57 Million Pieces of Collateral, 16 Software Applications, 26 Staffers … and Countless Headaches

Read how one enterprise-class financial services company cut collateral production costs—and eliminated stress—by consolidating to one vendor and a single technology platform.

The collateral needs of this global investment management firm are significant: Direct mail; kit production and fulfillment; digital, offset and on-demand communications; and financial printing tallied more than $45 million last year, with volume predicted to grow in the coming years.


The need for materials to support marketing programs that drive new business; service existing customers; and comply with regulations is staggering, amounting to a volume of more than 50 million pieces of collateral produced per year.

To get the work done the shared services team responsible for production enterprise-wide employed multiple software systems, and had close to 30 people performing the many associated manual tasks needed to get the job done. Frustration levels were often high, and inefficiency put many on edge.


The internal production team and its leadership realized there was room for improvement in the way the company generated needed collateral. They also recognized the need to bring in an outside advisor to help them move forward more productively. Zee Jay Digital, a resource previously tapped to address marketing operations needs, was called in to recommend a solution that would align the production people, processes and technology.

The Zee Jay Digital marketing, operations and technology team began armed with data from 10 workshops held by the firm’s production leaders which included production team members, as well as those in creative and planning, and in adjacent areas including customer service and sales. Out of those workshops, 112 needed changes were identified.

It was agreed that making these changes would streamline processes and cut costs. With that in mind, ZJD developed a roadmap based on ZJD’s crystallized view of the state of the print and fulfillment vendor landscape, including the range of production capabilities, technology platforms, approaches and account management available. In addition, ZJD’s knowledge of the highly regulated financial services industry, and its associated compliance requirements, was also foundational to successful roadmap development.

The way-forward strategy recommended by Zee Jay Digital and adopted by the firm called for the selection of one vendor (vs. 10 currently used) using a single technology platform, and outsourcing all production activity to the selected partner.

Services to be provided as part of this plan are comprehensive, including order  management, inventory management, warehousing, bills of material, kiting spend, warehouse pick and pack, billing and reporting of all offset and digital printing, print-on-demand, kiting, and fulfillment either by the vendor itself or through approved subcontractors approved by the client.

Zee Jay Digital, working closely with the client’s procurement group, managed the vendor assessment, sourcing and selection process. Eight vendors received the RFP. Three became finalists based on a ZJD scoring model designed to narrow the field based on desired outcomes.

Site visits were held and a single company selected. The entire process, from assessment to vendor/technology selection, took three months.


Transition to the new, single solution is anticipated to take 18 months. Using processes detailed in the roadmap to move from the old way of production management to the new assures that ongoing operations are not disrupted and customer service is not impacted.

Once the single, master vendor, with both printing and technology capabilities, “goes live,” the production process will be significantly streamlined:

  1. Competitive quoting and print management will be handled by the outsourced vendor, eliminating manual effort by the client team.
  2. Processes will be fully automated through a single technology platform, speeding production output, reducing inventory levels and increasing visibility.
  3. A single source for accounts payable and accounts receivable will simplify (and reduce the cost) of production accounting.
  4. A single point of accountability will keep quality levels high, enhance the internal and external customer experience—and contribute to a more positive work culture.
  5. Annual cost savings are expected to be 20% to 25% when the plan is fully  implemented.

This collateral production initiative is driven by a firm-wide commitment to continuous improvement, and marketing’s commitment to digital transformation. Engaging an outsourced partner, improving processes and leveraging technology—coupled with collaborative change management efforts—are helping this leading financial services firm improve the experience for both customers and employees. eliminating manual effort by the client team output, reducing inventory levels and increasing visibility.


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