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Communisis uses investment in IBML scanners to underpin bureau operations

by Fran Cator, Tuesday 4 June 2019

Communisis uses investment in IBML scanners to underpin bureau operations and service major financial services accounts

• First anniversary processing 40,000 cheques and associated documents every day for an UK bank which meet tight SLAs even though volumes exceeded expectations by 200%

• Total refresh of IBML equipment used to capture 4.5 million images per month at another major UK retail bank – part of a digital mailroom and scanning FM contract

June 3, 2019 – IBML announces today that Communisis, an integrated business services company recently acquired by OSG, is delivering a range of strategic BPO projects for flagship clients capitalising on its expertise and investment in ultra-high volume IBML scanning and capture software solutions.

With a proven track record providing end-to-end omni channel communications for big brands in financial services, retail, utilities, insurance and the public sector, Communisis delivers customer communication management services at scale which are tailored to meet its customers’ specific commercial requirements. IBML’s technology is used in two ways:

1. A number of IBML scanners are at the core of Communisis’ centralised scanning facility in Leeds which opened in November 2017, along with other machines located at its DR site in Liverpool. Operational 24/7 and ISO 27001 compliant, the Leeds centre has the capacity to process 300 million pages per annum for customers equating to 600 million images. This is primarily achieved through the use of IBML’s SoftTrac Capture Suite (SCS) software and ImageTrac scanners which each output 292 A4 documents per minute. The scanners and software were supplied by IBML partner, Alaris, who also delivers ongoing service and support.

2.Communisis’ staff operate a fleet of nine customer-owned IBML scanners to fulfil a significant outsourced digital mailroom and scanning FM contract for a major high street bank. Located on the bank’s premises, the latest models have recently been installed which are faster and have more image processing features.

Alex Morris, Communisis’ Head of Enterprise Content Management says, “Our team has over 20 years expertise using IBML scanners so they’re our weapon of choice when it comes to digitising paper. We’ve benchmarked them against similar production scanners and they’ve always come out top in terms of image quality, throughput and scalability.”

First year of cheque processing successfully completed

The creation of the Leeds bureau was in response to Communisis winning a substantial deal with an UK high street bank which involves scanning all cheques and inbound customer correspondence.

Now celebrating the first anniversary of the contract, up to 40,000 cheques and associated documents are processed every day which arrive in Leeds at around midnight delivered by couriers from Milton Keynes and Edinburgh. This is 200% over the initial volume first expected, yet the tight SLA[1] – there is just a four hour window to digitise them - has still been met given the SCS software comes with features like MICR[2] reading which automates and enhances read-rates.

Once the cheques have been digitised, Communisis uses bespoke written software to collate the images produced and forward to an imaging and workflow platform which uses OCR to extract data like date, amount, recipient and signature presence from each image. This information is then released and integrated with the bank’s back end systems for further action.

Morris explains, “We think this is one of the quickest turnaround SLAs in the UK for the volume processed with the highest accuracy and quality standards maintained. While the majority of cheques are automatically read and processed after scanning, any exceptions are auto routed to our offshore partner in the Philippines. They have over 300 staff available, across six locations, who read and manually correct any individual fields that require validation.”

IBML scanner fleet upgraded at another UK bank

In addition to the above project, Communisis works for another major British bank - considered one of the big four – providing large-scale, onsite digital mailroom and scanning services. Following the signing of a long-term contract, 460 people TUPE transferred to Communisis across 3 UK locations.

Six IBML ImageTrac and three desktop DS scanners - owned by the bank, supported by Alaris but configured, operated and managed by Communisis staff as part of its FM contract - are used at three main UK operational centres of excellence.

With guidance from Communisis, the scanners have recently been upgraded to the latest models to replace end of life equipment. They process 3 million inbound customer communications per month creating around 4.5 million images. This includes letters, application forms and so on related to the bank’s financial products. Over the next 20 months, the scanners will also process all so-called ‘goneaways’ – undeliverable customer mail – by scanning a barcode through the window of each envelope.

Morris adds, “Since starting the contract five years ago, mail handling efficiency has improved by 30%. This has been achieved through a combination of technology to reduce manual intervention and the standardisation of business processes so that operators all work in the same way. This improves accuracy and consistency.”

Moving forward, Communisis is focused on generating business from clients who need a trusted partner to deliver outsourced billing, critical communications and payment solutions. Ashley Keil, IBML’s sales director, Northern & Western Europe, Africa & India, says, “Typically these are organisations who operate in highly regulated industries with lots of customers. Our scanners are designed to operate faultlessness even when paper volumes are high and different document types – cheques, letters, forms and so on – have to be handled. This is crucial for a FM business like Communisis who offer BPO solutions to agreed SLAs which just have to be met.”

[1] Service Level Agreements [2] Magnetic Ink Character Recognition

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