Every candidate from any formally recognised party standing in an election is entitled to send one free of charge communication via Royal Mail to every eligible elector within their constituency.
This can be in the form of addressed or unaddressed mail to each household.
Royal Mail set strict criteria for electoral mailings to allow for efficient and safe delivery of vast quantities of media to multiple drop points across the UK. These criteria translate into a complex packing and distribution process.
The Green Party’s campaign was close to complete failure.
The original printers and fulfilment handlers had set up and run the project as a simple Pick & Pack operation. Still, they had underestimated the complexity, the potential movement, and sheer volume of fulfilment.
Their team had to calculate the varying quantities required by each constituency, then calculate which box sizes best suited the order volume (leaving the minimum of void to prevent potential pallet collapse), collect each box type, fill each with the product then label each one of the various boxes detailing box and overall order contents.
The order was then completed by palletising each box with a standard box type, ensuring pallet stability in transport.
In short, it was complex and lengthy. The principles of time and motion rendered the situation untenable given the available time and budget.
Simple really: they wanted us to save their campaign from complete disaster and help them recover from the predicament their previous printer and fulfilment company had put them in.
We realised the key to succeeding was to reduce the complexity of work undertaken by the picking team.
Simplifying the work would allow a far larger and less experienced team to be utilised without compromising the quality of the work.
Our objective was to automatically calculate the optimum box configuration and then split the work into three streams: High volume boxes, Medium volume boxes, and a variable bundle.
We met with the Royal Mail Electoral mailing team and proposed each constituency’s order would be packed using one of the three options allowing a fast and accurate turnaround.
A bespoke Filemaker solution was quickly written, tested and implemented, allowing us to calculate the optimum box configuration for each order and print labels.
The processed data were then segregated into three streams allowing the separate printing of labels for each pack type (High volume box, medium volume box or the variable banded pack).
Once completed and checked, each data stream was printed onto approved labels, offering the three packing teams a fast and straightforward process.
The three-pack types were regrouped for dispatch at the palletisation stage.
Our changes and modifications had a fantastic result, increasing the packing efficiency and reducing labour costs by 65%.
The project deadline was achieved, and the clients were happy and relieved. We have maintained good relationships with them and continue to work with them today.