Based in Wooburn Green, near High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, GD Laser is a small print and mail company with big ambition.
Now in its fifth year GD Laser focuses predominantly on processing campaigns for the charity sector, where efficient, yet sophisticated Direct Mail campaigns are critical for driving funding. Georgina Hewlett, Managing Director at GD Laser, states: “Charities, more than any other sector, are very cost-conscious. However, this does not mean that the sector settles for compromise in terms of campaign sophistication.”
As the complexity of campaign processing requests to Georgina’s team increased, it quickly became clear that intelligent automation was required at the insertion stage of the production cycle. Georgina began to evaluate the various insertion technologies on the market to meet the flexibility and cost requirements of her demanding client base. As the project developed it became clear that the proven partnership of Pitney Bowes DMT and Lake Image Systems could provide the solution. Georgina continues: “For a company of our size, a technology purchase of this kind represents a considerable investment. We had to get the choice of equipment right. One of our main criteria was that the kit had to be as flexible as possible. We wanted to be in the position to say ‘yes’ to a client – no matter what they came up with.
The Pitney Bowes FlowMaster FX10, combined with Lake Image Systems reading technology offered exactly this flexibility, coupled with their strong service offerings. Indeed, because we are a mailing house, customers can come along and ask us to process anything – every job is different. Therefore, the service that the Pitney Bowes / Lake Image Systems team offered needed to be as flexible as the technology.”
GD Laser now uses the Pitney Bowes FlowMaster to fulfill a number of jobs that would not have been possible using older enclosing equipment.
“It’s not until you actually see it for yourself that you believe the technology can process jobs like raffle tickets,” states Georgina, “the feeder system on the FlowMaster is incredibly flexible. “We operate using four Lake Image OCR reading cameras, three of which are positioned over the FlowMaster’s enclosing stations. These cameras are configured to be inter-changeable, meaning they can be moved to cover any of the six stations, thus allowing customers to personalise more of each envelope’s content. “The fourth camera is positioned on the envelope feeding station. This is particularly clever because it is designed to read ultra-violet ink. We wanted this option because many charities don’t want their campaigns to look like mass produced direct mail. For example, rather than using envelope windows for addresses, they choose the printed ‘handwritten’ effect. So, although we wanted a camera on the envelope station for verification and integrity purposes, we were certain that some of our clients wouldn’t want to print a black numeric code on the envelope since this would detract from the personalised, handwritten effect. Using ultra-violet ink, we can still print the code, but it is invisible.” Since installation in 2003, GD Laser is processing around 350,000 letters per month on the FlowMaster, and a greater variety of work is now possible.
Georgina concludes: “Being a small company dealing with a multi-national supplier, there is always a fear that you may be regarded as a small fish in a large pond. Pitney Bowes and Lake Image Systems have proved this to be entirely wrong. Their staff have all been incredibly attentive – pulling out all the stops to help us – and we are so pleased with the machine. We’ve not yet found a job that we can’t run on it and it’s opened up all sorts of business for us. It’s been fantastic.”
Lake Image Systems and Pitney Bowes DMT have been providing unique solutions to the finishing and enclosing market place for several years. The Lake Image IntegraVision scanning technology can read most symbologies used in the marketplace, and provide a variety of document and print integrity functions, complete with comprehensive integrity and job reporting capabilities.