Quantre Solutions. Celebrating 15 Years.

Strategies for Enhancing Customer Communication and Experience Management with AI and RPA

(Quantre Solutions, created with MidJourney, 2023)

In 2023, I attended Xplor’s CCM Summit, where I shared insights on how Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Robotic Process Automation (RPA) are being used in Customer Communications Management (CCM) and Customer Experience Management (CXM). My presentation, “AI and RPA to Help Process Automation,” was one of two sessions exclusively focused on this topic. Generative AI was also mentioned during multiple other sessions, highlighting the importance of this novel technology in delivering personalized, relevant, and engaging customer experiences. This article aims to present the case for Generative AI to be added to modern CCM/CXM platforms to support the delivery of customer messaging and experiences, like what I presented at the Xplor event.

Request access to Quantre Solutions 2023 Xplor Presentation AI and RPA to Help CCM Process Automation at http://go.quantre.com/xplor23.

The Economic Potential of Generative AI and CXM

Recent research by McKinsey Digital shows that Generative AI could add $4.4 trillion to the global economy annually (McKinsey Digital, 2023). This research identifies that 75% of the economic value added will come from Customer Operations, Marketing/Sales, Software Engineering, and R&D. Based on McKinsey’s use cases, our CCM/CXM industry can gain an estimated $1.5 trillion annually from generative AI, which is more than digital transformation project spend. However, we must take the lead in delivering AI services for customer content messaging. Otherwise, IT-centric service providers will take over and cause another silo-managed and segmented customer experience.

Xplor’s Preparation for CCM’s AI Evolution

For many years, Xplor International conferences have been helping professionals understand how to take advantage of digital transformation opportunities. Attendees learn about industry trends, insights, strategies, and new methodologies and technologies that can support digital transformation projects. At the 2023 Xplor conference, vendors showcased their use of AI in the latest product features.

Accurate and relevant responses require Generative AI to access significant data and content. Experts like Brian Cox with RR Donnelley and Jeff Williams with OpenText have emphasized the importance of personalized content that resonates with consumers during the Xplor conference. They suggest that strategic content management, which aligns with customer expectations, is crucial. During the 2018 conference, Cox discussed that the primary need of customers is personalized content, followed by the integration of content silos and the efficient use of content (Cox, RR Donnelley, 2018). In 2012, Williams discussed the significance of making content relevant to consumers and ensuring channel relevance for customer communications experiences (Williams, OpenText, 2012).

Xplor sessions have emphasized the significance of content management techniques to ensure quality, relevance, and personalization. These principles have become even more crucial as we upgrade our traditional multi-channel communications to omni-channel experiences using AI.

The Heart of CX: C.O.D.E.

Our CCM industry specializes in delivering customer experiences across multiple channels in industries with regulations. Our expertise includes creating business content and rules, using composition tools, and workflow engines. We have strong data privacy practices, content segmentation, and automated quality assurance to handle complex tasks within regulated industries.

Companies that want to use Generative AI to communicate with their customers across various delivery channels must manage content and data effectively. These include data corpora and custom knowledge bases that help the AI generate appropriate messages. To introduce Generative AI channels, companies must replicate industry best practices models such as Create Once, Distribute Everywhere, or C.O.D.E. (Broadridge Financial Solutions Inc, 2017). Evaluating current CCM/CXM capabilities before adopting new Generative AI delivery channels is essential. An ecosystem assessment can help companies understand the maturity of their current capabilities.

When implementing Generative AI services, it is essential to consider doing so within the customer communications platform. Separating these services would be like having digital communications not connected to print communications. This approach aligns differently with modern Omni-channel communication goals, creating disconnected customer channel experiences.

Adding Retrieval Augmented Generation AI to CCM

Retrieval Augmented Generation, or RAG (Microsoft, 2023), is a highly advanced AI system that enhances the capabilities of Large Language Models, or LLMs. It works by providing access to a custom knowledge base, which is used to inform the LLM’s responses. By prioritizing the custom content over general LLM-trained content, RAG improves the quality of the AI response for the user. The custom knowledge base is carefully selected to match the specific scope of the AI project, enabling the system to find relevant data and facts more effectively.

