Precision peaks mailing capacity with a Kas Ascent Intelligent Inserter

Suffolk based company Precision, a technology, marketing services and e-commerce business, has invested in the latest intelligent envelope inserter from KAS Paper Systems Ltd.

“Boosted by Royal Mail research into the effectiveness and response rates of printed mailings, our aim was to create engagement with mail, mirroring the digital experience and bridging the gap between the physical and digital”, explains Precision’s Nick Pryke, Chief Operating Officer. “With the letterbox creating more impact than the inbox, we wanted to put ourselves at the heart of this ‘tactile through tech style’ approach.”

“We already had the mailing firepower to deliver 20,000 QR or 2D code embedded and personalised letters per hour. But we needed the ability to insert these high tech mailings; match enclosures by QR code, include different contents for different people, contents that were pertinent to their recent web browsing experience. In short, the physical customer experience needed to match the seamless digital experience” Nick went on to explain.

“The machinery that fitted our complex needs was hard to find, but when KAS Paper Systems approached us last year with their latest intelligent inserter, the timing was ideal”, says Nick, adding that “we have dealt with KAS for over 20 years and amongst our fleet of mailing equipment, we still have a 20 year old KAS Mailmaster 465HS which has inserted around 33 million envelopes!”

Precision eventually finessed three potential suppliers down to just one. “KAS had recently sold a ‘Smart Inserting Machine’ that came close to our brief, to a Marcomm client in the US, and by adding further cameras to the schematic they could deliver to our complex specification” confirmed Nick.

“We sent a team of technical, operations and production personnel to the KAS showroom and factory in Dunstable for an extensive machine demonstration on the Mailmaster Ascent, including running our own coded materials. The machine did exactly what we needed” Nick added.

Further “As the trade off between business investment and job protection gave us a few sleepless nights, we were fired a ‘silver bullet’ by the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership. They introduced us to and eventually approved a grant under the Business Resilience and Recovery Scheme towards the purchase of the machine.”

The KAS Ascent model ordered by Precision encloses up to 7,000 envelopes per hour, handling sizes from oversize C4 down to C5 and DL. It is fitted with an intelligent prime document feeder/collator/folder with 2D camera for multiple and variable page letters. Additional feeders can add up to four separate documents such as single page flyers, reply envelopes, stitched booklets up to 7mm thick and personalised, coded marketing material which is camera matched with the letter. The machine also benefits from semi-automated changeover. Finally, the inserter has a 2D camera on the envelope feeder for matching pre-printed personalised envelopes with the letter. “To ensure mailing integrity we can even provide an insertion report that is barcode driven and tracks the pack content right through to envelope insertion” adds Mr Pryke.

Against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic, social distancing and the wearing of face-coverings by the Precision operators and KAS engineers, installation and full operator training of the Ascent was carried out by KAS during late Spring at Precision’s head office site in Bury St Edmunds, with final commissioning in June. “It was well organised, and we were up and running very quickly” says Nick, adding that “after some minor teething issues, the Ascent rapidly became a central part of our mailing armoury.”

Asked how the encloser has performed, Nick responds that “it has been running really well, it’s used every single day, averaging around 20,000 envelopes, and we already have some new client work, including complex barcoded mailings for clients in the financial services industries. Despite the inserter’s perceived complexity, we have been running it with just a single operator, including the Mailsort requirements.”

Nick says he is hopeful that with the apparent comeback of direct mail, particularly during the Coronavirus pandemic, it won’t be long before the machine is exclusively handling barcoded mailings and across the full range of DL, C5 and C4 envelopes. He adds that “with ‘Smart mailings’ using 2D codes on the increase, we can only see the demand extending”.
Nick summarises by saying “Precision has invested in a smart inserter to complete the fulfilment of advertising mail with the capability for each piece to be personalised, localised, matched, inserted and trackable online through personalised and unique codes. We have turned direct mail into a multi-dimensional, dynamic experience that delivers value to both the sender and the recipient. The smart inserter completes the loop for us and also enables us to keep the cost of direct mail low too. With digital communication becoming costly and crowded, we have applied the core benefits of digital communication by bridging the gap between the physical and the digital experience.”