Cygnus with 1 Operator Does the Work of 3 Data Processors

About Central Mailing Services

With 60 staff, 3 sites and 25 years under its belt, Central Mailing is a prominent player in the direct mail industry. The £7+ million turnover business provides end-to-end direct mail facilities to predominantly Education, Charity and Performing Arts clients. Richard Morrow, Sales Director of Central Mailing points to a strategy of continuous investment in technology and equipment as the winning formula for prolonged growth.

Central Mailing provides complementary data health checks to clients alongside a full range of data processing functions within their in-house data bureau. A team of 10 data professionals process in excess of 70 jobs per day handling everything from the standard deduplication and sortation through to data hygiene work combining industry suppression files with clients’ own returns and suppression management facilities.

The Situation

The combination of a growing client roster and the increase in critical, quick turnaround mailing projects prompted Central Mailing to seek efficiencies in their data processing capability. An internal review highlighted 2 opportunities for improvement.

The first stemmed from needing to combine a variety of purchased software solutions, outside suppression services and in-house systems to process a job. The moving of data between systems and back and forth from third-party suppression providers was not only taking too much resource but extending turnaround times and increasing the risk of errors or data breaches.

The second opportunity to improve came from a recognition that more than 30% of data processing work was regular, repeat work following a standard set of processing procedures. Having to manually shepherd each repeat job through the same steps each time was tying up valuable time for the team and a better solution was needed.


“Clients trust us with their data and under GDPR they don’t want it to leave our building. Cygnus has helped provide those clients with a one stop shop for data processing and that peace of mind that the chain of custody stops with us.”

Richard Morrow, Sales and Marketing Director, Central Mailing Services

The Solution

To improve data processing efficiencies and lay the foundations to achieve their £10m turnover target, Central Mailing chose to invest in Cygnus from The Software Bureau. Pivotal to the decision was the intuitive GUI (graphical user interface), the capability to save and re-run regular data processing jobs and the breadth of data processing functions contained in a single application.

Graphical User Interface

Cygnus, unlike any other data processing software provides a canvas style graphical user interface for all data processing functions. Users add processes to the canvas and link them together in a logical, visual, process flow. The canvas provides a clear and concise audit trail of each step of the processing project. It was important for Central Mailing to be able to include data hygiene functions in the sequence which previously required outsourcing, interrupting the job. Cygnus contains over 400 million records of deceased, goneaway and home mover data from all the main providers of cleansing data. This embedded suppression and home mover data allows Central Mailing to cleanse client data as part of an overall processing sequence and without sending the file to a third party or an online system.

Save Templates and Re-run Jobs

Complex jobs with multiple files and dozens of processing steps can be time consuming to setup in any software. Cygnus allows Central Mailing to not only visually build the sequence of processing steps, but also save a sequence as a template job. The ability to reload a previously run job, download new data and re-process it is already saving Central Mailing countless hours in repeat work.

Breadth of Data Processing Functions

With hundreds of thousands of data processing jobs passing through Cygnus every year, The Software Bureau has worked with clients to develop a single source solution for any data processing requirement. Functions ranging from the embedded PAF and suppression capabilities to rapid deduplication, merging and Mailmark sortation can all be called upon to deliver custom processing flows for any job.

The Results

After only 4 months Cygnus with a single operator is already doing the work of 3 data processors using legacy systems.

Regular, routine data processing work can now be processed through Cygnus templates which has relieved the data processing team to work on ad-hoc work and respond to new client requirements.

Cygnus has become a key investment in client confidence relating to GDPR compliance.

“One of our major regular jobs we get in from a performing arts client used to take us 2 to 3 days of processors’ time. With Cygnus it is done the same day”
Chris Greenaway, Data Processor, Central Mailing Services

“We have jobs that would take 2 hours now being output in 30 minutes using Cygnus”
Chris Greenaway, Data Processor, Central Mailing Services

“One of our University clients recently sent us 12 fast turnaround jobs. In the past that would have tied up the data team occupying multiple members of staff to get the job done. With Cygnus we delivered the job without interruption to all the existing work in the team. Cygnus has helped improve our overall operational efficiency.”
Richard Morrow, Sales and Marketing Director, Central Mailing Services

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