(Quantre Solutions, 2023)

Our CCM industry is primarily responsible for managing and publishing knowledge-based content. This content is often used for customer communications, websites, and customer service response libraries. The CCM platforms are ideal for supporting Generative AI with the RAG framework. Combining the RAG framework with CCM can significantly improve the quality and relevance of AI-generated customer interactions.


A sophisticated data model is required to deliver Generative AI messaging channels for an organization with multiple clients, lines of business, and products. Although siloed solution designs are not commonly accepted in the CCM industry, siloed custom knowledge bases with RPA can deliver the desired accuracy to meet our goals (Forrester Research, Inc, 2023). With RPA business rules and siloed knowledge bases, organizations can deliver a targeted and quality Generative AI customer experience.

The approach is not a theoretical model but a proven methodology in the CCM industry for managing content and business rules across an organization or by service providers supporting multiple clients for generating and distributing customer communications and messages.

Infographic showing C.O.D.E. integrating with RPA and client data silos to deliver compliant RAG Generative AI process for service providers.


Customer Communications and AI Strategic Integration

As customer expectations change, companies must stay ahead by adopting and refining new technologies. When considering the implementation of AI, it is vital to use it effectively as a channel and touchpoint to meet customers’ self-service needs with meaningful interactions without introducing redundant capabilities within existing CCM platforms. The future of CXM relies on our ability to continuously innovate and ensure that our communication strategies are as dynamic as the customers we serve.

About Quantre Solutions

Quantre Solutions offers consulting and services related to customer communications management. The company has expertise in designing and updating CCM workflow solutions, conducting ecosystem assessments, and formulating client onboarding strategies. In early 2023, Quantre launched CxStrategizer, a tool that utilizes AI and process automation to analyze customer communications. The platform is powered by advanced AI technologies from Semantex, Microsoft Azure AI Services, and OpenAI, and it automates the analysis process to categorize, measure, and report on modernization strategies that can benefit customers during service provider migration projects. Quantre’s extensive experience integrating AI and using LLMs in CxStrategizer for multi-client service providers formed the basis of the company’s 2023 Xplor session and this article.

Quantre Solutions is the only industry consulting firm with multiple EDP certified industry professionals. Learn more about Quantre Solutions and our EDP certified professionals at www.quantresolutions.com.


Scott Mulkey, M-EDP
COO & Partner
Quantre Solutions



Broadridge Financial Solutions Inc. (2017). Transforming the Participant Experience. Retrieved from broadridge.com: http://www.broadridge.com/_assets/pdf/broadridge-transforming-the-participant-experpience-2017.pdf

Cox, B, RR Donnelley (2018). Architecture Required for a Customer Experience Management Platform. Xplor International Conference.

Forrester Research, Inc. (2023). Forrester Glossary. Retrieved from Forrester Glossary: http://www.forrester.com/staticassets/glossary.html

McKinsey Digital. (2023, June 14). The economic potential of generative AI: The next productivity frontier. Retrieved from mckinsey.com: http://www.mckinsey.com/capabilities/mckinsey-digital/our-insights/the-economic-potential-of-generative-ai-the-next-productivity-frontier#industry-impacts

Microsoft. (2023). Retrieval Augmented Generation (RAG) in Azure AI Search. Retrieved from http://learn.microsoft.com/: http://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/search/retrieval-augmented-generation-overview

Quantre Solutions, created with MidJourney. (2023). Futuristic AI Robot created with Midjourney and licensed vector Adobe Stock. Retrieved from MidJourney: http://go.quantre.com/x23ai1

Williams, J, OpenText. (2012). Seamless Repository Integration with Electronic Document Output. Xplor International Conference.

Xplor President talks to Crawford Technologies President, Ernie Crawford

Interviewed by Skip Henk, EDP, President and CEO of Xplor International

I have had the pleasure of watching Crawford Technologies over the years becoming a leading provider of customer communications solutions. Their latest solution, SmartSetup, was recognized at the 2023 Xplor CCM Summit with the Technology of the Year award.

