Lonsdale Direct Solutions have a rich history as a renowned provider of quality printed products. 2017 marked their centenary year, confirmed with a certificate from Companies House. To celebrate reaching the landmark, Lonsdale began the ‘100 things for 100 years’ campaign. This included providing 100 meals for those less fortunate, donating 100 reams of paper to a school and completing a collective 100 miles at an endurance event which helped raise funds for a local charity. Through continued investment in technology, business processes and people, Lonsdale operates 24 hours a day with over 100 staff offering a full print, direct mail, storage, fulfilment and distribution service to over 480 clients.
We caught up with Simon Swan, Head of Data and Mailing, to understand the importance data integrity plays for the organisation and its clients: “When I joined Lonsdale 17 years ago, we had just started providing mailing services – enclosing, sorting and sending mail on behalf of our clients.
Two years later, to maintain the high expectations associated with the organisation, a data cleansing solution was required to help ensure each letter had a correct address. We selected AFD Refiner to cleanse and reformat the address data supplied by our clients prior to mailing, and have continued to rely on its functionality ever since.”
Glaring Error or Impossible to Spot?
When a letter is received at a household containing an error in the address or format, it immediately stands out to the occupier. When viewing address data that isn’t familiar to you, some errors which are glaring to the occupier can be invisible to the sender.
Simon continues: “We receive client-supplied data for a mailing and their request is typically to use the data as it is. Refiner allows us to quickly identify errors and highlight to our clients (with examples) why cleansing the addresses is essential.
Common address data issues that we are able to identify include: postcode casing being incorrect with no space (hd33wz should be HD3 3WZ), and address spacing (Daisylea lane which should be Daisy Lea Lane). Using AFD Refiner we are also able to easily identify duplicate addresses in the data as well as flag and remove international addresses.”
Refiner reduces time, waste and costs
The standout cost-saving of an automated address cleansing and reformatting solution is time; manually checking millions of addresses each year would be impossible for one person to complete.
Simon explains other benefits of AFD Refiner:
“Accurate data also cuts wasted mailings which have a material and opportunity cost to our clients. We are able to reduce the impact on the environment by not sending mail to an undeliverable or incorrect address and our clients have far fewer returns to manually process and discard.”
… and adds options
Downstream Access (DSA) providers are companies that have recently joined the postal market to offer alternative mailing services (in addition to Royal Mail) for the collection of sorted mail, and plug into the Royal Mail network for final processing and ‘last-mile delivery’.
AFD Refiner allows further cost savings by preparing data for processing by the DSA providers, which Simon explains:
“We work with all the DSA providers, giving our clients the widest range of postage options available. This allows them to choose between cost-effectiveness and speed of delivery, depending on the provider. Some of the DSA providers require the data to be appended with a Delivery Point Suffix (DPS), a two-character code that uniquely identifies each delivery point within a postcode. Refiner allows us to append a DPS to all the mailings that require it.”
“Last year we sent 12 million pieces of mail with complete confidence. AFD Refiner delivers exactly what we expect it to – we put poor data in and get good data out.”
Accuracy in the Millions
As household brands across almost every sector trust Lonsdale to deliver, their commitment to high quality, accurate data has allowed them to maintain their reputation. Simon continues:
“Last year we sent 12 million pieces of mail with complete confidence. AFD Refiner delivers exactly what we expect it to – we put poor data in and get good data out. I would recommend the postcode people at AFD Software as the best possible address and data quality partners for any organisation wanting to improve their address validation and cleansing processes.”
How confident are you in the accuracy of your organisation’s contact database or bought-in mailing lists?
AFD Software helps thousands of organisations spring clean their data all year round.