by Cassandra Balentine
Transactional print and mail work is an essential segment of the printing industry. However, to be successful it requires a critical focus on accuracy, precision, security, and compliance.
In business since 1970, PCI Group is headquartered in Fort Mill, SC and operates a fully redundant production facility in Irving, TX. Serving a nationwide client base, it staffs more than 250 employees. The family-owned business was started by Chris Kropac, Sr. in 1970. In 2003, the company transitioned ownership to current second generation owners, Chris Kropac, Jr. and Skip Pawul, each owning an equal 50 percent of the business.
Over its 51 year history, PCI has evolved, shifting from mainframe data-entry work to direct transactional mail as more companies gained access to personal computers. One thing that hasn’t changed is its commitment to data security and compliance. “Security and compliance are our core competencies. It’s in the DNA of the company,” explains Chris Kropac, Jr., president, PCI Group.
Today the print and mail service provider offers customer communications for businesses that are required to send compliance mailing containing personal confidential information. Its customers are typically from the healthcare, insurance, financial, utility, telecom/cable, and collections industries. Its solution offering includes document composition, client data preparation, high-speed document production, document delivery, eDelivery, and document archiving services. To support these solutions, it employs intelligent workflow, state-of-the-art equipment, LEAN Six Sigma quality, and advanced security technologies.
“Transactional mail requires a level of accuracy and security not necessary in marketing direct mail. If we miss a mailing, it’s a huge deal,” states Kropac. “Our operations must perform with military-like precision to provide customers with timely and accurate communications.”
Most of PCI’s customers need their mail sent within 24 to 48 hours of the time they transmit their files. “In order to accomplish this, we have invested in white paper factory production equipment with intelligent insertion, implemented LEAN Six Sigma, and incorporated security and compliance throughout the entire production process,” shares Kropac.
PCI has implemented 230 standard works and performs over 10,000 audits annually to ensure everything in the process is near perfect.
Establishing trust with clients is essential. “A lot of times, audit teams will come in before becoming a PCI customer to make sure PCI can handle their security and compliance concerns. For example, if your customer is a Fortune 500 health insurance company sending out medical claims, they’re going to make sure
their vendor has this covered,” explains Kropac.
To address this concern, PCI has a full-time compliance officer to keep up with regulatory compliance changes. It has put its money in security, compliance, and accuracy.
With all of these processes in place the company confidently assures 99.9999 percent accuracy. In 2020, that accuracy spanned over the printing of a billion images, 66 million checks, and 427 million packages mailed.
Equipped for Accuracy
PCI implemented a white paper factory production environment in 2015, featuring roll-in-roll-out output as well as MICR. To ensure optimal performance it has redundancy between its two facilities.
PCI’s white paper factory includes Canon ColorStream and VarioPRINT i300 presses. Its production strategy has evolved over its 50-plus years. With continuous inkjet technologies, it was able to move from an inventory-based model that relied on preprinted stock to where it is now—a white paper factory that eliminates the need for inventory.
“Most customers don’t need inventory, everything is variable now,” shares Kropac. Additionally, instead of inserts it integrates marketing messages inline.
For finishing it employs BlueCrest Epic and MPS intelligent inserters.
Every page of its output is outfitted with a two-dimensional barcode and vision/inspection cameras are found on all of its machines. The BlueCrest systems incorporate DirectView technology, which monitors production operations performance in real time and delivers live shop floor analytics.
In addition to PCI’s portfolio of modern printing and finishing equipment, it relies on sophisticated workflow tools to ensure everything runs smoothly on the back end.
Several years ago, the company invested in customer communications management (CCM) from Racami to help better manage knitting smaller and larger jobs for press optimization.
Racami’s Alchem-e CCM solution offers automation and integration capabilities designed to simplify document production and distribution processes.
“We run three billion images and four hundred million packages annually, some are big and some are small. Racami enables us to combine small jobs with large jobs in a way that optimizes production,” says Kropac.
As PCI’s use of the communications platform has progressed, it added Racami’s document archiving capabilities. PCI Vault is the transactional mailer’s brand name for its document archiving solution.
“Racami technology is a key component of our overall document archival solution. Customers gain access to PCI Vault through our online account management system, trakPCI,” shares Kropac.
Using PCI Vault, customers can view PDF versions of their letters via trakPCI. The system ensures a high level of security and accessibility in compliance with federal archival standards and legal requirements to provide a centralized and unified archiving repository. It also acts as a safe repository to ensure the durability and legal value of customer records.
Electronic delivery is an important part of the puzzle, and something PCI has invested in for its customers as part of its eDelivery solution.
Utilizing an encrypted, certified digital platform in compliance with PCI-DSS, HIPAA, HITRUST, and FISMA security standards, its electronic delivery options provide a safe and secure digital email channel for sensitive and critical communications, such as invoices and financial statements.
While electronic delivery is an essential aspect of the business, PCI still sees a strong demand for printed communications. It’s important to be able to offer both. “People are still tactile, especially for industries like insurance and collections. We support both and offer multi-channel solutions,” says Kropac.
PCI’s focus on providing transactional communications to customers in highly regulated industries has set it apart from other providers. With fraud on the rise, customers place more emphasis on security and compliance. PCI’s expertise in this area, along with its ability to execute with near perfection, removes much of the risk customers are seeking to avoid.
PCI is confident and intentional about how its solutions provide value to customers now and in the future. It believes as the market for these services continues to consolidate and customers seek vendors who can limit their risk and exposure to fraud, they are in a great position to capitalize on them.
Oct2021, DPS Magazine