Founded in 1995, Crawford Technologies has grown to become a renowned provider of solutions for enterprise communications processing (ECP). Ernie Crawford, Founder, President & CEO of Crawford Technologies, shares his thoughts about ECP and the need to process customer communications for smartphones and tablets.

Skip – What is enterprise communications processing and how is it different than customer communication management?

Ernie – Enterprise communications processing (ECP) is a comprehensive approach to giving enterprises the tools they need to manage and deliver all forms of business communications to their customers, across various channels like email, print, mobile apps and more. It streamlines and automates the entire communication workflow, from composition through post-composition, postal automation, job combining and assembly to delivery and tracking. 

ECP has become very popular because most organizations have multiple CCM platforms and composition software, and it is very costly and inefficient to get them all to provide multi-channel and omni-channel capabilities that are consistent with each other—if that is even possible. It is highly desirable to have a single point of control and that is where ECP comes in.

ECP helps organizations improve their customer experience with consistent on-target, timely communications through their customers’ preferred channels.  At the same time, we see organizations benefit from reduced operational costs by eliminating redundant and manual tasks. This translates into tremendous cost savings that enable the money to be used to improve other areas of the business, such as accessibility.

On the other hand, CCM focuses on the composition of customer communications, involving tasks like planning communication strategies, designing compelling content and adhering to branding guidelines. It’s essentially the creative hub where the communication materials take shape, addressing the customer’s journey and information needs.

Skip – What’s the challenge with using PDFs for electronic delivery?

Ernie – PDFs were created in the 1990s to provide a standard format for sharing documents electronically between computer systems. Today, nearly 80% of consumers prefer reading emails, newsletters and other forms of corporate communications on their smartphones or tablets. Combined with 92% of internet users accessing the internet using a mobile phone, that means there has been a dramatic shift from consumers using computers to smartphones to read news, check email, respond to text messages, communicate on social media, access corporate portals, shop for goods and services and browse the web. This shift, or mobile revolution, makes it a requirement for organizations to make sure that all their customer-facing communications are optimized for mobile devices. As an ECP company, Crawford Technologies ensures that we provide the tools and capabilities for organizations to make that happen. The beauty of doing that in ECP is that we can be made aware of when a user is on a mobile device and provide that format dynamically.

Skip – OK, what format should our readers be using for electronic customer communications?

Ernie – Composing customer communications and formatting them into AFP or PDF is still a regulatory requirement for many organizations in order to match the printed documents. They are a document of record for record retention. Therefore, AFP and PDF are not going away.

We have embraced the concept of processing print files and transforming them into responsive HTML for mobile device communications, without altering the original document in any way.  A good example is a customer of ours which is a very large financial institution. Our software converts their print-ready transactional customer communication documents into responsive HTML for mobile devices. It is done in real time when a customer requests to view their statement from their smartphone.

Skip – Why not compose customer communications in HTML?

Ernie – You could invest in composing customer communications in an HTML format, but that would result in maintaining and storing a print and HTML version of the communication. This approach will increase your labor, storage and operational costs when corporate mandates are to reduce costs and be more efficient. For example, one of our customers estimated that it would cost them in excess of $20 million to generate, maintain and store two communications with the same data.

Skip – Good point.  Any closing thoughts for our readers?

Ernie – Enterprise communications processing is a versatile technology that can be used to improve customer communications in a variety of ways. We provide some of the best, cutting-edge technologies in the industry. If you are looking for a way to streamline your communication processes, deliver communications for smartphones and tablets and reduce costs, then our ECP solutions are a good option to consider.

The future of electronic customer communications is undeniably mobile. Organizations must recognize this shift in consumer behavior and adapt their strategies accordingly. Embracing responsive HTML for electronic communications is not just an option—it’s a necessity for staying relevant in a rapidly changing digital landscape. It’s time for organizations to leave behind the constraints of PDFs, embrace responsive HTML and usher in a new era of mobile customer communications.

