The Labour Party, a UK political party, is a voluntary organization with over 380,000 members. Since May 2010, the Labour Party has been the official opposition to the current government formed by the Conservative Party. The Labour Party relies on subscriptions and donations from members and affiliated organizations, such as trade unions and supporters, for its income. This puts a real emphasis on extracting maximum value from purchasing decisions.
The party has 12 offices throughout the UK with mailing requirements and a small team of professional staff at Labour Central in Newcastle, in the North of England, handles the fulfillment to meet these needs. We spoke to Graham Stafford, Head of Procurement, and Gillian Barry, National Print Manager for the Labour Party in Newcastle, about their mail processing needs and why they opted for a DS-1200 high-volume folder inserter from Quadient.
The Need for a Highly-Versatile Solution for Varied Mail Volumes
On a weekly basis the party produces approximately 30,000-40,000 mail pieces in-house, and this can peak to over 60,000 during key campaigns and election periods. The output of mailing jobs is varied. One day it might produce five or six different mailings of a few hundred mail pieces. The next day this could be a single mailing with 30,000 items. These mailings can also vary widely in their content. For these reasons the Labour Party decided to look for a machine that was highly versatile, with quick job changeover capabilities and fast output.
The Importance of Mail Integrity and Technologies
The Labour Party’s previous system was purchased to suit its needs when they produced much less mail in-house. It coped well with the smaller volumes, but didn’t have the flexibility or the intelligence that the party required in order to move forward. Having made the decision to bring more digital print and mailing items in-house (including all of the membership print), the party found that the incumbent equipment was struggling with the volumes. A bottleneck was developing and this was having a negative impact on the mail center’s workload. The team also recognized the growing need to maintain the integrity of the mail and use technologies for accessing mailing discounts in a simple and easy way.
Investing in the Right Mail Processing Solution
Before making the decision to invest in a solution from Quadient, the mailing team thought about its needs and what it wanted to achieve over the next five-year period. It went through an extensive tender and visited many of the shortlisted manufacturers. The Labour Party’s main criteria was value for money, productivity and versatility. Quadient is now the Labour Party’s preferred supplier. The party has leased mailing and folder inserter equipment across multiple offices. In addition to the DS-1200 folder inserter, the Newcastle head office has also invested in a DS-200 folder inserter along with data management software and an IS-480 postage machine. The Labour Party’s investment in the DS-1200 has definitely paid off.
"The DS-1200 folder inserter has not only speeded up the deliverability of mail, but we have also been able to access Royal Mail volume-related discounts and ensure we always get the best price for our post." as Gillian explains
The machine was the best fit for the party’s mail department as it offers the versatility and fast job changeover required to match the workload. And it is also capable of outputting 30,000 mail pieces per day if needed.
Future Plans for Efficient Mailing
The team is currently looking at data software solutions from Quadient in order to benefit from further savings on mailing costs. It is currently evaluating its whole communications platform. It will also be replacing legacy mailing equipment at satellite offices with up-to-date equipment. When renewals occur it plans to do this in partnership with Quadient. The Labour Party believes that organizations should consider, not just the price but also the value that can be gained from investing in a mailing solution from Quadient.
“We have experienced a very responsive, pro-active and pragmatic approach to account management. As a hardware and software supplier we have found that the business cases that Quadient put forward were very realistic. The ongoing training and support we have received has given us confidence moving forward with future solutions from Quadient.” as Graham explains
About the Labour Party
- The Labour Party was formed in 1900
- In 1942 the first Labour government, under Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald, came to power
- One of the party’s major achievements was the creation of the National Health Service (NHS) in 1948
- In 1964, under Harold Wilson, comprehensive education was introduced and capital punishment was abolished
- Mr Wilson was in power until 1970 and won another election in 1974. He was replaced by James Callaghan in 1976.
- In 1997 Tony Blair won a massive victory for the party, renaming it “New Labour”
- Labour won the next two general elections, in 2001 and 2005
- In 2007 Gordon Brown took over from Blair as Prime Minister until 2010
The values Labour stands for today are those which have guided it throughout its existence:
- social justice
- strong community and strong values
- reward for hard work
- rights matched by responsibilities