Safety in Numbering (Go Digital)

Several customers have contacted Document Data Solutions recently about their legacy systems for printing sequential numbers. They aren’t happy with their mechanical numbering methods.

Concerns from print companies include rising maintenance costs and quality issues as well as increasing requests for adding barcodes to forms.

In most cases these days, when your mechanical automatic numbering head breaks down, you’ve got to replace it. Repairs are not an option. Our customers tell us they can’t buy the parts, turning what used to be a repair into an expensive replacement.

Never a Good Time for a Breakdown

When mechanical numbering devices fail, you’re going to find out about the breakdown in the middle of a job. If you have complete redundancy for presses with numbering machines, you might move the job to a different production line. But if such backup does not exist, you’ll need to pull the job from production until a new numbering unit can be delivered, installed, adjusted, and tested. You may put compliance with promised deadlines in jeopardy while you wait to resume production.

Old mechanical numbering equipment is eventually going to wear out and stop working. Unexpected failure is only a matter of time.

Sticking Numbers

Automated mechanical numbering machines can also cause data integrity issues. Sometimes the reels stick and don’t advance as they should. You might produce items with duplicate numbers or experience gaps in the sequence that cause problems for your customers.

Unless you have automatic document integrity measures in place, such as iDataScan from DDS, sequence errors caused by failing numbering machines will be difficult to spot when they happen. Printers can easily ship jobs containing sequence number mistakes and never know it until a customer complains.

Printers lucky enough to catch a number machine malfunction during production may have to inspect the entire run to make sure an intermittent problem didn’t affect the numbering sequence in other parts of the job. Profit margins shrink when your staff is spending their time examining work you thought was complete.

Going Digital

The modern answer to the issues with mechanical numbering systems is a digital alternative. Digital inkjet numbering comes with distinct advantages.

  • Sticking numbers won’t happen anymore. Digital inkjet numbering devices do not rely on mechanical wheels and ratchets to add numbers to documents. With less wear and tear, numbering will continue reliably for long periods of time.
  • Digital numbering solutions are much more versatile than their mechanical counterparts.
    You can print numeric or alphanumeric characters in virtually any size or orientation; even add barcodes. Numbers can be automatically generated by the system, with or without a date/time stamp, or you can print specific numbers from a database.
  • When a digital inkjet device requires maintenance, parts are readily available. You won’t need to replace the entire unit.

 

If your shop is relying on aging mechanical numbering units that are becoming less reliable and more expensive by the day, check with us at DDS for a better solution.

 

Specialized Print Applications

Printing isn’t limited to ink on paper. In fact, several DDS customers are using their hybrid inkjet print systems in creative ways, extending the value of their technology investment, and creating new markets for their services.

The Freedom Series inkjet print modules from DDS can print on a wide variety of substrates and are perfectly suited to handle special applications, such as:

  • Printing part numbers, SKU’s and other information directly on plastic extrusions, pipe, tubing, strapping, and more
  • Producing all kinds of packaging, including flexible packages and stick packs
  • Ticket printing
  • Pharma applications
  • Boxes and cartons
  • Lottery tickets* and promotional contest cards
  • Mail addressing (of course)

*Lottery ticket production requires special workflows. Production integrity with tracking and reporting is essential. Check with us at DDS for advice and best practices if you are planning on entering the lottery ticket business.

Some DDS customers have replaced their mechanical numbering systems with variable data imaged by inkjet print modules. The new technology provides them with a great deal of flexibility to dictate how and where the numbers appear on the material, which fonts they use, and the option to include barcodes.

Creativity Enabled
By exploiting the capabilities of the inkjet print modules, printing companies can act as creative consultants, a role that customers are increasingly expecting from their print service providers. Customers don’t know everything you can do with the latest technology. It’s up to you to show them how they can distinguish themselves in the marketplace by deploying the innovative items you produce for them.

You have always created interesting items using cutting, folding, and binding. When the application called for it, you might have sent work out for embellishments. Now you can extend the creativity and keep more of the work in-house. With the ability to print using aqueous dye and pigment inks, including UV curable ink, the possibilities are endless.

