Significant Savings Seen from Automated PDF Workflows at Mele Printing

Jonathan Malone-McGrew // September 7, 2021

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Mele Printing, the largest commercial printer in the metro New Orleans area, continually strives to leverage the latest advances in technology and provide the best possible service to their client base. Since 1985, the father and son team of Mal and Mallery Mele has grown the company from a small quick-print shop comprising 1,000 square feet and three employees to a nationally recognized leader among large commercial printers.

Solimar Systems, Significant Savings Seen from Automated PDF Workflows at Mele Printing

The recent addition of 29,000 square feet of new production space to their existing state-of-the-art facility launches Mele Printing on a giant leap into the future of high-quality digital printing. Their new expansion fills half a city block with modern presses, supporting equipment, and technology to meet any customer request.

From digital to offset, Mele Printing’s high-volume production capabilities support digital publishing, printing, finishing, and mailing for customers nationwide. They take pride in their printing and business solutions to produce and distribute direct mail, statements, bills/invoices, and correspondence/letters, but also in their strong community roots. A new annual chili cookoff raised money for local food banks!

Solimar Systems recently interviewed Kenny Burger, Mele Printing CIO, to discuss their decision to acquire and implement the modular Solimar Chemistry™ workflow platform.

The Challenge: Changing Workflow Needs

Mele Printing wanted to improve their existing production printing and document output operations to support their growing business. Some of their challenges included:

  • Difficult to accept and process PDF files
  • Lack of automation
  • Slow turnaround time of client jobs
  • High Total Cost of Operation (TCO)
  • Difficult to scale up production
  • Difficult to expand operations throughput
  • High programming costs
  • Lack of standardization

One of the drivers for change was the growing number of clients sending PDF files, rather than data files, for processing. When the demand was lighter, they developed a system to extract text from the PDFs, process the recipient name and address for postal sortation, then return the name and address with Intelligent Mail® Barcode (IMb) information back to the original PDF. It worked, but the workflow was slow and they had difficulty keeping up with the growth in demand for PDF file processing.

“Our challenge was to be able to accept and successfully process any PDF job from any customer, regardless of how poorly the files may be constructed,” said Kenny Burger, CIO at Mele Printing. “We could use internally developed tools and programming resources to get these types of jobs done, but it was an inefficient and slow process. It was also an expensive way to complete the customer project.”

To achieve their goals, they began by establishing requirements:

  • Standardize PDF handling processes
  • Reduce processing time of PDF-related jobs
  • Partner with a familiar experienced vendor

The Chemistry Solution: Rubika Document Re-engineering

Working with the Solimar Systems team, Mele Printing determined that a solution based on Solimar’s modular Rubika® post-composition solution provided the optimum system workflow for their PDF production needs.

Rubika provides Mele Printing with post-composition document re-engineering and enhancement capabilities that strengthen their workflow. With Rubika, they eliminate cumbersome programming efforts, increase job turnaround time, and leverage postal efficiencies. “Rubika is a good fit for us. It does many things that we use every day,” said Burger. “It helps cut our expenses and reliance on expensive programming resources and one-off situations.”

Rubika addresses both common and advanced workflow challenges using automation and templates to increase efficiencies and value without expensive programming.

“Rubika does not use complicated programming scripts or require experienced programmer skill sets,” said Burger. “Instead, it provides an intuitive user interface which allows more of our non-technical staff members to use the product and contribute to our client job workflows. Rubika is helping us in several areas to reduce manual labor and costs. We also enjoy the automation element of our finishing equipment and reprints using barcodes.”

Mele is also leveraging Rubika to achieve postal savings using our Solimar partner network. Rubika is integrated with BCC Software’s postal optimization solution which maximizes delivery accuracy and lowers costs. Burger explains, “Using Rubika indexing we easily capture address block information and export the data information to BCC Software for processing. Now, our mailpieces are accurately cleansed and sorted to achieve additional postal discounts. Again, saving us more money.”

The Results: $60,000 in Savings

The broad capability set of Solimar’s Rubika solution positions Mele Printing to meet their objectives for cost reduction and client sales revenue growth.

“We have analyzed our PDF production print and mail workflows before and after Rubika has been implemented. We determined that we are now saving nearly $60,000 per year because of Rubika’s heavy lifting,” said Burger.

With the reduced processing turnaround time enabled by Rubika-based projects, productivity increased dramatically while reducing overall client project costs. Burger added, “We had one particular recurring client job that took 8 hours to process before Rubika arrived. Now with Rubika in place, that same job runs in just 3 minutes—160 times faster. In addition, we are on track for our sales revenue to increase $25,000 per year because of our ability to take on additional work that we could not previously accept.”

Another client’s routine monthly job of 4,200 utility bills used to take 3 hours to process before the implementation of the Solimar-based workflow. Today, using the new Solimar workflow with Rubika, the same job is completed in 15 minutes. Burger said, “The Solimar workflow proved to be 12 times faster than our internally-developed method. We continue to be impressed with the results.”

Burger continues, “Our customer retention is important to us and we want to protect our client base and the future revenue it represents. Rubika, with its modern architecture and broad functionality set, helps us safeguard and protect millions of dollars of future client revenue.”

Solimar’s well-known technical support has helped along the way whenever called upon. “The Solimar team has been very helpful in implementing our Rubika solution with us,” Burger said. The technical support team was also extremely helpful to enable us to get up to speed so we were as productive as possible.”

Burger added, “The Solimar support was very friendly, knowledgeable, and efficient. They were always happy to go the extra mile. They were very professional and patient which helped our learning curve.”

Dive deeper into the details of this case study here.

Solimar Systems enables organizations around the globe to onboard, make ready, enhance, manage and deliver print and digital communications. As an early adopter of the PDF output format, our Chemistry™ platform optimizes and drives a variety of print and electronic workflows including transactional and direct mail printing, accessibility, archive services, …

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Jonathan Malone-McGrew

Jonathan Malone-McGrew, edp, has literally grown up around PDF and the print and digital communications industries. In his early years, he watched his parents build a successful print software company that provided print-stream transforms as well as other solutions to empower print providers. With an education in Business and Marketing, Malone-McGrew has found opportunities to work with print hardware and …


Jonathan Malone-McGrew, edp

Jonathan Malone-McGrew

Jonathan Malone-McGrew, edp, has literally grown up around PDF and the print and digital communications industries. In his early years, …