources Suite, Microsoft Access and Excel, and HP Yours Truly Designer. Finishing equipment included a 45˝ knife with scoring using Heidelberg Polar equipment, and a Muller Martini saddlestitcher. Statements were folded using a Stahl TD78 folder and inserted into window envelopes, then mailed either directly to the employee or to the operating company for distribution.

Production workflow was driven by PPML, the Personalized Print Markup Language. PPML is a non-proprietary, industry-standard page definition language for digital print. This emerging standard helps print operations like Worth Digital achieve more effective workflow by enabling the widespread use of personalized print applications in high volumes. It allows personalized print flow to be more flexible, easier to use and more affordable to produce.

It supports a full range of on-demand printing, ranging from the office environment to high-speed production environments.

[The Results]

In the program's first year, 10,220 statements were sent, all in English. The second year, 9,076 statements were sent in English and 230 in Spanish. PFG employee satisfaction surveys indicated a successful program. According to Cheryl Moore, "We did an interim survey after the program the first year and asked for voluntary comments the following year. The response was overwhelming, and people expressed a wish that they had this information all along. We did an electronic survey of the recipients of both static and personalized statements and received responses that the static version was confusing to people, while the personalized version was more clear."

The surveys revealed that 97 percent of PFG associates found it helpful to know about their benefits before open enrollment, and 91.4 percent found the information easier to understand. Additionally, 88.5 percent would use the personalized statement to enroll in additional benefits. "They can also use it as a tool to fill out this year's benefit choices," notes Moore. With digital printing technology, PFG gains the flexibility to fine-tune the program and ensure employees are in control of their benefits.

This case study comes from PODi's annual Best Practices in Digital Print research, the largest collection ever assembled of successful digital printing projects. PODi is an industry initiative with hundreds of member companies including executive board members EFI, HP, IBM, Kodak, Pitney Bowes, Quark and Xerox. Membership in PODi is open to most organizations involved in digital printing. For more information on joining PODi or submitting your own case study, visit


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