February 22nd, 2016

Amberol

Amberol is a small family company that specialises in the manufacture of street furniture. Founded in 1969 by Jack Williamson and Phil Atkinson, the company has become famous for its self-watering hanging basket and planters, both of which are being utilised in towns and cities across the UK. Amberol has developed Aquafeed, a unique self-watering system, which many of its products are based on. The company also manufactures a range of waste and recycling solutions.

Challenge

Reduce Amberol’s postage expenditure while delivering first-class customer service.

Results

Postal costs have been reduced by 34 percent, efficiency gains from not having to visit the Post Office or weigh items, and company has changed its perception of franking machines and providers.

Solution

The IS-280c is a franking machine aimed at smaller businesses. It automates the weighing of mail to ensure that there is no risk of over or under-stamping and is Royal Mail Mailmark® enabled.

Method

After a bad experience with a previous provider, Amberol was impressed with Neopost’s approach and expertise.

When all of the discounts have been calculated, we’re easily saving around 34 percent on postage costs. In fact, the addition of the Royal Mail Mailmark® tariff means that the savings are far greater that what we were initially expecting.

Patience Atkinson-Gregory

 

The challenge

Amberol sends between 20–60 items of mail daily, with that figure rising to 100 items during seasonal peak periods. Items are commonly invoices, statements and brochures. While Amberol has increased its email use in recent years, many of the recipients remain voluntary groups and local authorities which are both still paper-reliant. In order to save money on postage, the company adopted a franking machine but it soon found challenges around the support and customer service being delivered by the provider. “We did think about trying to manage postage without a franking machine, but after calculating the savings it was clear the opportunity to save money was too great,” said Patience Atkinson-Gregory, Managing Director, at Amberol. “As we have to send out brochures, using a franking machine’s rate was so much more cost effective than sending via normal post. We had already entered into an agreement with another provider and were enjoying the savings, however there was an issue around customer service. Simply put, there wasn’t any. Being a client actually felt like a problem and it was not a good experience."

 

The process

The ongoing customer service problems were becoming a real issue for Amberol with any queries taking a long time to resolve. As such, the company began looking for another vendor that could deliver the high quality service and technology it expected from a leading supplier. Its search led to Neopost. Neopost suggested the IS-280c franking machine, explaining that its features could reduce the company’s postage costs further. Amberol decided to proceed and the solution was fitted and ready for operation within a week.

 

The solution

The IS-280c is a compact franking machine aimed at smaller businesses. The Neopost franking machine automates the weighing of items ensuring that there is no risk of over or under-stamping. Shortcut keys give quick access to users’ most commonly used features, and the integrated LAN connection ensures simple software downloads and rate change updates. The IS-280c comes pre-loaded with Royal Mail UK inland and international postal rates, and it is Royal Mail Mailmark® enabled ensuring users receive the best value postage possible.

 

Delivery and results

The IS-280c continues to deliver the expected franking machine efficiency benefits, but the addition of the Royal Mail Mailmark® has reduced Amberol’s postage expenditure further. The team is still able to save time by not having to queue at the Post Office; indeed employees can simply place the franked mail inside the provided red pouches and deposit it in the Post Office’s collection bag. In addition, franked items continue to be automatically tagged with a return address, something that would have needed to have been completed manually if using stamps. “When all of the discounts have been calculated, we’re easily saving around  34 percent on postage costs. In fact, the addition of the Royal Mail Mailmark® tariff means that the savings are far greater that what we were initially expecting,” added Atkinson-Gregory.

 

Customer feedback

“Neopost and the IS-280c have helped our mailing process greatly. After our previous experience we had started to view franking machines and providers in a bad light, but Neopost has completely changed that. We are a small company so are unlikely to need an additional machine but I will happily recommend Neopost to others. “For other small businesses that are questioning whether they need a franking machine or not, the saving in both postage costs and time spent weighing items means they can become an important tool for anyone.”