Competitive Edge
Printers used to differentiate themselves in the marketplace with speed or print quality. Not anymore. All the printing technologies available today produce high quality images at high speed. These factors no longer give you a competitive edge. Today, you need something new that generates higher margins. Specialty printing applications can be the edge you need to attract new customers, keep the ones you’ve got, and realize a reasonable profit.

Personalization is huge and the market for personalized print applications is growing. Adding inkjet print modules to your production line means you can talk to customers about the power of personalization and charge a premium to produce it. Customers understand the improved performance of personalized materials and will invest a bit more to realize a higher campaign ROI.

You won’t be constrained by print width or be concerned with stitching issues either. The FS-1200 comes in several print widths up to 27 inches of monochrome black or spot color in a single print module and you can combine two of them for 54” of total print width. CMYK process color systems come in widths up to 17”.

Our customers are thrilled with the quality they are getting from their DDS print systems. The productivity features that increase throughput and up-time have made this product wildly popular.

If you are ready to stretch your service offerings to include specialty applications, you want equipment that can deliver the performance and quality you need while providing the flexibility necessary to create any application you can imagine. We think the Freedom Series family of inkjet print modules from Document Data Solutions are the perfect devices to satisfy those requirements.

Keep Your Post Processing Equipment

Adding inkjet heads to an existing press means you can keep all your transports and finishing equipment in place. Most of that equipment is fully depreciated. You don’t want to replace it just because you added a digital printing workflow to your shop.

Production equipment is expensive. Your investment is meant to last for years as you acquire machines that fold, crease, bind, or insert material after printing. These machines are part of an established operational workflow in your facility. With a hybrid printing approach you can add digital printing but won’t have to abandon those assets or change your production process. This tactic is often the most practical solution for print service providers.

Adding Affordable Inkjet

Growth in the printing industry depends on inkjet technology, but many commercial print operations with well-established workflows and investments in offset equipment find it difficult to envision an inkjet migration path. They are not keen on disrupting the entire operation and they don’t have the budgets to replace fully depreciated finishing equipment.

A hybrid arrangement makes the most sense for many print companies. Add digital inkjet printing to existing web presses for the best of both worlds at a manageable cost.

Affordable inkjet modules from DDS can produce variable images and personalized materials that enhance the effectiveness of print projects. You can deliver a superior product without the overhead associated with a migration from conventional printing to digital inkjet. Print service providers can add value to the printed materials they already create for their customers and benefit from new revenue streams.

Hybrid Advantages

Besides a much lower acquisition cost than a standalone inkjet press, a DDS hybrid solution comes with added advantages. Digital print heads added to your existing presses means operators can still run the presses with little additional training. All the familiar processes for paper loading, transport, major maintenance, and offset ink color management are unchanged.

Advantages of Hybrid Printing

•       Inkjet made simple: DDS can mount one or more inkjet print modules on a web press

•       Extends equipment life: Leverage current investments in web presses and finishing technology

•       Retains offset strengths: Integrated cards, perforated coupons, foils, metallic or fluorescent colors, UV coating, heavier weight stocks, etc.

•       Low cost: The most cost-effective method of printing large jobs containing variable information

•       Minimal touch points: Off the press and into the client’s hands

Market Demands

Print service providers must offer variable data printing. Customers are developing marketing campaigns based on data and will only work with printers that can deliver the flexibility this strategy demands.

Because customers are moving towards personalized and segmented marketing strategies, print runs are shrinking. With a hybrid press, printers can merge small jobs to make longer print runs. The new print heads will image only areas on the page that differ among versions, allowing for higher productivity and better profit margins.

When DDS customer American Litho faced the challenge of variable data printing. We worked with them to integrate inkjet print heads, high-volume ink reservoirs, software, and controllers. They preserved their core production practices and continued to use their existing presses and finishing equipment. American Litho is now applying full-color variable data information and images to campaign runs from 100 pieces up to millions with the hybrid system. Read about their experience here.

