Awarding Bodies – The true cost of producing documents ‘in-house’

Awarding Bodies

As an Awarding Body, there are many financial demands on your organisation.  As experts in developing high quality qualifications, Awarding Bodies generate significant amounts of paper-based documents, such as exam papers and certificates, which are intrinsic to their activities, but can also drain valuable resource if they are produced inefficiently.

In order to establish whether exam papers and certificates are being produced efficiently, it is important to establish the cost of production of each document.  When looking at the cost of the printing, personalisation and mailing of examination certificates or examination papers, people tend to focus on the costs of regular, big volume production runs and mail-outs, as these are likely to have a much larger drain on resources than any smaller volume production runs.

The operational challenges of these mail-outs are predictable for Awarding Bodies, in terms of timing and volumes, so it is a straightforward process to identify and allocate the costs associated with these projects.   As a result, informed decisions can be made about the processing of such critical communications and many Awarding Bodies are recognising the benefits of outsourcing to reduce costs and increase efficiency.

For some Awarding Bodies, tracking the cost of paper, print and postage is simple, however, it is unlikely that related ‘burdened costs’ will be calculated.  Burdened costs are those costs that must be absorbed in order to print and mail documents in-house.  Several studies and reports have been commissioned over the years to show the true cost of internal staff producing mail, but our own research has proved to be particularly pertinent to Awarding Bodies.

Adare SEC works with many leading UK and International Awarding Bodies and this experience has enabled us to calculate burdened costs for the Awarding Bodies industry.

Estimated Burdened Costs for In-House Production per Document

Visible Hard Costs Hardware, toner and inks, paper (plain and special), click charges, services and maintenance, power, etc. 160p
IT Support & Infrastructure Help desks, 2nd level support, installation, asset management, assessment, testing training, print servers, network, connections, mainframe conversions, print formatting software, pre-processing equipment etc. 16p
Administration & Purchasing Product and services selection, internal requisitions, order, billing, RFPs, storage, restocking, supplies service centres, inventory management, vendor relationship management, etc. 18p
Document Production End user production, time/energy, waiting time, intervention activity, hand finishing, etc. 80p
Document Management The ‘before and after’ process costs including filling, storing, indexing, COLD, scanning, binding, retrieving, mailroom functions, pre-printed forms, electronic forms, document creation, waste disposal, etc. 60p
Postage Based on a discounted C4 Royal Mail 1st Class Price 70p
Total Burdened Cost £4.04

The information in the table shows that much of the hidden cost of internal document production is generated by the reliance on staff time; we can estimate that for each mailed item, 20% of the cost is devoted to consumables and printing, 56% to labour, with postage accounting for the remaining 24%.

The time taken by your staff to produce, fulfil and mail your examination papers and certificates, means that their attention will be moved away from core business activities. Furthermore, whilst staff will be skilled in many facets of their role, print production fulfilment and postage optimisation will not be an area of expertise – nor should it be one that imposes on their daily tasks.

Adare SEC’s expert, purpose-built production systems and our significant experience and knowledge of driving efficiencies across printing, fulfilment and postage could allow us to significantly reduce the average burdened cost down, saving your organisation significant sums of money.

For further information about our complete, end-to-end Education Solution, please call Adare SEC’s Secure Solutions division on 01527 838 820, or email your requirements redditch@adaresec.com.