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The advantages of standardized equipment


C4 inserting is gaining increasing importance; a good reason for print centre investments at Gothaer Versicherung in Cologne.

"All of our employees can do everything!" When the print centre manager Thomas Schmorleiz describes this operating principle, one quickly wonders how big the team is which works on printing, processing, inserting and consignment of over 13 million mailings per year - almost 50 000 per day. The answer: Two times three employees respectively on the early and late shifts, plus two employees for support if things get tight. With so little personnel, having a new third inserting system by Müller Apparatebau help with the work is a good thing.

We are located in Köln-Zollstock at the Arnoldi-Platz. Almost two hundred years ago, the namesake Ernst-Wilhelm Arnoldi founded a "Versicherungsverein auf Gegenseitigkeit" (mutual insurance association), abbreviated VVaG. Therefore Gothaer belongs to the customers to this day, and not to the international finance investors. At the Cologne head office, the information and document streams for 3.5 million insured from the life, health, and general insurance divisions as well as the subsidiary Asstel come together at the output centre.


The trend to Grossbrief Format

Over 120 000 printing orders are generated every year here by the z/OS mainframe system and augmented with SET/Posy-DV stamping. The jobs are generated on digital printing systems from sheets, rolls, or stacks. Around 70 preprints are used; enough so that Gothaer is considering investing in a white paper system with digital full colour printing and pinless processing. But no decision has been made yet in this regard. The Cologne output centre is experiencing a small but distinct C4 boom, just like many other insurers. This currently amounts to around 1000 mailings per day and growing. Thomas Schmorleiz: "The annual statement for the Riester retirement plan alone quickly reaches over nine sheets for many customers." Experience has also shown that following conclusion of online insurance agreements - at the Gothaer company for example via the Asstel subsidiary - large amounts of documents are sent out. At the Gothaer print centre, an old Bell+Howell Jumbo performed this task until recently. An alternate solution was researched in 2012 for the increasingly important production of Großbrief formats.


The choice fell to a proven concept

Gothaer Versicherung has been using two Mueller 8000 series mail processing lines for several years to generate DL size and C5 mailings. The two lines are largely identical in order to provide the redundancy required to ensure smooth operation. Both lines feature multi-channel inputs and half a dozen inserting stations. The team has not only had great success with these machines, but also with the manufacturer in Kranzberg, Bavaria. Thus Gothaer is benefiting from the current advancements at Müller, since the existing systems were retrofit with numerous new modular functions on site, further increasing processing reliability and operator comfort. After going through a tendering process, the decision fell to the Großbrief format investment using a new Müller 9000 series system, which is structurally identical in many ways to the existing 8000 series systems but is capable of processing all sizes from standard DL size to C4 Großbrief formats - at up to 6000 mailings per hour. Having standardized equipment has been providing a lot of advantages since the end of 2012: Firstly, there are hardly any Operator problems since almost all processes are already familiar to the team in which everybody can do everything. Secondly, standardized service by a proven Partner is used, a partner who is also particularly effective thanks to the high level of inhouse production. When a new job with a barcode that was twice as long was urgently pending, for example, the changes required to the camera monitoring system were produced, delivered, and plemented professionally within a very short timeframe.


Flexibility is key

Thirdly, the universal usability of the new machines for all formats and the compatibility of all Müller components with one another provides a lot of advantages. Thus the 9000 series system can also be used to provide additional capacity when the Standard letter volume goes up temporarily, a regular seasonal occurrence. In addition, the components of all machines - folder, cutter, collector, inserting units, or feed channels - can be combined freely with one another and reconfigured quickly. One of the two existing continuous input channels is often combined with the new large format inserting system if a corresponding job needs to be processed. "We recognize and understand the needs of our customers and distribution partners. We strive to disencumber them and structure everything to their advantage. We are committed to their goals and exceed their expectations“- these are the guiding principles of the Cologne insurance carrier. This includes powerful equipment to generate transaction and marketing documents used to provide information and to regulate everything. The output managers at Arnoldi-Platz have created the prerequisites for this with new systems to provide more capacity and flexibility.

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