Relying on Old Print Technology Could Cost You

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hybrid printing has been around for a while. Many print service providers bought units sold by Kodak, Videojet, Scitex, or others and have used them effectively for years. We see equipment like the Kodak 6240 models still mounted on presses when we visit shop floors across the country. Those units served a purpose back in the day, but now they are showing their age.

As shop equipment gets older, finding parts and technicians to repair them becomes more difficult. Sometimes, manufacturers decide to cease supporting older platforms.

Analysts believe we are on the verge of an exciting period in the printing business as markets begin a post-COVID recovery. This makes it a perfect time to ask questions about your legacy equipment:

  1. Is it ready for the more complex personalized applications your customers are likely to request?
  2. Will the equipment hold up—can you get parts and service when you need them?
  3. Is your current hybrid print workflow still the best way to run your jobs?
  4. What is the true cost to continue relying on twenty-year-old technology?

Conversations we’ve had with print service providers revealed that many are tired of the expensive service contracts, click charges, monthly minimums, and low dpi print that often came with the older print technologies. It is getting more expensive to run these devices and they can’t always count on them to be ready to use when they need them. They question their abilities to continue to meet tight customer deadlines.

Leaders in the print business have already taken steps to upgrade. They have replaced the units that were the best solutions decades ago. Modern systems allow them to automate more of their production workflow while still using as much of their existing infrastructure as possible. These forward-looking organizations recognize such investments allow them to bid competitively for higher-margin projects, increase customer wallet-share, and take advantage of cross-selling opportunities.

Many of the companies replace their aging low resolution equipment with the much higher resolution 1200 dpi Freedom Series FS-1200 from Document Data Solutions.

The FUJIFILM Dimatix, Inc. SAMBA® printheads used in the FS-1200 are made of silicon, like computer chips. Their unique monolithic design reduces the number of moving parts, resulting in increased reliability. FS-1200 design features offer big improvements over the capabilities of older equipment like the Kodak 6240.

6240 FS-1200
Print Width Fixed at 4.27” Choose width from 1.7” to 27”
Resolution 240 x 240 DPI Up to 1200 DPI
Ink Drop Size Fixed Selectable to best match your production requirement
Image Speed 300 FPM to 1000 FPM, depending on model Up to 1300 FPM
Click Charges NO NO
Repetitive Refurbishing Required YES NO
IJPDS Workflow YES YES,  There are no changes required from your existing workflow!

To motivate companies that are mulling over their end-of-life options, DDS has developed an incentive trade-in program to move up to our FS-1200 hybrid inkjet technology. From now until July 31, 2021, DDS will extend a trade-in credit, up to $25,000, for customers that would like to trade-in their end-of-life digital printing solution for the NEW standard in hybrid inkjet printing – the iDataPrint FS-1200! Click the link below to discuss your trade-in.

Plenty of demand already exists for hybrid printing applications. Each year, agencies and corporations spend hundreds of millions of dollars to purchase print for direct mail campaigns and related projects. Looking forward, the printing companies with efficient operations will win these bids because they can quote low prices, high quality, and fast turnaround. Versatile and cost-effective hybrid printing solutions make that possible.

If your printing company relies on inkjet or toner solutions you bought in the 90s, you may find it difficult to compete for new hybrid print jobs. Customers will invest in print only if they can get the results they want, at a price they can justify.

It’s a Dirty Job (But Nobody Has to Do It)

Cleaning print heads is necessary to maintain efficiency and print quality, but doing this job manually can be risky. Operators can accidentally damage the equipment while wiping the print heads, and that can disable the machine. Equipment that is unexpectedly out of service disrupts your production schedule and might even harm customer relationships.

DDS recognizes this issue and offers the optional automatic cleaning function of the FS-1200 print head. Now print operators can make sure the print heads are clean by simply pressing a button. The print head cleans itself by raising the unit, moistening the print head, and vacuuming the debris. In just a few minutes, your equipment can be back in action.

Watch this short video to see how it works:

The iDataPrint™ FS-1200 print head, featuring FUJIFILM Dimatix, Inc. SAMBA® technology has been popular with our customers who are pleased with the low operating costs and flexibility these modules present.

