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It’s Not How Fast You Make Mail; It’s How Well You Make Mail Fast

Patrick Sondreal

IWCO Direct prides itself on being a technology leader. We have one of the most sophisticated digital print operations in the country; our DOD inkjet lines combine personalization and affixing for efficient production of promotional cards; and the Solix units on our high-speed inserters automate the mail sorting process. But without dedicated people and efficient processes, technology alone won’t ensure exceptional products.

Everyone at IWCO Direct is responsible for ensuring a quality product. All employees are trained, audited and responsible for their quality performance. This focus is supported through our dedicated Quality Assurance (QA) teams in all facilities.

People, Process, Creativity and Technology Drive Quality

In our ongoing effort to provide quality products and services for our clients, IWCO Direct has developed an integrated Continuous Improvement (CI) practice based on a five-step system to meet or exceed our clients’ expectations: Prevent, monitor, detect, identify root cause and implement corrective action.

Under the direction of our CI and QA teams, we’ve employed a number of different tools to ensure we are providing the highest quality products and services:

Standardized Processes Across Our Platform

Standardization is the backbone to achieving consistent quality. We’ve developed Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) and Standard Work (SW) for all our operations. Safety is always front-and-center as we build SOPs and SWs. Our CI teams engage in frequent cross-platform collaboration to promote and share best practices throughout our company.

Data-Driven Process

Many of our clients describe themselves as ‘data-driven’ marketers, meaning that they rely on customer and prospect data to get the right message to the right person at the right time through the right channel. In much the same way, the IWCO Direct’s CI and QA teams use data to provide focus and direction for their efforts. Our QA auditors help us collect valuable data so we know where we need to place emphasis in our improvement efforts.


We’ve strengthened our machine operator training program to include hands-on methods to make it easier for workers to understand processes, and we’ve ensured that our training stresses the ‘why’ behind the process to provide a more complete picture of where their work fits into an overall program. We also provide cross-training so our operators understand quality issues to be aware of when we hand-off between departments and to make us more flexible as an organization.

Employee Engagement and Appreciation

We are firm believers in engaging our employees in the CI process. There is no better way to understand a process than to involve the people that work with it every day.

We continue to hold Kaizen events to assemble the Company’s Subject Matter Experts to analyze and improve processes and workflows. In addition, our operations leaders regularly schedule employee appreciation activities to recognize the great efforts put in by our dedicated staff.

On the IWCO Direct Continuous Improvement and Quality Assurance teams, we are always reminding ourselves, “It’s not how fast you make mail; it’s how well you make mail fast.” If you want to learn more about IWCO Direct’s approach to quality, please let me know.

link https://www.iwco.com/blog/2016/10/11/continuous-improvement-makes-mail-faster/
Patrick Sondreal


Patrick Sondreal

Chief Production Officer. Graduate of the University of Wisconsin–Madison with an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. Commissioned officer of the U.S. Navy who brings a commitment to teamwork and continuous improvement to IWCO Direct every day. Wisconsin Badger fan who loves being part of his kids’ activities.

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