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Case Studies

The Camerons Group: They've Got Mail

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The Camerons Group: They've Got MailThe Camerons Group are specialists in large volume paper based mail marketing, developing and printing a range of labels for commercial businesses and direct mail marketing initiatives. The Camerons Group began supplying the Australian envelope industry in 1963. Since that time, Cameron's product and service offering has expanded to incorporate Camerons Print and Mail, an exclusive, fully integrated mailing model. The Camerons Group have also developed a packaging management program designed to improve workflow, increase effectiveness and reduce the cost of envelope supply for their clients.

As with any supply chain, efficiency and accuracy benefits were a fundamental focus for any technological investment. However, because The Camerons Group also needed to operate within Australia Post's strict labelling regulatory requirements, it was necessary that any new technology would improve the ability to adhere to these requirements.

Compliance is Key

Australia Post regulatory standards require packaging labels, addresses and barcodes to be placed consistently within a very small space. To improve upon the existing labelling process, The Camerons Group contacted Integrated Technology Partners (ITP) to investigate the potential benefits of investing in new printer and labelling technologies to enhance warehouse operations.

"Working with Australia Post, there were a number of regulatory requirements we wanted to ensure that we were meeting, while having technology with the flexibility to evolve with any changing regulatory requirements into the future," said Steve McCarthy, the IT Manager for The Camerons Group.

"To do this, especially with the requirements for direct mail barcoding, it was integral that we invested in printer technology that could evolve and cope with changing regulatory requirements."

However, simply meeting regulatory requirements wasn't the only reason for upgrading the existing printer and labelling systems. ITP suggested integrating a number of solutions that would present an opportunity for efficiency and consistency benefits through the power of automation.

Automation Is the Way Forward

Accuracy, efficiency and consistency are the three fundamental tenements of a successful large volume direct mail-marketing campaign. ITP identified, developed and integrated an autonomous printing and label application solution into The Camerons Group's warehouse.

By upgrading their printers to Intermec PF4i industrial printers, and integrating a bespoke automatic labelling applicator, The Camerons Group could virtually remove human interaction as a factor in the printing and labelling process. By attaching a label applicator directly to the printer, and limiting interaction from human workers with the packages before, during and after labelling – labels were consistently and accurately placed every time.

This is in direct contrast with the hands on approach of the previous labelling system – which saw labels applied by hand to the finished carton.

George Ciecko, the ITP salesperson who drove The Camerons Group implementation, had this to say of the printing solution, "We wanted to develop a printing solution that removed the opportunity for human error to occur. The easiest way to do this was by minimalizing any interactions that workers would have with the printing or labelling application.

"With the label applicator and printer working in tandem, the only interaction that a worker needs to have with the printer would be to carry out routine maintenance."

To reduce the amount of maintenance, routine or otherwise, required – ITP suggested that an industrial thermal transfer printer would be the best solution.

Why Choose a Thermal Printer?

When choosing a printer type, there are three printer options available for businesses printing on a large scale. These are inkjet, laser and direct thermal transfer printers. For a business that depends on quality printing to set it apart from its competitors, it was crucial that the printer type was one that delivered a high quality and consistent end result. Also, the need to accurately and clearly print barcodes that needed to fit in a limited space highlighted the need for a quality printing solution.

To meet these requirements, ITP recommended Intermec's PF4i industrial printer, which utilises thermal direct printing technology to achieve consistent and quality results. Thermal direct printers work by using controlled heat to create an image onto the media. The introduction of thermal printing media enabled The Cameron's Group to produce more resilient, higher quality dispatch notes without taxing the printer.

Song Ow Thiam, Intermec's Senior Product Marketing Manager for Printers, said that "Thermal direct printers are ideal for specialty applications – such as large volume mail label printing that use specialty media.

"Because thermal printers are designed to support specialty media, it ensures that they are compatible with durable materials that can potentially cause challenges for documentoriented printers like laser and inkjet."

The Advantage of an Integrated Label Applicator

The final step was to integrate a labelling solution that increased efficiency in the labelling process, while also boosting accuracy and consistency.

ITP identified that a label application solution, which could conform to a range of different box shapes and sizes, would be hugely beneficial to the process. This solution meant that regardless of the size – or shape – of the box, the label or barcode would be applied consistently and in full compliance with Australia Post regulations every time.

Mission Accomplished

The Camerons Group contacted ITP to improve the accuracy and efficiency of their direct mail marketing processes. Further to this, The Camerons Group wanted a solution that would ensure compliance with Australia Post regulations now and into the future.

ITP identified that by automating the printing and labelling process, and integrating industry leading technologies to enhance both of these operations, The Camerons Group could achieve their objectives.

"We wanted to ensure that we would provide The Camerons Group with a holistic printer and labelling solution that would be able to grow with their changing volumes and products into the future," said George Ciecko.

With the new printer and labelling solutions in place, The Camerons Group can continue to deliver an industry leading product easier and more efficiently than ever before.