Best-in-Class Innovator: OBRIEN Insurance Solutions Enhances Customer Experience with Production Inkjet
Let’s first be clear about what “innovation” for printing companies isn’t.
It’s not merely about acquiring new technology (although technology typically serves as a catalyst for innovation).
It’s not necessarily about producing things that no one else has produced before (although this kind of inventiveness is one sure sign of a company that deserves to be called innovative).
The stories of the six printing companies profiled for our Innovators series suggest that when we speak in practical terms about a relentless drive for improved performance, we come nearer to the heart of what “innovation” in the printing business really means.
No company achieves operational excellence without rethinking time-honored production routines and replacing them, when need be, with processes that work better. That’s innovation. So is the continuous effort made to set new benchmarks of productivity and efficiency on behalf of customers — because a company determined to excel will never hesitate to innovate its way to the next level of excellence.
Companies dedicated to pursuing this kind of innovation may well be the ones with the latest-and-greatest gear in their production departments and the most dazzling applications coming out of them. But make no mistake about why the capability is there or what fundamental strategic purpose it serves.
We’ll let our source pick up the explanation from here.
“Every single piece of paper in this facility matters,” declares Pete Mier, director of business development at this Bartlett, Ill.-based provider of document solutions to the insurance industry and other business verticals. “We have to know where every piece of paper is at all times.”
Driving the scrupulous attention to detail are the strict service level agreements (SLAs) under which OBRIEN Insurance Solutions operates. But the company also appreciates how much its insurance customers have riding on the quality of the transactional documents OBRIEN produces for them in both printed and electronic versions.
“An insurance company’s product is the promise they put on that document,” says Mike Mulcahy, COO. This makes OBRIEN’s mission one of replacing “old looking forms” with up-to-date documents that enhance the policyholder experience of the people receiving them - a task to which production inkjet printing is well-suited.
“The transactional space is a perfect space for inkjet,” Mulcahy says. About 75% of the millions of pieces OBRIEN prints and mails each month are produced digitally, with an increasing share of the workload coming from its RISO inkjet equipment: a ComColor X1 9150 and a pair of ComColor GD 9630s. OBRIEN likes the devices for their high-speed output, compact size, format flexibility and, above all, their robustness in a high-volume environment where, Mulcahy adds, “we can’t afford to be down.”
A continuous objective is to help customers transition from monochrome to full-color output, and currently 50% to 60% of the monthly printed volume features color, according to Mier. All of it includes tailored content - a customer requirement that plays to another of OBRIEN’s exceptional strengths.
Mulcahy emphasizes that a form is a “container” that could as easily be a screen image on a tablet as a hard-copy document in an envelope. Creating one, he explains, is a complex undertaking that requires collaboration by multiple disciplines within an insurance company. OBRIEN streamlines the effort with SolvEdge Digital-CCP, a Web-based platform that coordinates everyone’s input and steers the form through design and approval.
The solution is one of three components of OBRIEN’s Policyholder Engagement Management System (PEMS), an integrated suite that lets each customer specify how it wants its design, printing, mailing and billing services to be delivered. Electronic adoption is increasing, but the company doesn’t foresee any significant erosion of its print volume.
Some states require certain documents to be delivered in physical form, and many people still prefer to hear from their insurance companies in this way. As Mulcahy observes, “there’s an element of stability to print and mail” that continues to appeal to insurers and policyholders alike.