ROYAL IMPRESSIONS -- Getting With The Program
That's a nice added benefit because document integrity is a critical issue when dealing with personalized communications. This requirement puts increased pressure on the back end of the process—from binding and finishing to mailing and fulfillment—in particular.
Royal Impressions' bindery and finishing department currently houses three perfect binders (two Standard Finishing Horizons and a Rosback), two Heidelberg Polar computerized cutters, GBC binding systems, folders, a scorer/perforator, wafer sealer and more. DeSantis sees opportunities to enhance the department's quality control, including through the addition of new equipment like an inserter with barcode recognition to ensure document integrity for more complex variable applications.
With clients demanding 100 percent accuracy in personalized programs, especially those containing sensitive data, outsourcing isn't an option. "For our variable applications, nothing is sent outside at this point. The work is too complex and there are too many chances for error," DeSantis says.
"The sensitivity of the data we are receiving from clients means that production, fulfillment and other functions need to be done in-house," agrees Bob Estrada, director of CRM marketing solutions. "The contracts require it."
While much of the company's story has evolved around equipment, the need for IT expertise definitely shouldn't be overlooked or underestimated, Estrada and DeSantis agree.
"Building an internal infrastructure—of both IT people and technology—to support our types of programs was essential. We tried outsourcing at first, but ran into a problem with finger pointing when things didn't work," Estrada says. "There likely are other applications where you don't need an internal IT department, though."
"At a minimum, you'd need someone internally who knows how to use such outside resources effectively," DeSantis adds. "The integrity of the data is absolutely critical. You need a staff person who understands this business, knows what the presses can do, how the software works and who can figure out how to integrate it all."