500 tonnes of print help Coles Flybuys takeoff

Tuesday, 24 April 2012 – By Cameron Boggs

Plastic card specialist printing company, Placard, has proven its mettle in one of the largest mail campaigns in Australian history, producing and mailing over eight million personalised Flybuys packs to nearly every household in Australia. Coles latest loyalty promotion sent out two new cards per household, that’s over 16 million cards.

According to Ganesh Ganeshalingam, managing director of Bayswater-based Placard, it was the biggest project of its kind ever done in Australia. Under high security settings the company produced everything inhouse from manufacturing the plastic cards to printing and personalising them. It also sourced all the envelopes and stationary.

“To get the project completed in 10 weeks we had to do a lot of overtime and bought additional equipment to cope with the scale of the job. We had to bring in an additional 50 people on top of our existing workforce of 150 staff to complete the 2,000-hour project.

“Storage was a big challenge as everything had to be kept onsite until distribution time. By the end of the job we had inserted over 33 million items into envelopes and processed over 500 tonnes of print, which is the equivalent of the weight of a fully loaded jumbo jet at take off,” he said.

In total around 25 differerent pieces of equipment were used for the project, to manufacture, personalise and fulfil the final pack. After the cards were printed on a Komori press, multiple high-speed laser machines handled the personalisation, attaching and inserting into envelopes.

“It took 28 Australia Post trucks to distribute the mailing campaign around the country and traffic management plans were in place in Bayswater to get Flybuys smoothly onto the streets. We finished the project ahead of schedule,” said Ganeshalingam.

The personalised cards and application forms had to be intelligently matched in the print run to make sure the variable data names and addresses coordinated prior to carrier attachment. If each card were laid edgeto- edge, the straight line of print would cover around 1,750 km – the distance from Melbourne to Brisbane.

At the launch of the all-new Flybuys, Ian McLeod, managing director of Coles, said the envelope landing in Australia’s mail boxes from Monday could be the most valuable letter a household will receive all year. “My message to customers is simple: get it, open it, activate it. Then start saving every time you shop.

“Last year we decided to rip up the rule book on reward cards and build a programme which offers real value to Australians. Our aim was to find new ways to give our customers something truly worthwhile as a thank you for choosing to shop with Coles. We wanted to make flybuys the card for the frequent buyer, not just the frequent flyer,” said McLeod.

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