The National Credit Act, other legislative and commercial regulations, accountability and best prac- tices linked to proven technologies are changing the print, mail and packaging industries in South Africa, says mailstream technology company Pitney Bowes South Africa MD Michael Springer.
“Integrity, accountability and best practices are becoming requirements for businesses and a priority in the South African market, owing to legislative and corporate responsibility driving factors.
“This has opened a window of opportunity for us because, owing to the struggling eco- nomy and the drive to reduce costs, better operational effi- ciencies, lower operational costs and increasing the effec- tiveness of investments are now being demanded,” says Springer.
Critically, integrity tracking and tracing of all types of packaging can now be identified in real time or historically, regardless of the media used.
For example, in the mailing industry, new methods of enveloping are now available, including packaging into a plastic or paper envelope at speeds of up to 40 000 mail packs an hour without the need to use premanu- factured envelopes, he explains.
“Pitney Bowes has launched a range of packaging options from Italy-based CMC Packaging Group that caters for product barcode reading and in-line label printing and application. “Pitney Bowes also has its Wrapstar system, with complete document tracking and tracing,” adds Pitney Bowes South Africa executive manager Victor Queiroz.
“Both solutions can run at speeds of up to 40 000 packs an hour and ensure that a cus- tomer’s mail piece or package is always fully audited,” he says.
Further, by using an in-line printer, Pitney Bowes has the capability to personalise the package, traditional envelope or Wrapstar envelope with marketing messages targeted at the recipient. This enables companies to merge transactional mail with personalised marketing, typically known as transpromo.
“Strong marketing strategies are required to sustain marketing activity. “This is becoming evident as electronic spam is becoming irritating to the consumer. “Hence, paper-based method- ologies that move away from the shotgun approach towards a more direct consumer-based approach are opening opportunities for us to print ‘apply on the fly’ custom marketing messages.”
These smart, direct marketing strategies are becoming a catalyst and are creating more marketing paper. Pitney Bowes South Africa has the necessary technology and solutions to help cus- tomers leverage direct marketing and transpromo activities, he says.
However, reducing paper and plastic waste has emerged as a significant trend and the company uses new technologies that prevent paper jams and reduce waste. Further, these new technologies will run using recyclable plastic and paper, which helps to reduce the environmental impact, he notes.
“From a new mailing method- ology perspective, envelope packaging without the need to use traditional envelopes will significantly reduce the industry’s impact on the environment because there will be a reduced need to manufacture envelopes, fewer logistics requirements to move the millions of envelopes and storage space as businesses will keep rolls of paper instead of boxes of envelopes,” explains Springer.
Another of the company’s projects is its record information management system. Information, including proof of sending mail and packages, needs to be stored and be easily accessible, together with all other customer-related information.
“The current year is showing signs of customers searching for cost savings, better service delivery and consolidation together with advanced technology applications. These trends are creating significant opportunities,” concludes Springer.