French Government Targets Respond with OPEX
URSSAF (Union de Recouvrement des Cotisations de Sécurité Sociale et d'Allocations Familiales, meaning the “organizations for the payment of social security and family benefit contributions”) is a private organization in France with a public service mission. Since 1945, France has chosen, with the creation of their social security system, to provide access to health, family care and retirement benefits. This system is funded by taxes and social contributions from employees and employers. The collection of these funds is the main activity of the 22 regional URSSAF.
ACOSS (Agence centrale des organismes de sécurité sociale or Central Agency for Social Security) is the national entity for the URSSAF that manages the daily corrrespondance, financial and benefits disbursement for each branch.
As such, URSSAF has recently made an investment to improve the efficiency of their ever-vital postal processing and electronic records management system. This investment was in the form of OPEX mailcentre automation technology.
The pilot site and training hub for the system is located in the Toulon branch and has been organised to ensure the fastest and most efficient route for incoming mail to be processed. The solution meets both the sensitive nature and the official guidelines of the department, which require all processing to be completed by 11am each day. Toulon has become, in effect, the template for all of France - representing hundreds of thousands of documents that are processed every month.
This OPEX technology has been installed, and is pretty well standard across the majority of branches of URSSAF France. The products consist of 32 OMATION 306s enhanced “envelopeners” with sorting capability and 45 OPEX AS7200i out-of-the-envelope document scanning platforms. Two dedicated collection centres also have the OPEX Eagle high speed mail extraction and payment processing units which process large volumes of incoming national post.
During peak volume times of year, for example, standard mail volumes can exceed 80,000 pieces per day. Eagle represents the most advanced technology that combines the opening of sealed envelopes, extracting the contents from the envelope, imaging said contents, and presenting the contents’ data for best clearing via accounts receiveable software.
The OMATION 306s can be programmed to sort on thickness, length and height and therefore can identify “clean” and “ exception” mail. It can open a handful of envelopes or batches of up to 40,000 envelopes per hour. The notable milling cutter technology with 8 cut–depth positions protects the important contents from being damaged and provides a soft, feathered edge to minimize paper cuts.
From there, the opened envelopes are placed in a holding area to allocate the contents for scanning on the AS7200i scanners. The work is divided by function depending on the number and types of documents. These advanced scanners significantly reduce preparation and handling time, can capture documents in multiple formats up to 300dpi, are able to classify documents using OCR, OMR, and barcode technology, and even scan poor quality documents. Maximum sizes are an impressive 12.25? by 18.25? and A3. Both the 306s envelopener and AS7200i scanning systems can provide statistics regarding throughput (speeds and quantities).
To accompany the OPEX equipment, the URSSAF in-house IT unit, CIRTIL, has created two special software programmes: Aladin can read and clarify the sources of cheques, coupons and forms - even if contents are missing or blurred; CIME identifies and classifies the nature of correspondence - such as a change of address or request for changes to payments.
Manuel Falaschi, initiator of the OPEX solution in Toulon (the pilot site for the URSSAF network), comments that he is “very impressed and pleased with the new investment.”