Printing companies are installing the FS-1200 print heads and saving money by leveraging their investments in existing web presses and finishing equipment. They don’t pay click charges and they appreciate the low ink costs when they compare to other inkjet modules on the market. Refurbishing is also unnecessary with this technology, saving even more money over time.

Printers are not giving up print quality to achieve these savings. The parallelogram design allows the printhead to seamlessly stitch segments together and cover wide print areas. The unit supports dye, pigment, UV curable, and latex inks, and features adjustable drop sizes.

 

Lately, commercial printers have been investing in equipment, allowing them to produce larger images and new product offerings. The FS-1200 is available in sizes from 1.7 inches to 27 inches. Printers can buy the width appropriate for their applications and add print width as they need it. This makes it easy for printers to expand into packaging, signs and banners, or fabric decoration.

Print head nozzles are tiny—less than the width of a human hair in some cases. If they get blocked, print quality suffers. Removing dirt, debris, or dried ink from the sensitive print head is an important maintenance task. Neglecting to clean often enough can permanently damage the print head. This will be a costly replacement. The FS-1200 self-cleaning feature keeps your inkjet print equipment in top shape, effortlessly.

The Popular 27 Inch FS-1200 Print Head

Document Data Solutions customers are raving about our Freedom Series FS-1200 print head, now with optional Auto-Clean. The 1200 dpi print bar is available in widths from 1.7 inches to 27 inches, but the most popular choice over the past year is the 27 inch model. Printers are impressed with the FS-1200’s extendibility and are taking advantage of its performance over the wide, 27-inch span.

With no stitching, the iDataPrint™ FS-1200 featuring FUJIFILM Dimatix, Inc. SAMBA® technology creates flawless, no hassle images at a reasonable cost. Low ink costs, and near instant start/stop are popular features for this print head, capable of running at up to 1300 feet per minute.

 Saving Money

Printers have been attracted to the low cost of ownership the FS-1200 offers. By enhancing the performance of their existing web presses, they preserve capital and leverage the investments they’ve made in printing and finishing equipment.

Unlike other print heads, iDataPrint™ FS-1200 never needs refurbishing. This saves printers even more money over the long term. Selectable drop sizes also contribute to the savings DDS customers are enjoying on every job.

Because the FS-1200 can be fitted to existing ink towers, installation is easy and inexpensive. DDS has installed many of these print heads for our customers, but you may perform the modifications yourself. We’ll supply the technical recommendations and the rail assembly you can customize to fit your applications.

Flexible Ink Choices

The Freedom Series 1200 dpi print bar allows you to choose from a wide verity of inks. DDS has expanded our vetted ink portfolio, which now features dye based, pigment based, pigment/polymer, UV curable, and even custom spot colors.

To supply the printhead with a continuous supply of ink, we include our bulk ink delivery system with the FS-1200. The cabinet also houses our industrial-grade print controller computer and power supplies.

 Auto-Clean!

You must clean the print heads of any inkjet printing device regularly to maintain efficiency and print quality. Manually cleaning delicate print heads can damage them, disabling the unit. With most print heads, operators have no choice. They must perform this risky maintenance task.

You will be happy to hear that DDS has eliminated this time-consuming and perilous job. The FS-1200 printhead is available with an optional automatic cleaning function. Print operators just press a button to begin the cleaning cycle. The FS-1200 automatically raises, moistens the bottom of the print head, vacuums debris to a waste container, and returns the equipment to print-ready condition. You’re ready to print again in under two minutes!

SEE THE AUTO-CLEAN IN ACTION. CLICK IMAGE ABOVE TO PLAY VIDEO

Superior Quality

The unique design of the print modules seamlessly stitch together to cover wide print areas, up to 27 inches. You will spend less time fine-tuning the press and end registration problems. Less time adjusting the press translates into more time for printing revenue-producing materials.

A Perfect, Scalable Solution

Commercial printers need equipment that allows them to produce larger images. That’s why so many of them are opting for the full 27-inch printhead. However, the unique design of the FS-1200 makes it easy to take advantage of the Freedom Series 1200 dpi printhead in the available width appropriate for your applications.