Skip – Thank you, Ernie, for taking the time and sharing your thoughts. Best wishes to you and the Crawford family for a happy holiday season.

To learn more about making your customer communications mobile-ready, register for the upcoming webinar, Mobile Revolution: Enhancing Customer Engagement with Responsive HTML, hosted by Crawford Technologies on December 7 at 1 p.m. ET. It will include tips and tricks to transform PDFs into responsive HTML and show how it can be done using Crawford Technologies’ enterprise communications processing software.

Until next interview! Take care.



Skip Henk, EDP
Xplor International

An Interview with Roger P. Gimbel, EDP, President, Gimbel & Associates

By Skip Henk, President/CEO, Xplor International

Roger Gimbel and I have known each other for almost 30 years. For the last 20, through Xplor as Gimbel & Associates is a staunch supporter of the association as a Platinum Elite Partner, Diamond Event sponsor, exhibitor, speaker and much more. Recently I spoke to him on a variety of technology topics and asked him to share some of his thoughts with our readers.

Skip: For our readers who are not familiar with Gimbel & Associates give us your 15 second elevator pitch.

Roger: The uniqueness of Gimbel & Associates lies in several key aspects that set us apart in the highly competitive landscape of our industry:

With decades of experience in the field, Gimbel & Associates boasts a team of seasoned professionals who have encountered and successfully addressed a wide range of challenges in various sectors of the print graphics and marketing industries. Our depth of knowledge and extensive industry insight is a testament to our expertise.

Gimbel & Associates does not offer one-size-fits-all solutions. We pride ourselves on delivering highly customized strategies and plans that address the unique circumstances and objectives of each client.

Our team of highly experienced consultants thrive on staying ahead of the curve by embracing the latest trends, technologies, and best practices. We’re not just reactive; we’re proactive. Our commitment to continuous learning and professional development ensures that our team is always at the forefront of industry trends.

We don’t view our clients as one-off projects. Instead, we aim to build long-lasting partnerships, providing ongoing support and guidance to help them navigate the complexities of the business world.

Skip: How important is color management in the inkjet world?

Roger: Color management, such as that of our partner, ChromaChecker, is of paramount importance in the inkjet production print world for several key reasons:

  • Maintaining consistent color from one print job to another is critical. Customers expect the colors in their marketing materials, packaging, and other printed products to match their branding and design specifications precisely.
  • Consistent and faithful color reproduction in inkjet production helps ensure that printed materials accurately represent a company’s brand, which is critical for brand recognition and customer trust. Certain industries, such as packaging and labeling, have strict color accuracy and consistency requirements due to regulatory standards.
  • Quality Control: Color management helps identify and rectify color discrepancies before the final output, reducing waste and rework. Efficient color management processes can save both time and resources.
  • Inkjet production print environments often handle a wide range of substrates and print applications. Color management systems can adapt to various substrates and ink formulations, ensuring accurate color reproduction across different media.
  • In a competitive print market, the ability to consistently deliver high-quality, color-accurate prints can give a business a significant edge.

Skip: Have toner-based production printing systems reach their “end of life”?

Roger: Toner-based production printing systems had not reached their “end of life.” They have been a mainstay in the printing industry for many years and are known for their high-quality output, speed, and reliability, making them suitable for a wide range of applications, including commercial printing, transactional printing, and packaging. However, it’s important to note that the print industry is continually evolving, and technological advancements can lead to changes in the popularity and prevalence of various printing technologies.

Several factors influence the continued relevance and adoption of toner-based production printing systems:

  • The demand for short-run, variable data, and personalized printing has continued to grow. Toner-based systems excel in these areas due to their digital nature.
  • Ongoing developments in toner formulation and printing processes have led to improvements in print quality, color accuracy, and efficiency.
  • Toner-based systems are versatile and can handle various print substrates, including paper, synthetic materials, and labels, making them suitable for a broad range of applications.

