“I offered Mr Pasquier the chance to take part in our trial programme for the new IS-6000 high-productivity franking machine, the only device on the high end market to comply with the IFS 3 standard...”

The only high end machine on the market to comply with the new IFS 3 postal standard, the IS-6000 prints barcodes for registered mail and franks all processed mail to the exact cost of powww.

SIG (Services Industriels de Genève) is a Swiss public utilities company supplying the community of Geneva with water, gas, electricity and heat energy. It also provides wastewater treatment, waste recycling, energy and telecommunications services. Its activities aim to promote sustainable development by encouraging more efficient and responsible energy consumption. The company’s technical and administrative activities are based at its head office in Lignon.

Print and Mail: a discreet but vital support service underpinning the company's operations

While few people within SIG are aware of its presence, the Print and Mail Department has the important task of ensuring internal and external communications flow smoothly by distributing incoming mail—nearly 1,000 letters daily—and dispatching outgoing mail, totalling some 10,000 envelopes a day, a combination of single-piece mail and bulk mail such as bills, customer communications and the like.  The mail is collected by the postal service twice a day, every morning at around 7.30 and every afternoon at around 1.30. Internal distribution is carried out via a network of 45 mail points located in the different departments around the premises. “We know everybody!” explains Bertrand Pasquier, Print and Mail Department Manager.
“Our team of five staff takes care of all print and mail activities for the majority of SIG’s documents”. Equipped with professional finishing (binding, laminating, etc.) and printing (large format for plans and posters; transaction printing for bills and customer communications, and digital printers for copying), folding-inserting and franking machines, the department can handle almost every type of document in record time. Speed, one of the key values driving SIG’s success, begins first and foremost internally.

Registered mail handling enhanced with the IS-6000 franking machine (IFS3 postal standard compliant)

The Print and Mail Department is constantly looking for ways to optimise staff productivity by eliminating repetitive tasks with low value-added such as affixing bar-coded labels to each registered mailpiece.  So when Cécile Boly, Account Manager at Neopost Switzerland contacted Bertrand Pasquier to present Swiss Post’s new IFS 3 standard, one of whose main features is to include proof of delivery when I offered Mr Pasquier the chance to take part in our trial programme for the new IS-6000 high-productivity franking machine, the only device on the high end market to comply with the IFS 3 standard,” explains Cécile. Installed in December 2012, the machine has already demonstrated its time-saving capacities for handling registered mail. “We took advantage of its automated barcode-printing function so the members of my team could focus on their core activity:  mail handling, printing and copying,” adds Bertrand Pasquier.

Franking each mail piece to the exact cost by weight: significant savings

Optimising the processing of customer mail to provide more efficient solutions is a major concern for SIG. So ensuring all communications addressed to customers reach their final destination is crucial for the company. Before installing the IS-6000 franking machine, most of the outgoing bulk mail was franked carriage paid and mailed at the post office. While the number of mailpieces was declared, the actual weight was never checked before dispatch.

Following several rate re-adjustments due to a difference between SIG’s franking costs report and checks made by Swiss Post, the process was reviewed and scales were introduced by SIG to weigh each mail tray. Each day, it would take over 45 minutes for one person from the mail team to weigh the letters, ensure the average weight matched the agreed carriage paid rate and enter the declaration on the postal operator’s website. The company took advantage of installing the Neopost franking machine to improve the internal process. Instead of carriage paid, each processed mailpiece is now franked at the exact cost by the postage meter. Featuring a dynamic scale, the IS-6000 is designed to rapidly weigh each mailpiece (up to 8,700 envelopes an hour) and select the postal rate corresponding to its weight and format. No more re-adjustments by the post office and greater control of annual postage expenditure! Connected to the IFS 3 postal server, the franking machine transmits all necessary statistics almost instantly to the post office. Online declarations are a thing of the past. In addition to these benefits, Bertrand Pasquier also appreciates the IS-6000’s ergonomic design: “We are all different heights in my team. The ability to quickly and easily adjust the 15’’ screen up and down and left and right is very practical for a machine shared by several colleagues. We can also customise the display which is also very helpful—we have configured the shortcut keys with the postal rates we use most frequently. Overall the touch screen is extremely intuitive and even not very computer literate individuals can learn to work it very easily.”

The shortcut keys on the touch screen, very practical for rapidly selecting the correct postal rate 

The option to frank all mailpieces together also prompted the company to rethink its entire communications chain, with the print and mail department now having the resources to support every link:  receipt of the recipients file, production mail, letter printing, folding-inserting and postage meter. Plus for increased productivity, the IS-6000 is connected to the folding-inserting system.
The European leader of mail solutions and logistics systems for both physical and digital applications, Neopost continues to work with SIG to manage additional projects to optimise its internal and external communications flow.


SIG: The Swiss Public Utilities Company in Numbers

  • 1,684 employees handle the company’s technical, commercial, industrial, administrative and management activities
  • A broad range of over 100 occupations
  • An autonomous public company with a capital of CHF 100 million. This capital is divided between the State of Geneva (55%), the City of Geneva (30%) and the Genevan municipalities (15%). The company is supported exclusively by its commercial activities and receives no public subsidies.
  • A total 250,000 customers in the Canton of Geneva
  • Sales in 2012 totalled CHF 1,078 million


IFS 3: The New Technological Standard for Smart Franking Systems

In business, efficiency is an essential asset. Mail processing also needs to be productive. Automated franking saves time and guarantees exact powww.

  • Simplifies the franking process
  • Automatically updates prices and products online
  • Provides transparent costs with monthly itemised statements

With a third-generation machine (IFS 3), processing outgoing mail is now more efficient, easy-to-use and simple than ever. Barcodes for mailpieces including proof of delivery (registered mail, etc.) can be printed directly by the franking machine. Gone are the days of manually affixing labels. Thanks to its function of splitting postage expenditure by cost centre, IFS 3 is the ideal solution to optimise your mailflow processes and control costs to the penny.