Commercial printers are expanding into packaging, point-of-sale graphics, signage, and garment decoration. Add value to these applications by including variable data printing such as text, graphics, barcodes, logos, and maps. The FS-1200’s adjustable drop sizes ensure high quality results.

Ready to learn more? Download the FS-1200 printhead product brochure HERE.

Adaptable Material Movement

Whether printing, inserting, or sorting, document processing centers deal with moving material all day. Sometimes pages, postcards, or envelopes pass beneath inkjet heads. Other times, printed items travel past cameras that record the presence of individual pieces, sort, or perform other operational tasks. Or, materials may be simply moving from one physical machine to the next.

Print operations need reliable transport units to handle a variety of material movement demands. They must move items at a pace necessary for optimal quality and piece integrity. Most shops invest in several such units, each with a dedicated purpose.

The document business is dynamic, however. Print service providers are constantly investing in new technology or innovative processing methods to create items their clients need. Old, dedicated transport equipment can’t always provide the functionality necessary to support the newest trends in document production and efficiency. Space considerations and cost make it unlikely a printing company will buy transport units for every new job, but constantly re-configuring their existing units consumes too much time.

A transport system that can handle any configuration of processing requirements is a better investment, and the new Adaptable Transport System™ (ATS) from Document Data Solutions fills the bill.

The ATS is fully customizable. We’ll build the unit to meet your specific needs. You can choose the belt type, include bottom-up scanning ability, or add divert operations both upstream or downstream.

Each ATS vacuum transport base comes with full length rails, allowing you to mount any printing, camera, or affixing systems you choose. The ATS even allows you to control two input sources directly from the control panel, easily switching sources for each job, or selectively accepting material from both sources during a job. Press a button to control the input source rather than physically reconfiguring the equipment and lengthening the unproductive set-up time between jobs.

Use the ATS to affix cards, print, scan, or feed other equipment. Mounting or configuring the device to meet the needs of your jobs is easy. The ATS from DDS offers a generous 75” standard deck length with mounting rails. Jam detection and the input/output interface come standard.

Controllable upstream diverts allow you to prevent certain pieces from passing under print heads mounted on the ATS. Downstream diverts can selectively remove pieces from the output stream, such as when ATS-mounted cameras detect defects.

The biggest advantage of the Adaptable Transport System is ease of use. Mounting and adjusting your production equipment is a simple task. You can control where to mount the printing, scanning, or affixing units and manage the space between them. Quickly make fine-tuning adjustments without disassembling machinery and get quickly back to production.

If you are considering replacing old worn-out equipment, or you need more versatile transport systems, take a look at the Adaptable Transport System from DDS.

For more information about the new ATS transport system, contact us directly at (203) 794-0520.

Did Everything Get Mailed?

Print/mail service provider clients want to know they are getting everything they are paying for. Clients expect you to track every mailpiece as you process it through your shop. In today’s competitive marketplace, operations that can’t offer this level of accountability may lose business to another service provider-one that has invested in tracking technology.

Make no mistake. Mailpiece accountability is a big thing. Any client that invests in mailed communications today wants assurances their print/mail service provider created all their mail, put it into the mailstream, and the Postal Service delivered it. Companies aren’t interested in wasting time and money on mail campaigns that don’t yield the expected response rate. A mailpiece that never makes out of the document center has no chance of creating the desired result, thus dragging down the ROI of the campaign.

Incomplete Mailings Bad for Business

Poor performing campaigns don’t get repeated, so it is in the best interest of mail service providers to decrease waste and maximize mail effectiveness. That means making sure they account for every mailpiece entrusted to them. Clients will run more direct mail campaigns when they achieve outstanding results.

Missing mailpieces become even more impactful as mail volumes decline. Data selection is much more precise than in the old bulk mail days. Marketers do not send mail to every household in a zip code anymore. Easy access to consumer data allows marketers to limit their direct mail advertising efforts to only the best prospects. With lower mailing volumes, any document omitted from a mailing because it was lost or damaged during production represents a greater percentage of the overall campaign. The opportunity loss from a few missing mailpieces can affect the results.

