2019 Best-in-Class Innovator: Print is Only One Piece of the Spectrum for Sepire
Innovators don’t come to their plants in the morning saying to themselves, “Today, I’m going to innovate.” That’s not what innovation is about. It’s more a reflex than a behavior — a continuous state of mind that leads both deliberately and serendipitously to transformative results.
The printing industry’s innovators are energetic, inquisitive, and intrepid people who don’t wait for things to happen. Sometimes they strategize outcomes. At other times, facing threat or opportunity, they instinctively choose the right course of action. Either way, these relentless innovators always manage to achieve something that lifts their companies to new levels of capability, performance, and profitability.
The accounts of 12 businesses that exemplify innovation in the printing industry came together in the October issue of Printing Impressions. All of the profiles, one of which appears below, are based on interviews with the sources and on their responses to questionnaires filled out in support of their applications to be selected as Printing Impressions’ “Innovator of the Year” for 2019.
If innovation in the printing industry includes business formation, Sepire certainly qualifies on that count.
It’s a newly launched, “greenfield” enterprise coming to market with a self-developed system for creating and managing the most demanding kinds of business communications. As such, Sepire is its own apt response to the rhetorical question posed by Steve Mahr, the company’s chief relationship officer (CRO): “Who in their right mind opens a printing company from scratch?”
Part of the explanation is that while print is integral to what Sepire does, it’s just one part of a broader spectrum of services the company offers through CompliChain, its secure, automated solution for creating, managing, and distributing omnichannel communications for customers in compliance-driven environments.
These users, reveals Mahr, are primarily health care payor, pharmacy benefit management, and financial services providers — customers that require Sepire to operate under ultra-strict service level agreements (SLAs) for efficiency and data security.
CompliChain satisfies their demands by enabling them to collaborate on projects in an environment that is instantly accessible, fully transparent, and 100% auditable. The workflow also is in full compliance with data security standards such as AT101 SOC2, for which Sepire is certified. Mahr says the methodology lets customers “check down to a piece level on their mailing projects,” with complete assurance that their SLA stipulations for tracking and reporting are being met.
Print is one of a number of tactics that customers can use when working with CompliChain, which also provides email, text, and integration with CRM systems. The print output is considerable, amounting to as many one million units of physical mail per day.
The bulk of this comes from a Ricoh Pro VC70000, a continuous-feed inkjet printing press that Mahr praises as “a beautiful, technological beast of a machine.” It is supported by cut-sheet color toner devices from Ricoh, as well as mail processing systems and equipment from Hunkeler, Kern, and Kirk-Rudy.
In Sepire’s “touch and toss” manufacturing workflow, letters damaged or removed from production are detected by camera verification systems and are automatically re-queued for reprinting. Once mail leaves the plant, customers can track it on a “heat map” showing its progress through the mailstream.
Best practices for security at Sepire — the name means “to put a fence around” in Latin — give the company “the ability to produce highly variable data work very quickly, meeting compliance standards that may seem impossible to other vendors,” according to Mahr.
He says another distinction for Sepire lies in being a woman-owned business with progressive policies for workforce diversity and environmental responsibility. (Michelle Steinberg is the founder and CEO).
In Mahr’s view, a start-up like Sepire represents “the actualization of a vision,” driven by the “guts” needed to make the vision special. “We can’t be afraid of innovation,” he concludes.