Mail Processor helps reduce time, effort

Six years in development and the recipient of more than 80 patents, the Paragon Mail Processor by Pitney Bowes could mean to direct marketers what the word processor has meant to secretaries.Introduced to the Canadian market Sept. 21 after its July...

Six years in development and the recipient of more than 80 patents, the Paragon Mail Processor by Pitney Bowes could mean to direct marketers what the word processor has meant to secretaries.

Introduced to the Canadian market Sept. 21 after its July launch in the u.s., the Paragon automates most mail-processing functions, reducing or eliminating many of the manual tasks now necessary.

Various sizes

Unlike current mailing systems, which require the operator to pre-sort sealed and unsealed envelopes by size and weight, the Paragon allows the operator to insert envelopes of various sizes, weights and thicknesses, sealed and unsealed, into the machine’s mixed mail feeder.

The machine weighs each piece, automatically adjusting the postage meter for the correct denomination, then meters, seals and stacks each item, all at speeds of up to 90 pieces per minute.

High speed

For envelopes that are of the same size and weight, the system can process up to 240 pieces per minute.

The Paragon can handle most sizes of envelope, from a minimum of 3.5 inches by five inches to a maximum of 13 inches by 15 inches.

Its feeder will also accept envelopes up to 3/4-in. thick, 1/4-in. more than mailing machines currently on the market.

And while parcels cannot be fed through the machine, the Paragon can generate up to 99 parcel tapes from one command.

As well, the Paragon incorporates an accounting system that allows mailers to post charges to specific accounts and print customized reports by client name, department or project.

Dave Zavitz, marketing manager for large business mailing systems at Pitney Bowes of Canada, says the Paragon represents the biggest development in mailing technology since the invention of the mailing meter 70 years ago.

Reduced effort

Zavitz says the Paragon allows customers to dramatically reduce the time and effort spent in processing mail.

He says a study conducted by the company estimated the average high-volume mailroom could reduce by 2.5 hours per day, or 12.5 hours per week, the time required to process its mail, largely because the need to pre-sort envelopes is virtually eliminated.

The machine’s features, specifically the mixed mail feeder and integrated accounting system, are the direct result of a study conducted in the u.s. and Canada, which asked large volume mailers to put down on paper the features they would most like to see.

‘We asked them if they could design any kind of machine they wanted to, what would it be?’ Zavitz says.

‘The company went away to see if it was feasible,’ he says. ‘Six years later, we had developed their dream machine.’

Zavitz says the introduction of the software-based Paragon does not mean mail clerks will require a university degree to operate the system.

The control panel is menu-driven, prompting the operator to select options, he says. The screen can also display instructions in English or French.

On the Canadian market for only two weeks, the Paragon is being targetted to banks, insurance companies, educational institutions and federal, provincial and municipal governments, all of which traditionally process high volumes of mixed mail, Zavitz says.

The company expects to sell 500 units to 600 units within the first 12 months, generating $10 million to $15 million in revenues, or the equivalent of 10% of the company’s annual sales in Canada, he says.

Zavitz says depending on the options selected by the customer, the Paragon will sell for between $27,000 and $30,000.