Co-op Financial Services inks £12m automated post room deal

Co-operative Financial Services has signed a £12 million, six year deal with Xerox to scan inbound correspondence into an email, as part of an ongoing business overhaul to cut costs.

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Co-operative Financial Services has signed a £12 million, six year deal with Xerox to scan inbound correspondence into an email, as part of an ongoing business overhaul to cut costs.

The group, which includes Co-operative Insurance, the Co-operative Bank and the Smile internet bank, also wants to improve customer service and reduce its use of paper as a result of turning its post room into a fully automated mail room.

The changes are set to help CFS in its fast moving 'Change Programme' to cut £100 million of expenditure out of the business by June, including an 'Operational Effectiveness' plan tasked with delivering £25 million of savings in process efficiency.

Part of the cost cutting and efficiency gains will be made through three major outsourcing contracts. This new agreement builds on, a 12-year outsourcing contract with Xansa that CFS signed in April 2007. The organisation also has a deal with Capita, and a contract with Communisis to operate its unified print and mail service and save the business £1.3 million a year.

Some 1,000 back office staff were cut as a result, though CFS has not yet confirmed how many of these were IT staff. By the end the 2007 financial year to 12 January, £30 million of savings had been achieved through 62 initiatives in the business, CFS has announced. It is aiming to cut £100 million of back office costs by June.

The new post room system, which will use Xerox DocuShare enterprise content management technology, aims to efficiently scan, process, file and route all inbound insurance and retail banking correspondence.

Business critical information will be distributed to the relevant recipients electronically, using Xerox language recognition systems.

The programme will be implemented in five distinct stages, and CFS promised that as a result it would “radically transform” its internal business processes, customer experience and sustainability programmes.

Under the first phase of the deal, CFS will process and index 10,000 inbound insurance and retail banking letters per day and turn them into emails.

Over time, Xerox will manage all of CFS’s general insurance and banking documents and will provide a fully integrated enterprise distribution and work management environment.

CFS said it would be able to standardise its inbound communications for the first time, create faster customer response times and ensure there was more accurate and timely information.

The process uses a secure and resilient wide area network to ensure rapid information transfer and data integrity and will automate and optimise the downstream business processes through an advanced workflow system.

Dick Parkhouse, executive director strategy and change, said: “With this new approach we will not only reduce operational costs but more importantly we will deliver improved customer service.”

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