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Excellus BlueCross BlueShield: Diversify and Thrive

Document Services has embraced new technologies and, in the process, has cemented its reputation with Excellus BlueCross BlueShield as a single-source service provider.

January 1, 2011 By Erik Cagle
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In this digital age, not everyone views the subject of printing in an optimistic light. But Catherine Ciardi feels she has the perfect surfboard underneath her to navigate and tame the wave of the future.

Don’t bother checking Ciardi’s prescription; she has ample reason to look ahead to tomorrow with what some may consider rose-colored glasses. The director of Document Services for Excellus BlueCross BlueShield (BCBS) in Rochester, N.Y., Ciardi has the people, processes and technology in place to meet the needs of one of the nation’s largest medical insurers (6,000 employees, 1.7 million subscribers) while ensuring the future of the 55-employee in-plant.

“As we compete as in-plants, we have to broaden our horizons,” Ciardi says. “The Web is here, smart phones, QR (quick response) codes and more applications are going mobile. Our drive here is to be smart enough and efficient enough that we can provide those services, and not have the parent company use outside agencies or vendors. We want to make ourselves relevant wherever possible.”

Document Services took its relevance to another level when it installed a Kodak NexPress S2500 in early 2007. Prior to firing up the color production press, Excellus BCBS farmed out much of its color needs to commercial printers in the Rochester area. The shop’s volume of marketing collateral jobs has billowed in the past two years, from 4.4 million impressions in 2009 to 6.2 million in 2010. The latter figure, recorded at press time, was expected to reach 6.4 million once the final results are tallied.

The NexPress is generally used for short-run, print-on-demand (POD) jobs of frequently updated forms. Custom variable printing and the ability to send out queries using sort parameters such as age, sex and demographic played a pivotal role in bringing the NexPress to Document Services.

New Types of Products

Ciardi adds that the introduction of Kodak Dimensional Printing, which provides a textured feel to raised images, allows Document Services to produce magnets, clings and folders without the need to sensitize the back of material substrates. It has provided a boon for medical center-specific collateral materials—e.g. hours of operation and urgent care magnets.

Kodak presented a proposal that spoke to Document Services’ need for a versatile workflow solution, quality training and competitive pricing, according to Ciardi. Kodak devised a workflow plan that combined the NexPress with Rochester Software Associates’ WebCRD tools, which allows users to submit, manage, reorder and output digital printing jobs to Document Services via an intranet.

In-plant Snapshot

Excellus BlueCross BlueShield
Rochester, N.Y.
: 55

Key Equipment:

  • Five-color Kodak NexPress 2500 digital color press with Nexstation front end and inline Watkiss Vario bookletmaker
  • Océ VarioPrint 6250 printer
  • Océ VarioPrint 2110 printer
  • Two Océ VarioPrint 5160 MICR check printers
  • Three Océ 7650cx digital presses
  • Xerox DocuTech 6180
  • Oki Data C9850 envelope printer with stream feeder
  • Eight-color, 60˝ HP Designjet Z6100 wide-format printer
  • Two Océ high-capacity stackers
  • LaserMax Roll Systems unwinding, slitting, stacking and cutting equipment
  • Duplo DC-645 cutter/trimmer/slicer
  • Challenge CMT-330 trimmer
  • Challenge 265 paper cutter
  • KeenCut Excalibur 500 wide-format cutter
  • Océ BLM500 book maker (up to 50 sheets)
  • Océ BLM200 book maker
  • C.P. Bourg BB3302 perfect binder
  • IBIS Smart-Binder booklet maker
  • IBIS ASCF signature collection feeder
  • Baum 2020 paper folder
  • 25˝ GBC 4250 tabletop laminator
  • Pitney Bowes APS inserter
  • Pitney Bowes 8 Series inserter
  • Three Pitney Bowes DM mail machines
  • Böwe Bell & Howell Criterion barcode sorter


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