The choice between toner-based and inkjet production printing systems depends on the specific needs of a printing operation, including print volume, substrate requirements, color quality, and budget considerations. It’s advisable for businesses in the printing industry to regularly assess their equipment and technology options to determine the best fit for their evolving needs.

Skip: Can interactive print change how people view the printed page?

Roger: Yes, interactive print has the potential to change how people view the printed page by adding new dimensions of engagement and interactivity to traditional printed materials.

Printed materials often have limited space for text and images. Interactive print provides a way to overcome this limitation by offering readers the option to access more in-depth information, supplementary content, or links to external resources.

Interactive print can be used to deliver personalized content or experiences based on the reader’s preferences or location. For example, a magazine might provide customized content recommendations or special offers tailored to the reader’s interests.

Marketers can use interactive print in campaigns to create memorable and interactive advertisements. QR codes and AR experiences can provide customers with product demonstrations, discounts, or additional product information directly from printed ads.

By creating interactive print printers have the potential to breathe new life into the printed page by blending the benefits of traditional print with the interactivity and richness of digital media.

Skip: Roger, thank you for your time and insights. For those that would like to learn more about Gimbel & Associates you can visit their website at: http://www.rogergimbel.com/ as it contains a wealth of information that I am sure you will find helpful. Roger will also be at the 2023 Xplor CCM Summit, November 14-16th in Orlando. Stop by and say hello.

Overcoming Common Challenges in CCM

This blog originally posted by MacroSoft and can be found here

Overcoming Common Challenges in CCM

By Pavithra Joy

In today’s business landscape, effective communication with customers is essential for success. As organizations strive to improve their customer experience, many are turning to Customer Communication Management (CCM) solutions. These solutions streamline and automate customer communication processes, resulting in personalized, consistent, and engaging interactions across various channels. However, implementing a CCM solution can present challenges that need to be overcome for a successful deployment. In this blog, we will explore some common challenges in implementing a CCM solution and provide strategies to overcome them.

Defining Clear Objectives and Requirements:

Challenge: One of the initial hurdles is defining clear objectives and requirements for the CCM solution. Without a clear understanding of what you want to achieve, it becomes challenging to select the right solution and design an effective implementation plan.

Solution: Start by evaluating your current communication processes and identifying pain points or areas for improvement. Engage stakeholders from different departments to gather their requirements and expectations. Define measurable objectives, such as reducing turnaround time or improving customer satisfaction. This clarity will guide your decision-making process and ensure alignment throughout the implementation.

Additional challenges addressed in the Full Blog hosted by MacroSoft

  • Data Integration and Accessibility

  • Designing and Personalizing Templates

  • Change Management and User Adoption

  • Compliance and Security

  • Conclusion


What Do Messagepoint and AI Have In Common?

A discussion with Atif Khan, VP AI & Data Science at Messagepoint
Interviewed by Skip Henk, EDP, President and CEO of Xplor International

I recently read an article generated by ChatGPT on “The Future of CCM.” The article referenced various technologies and processes including Omni-Channel communications, hyper-personalization, Natural Language Processing while stressing that Artificial Intelligence (AI) will play a pivotal role in the future of CCM.

I recalled a press release recently from Messagepoint which spoke about MARCIE (their AI-powered content Intelligence engine) and harnessing the power of ChatGPT and GPT-4 and decided it was a good time to for me to learn more.

Skip: For our readers who may not be familiar with Messagepoint, please give us your elevator pitch.

Atif: Messagepoint is a pioneer in the CCM space, providing an intelligent content hub. Distinguished from other competitors, it has a unique content-centric approach that allows for customization and precise delivery of messages across various channels, including print, web, mobile, and email. Messagepoint has also revolutionized the field by heavily investing in AI, introducing its award-winning platform, MARCIE, which uses the latest Natural Language Processing, Deep Learning, and Large Language Models (LLMs) to enhance content quality and efficacy. As a result, businesses can reuse content, create highly personalized communications, and enhance their engagement with their customers. It’s a comprehensive solution designed to optimize your communication strategies in the most efficient way possible.