Multi-Channel is the Norm

Marketers have made large investments in each name on their mailing lists. They have researched and filtered until their lists contain the best prospects, and they have enhanced the file by adding demographic data, email addresses, IP addresses, and cell phone numbers. Standalone direct mail is rare these days. Most likely, your clients will tie each mailpiece you produce to integrated messages delivered electronically to the recipients. Marketers time complementary email or text messages to arrive in households according to the expected mail delivery day. Obviously, corresponding electronic messages will have less of an impact if the related mailpiece does not arrive at the target household because it never made it out of the mail center.

Mail triggered by online activity is another case where a single missing mailpiece can have far-reaching consequences. Carefully developed multi-channel lead nurturing strategies are weakened if the print/mail service provider fails to enter every direct mail element of the automated workflow into the mailstream at the expected time.

Transactional Documents

When mailing transactional documents such as monthly statements, some clients insist on mailing audits. Vision-based document tracking and logging systems like iDataScan™ from Document Data Solutions allow clients to make such inquiries without disrupting operations. Audits that used to take days to complete can be handled in just a few hours. When a camera-based monitoring system is tracking the status of each mailpiece, service providers can also fulfill last-minute client requests efficiently, such as removing certain documents from a mailing.

Complex jobs need tight controls to avoid the negative effects of double-stuffed envelopes, duplicates, or missing pages. Mistakes can be devastating to document service providers. Operations that process applications like bills, statements, insurance claims, or mail-in ballots can’t operate safely without an automated tracking and mailpiece integrity system in place. (See our recent article on vote-by-mail for a discussion about this unique application).

Making sure all the mail went out is one of the most important aspects of processing a print and mail application. Archaic methods like batch balancing are not precise enough to do the job. They can’t prevent an error from occurring and they don’t always catch a mistake that happened during the run. Without vision-based tracking systems, correcting a mailing mistake that occurred during the job requires time-consuming and expensive manual efforts that may or may not reveal the errors.

Vision-based mailpiece integrity solutions are the only way print/mail service providers can furnish the level of accountability and quality their clients demand.

Tired of Click Charges?

 

Some popular digital print systems on the market come with an expensive feature – click charges! Having to pay to use equipment you’ve already bought annoys many print company executives.

When printers started adding digital print technologies to their operations, they encountered the practice of click charges – a new phenomenon for those in the offset world. Print company managers were accustomed to a print production environment where they purchased ink and consumables as required for upcoming jobs. Bundling maintenance and consumables into a per-image price didn’t match up with the established norms for how they produced print.

Attitudes about click charges may have softened over the years as digital printing has become more mainstream. But for some, the issue still rubs them the wrong way. DDS addressed click-charge distaste when we introduced the iDataPrint™ Freedom Series FS-1200 print system.

One feature our customers really like about the FS-1200 is the lack of click charges. Printers feel this aspect makes it easier to integrate the device into their operations, which is great because the unit is so versatile.

The iDataPrint™ FS-1200’s selectable drop size and print resolution (DPI) capabilities impress DDS customers. Printers are controlling ink costs while still retaining the ability to increase the image density when necessary. Plus, they can choose from a variety of dye, pigment, latex, or UV curable inks as well as print bar widths from 1.7 to 27 inches when purchasing a system.

The iDataPrint™ FS-1200 from DDS is ready to handle any size job. With almost instant start and stop, up to 1300 feet per minute speeds, and automated splice avoidance, these print modules are improving productivity everywhere we’ve installed them. They even clean themselves!

By adding these units to their existing production lines, print companies are extending the useful life of their existing web presses and finishing equipment, many of which are fully depreciated.

Some FS-1200 buyers retrofit their existing inkjet towers, saving them even more time and money. We can handle the installation and repurposing of existing components for you. Or, if you prefer to perform the modifications yourself, DDS provides technical recommendations and an FS-1200 Web Tower Print Module Rail Assembly.

Print companies can add digital print capabilities while saving money by leveraging their investments in existing web presses and finishing equipment. Buyers of the print module love the low cost and flexibility the unit offers. Unlike competing print systems, the FS-1200 printheads never need refurbishing, saving even more money over time.

