Oct. 16 2015 05:29 AM

People buy insurance for protection. But an insurer needs protection, too: protection against incorrect documents. A policy is an official document and must be correct, which requires thorough testing at the right point in time.

If you are involved in the production of high-volume, high-value transactional customer communications—especially if you are in Financial Services or Insurance—you are working in the gyre of a Perfect Storm.

First, there is the increased complexity of customer communication caused by more channels. Second, there is a renewed call for regulatory compliance. And third, there is pressure from the customers themselves for a better experience with more personal mass communication.

And then add to this the lack of adequate time. You operate in a faster-paced world with fewer resources. And the demand for perfection weighs heavily on you. How can you possibly check every document that leaves your shop? And yet in this verticals you must, because in a heavily regulated environment there is no such thing as a minor mistake:

“Spot checking is too often the best we can do. And it isn’t nearly enough. Delivery errors and rules violations must be prevented. The workflow cannot be compromised.”

“The risk of misprints and expensive legal entanglements always looms over us. While there are permissible variations, all too often the mistakes must be corrected. Manually.”

The simple fact is that without automation there is no way to check for accuracy and completeness. Therefore, an IT-supported document check is absolutely essential for one hundred percent certainty.

The benefits are obvious:
1. Error-prone manual checking is eliminated.
2. It guarantees that every document, regardless of format, structure, scope, quantity or output channel, complies with defined quality standards.
3.Productivity increases because employees can concentrate on their core business.

Check before the document is created
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”—Thomas Alva Edison.

The question therefore is not if but how to set up computer-supported document checking. First, where in the document cycle does it make the most sense? Where the document is created, of course. If you’re going to fail—fail early. And then catch it and correct it.

Statistics prove that the later an error is detected, the greater the cost and effort it takes to correct it. The investment needed to correct an error at the end of the process chain is tenfold what is needed to correct it right at the beginning.

So if the data in an ERM or ERP system is not absolutely correct and complete, for example, it needs to be checked long before document is created. The sooner, the better. But the buzzwords for Quality Assurance need to be “early” and “often.”

Document checking without centralization is meaningless
One thing is for certain. Quality assurance can be performed at any or many points during document production. In the end, it is the defined processes that determine when particular documents are checked—and by whom. A frequent phenomenon in customer communication is that documents are created de-centrally, outside the standard approval processes. A call center or local branch office still produces and sends a lot of communications on site, without the main office knowing anything about them. Important business information gets lost in the process.

Therefore quality assurance in document processing is also tied to centralization. Whenever possible, all customer communication should be collected and transmitted to a central system, regardless of in what area, in what format, and on what physical and digital channel the correspondence is created and output. While the processor prints the document at his or her workstation or sends it as a PDF attachment to an e-mail, it can be indexed and archived at the same time. Everything runs in the system background. Ideally, a rules check is integrated here, including for compliance with corporate identity (wording, layout, fonts, etc.) and legal obligations (archiving, reporting, data protection) and even release mechanisms (four-eyes principle, etc.) In particular, banks, insurers, and telecommunications providers are faced with a complex maze of regulatory requirements. How can they possibly meet them without a reliable and central IT-supported check procedure?

First the analysis, then the check
At the end of the day, quality assurance encompasses a multitude of things, such as a check of the content (Is the data correct and complete? Are all CI and compliance regulations observed?) and well as a technical production check (Can the files be output and further processed? Are all the control codes for enveloping, franking, etc. present?), and of course, validating the IT itself (How do modifications and updates affect a specific system, other applications and the document? If documents were converted, does the content of the original match the output file?)

Even then, cost savings warrant integrating another check, such as in the output center for opportunities to bundle mailings to the same recipient to save postage or if documents have all the required control characters for post-processing to prevent returns.

You can’t be too careful.
For these reasons, a thorough quality check is always tied to a process analysis. Where can rule violations or bottlenecks occur in production? Is data consistent? What document-generating systems are subject to frequent updates? Do these modifications affect document creation at all? The answers ultimately determine what type of check is needed at what point during document processing. Processors and specialist users must be included in that analysis so the entire document cycle can be examined for possible weak points.

Continuous improvement is an enterprise-wide goal. There is too much at stake to sail blindly into a perfect storm.

Compart helps companies increase the efficiency of its operational processes through solutions for rapid and flexible processing of high-volume amounts of transaction documents. The scalable and platform-independent product family DocBridge® which is designed, developed and maintained by Compart, the issuance of these documents allowed at any time and at any place both digitally and on paper. Worldwide, the company enjoys a reputation as an innovative leader and as a developer of professional and pioneering solutions in the field of document management. More than 1,200 customers in 42 countries from various industries such as finance, insurance, retail, printing industry, the telecommunications industry, the utilities sector and healthcare sectors employ solutions of Compart. In addition, Compart is a technology partner for many leading manufacturers in the industry.

Quality assurance has always been a top priority at Compart. The company with international reach offers solutions and tools that cover all areas and processes of document checking, including rules validation (CI, compliance), direct document comparison at the object and text level, and different test procedures (regression, iteration, and conversion tests). The tools are modular in design for combining as needed and integrating at any point in the production process.
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