Damages, Reprints and Remakes when the manufacturing process goes wrong.

Key Questions about Damages, Reprints and Remakes                                                                      

There are some things you can count on. During the print and mail process, things occasionally go wrong. Printers jam, pages get dropped and inserters tear up pages or even complete mail pieces.  Everybody knows damages are part of the process, but not everyone is equipped to deal with them. Some CCM solutions forget these and that poses three questions:

  1. Why do so many companies forget to create a process?
  2. Why is it always a surprise to hear that a reprint workflow is needed?
  3. How many people are involved in getting reprints from a single mail piece or collection of mail pieces?

First, why are damages and reprints such a problem? In helping hundreds of companies understand workflow and reprints I've constantly heard horror stories of people searching through PostScript files for a single mailpiece, or sending files back to the IT department for hours—or even days. This costs time and money, hurts efficiency, and can even result in missed SLAs.

One issue that continually comes up in letter shops is receiving “Hang & Print” PCL files from legacy systems that have 100,000 mail pieces in them. Yet, armed with only limited information, IT and prepress staff expect to be able to just send the files to the printer where they expect it to print with no problems.  They forget about (or are unaware of) auditing reprints, convenience breaks, inserter verification barcodes, and many other complex workflow tasks. It is frustrating that a small operational issue can delay your mail date, or involve multiple people costing the company money while using hours of IT resources that are already stretched thin.

To help smooth the way, next time you set up a job, think about Damages, Reprints and Remakes. To begin, answer three more questions:

  1. Can you recreate any mail piece throughout the workflow?
  2. Can you output the job to another data stream for a different printer?
  3. How many people are going to be required to create a reprint?

If the answer is No, or if more than 1 person is involved, stop and rethink your process.

Several years ago, Pitney Bowes developed the “Touch n Toss” philosophy to help large volume transactional mailers ensure accuracy. In developing their approach, they found that the chance of an error increases when an employee made a decision about damage.

As a result of the study, part of the ADF they developed included an entire automated reprint process. For decades, this stood as a forward-thinking process that solved some problems. But even today, the need for passing flat files, MRDF files, and auditing information is still needed. (MRDF files are a file that tells the inserter about the job it is about to receive. Some people may refer to these as IDX, JIF, or HAL files but the idea behind them is to link the inserter with the data using a XML or text file.)

In today's world of open databases, APIs and real-time integration, I've found that using modern systems that can constantly interact and link systems at a database level, rather than handing files between systems, makes a critical difference in error recovery. There are four key steps to success  

  • Start with the ability to archive every mail piece
  • Create an auditing scheme to ensure every piece can be accounted for
  • Confirm each page and mail piece coming out of the back of your inserter using a camera/mail verification system
  • Ensure that your insert department can create their own damages/reprints/remakes/ while also ensuring that every reprint is marked in your system so it can be identified whenever there is an error

Finally, even if you can't do all of these items, make sure that you can track every piece from print to insert and verify it. You will still be ahead of the game and better prepared to handle damages, reprints and remakes.

Sales Pitch:

Uluro uTrack is a complete tracking and auditing system that has a built-in visibility and reprint management.

  • Tracks what jobs and pieces have been printed
  • Provides a simple secure tracking interface that verifies each piece
  • Completes the reprint process
  • Open an interface table to link to Inserters and systems like DRS
You do not have to use Uluro for composition to use uTrack Reprints 


Uluro uTrack & Uluro Simple Reprints. Saving you time & money every day..

Questions feel free to contact me: Adam Armstrong Adam@uluro.com 

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