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Case study: NHS Scotland

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Case study: NHS Scotland

Connect+ delivers reliability for NHS Scotland

NHS National Services Scotland provides patient focused services such as the transfer of medical records between GP practices, assisting patients to access GP and dental practices, and helping practitioners to maintain accurate and up-to-date patient registers. In 2011, several smaller offices were consolidated into one large facility based in Glasgow.  As part of the merge, a new department was set up deal with the office’s incoming and outgoing mail.

This new, larger department needed a new, larger franking machine. The mailing department sends out approximately 1000 items via TNT every day, as well as several thousand by Royal Mail. The volume fluctuates from day-to-day and includes letters and small packages. Medical records, vaccination records, travel health applications, letters to patients and correspondence to GP’s are just some of the items regularly processed.

Speed and reliability are key issues for the organisation; it’s important that items are distributed on time and that machine faults are kept to a minimum. In addition, correspondence such as medical records are sent by special or recorded delivery, and it’s important that they arrive at their destination on time.

NHS National Services Scotland had been a Pitney Bowes customer for several years. However, as a public services organisation a tender process was required to identify the best-value solution and, once again, Pitney Bowes was selected as the preferred supplier. The Connect+ 2000 was suggested as the best technology for the office’s needs.

A Pitney Bowes Account Manager gave a presentation about the machine, and the staff were also shown a live demonstration. When it came to installation, an engineer helped Stefan Iturralde, Office Services Supervisor and his team to set up their mailing accounts and provided comprehensive training.

The Connect+ provides the reliability that is so important to the department. Stefan explains: “It’s a very well made machine and we very rarely have any issues with it, and when we do it’s always very easy to fix. We have a support contract with Pitney Bowes so that if there ever is a major issue it will be rectified swiftly.”

As well as offering the user reduced postage costs compared to stamps, the Connect+ has a built-in scale which automatically ensures that the correct amount of postage is applied to every mail piece. The Connect+ 2000 can process up to 7,000 envelopes per hour, and the colour touch screen means that the machine is intuitive and easy to use.

The Connect+ was the first franking machine on the market with the capability to print in full-colour; logos and colour graphics can be added across the full length of the envelope. Stefan and his team use this function to distinguish between the mail sent on behalf of different departments; each has its own graphic for ease of identification.

In addition, the department used the Connect+ is used to print indicia onto the office’s TNT items. The indicia enable faster sorting, and allow the organisation to save 3p on the postal cost of each item.

The Connect+’s reporting function has also been particularly useful as Stefan explains: “The Connect+ allows us to create numerous accounts and run reports on each of these. We can see exactly the mail volumes sent by each department, and even what kinds of mail items, and how long each mail-out took to process.

“Not only is this helpful for department budgeting, but it also helps my team to plan their time. If a large job comes in unexpectedly we can look back to estimate how long it will take and pre-empt how this will impact our regular jobs.

“We also use the account reports to manage our mailing supplies. We can gauge how many envelopes we’re likely to need, for example, by looking back at what we’ve used in the past. This ensures that we don’t run out of anything but also that we don’t over-order and end up wasting any materials.”

The staff at NHS National Services Scotland are delighted with how the Connect+ performs. Stefan concludes: “It gives us the reliability that we were originally looking for, but it’s also exceeded those original expectations by offering us extra functionality like the account reports and the graphics. The Connect+ is key to a smooth-running mail operation. We’re extremely pleased with its performance.”

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