July 5, 2017

Why ADF’s are More Important than Ever

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When the concept of an Automated Document Factory (ADF) was first introduced, companies were operating in much simpler communications environments. The terminology wasn’t in use at the time, but most organizations were what we’d classify today as “single channel”. In the 1990’s companies printed and mailed nearly all their transactional documents, using ADF’s to ensure accuracy.

When the concept of an Automated Document Factory (ADF) was first introduced, companies were operating in much simpler communications environments. The terminology wasn’t in use at the time, but most organizations were what we’d classify today as “single channel”. In the 1990’s companies printed and mailed nearly all their transactional documents, using ADF’s to ensure accuracy.

Printed document management continues to be a big part of what ADF technology manages. In most organizations, 70% - 80% of customers still receive paper bills, statements, and notices. But as we all know, the customer communications landscape has transformed since the days of paper exclusivity. Organizations now distribute transactional documents through several channels and in various formats, so document centers must control all of these multi-channel variables.

Document centers needed ADF solutions to ensure integrity, accuracy, and productivity in the old “single channel” days. Twenty years later, they need it even more. Deploying ADF integrity controls is now a best practice that applies to nearly any document operation.

Fortunately, ADF technology has evolved along with the complexity and challenges of modern business communications. Contemporary ADF solutions track documents through multiple delivery channels and manage customer preferences. They interface with tracking mechanisms in both digital and physical worlds, and they allow organizations to take advantage of cost-saving programs like householding, transpromo, and white paper workflows. Automated Document Factories do all this while continuing to track and record the status of every physical page and digital image used in the production and distribution of customer communications.

Most experts agree document integrity and tracking capabilities are becoming entry-level requirements for service providers. Organizations entrusting their customer communications to an outside entity expect their vendors will offer 100% integrity. They also desire visibility into operations and want to receive real-time status information about individual documents when they inquire.

The original ADF’s automated mailpiece integrity for document centers - a huge improvement over manual methods. The common errors the ADF’s caught or prevented, however, were relatively simple, such as double-stuffed envelopes, missing pages, and duplicates. Today’s challenges are more complex.

Crawford Technologies has published a series of new white papers about applying Automated Document Factory functionality in today’s multi-channel, integrated environments. To read more about the impact of modern ADF’s, take a look at some recent white papers.

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