Commercial printers are expanding into packaging, point-of-sale graphics, signage, and garment decoration. Scalable print width and controllable drop size functionality coincides with the convergence trends in the print industry. Commercial printers are investing in equipment, allowing them to produce larger images and new product offerings. The unique design of the FS-1200 makes it easy to do that.

Your print business needs to add digital printing, but perhaps you’re not ready to make a huge investment in a new digital press. Maybe the mandatory service contracts and click charges that often come with digital print technologies don’t fit your business model. If so, the FS-1200 may be the best solution. Contact us to arrange for a demonstration of the print bar’s performance. You’ll see the possibilities right away.

Processing Vote-by-Mail Ballots

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we think about a lot of things. Going forward, working from home, distance learning, telemedicine, and virtual conferences are all likely to be more prevalent now that social distancing has forced us to revise some of our traditional habits. The latest public health hazard might also permanently affect the way we run elections.

Plenty of states and counties in the US are actively looking into vote-by-mail as a safer way to allow citizens to cast their votes. These entities are interested in logistics, costs, and economies of holding at least some of their elections via paper ballots transported through the mail.

As mail-in ballot use rises, most jurisdictions won’t want to handle vote-by-mail ballot distribution in-house. They will use outsource print and mail service providers to create the ballots and get these critical documents into the hands of voters according to deadlines prescribed by election laws.

Absentee Ballots

Public health concerns are triggering a surge in absentee ballot requests. In response, some states have relaxed their rules requiring voters to meet certain conditions to qualify for absentee ballots, or are encouraging citizens to request ballots for upcoming elections. Some states, such as New York, considered proactively sending absentee ballot applications to all registered voters. More voters are likely to cast absentee ballots in coming elections than ever.

We expect that once voters experience the convenience of casting their votes from their kitchen tables, many of them will continue the practice-whether or not a public health emergency exists. That represents an opportunity for providers of print and mail services.

Mailpiece Integrity Required

Ballot mailings, however, are not the same as run-of-the-mill direct mail projects. Mailpiece integrity, tracking, and reprints are features a company must offer for elections officials to consider them a qualified vendor for vote-by-mail support. The application requires mail service vendors to insert ballots selectively, print personalized envelopes, and match them to the ballots as they are inserted. Every piece must be tracked to be sure each voter receives the correct ballot. Damaged pieces must be reprinted, tracked, and sent within timeframes often mandated by statute.

Attempting such work without the necessary hardware, software, and integrity processes in place would be foolish. Mailing mistakes always have negative consequences for print/mail service providers, but ballot mailing is an exceptionally high-profile application. Inserting errors or distribution delays are likely to be reported by the press and could spawn government investigations. The fallout from such mistakes could damage a service provider’s business beyond repair, so we don’t recommend entering the ballot mailing business until you’ve upgraded your operation.

As you probably know, Document Data Solutions is in the business of making sure our customers can produce accurate and timely mailings. We’ve been developing and implementing mailpiece integrity systems for twenty years. Companies using our hardware and software vision-based systems process sensitive documents like bank statements, medical lab results, insurance claim and voter forms every day. DDS solutions like iDataVerifyTM are what companies need to take part in the growing ballot mailing market.

If your company doesn’t have the integrity software, and control systems ballot mailing requires, you may need to invest in an upgrade. DDS currently offers ballot integrity systems to integrate with your existing equipment, so you won’t have to spend money on new inserting machines. Just add the DDS components to make your old machines a lot smarter.

Beyond Election Jobs

Your investment in integrity equipment will provide ongoing benefits long after this years elections end. Mailers and marketers are demanding integrity, tracking, and auditing capabilities for all their mailing projects, especially as they are processed on digital presses that personalize every mailpiece. Upgrading your workflow to incorporate mailpiece integrity and tracking is an intelligent way to prepare for the future.

No one knows exactly how the corona virus outbreak will change the way we work, socialize, and handle many aspects of our lives. It’s a good bet, however, that increased interest in vote-by-mail will influence elections in the USA for a long time.