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The perfect contribution

OPEX mailing equipment is speeding up the processing of French social security contributions

 OPEX mailing equipment is speeding up the processing of French social security contributions

OPEX mailing equipment is speeding up the processing of French social security contributions

Since 1945, France has provided health, family care and retirement benefits through a social security system funded by taxes and social contributions from employees and employers.

Responsibility for the collection of contributions lies with the Union de Recouvrement des Cotisations de Sécurité Sociale et d’Allocations Familiales (URSSAF), a private organisation with a public service mission.

The URSSAF is under the overall control of the national Agence Centrale des Organismes de Sécurité Sociale (ACOSS), which manages the financial and benefits disbursement for each of the URSSAF’s 22 regional branches.

In order to improve the efficiency of postal processing and electronic records management, URSSAF recently specified OPEX mailcentre automation technology for use in most of its branches. In total, it acquired 32 OMATION 306 ‘envelopeners’ with sorting capability and 45 OPEX AS7200i out-of-the-envelope document scanning systems.

In addition, two dedicated collection centres, where daily mail volumes can exceed 80,000 items, have been equipped with OPEX Eagle high speed mail extraction and payment processing units. Top-of-the-range Eagle units combine the opening of sealed envelopes, the extraction and imaging of contents and presentation of the data for clearing via accounts receivable software.

In tandem with the new mailing processing equipment, the URSSAF in-house IT unit, CIRTIL, created two software programmes: Aladin, which can read and clarify the sources of cheques, coupons and forms, even if the contents are missing or blurred; and CIME, which identifies and classifies correspondence by subject, such as a change of address or request for changes to payments.

Complete process

URSSAF set up a pilot site and training hub for the system in its Toulon office. Providing a template for regional offices across France, the equipment is set up to provide the fastest and most efficient route for the processing of the hundreds of thousands of letters a branch receives each month.

According to official guidelines, all mail processing must be completed by 11am each day.

Mail processing consists of a number of clearly defined steps:

1. Opening. OMATION 306 envelopeners open batches of envelopes at speeds of up to 40,000 per hour and can be programmed to sort by thickness, length and height, which enables them to identify ‘clean’ and ‘exception’ mail. A milling cutter with eight cut-depths protects contents from damage and leaves a soft, feathered edge to minimise the risk of paper cuts.

2. Pre-scanning. Opened envelopes are placed in a holding area where contents are pre-sorted prior to scanning on AS7200i scanners. Work is divided by function depending on the number and type of document.

3. Scanning. The AS7200i scanners significantly reduce preparation and handling time, thanks to their ability to capture documents in multiple formats up to 300dpi, to handle poor quality documents and to classify documents using OCR, OMR and barcode technology. The scanners can cope with document up to A3 size and 12.25 x 18.25 inches.

4. Reporting. Both the 306 envelopeners and the AS7200i scanning systems can provide statistics on throughput (speeds and quantities).

The system has already proved a great success, with Manuel Falaschi, initiator of the OPEX solution in the Toulon pilot site, declaring himself “very impressed and pleased with the new investment.”

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