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Case Study: AIG

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Case Study: AIG

Technology overhaul modernises AIG's mailing operation

AIG is an international insurance and financial services organisation, with 12 sites in the UK including a head office in Fenchurch Street, London. In line with many organisations, AIG has evolved over recent years and has modified its mailing processes accordingly. 

In November 2012, the company identified two key priorities for inbound and outbound mail: security and efficiency. Working closely with their Pitney Bowes account manager, a review was undertaken to assess the requirements of each office.

Inbound mail  

For incoming mail, AIG procured a number of automatic letter openers to ensure mail pieces could be opened with optimum productivity and that valuable staff resources were not spent manually opening envelopes.

In addition, a mail extraction system was procured. Used for key financial documents, the extraction desk ensures that mail pieces are opened and have the contents extracted and presented for internal distribution within the shortest possible timeframe.

The system automatically feeds envelopes, opens the mail and displays the content to the user for immediate sortation at a rate of up to 4,500 items per hour. This saves the AIG mailroom staff time, and means that customer enquiries can be responded to more promptly.

Kojo Kwarteng, facilities manager summarises, "In a time-sensitive industry like ours where communications need to be acted on swiftly, a system like this is extremely valuable and ultimately means we can provide a better service to our customers."

AIG has always placed great pride on its duty of care to employees. As part of their focus on inbound mail, they invested in two mail scanning systems. These systems help minimise the risk of a mail based attack by screening mail for suspicious contents prior to internal distribution. 

"We've put the x-ray machines in our London and Croydon offices to monitor all incoming mail," explains Kojo. "Although we've never had a security threat through the mail before, we felt that for these larger sites it was a prudent preventative step. Working in the financial industry and dealing with consumers it's sensible for us to ensure that all our staff are protected from any potential security breaches.

"In addition, the cost to the business of closure due to a threat or hoax could be huge as we would have to evacuate entire offices. But if we identify potentially harmful communications from the outset we can react while ensuring minimal disruption to the business."

The TR40 model can scan parcels, post trays, mail sacks and briefcases, and can detect harmful metals and powders. The TR15 is a smaller machine which monitors mail for potentially harmful contents. Both machines have full colour monitors allowing the user to view the mail as it is x-rayed and identify ‘suspect' mail to be investigated and dealt with accordingly.

AIG also ordered Pitney Bowes' Sendsuite for multiple sites to log and track important and sensitive mail items. The software facilitates the accurate distribution of incoming mail across organisations by tracking mail items in real time, so that post room staff can easily respond to queries and report the progress of deliveries. 

Items are scanned into the system upon arrival; giving proof of the date and time they were received. Outstanding deliveries are then transferred onto handheld portable data collectors that are used by staff to complete deliveries at the company's various buildings. The software then automatically generates the delivery route, allowing the user to record successful, attempted and refused deliveries along the way. Data is transferred to the Sendsuite tracking system so that it is available when status enquiries are made.

The software was implemented in order to reduce losses, especially as many important items including IT equipment, corporate gifts, travel tickets and documents are among the packages regularly received.

"Previously we were using pen and paper to record incoming deliveries and we recognised that we need to update the system," says Kojo. "Sendsuite has reduced delays in getting business critical items to the intended recipient. Lost or mislaid contracts can cause us significant financial losses as well as wasted time and embarrassment so having all packages electronically tracked is incredibly beneficial."

Outbound mail

The outgoing mail operation has also been modernised through the purchase of four Connect+ franking machines. The colour functionality means that the company logo can be included on outgoing mail pieces, as well as marketing graphics and slogans.

"The marketing department in our head office have been working with our mailroom staff to include graphics and logos on outgoing mail. The use of colour means that the recipient instantly knows where the communication is coming from, and so is aware of its importance. This function has been particularly useful as we have been rebranding from a previous company name; including this on the mail increases awareness," says Kojo.

Such a large scale overhaul of processes and equipment required dedicated account management and attentive service, both of which were provided by Pitney Bowes.

"Our account manager worked really closely with us to scope our needs and ensure that all potential options were explored. For example when looking at x-ray machines we were concerned that we had limited space, but when we examined the options we found that these new slim-line cabinets were surprisingly compact and yet could easily cope with the volumes required."

The process was also complicated by the fact that many of the different offices have different mailing volumes and different requirements. It was important that these were all taken into account when deciding on the right solutions.

"Our two largest sites send between 10,000 and 12,000 pieces of mail per month, whereas our smaller offices handle far less. There are also some sites where we don't occupy the whole building so some services are already provided. There were a huge combination of business needs to be considered," explains Kojo.

The support also extended to the aftercare. Kojo's team received extensive training on all the new products and the installation went smoothly.

"It was particularly important that we had good training on the Sendsuite software, since this was completely new to us. But we were given a thorough induction and we know that our account manager is on hand if we have any problems."

The upgrade has also had a positive impact on AIG's staff.

"The installation of the x-ray machines has shown that we are taking security seriously - that's important for both customers and staff. But the whole project demonstrates that we're investing in technology and that we're modernising the company. It's given everyone a boost."

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