Published on 10-May-2007
With standard post still a key means of correspondence, Wüstenrot & Württembergische AG (W&W) sought to improve its mail delivery process. The existing system involved manually routing mail from a central location to regions and, from there, out to individual offices for distribution to the right department and person. The whole process was long, complicated and costly – frustrating for both the company and its customers.
W&W needed to implement an automated, paperless mail distribution solution to reduce the mail delivery cycle, improve efficiency and cut administration costs. The company also wanted to leverage a service-oriented architecture (SOA) that would offer reusable components and a strategic platform for future automation projects.
The solution includes a back-end document repository, automated workflows, a mail processing application and an easy-to-use interface. The new application environment automatically stores and distributes incoming mail and enables back-office employees to access a list of duties and responsibilities via an electronic workbasket.
The company has enjoyed improved efficiency and customer service; mail is now processed and delivered within two hours. The solution has increased productivity by outlining outlines tasks and priorities and making workload balancing and management easier. A standard platform has been installed for future automation projects.
Based in Stuttgart, Germany, Wüstenrot & Württembergische AG is a large financial services company serving about 6.5 million private customers around the world. The company offers building loan contracts, retirement products, home loans, insurance, pension funds and more through a number of subsidiaries. W&W employs approximately 11,000 people.
W&W’s customers frequently send important documents via postal mail. Incoming mail was initially collected in the Central Services department. Employees in that department then distributed the mail to regional processing groups. From there, distribution teams and group managers distributed the mail to the appropriate internal departments, where it was finally processed and delivered to the recipient. This mail cycle extended the time it took to accomplish simple business transactions, resulting in poor service that left customers dissatisfied. What's more, administration costs were high due to the lack of automation. And the company had no way to make changes to the manual process or integrate it with applications running on multiple platforms.
W&W needed an automated, paperless mail distribution solution to reduce mail delivery time and save money.
IBM Global Business Services led the project management, designed and built the mail processing solution. The solution includes a back-end document repository, automated workflows, a mail processing application and an easy-to-use interface. The new application environment automatically stores and distributes incoming mail and enables back-office employees to access a list of their duties and responsibilities via an electronic workbasket, which presents a time-sensitive view of upcoming tasks.
The IBM software used in the solution included:
- IBM DB2 Content Manager for AIX V8.3 software, which the company uses to store and archive all paper documents in electronic format, including 30 million tagged image file (TIF) documents and 10 million advanced function presentation (AFP) documents.
- IBM WebSphere Information Integrator Content Edition V8.3 software, which serves as the interface for client applications that access the Content Manager repository.
- IBM WebSphere Process Server V6.0 software, which provides the runtime environment for the new automated mail distribution process and integrates various software components to form a streamlined, reusable SOA.
- IBM WebSphere Business Modeler V6.0 software, which provides an easy-to-use modeling environment so that W&W can design optimized business processes.
- IBM WebSphere Studio Application Developer Integration Edition V6.0 software, which provided the development environment the company used to build the new processing application that distributes electronic documents to employees.
IBM created and deployed an automated, paperless mail distribution solution for W&W based on a robust SOA environment. With this solution, the company has eliminated its long and complicated manual mail distribution process, resulting in reduced times for mail delivery. Previously, it took between four and seven hours for mail to reach the appropriate recipient. With the new IBM solution, it usually takes less than two hours. This improvement leads to increased customer service levels. In addition, the IBM solution provides workflows for other back-office tasks, resulting in improved workloads and simplified employee management processes. And since the solution is based on a reusable SOA environment, the company now has a platform in place on which to develop future automation projects.