First Data — Making a Statement

High-speed laser printers enable First Data to produce more than five million account statements and customer letters per day.

At First Data, skilled operators run high-speed processing equipment to assemble customer communications from banking and retail companies.

Credit card mailings are prepared en masse at First Data.

A First Data equipment technician operates a new APS Intelligent Sorting System from Pitney Bowes.

To capitalize on these trends and opportunities, First Data is increasing its investment in new hardware and software to create a one-stop shopping form of customer messaging solutions for its banking and other clients.

On the print side, the company is acquiring a second high-speed Kodak Versamark digital color printer. While others in the industry still debate the relative merits of digital color for transaction-based mail, First Data has been prototyping dozens of possible uses of the promising new technology.

“One of the challenges, as well as the benefits, of serving such a large number of customers,” contends Oswald, “is we must continually scour the globe for new and cost-effective solutions. A few of our clients insist on being the first with any new technology, so we must be out in front to meet their needs. Others want absolute assurance that any new technology is proven and well imbedded in the industry when implemented. So we must test and refine to make sure the new technologies will succeed in our rigorous, high-volume operation.”

On the mail finishing side, First Data has purchased a “significant number” of the high-speed, high-integrity APS intelligent inserting systems from Pitney Bowes.

“These new, higher-speed systems will boost our throughput and capacity, so we can accomplish more work, at even higher levels of quality, in less time and while using an overall smaller footprint on the shop floor,” reports Tim Rosenthal, SVP of output services.

The First Data investment in new printing/mail finishing equipment will yield faster and more efficient processing. But it is the company’s effort to boost the effectiveness of the account statement itself that is likely to have the greatest impact for customers and accelerate growth for First Data.

The heart of the firm’s one-stop-shopping innovation is called the Strategic Communications Solution. It is composed of the four components of effective messaging today: document composition, customer segmentation, color printing and electronic delivery options.

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