Skip: There has been a lot of buzz around ChatGPT, Google Bard and other AI text generators this year. Messagepoint recently announced its own integration with ChatGPT and GPT-4. Can you describe how you have incorporated these tools into your customer communication management solution?

Atif: Messagepoint has fully embraced the capabilities of AI text generators like ChatGPT and GPT-4 through MARCIE. These integrations enable the enhancement of the company’s Customer Communication Management (CCM) solutions, particularly in terms of creating and editing content.

The integration of these LLMs completes the AI Assisted Authoring feature of Messagepoint. The LLMs provide real-time feedback to content authors about the quality and usefulness of their messaging content. They offer rewrites to make the content more impactful, ensuring it’s easy to read, upholding the appropriate sentiment and presentation of a message, and maintaining consistency with corporate branding.

MARCIE leverages these AI text generators with robust, problem-specific prompt creation to ensure the consistency of AI-generated content and its alignment with the user’s desired outcome. This prompt engineering is context-aware, use case-focused, and adaptive to the task, properly handling CCM artifacts such as variables, dates, URLs, addresses, and telephone numbers.

All these features are contextualized within the existing workflows and activities of the Messagepoint platform. The integration provides a simple and natural user experience that minimizes effort while maximizing results, ensuring that the best answer is achieved for the given task.

Skip: What are the benefits of using a solution like ChatGPT integrated with a solution like Messagepoint vs on its own, outside of a CCM solution?

Atif: Using a solution like ChatGPT integrated with a platform like Messagepoint brings several benefits, particularly when compared to using ChatGPT or any other large language model on its own.

  • Contextual Understanding: Messagepoint’s MARCIE platform, combined with ChatGPT, allows the language model to operate within the specific context of your business and communication needs. MARCIE’s prompt engineering ensures the AI is context-aware and considers key concepts (like variables, dates, URLs, addresses, telephone numbers etc.) during the rewrite process.
  • Content Optimization: The integration provides real-time feedback on the quality and utility of the content. It offers suggestions to improve readability, sentiment, message presentation, and alignment with corporate branding, enhancing the overall impact of the content.
  • Simplicity and Efficiency: By incorporating ChatGPT within Messagepoint, users can manage all aspects of their customer communications within a single, streamlined platform. This integration fits seamlessly into existing workflows, making the process simpler and more efficient.
  • Specialization for CCM: MARCIE’s tailored prompts are heavily specialized for Customer Communication Management use cases, ensuring optimal results for specific tasks. This specialization would be extremely hard to reproduce when using a standalone AI language model.
  • Improved User Experience & Interaction: Messagepoint’s modular approach to content management makes accessing and applying AI-generated content suggestions extremely user-friendly. The process of requesting a suggested rewrite and applying it involves just two clicks.

Overall, integrating ChatGPT within Messagepoint’s CCM solution enhances the user’s ability to create and deliver high-quality, personalized content, offering a more holistic, targeted, and effective communication management system.

Skip: How do you see AI impacting customer communications in the future?

Atif: The impact of AI on customer communications is anticipated to be substantial and transformative. Here are a few ways we foresee AI reshaping the landscape of customer communications:

  • Enhanced Personalization: AI, specifically Large Language Models (LLMs) and image generation models, can drive deeper personalization in customer communications. By understanding content and customer profiles, AI can help craft highly tailored messages and visuals that resonate on an individual level, improving customer engagement and response rates.
  • Improved Content Quality: AI can generate and enhance content, ensuring it is readable, impactful, and aligns with the desired sentiment and corporate branding. It can offer real-time feedback and suggest improvements, enabling the creation of higher-quality content that effectively communicates the intended message.
  • Holistic Smart Search: AI can improve the ability to find and retrieve information through semantic search capabilities. By understanding the context and meaning of search queries, AI can return more relevant and precise results, streamlining content management processes.
  • Intelligent Classification and Clustering: AI can categorize and group content based on various factors, including topic, sentiment, or customer segment. This can lead to more effective content organization, easier retrieval, and the development of targeted communication strategies.
  • Automated Image Generation: AI can generate custom images or variations of existing images based on described constraints. This capability can ensure visual consistency in messaging and branding, and allow for more personalized and impactful visual content.
  • Real-time Adaptability: With AI’s ability to analyze data in real time, customer communications can be dynamically adapted based on changing customer behavior, market trends, or business needs, making communications more relevant and timely.


