NOT EVERY in-plant offers mailing services for its clients. Prior to 2005, for example, the in-plant at The Stelter Co.—a marketing firm in Des Moines that works with non-profit organizations—simply shipped printed material back to clients or handed it over to an outside vendor.
But Dan Manderscheid, who joined Stelter in October 2004 as a mail processing specialist, says that outsourcing mail didn’t make sense given that the company was otherwise a one-stop shop with artists, Web designers, editors, legal counsel, marketing professionals and print operators on staff.
In January 2005, Stelter purchased an inserter, two address printers and Pitney Bowes SmartMailer software, and began processing mail in-house the following month.
“I had used SmartMailer 12 or so years ago at another company, so I was somewhat familiar with the system,” says Manderscheid. “What we liked about the system was its user friendly features, especially the set-up ‘Wizards.’ These make it fast and easy for us to set up and import data files, process the files, de-dupe the mail list for matching names and addresses, and set up the presort for the postage statement.
“Setting up the envelope addressing is also easy to use and modify. We like that the system accepts many different file types. Although we mostly receive comma-delimited or Excel files, we do import text files and tab-delimited files.”
Manderscheid says that over the past 18 months the in-plant has discovered many SmartMailer features that weren’t among the initial selling points, such as changing the upper/lower case status of data, assigning company names to addresses, and merging salutation, first name, last name and suffix fields into a single field.
The ability to create different sort lists became a huge plus in late 2005.
“The post office was not accepting mail for the hurricane affected areas of New Orleans,” says Manderscheid, “so we created a list called ‘omit names,’ which contained the ZIP codes for which the post office was not accepting standard mail. We could then easily sort out ZIP codes that needed to be omitted from the mail list.