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Is it time to upgrade your folding and inserting machine?

Signs that it is time to upgrade your folding and inserting machine

If you are reading this, then it is very likely that your business or organisation is already using mail to communicate with your customers, and you already know the benefits of using mail, and why mail is so important.

“Mail remains one of the most effective channels for connecting with customers”, “it makes customers feel more valued than other channels. Not only that, but mail is read, kept in the home, referred back to and shared with others”.

Royal Mail, Market Reach (

I am also sure that you are aware of the time and effort that goes into writing, designing and preparing your communications. Unfortunately, people are generally only aware of how important their folding and inserting machine is when it stops working!

What could be worse? All that time, effort and money put into generating your communications – statements printed, reminder letters ready; but then you cannot send them because your folding and inserting machine has broken down. This will normally result in waiting for an engineer and hopefully (if you have available staff) manually folding and inserting them into envelopes if you need to beat a deadline. A person takes around 12 seconds to fold by hand, then insert into a DL envelope and seal it. Your folder inserter would normally do this 10x faster (and would not complain either).

Below is a list of common reasons why people change their mailing equipment. If it is your job to manage the contracts for, or if you are the operator of a folding/inserting machine and experiencing difficulties using it, then this has been written for you.

Signs that it is time to upgrade your folding and inserting machine…

Sign 1. Knowing the name of your engineer

This sounds like it should be a positive doesn’t it? Being on first name terms with anyone you work with is a very good thing, and we often select a supplier based on how friendly they come across when you meet or speak with them on the phone. But, when it comes to mailing equipment “uptime” is extremely important as your folding and inserting machine can only process X items per day if it is working. Knowing the name of your engineer is therefore likely to mean that you have experienced breakdowns, and this isn’t a good thing.

Having lots of breakdowns could be caused by several things:

  • Machine is showing signs of wear. Your folding and inserting machine includes hundreds of moving parts and these parts have an expected lifetime based on the volume of items the machine is designed to process.
  • Users unable to clear faults themselves – paper jams do happen so it is very important that the operators can quickly clear these jams and they should not need to contact the service department/engineer every time this happens.
  • Training/ease of use – some breakdowns are caused by operators not knowing how to use the equipment but don’t blame them just yet. Older style machines can be more complex to use and therefore require additional training. If you have multiple staff members using the machine, then trying to train them all can be a difficult task. Newer machines have a touchscreen display that makes them intuitive and shows the operator which envelopes to use and how to load them.

Sign 2. A data breach

A data breach is a serious concern when sending mail and, I am very sure that if you are posting financial, medical or personal information then you already understand this. Even if you don’t think you are mailing sensitive information, please be aware that you need to protect your customer’s/client’s data.

The ICO (Information Commissioners Office) says that “a personal data breach is defined as a breach of security that leads to the accidental or unlawful destruction, loss, alteration, unauthorized disclosure of, or access to, personal data transmitted, stored or otherwise processed”. Unauthorized disclosure would include posting a letter, financial statement, invoice or just their account information to another recipient within the same/wrong envelope.

Read the ICO’s guide to data breaches

Not only would you have to notify the affected customers that this has happened, but it is also your duty to notify the ICO (see link above to read their guide to GDPR). A data breach is also very damaging to your company’s image. Your customers have entrusted you with their data, so it is vitally important that you protect their information.

Hopefully this has never happened to your organisation, but have you ever experienced a data breach near-miss? This may have been where the operator spotted the misfeed and stopped the machine, or you had to reopen the envelopes to remove a misfed sheet.

If this has happened to you, or if you are sending sensitive personal data and are using an older machine without double-sheet detection; then you can reduce the risk of a data breach by using the latest equipment. Newer machines can detect if multiple sheets have been misfed and using OMR/OCR/barcode software adds another level of protection.

Sign 3. Your team are not using the folding and inserting machine

If your team are hand-folding letters and inserting them into envelopes whilst your folding and inserting machine sits idle, then it cannot save your business time and money as it is supposed to. There are a couple of reasons why this could be happening including:

They think it’s quicker/easier to do by hand  Folding and inserting machines are 10x faster than by hand so this isn’t true, but if your folding and inserting machine hasn’t been programmed, or if it doesn’t have the facility to store multiple jobs, and your staff have to do this each time then it could be understandable. A new folding and inserting machine will allow you to store all your frequently used jobs so your team can prepare the machine within seconds and within a few taps of the screen. This means that your machine can be used for daily mail and not just larger mailings.

They don’t know how to use it – Not knowing how to use a piece of equipment or worrying that they will “mess it up” if they press the wrong button is a common concern for people when using any piece of equipment. Some older machines were actually very complex to use and had only a small LCD screen (or sometimes no screen at all). The buttons on the machines were also not labelled very well and just included symbols meaning the operators had to learn what each button did. Thankfully, technology has moved on and lots of time and development has gone into the design of the user interface. New machines have colour touchscreens and very clear menus. They also include “quick setup” features so jobs can be programmed automatically.

Too noisy to use in the office – Many folding and inserting machines are now used in offices and are not hidden away in postrooms. In a postroom it didn’t really matter how noisy a mailing machine was, but in an office where you have meetings or where people are on the phone, noise is a problem. Older style machines were clunky and noisy, meaning that people were unable to use them in normal business hours or were very unpopular if they did. The new range of smaller desktop folding and inserting machines are not silent, but they are now much more office friendly.

Sign 4. Your contract is too expensive

When you originally ordered your machine you probably compared prices to check you were getting a good deal, but have you compared prices recently?

Folder inserters can be purchased outright or rented. You may also have a service contract which you pay annually.

If you are renting or leasing your folding and inserting machine, then take a look at the quarterly or monthly costs. If the volumes of mail you send or the variety of jobs you process have decreased or changed then it would be worthwhile getting some comparative quotes based on your current usage. You could be paying a high quarterly rental for a high-volume machine with lots of features that are not being used. A smaller machine could do the same job but at a much lower price.

The cost of your annual maintenance contract would also be based on the size and type of machine you are using. A larger machine with additional features would normally mean a higher annual maintenance bill. This is because larger machines are expected to handle far higher volumes and more complex media, which in turn results in a higher service cost. Older machines also have higher service costs due to the increasing costs of replacement parts.

If you have finished this list and think that it is time to upgrade your folding and inserting machine then we would like to help. My Mailing Room have been supplying and maintaining mailing equipment for over 20 years; our experience helps our customers get the best equipment for the job, and our customer support ensures smooth processing of your mail.

If you would like a comparative quotation or if you would just like to find out what we can offer, please get in touch with our friendly team. If you are at an early stage of researching an upgrade then we are happy just to provide pricing (if that is all you want), but we would also be happy to test samples free of charge and we can demonstrate our equipment at your premises.