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Case Study: Quinns of Baltinglass & OMS

11/29/2019
Quinns Achieves Eightfold Improvement in Productivity with Quadient’s OMS Mailing Solution

QUINNS – “EVERYTHING FOR THE FARMER”

Quinns has been a byword for innovation in the agricultural economy for almost a century, helping farmers with a range of agricultural activities. As its motto suggests, it supplies “everything for the farmer” – from fertilizer, feed and fuels to hardware, building materials, sprays and chemicals. It is one of the largest grain buyers in Ireland – its central grain processing facility in Lewistown, Co Kildare processes over 100,000 tonnes of grain annually while its feed mill produces over 95,000 tonnes of animal feed every year. The organisation is headquartered in Baltinglass, Co Wicklow, where it has its flagship store, and it operates a branch network that spreads out to six agri-stores – including Naas, Avoca and Milford – across four counties. Its large customer base of farmers generates a lot of communication and invoicing.
 

A slow labour intensive postal process

Before partnering with Quadient, Quinn’s postal operation was slow and manual. At the end of every month, Quinns had to despatch a tranche of invoices and statements to clients, who buy stock like sprays or feed on their accounts. They also mailed fliers on promotional off ers and monthly bulletins about seasonal farming advice. It was an arduous task for Quinns’ staff . Each invoice, statement and flier (at least two a month) had to be printed and matched to individual recipients. The volume involved was large, averaging 22,000 documents a month, and the toll on the workforce significant – for up to three days, four staff members would be tied up collating, enveloping and posting the batches. Inevitably, the process was prone to human error. “The first thing that would scare me was if the staff made a mistake,” says Colm Conlon, Chief Financial Offi cer, Quinns. “They might have a customer statement with seven or eight invoices attached. Another customer’s statement would be following behind it with its invoices. By accident, they could put a customer’s statement in with another customer’s statement. The problem with that, of course, in a small country is that it could land in the letterbox of a next-door neighbour. With GDPR and its confi dentiality regulations a mistake like that isn’t allowed to happen anymore.” The postal process led to ineffi ciencies. It slowed down invoicing. Delays in postage of invoices and statements resulted in slower customer payments, which increased debtor days. The cumbersome process aff ected morale. Manually sorting mail – and folding envelopes by hand – was an unattractive, disruptive chore for staff in head offi ce. It took from their focus on higherskilled tasks.

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“The process was slow and labour-intensive, it took over the Accounts Department. Paperwork was everywhere - reams of paper, boxes of fliers in every corner “

Colm Conlon, Chief Financial Officer, Quinns.

Installing Quadient OMS

Quinns decided to install Quadient’s OMS solution to address these problems. A locally based Quadient consultant assessed the existing postal communications process. Once a set of business requirements were mapped, Quadient loaded its solution onto Quinns’ server, confi gured it to the organisation’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) system and its paperwork process. Quinns is now able to fi le and print all their post electronically. The Quadient OMS solution groups Quinns’ post, over 20,000 sheets of paper a month, automatically matching invoices and statements and marketing collateral. There is an integrated miniature camera which reads barcodes, intelligently identifying the number of pages to be included in each envelope. The barcoding ensures correspondence gets to the right individual destination in every instance. The software solution coordinates printing. Printed pages get presented to an inserting machine if they’re going out through the physical post. There are also options to email each customer – a facility that is becoming more popular with modern-day farmers and one which cuts down on postal expenses for Quinns. There is also a facility to use a Quadient OMS portal for online self-service. The solution has other automation features. It applies smart business rules, which, for example, help to purge credit notes or zero-value statements from monthly batches (i.e. if customers have already paid their account). It also frees Quinns from having to stock expensive company letterheads. The result is that the OMS solution has signifi cantly improved the delivery speed – as well as the security and integrity – of the farming supplier’s postal operation.
 

 

“If staff were out sick, on leave or caught up in meetings, it would delay the whole manual process. I would take staff from other departments to make up the shortfall. This would delay the manual process by another day. It was a complete waste of time.” Colm Conlon, Chief Financial Officer, Quinns

Transforming Productivity

 
Now on the first day of a month, Quinns’ admin staff can arrive at work in the morning and expect to complete the entire process of printing, enveloping and sending a large volume of communications by the end of the day. “One of the first noticeable wins was the improved productivity – it’s a job that has gone from taking up to four people over
two days to effectively one person in one day,” says Conlon, Quinns’ CFO. “It’s reduced disruption in the offi ce, as there are no more piles of paper floating around, and fl iers everywhere. It’s cut out human error. It ensures we meet GDPR compliance and no longer make paperwork mistakes. “But the biggest thing was the dramatic improvement in morale Quadient’s OMS solution has brought. It really was important because there’s no more tedious work folding paper into envelopes. We have the solution just over four years now and staff will still say today: ‘Oh, it’s great – we don’t get paper cuts anymore’ or ‘Oh, heavens, the thought of doing that packing again!’” The working relationship between Quinns and Quadient has been smooth. Quadient’s account manager checks in regularly to make sure the solution is working effectively, and the supplier also provides a customer service helpline, as part of its comprehensive maintenance cover. The benefit for Quinns is measurable. Its postal operation has been transformed. The Quadient OMS solution has led to an eightfold staff workload reduction – and a happier workforce.
 

 

“I have no problem recommending Quadient to other prospective customers - who know we have the solution – it improves productivity, it helps with GDPR compliance and most importantly staff morale is far better as a result.” 

Colm Conlon, Chief Financial Officer, Quinns.

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