Skip: That is certainly impressive. Do you have any closing thoughts?

Atif: In the future, we expect AI to become an integral part of customer communication management, significantly improving content quality, personalization, and overall effectiveness of communication strategies. With platforms like Messagepoint investing early in AI and LLM technology, they are paving the way for these future developments in the field.

Skip: Atif, I want to thank you for taking the time to speak with me and share your thoughts and vision on the impact of AI on CCM. For anyone that has any questions for Mr. Khan or would like more information on MARCIE or Messagepoint please contact: info@messagepoint.com or visit www.messagepoint.com/ai

Until next interview! Take care.



Skip Henk, EDP
Xplor International


About Messagepoint: Messagepoint is a leading provider of customer communications management software.  Only Messagepoint harnesses AI-powered Content Intelligence to automate and simplify the process of migrating, optimizing, authoring and managing complex customer communications for non-technical (business) users. Our customers rely on our award-winning platform to consistently deliver exceptional, highly personalized customer communications across all platforms and channels. For more information, visit www.messagepoint.com

Gimbel & Associates Hosts Attendees from XPLOR22

Gimbel & Associates hosts what has become an ‘Annual Dinner‘ meeting in Delray Beach, Florida on Wednesday, February 22, 2023. 

The follow up meeting consisted of some Gimbel & Associates hosted attendees from the XPLOR22 Conference in Tampa that took place in September 2022. They look forward to having the group back as Gimbel & Associates’ guests at Xplor’s 2023 annual conference in Orlando, Florida.

Manage Supply Chain Disruption in Printing through Automation

By Swati Sahai, V.P. Of Marketing at Sefas Innovation

The printing industry continues to face severe supply chain challenges. While sales are expected to grow, most printers do not expect it to translate into profitability due to rising costs and substantial shortages.

These problems are expected to continue into 2023 with the greatest concerns (reflected by large majority of printers) being paper shortage, labor shortage, transportation difficulties, ink and production supplies shortage, and the rising costs of each of these – in short Supply Chain Disruption.

More than 2.5 million metric tons of North American printing and writing paper capacity has been offline since the start of 2020. Today, global supplies of certain paper products are so tight that many printers can’t get the stock that they need “at any price”.

In addition, there is rising postage cost which has severely impacted the print mail business.

The need of the hour is clear ― reevaluate processes to reduce dependencies, improve efficiency and productivity, and recover rising costs. Automation can help meet all these needs. This is especially true in the CCM and CXM space that operate large print to mail facilities requiring a lot of labor and raw materials to produce physical communications.

Workflow automation can help lower the cost of printing per piece and make big gains in productivity.

According to a study by Printing Industries of America, high-profit commercial printers spend almost double the investment in hardware and software per employee (automation) than their peers. The result is 30 percent fewer employees per million dollars of sales.

An Evolution Not a Revolution!

In our experience, the approach that works best for automation is evolution, not revolution. This means to start where you are, with the legacy applications that you have been using, instead of trying to uproot all your systems.

For years, large businesses have been trying to move from physical to digital communications, but they have not had much success, particularly in highly regulated industries. There are many reasons for this but the biggest is the existence of silos in the communications technology infrastructure.

Therefore, a workflow automation layer is needed that can interface with all your systems and extract information even from legacy applications. Implementing this workflow automation layer is much simpler, cost-effective, and less risky than completely modernizing and changing your entire communication generation and delivery infrastructure.

The Elements of Workflow Automation

Job consolidation, site consolidation, householding, print suppression, digital presorting are all elements of workflow automation that individually and in combination, help produce more with less infrastructure and labor.

In this blog, we will describe householding and how it helps manage supply chain disruption.


Householding is putting two or more documents in the same envelope that would have otherwise gone in different envelopes. Householding results in savings in postage and envelopes, increases profitability, and helps companies manage the current shortage of envelopes.

How does householding work?

Householding works by normalizing all input (making it in same format), extracting the metadata, and optimizing the output. As part of optimization, the output is grouped, split, and sorted.

While sorting, we can identify the documents that are candidates for householding based on individual preference. For example, two individuals living in the same household may want to keep some communication in separate mail while for other types of communications, they may prefer to have them put in the same envelope, defined as one mail piece.

Preference management

The challenge of householding lies in determining which two documents can be put together as one mail piece. A unique identifier is required for this determination so that we can form mail pieces without violating any privacy or other regulations. This can be done through a preference and consent management application which makes it easy to get a unique profile identifier as well as preference and consent data.

Managing supply chain problems

Householding helps manage supply chain problems by reducing the requirement of envelopes. As companies are facing a shortage of envelopes today, even 10% householding of a job can relieve enormous pressure from the supply chain.

By reducing postal cost, householding helps improve profitability in these challenging times.

In the next post on this series, I will talk about print suppression and how it helps relieve pressure from the supply chain.


To learn how Sefas can help you manage supply chain problems through householding and workflow automation, contact us.

State of CX in 2022

From culture to employee enablement to technologies, long-time Xplor member and sponsor Quadient is sharing the six trends that enterprises should examine for success in their new eBook, ‘State of CX in 2022’. 

Download this valuable guide to learn: 

  • Expert insights into the biggest trends in Customer Experience Management (CXM) and Customer Communications Management (CCM).  
  • Technologies driving differentiating CX. 
  • Necessary business investments to make to exceed in today’s CX standards. 
  • The cultural changes that you must adopt for success in a new CX age.  


I’m Not Anyone – A Colorful Story of Disappointment, Endurance and Reinvention from One of Today’s Top Entrepreneurs

Roger P. Gimbel, EDP is a well-known entrepreneur and business executive in the commercial print industry. He assumed management of the family business, expanded it, and had it taken from him. Over the course of his career, he’s experienced many ups and downs; some of them humorous, others heart-breaking.

I’m Not Anyone is a memoir of how Roger arrived at where he is today and what drives a person to continue moving forward.  The book includes lots of stories about Roger’s experiences with the people, technology, and trends of the printing business as well as anecdotes about life in the Gimbel family.

In honor of Roger’s parents, Audrey and Hy, he is donating all proceeds from the sale of this book to the Herman L. Gimbel and Audrey M. Gimbel Memorial Scholarship. This scholarship impacts the lives of college students with financial support that makes a college education more affordable for students while promoting the graphic arts industries. Scholarships are offered for full or part-time study at an accredited institution of the student’s choice.

By purchasing this book you get a fun and inspiring read while supporting the scholarship fund for an incoming student. Feel free to purchase multiple copies to give to friends and employees as you help to support our next generation of graphics arts professionals.

Click here to get your copy: http://www.amazon.com/dp/0578325950

What readers are saying:

“This is a collection of some funny, some scary, some cringe-worthy, and some quite inspiring experiences in the life of the larger-than-life Roger Gimbel. Quite a tale.” —Allison McCord

“Roger Gimbel could be the most interesting man I know…Motorcycles, drugs, clothes, clubs, yachts, and Forrest Gump-like experiences with some of the most iconic people in recent history. More than anything though, this book is about what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur — brains and, shall we say, intestinal fortitude. Roger lays out in a clear, fun, and humorous fashion his anecdotes about his life and what it takes to build, grow, and maintain a successful business in any industry.” —Lance Drucker, ChFC, AI

“Engaging…A tremendous insight into how people are shaped and influenced by their life adventures.” -Kevin Ward, Former Vice President, Wealth Management Advisor, Bank of America Merrill

Xplor President/CEO Provides an Update on the XPLOR21 Conference

Skip Henk, President and CEO of Xplor International, discusses the upcoming  XPLOR21 conference with Mark Michelson, Editor-in-chief  with Printing Impressions.