What We Do
Do you have any brochures?
Yes we do. Here is our main product and service brochure, and a small portfolio showcasing some of our work…
Do you do Short Notice mailings?
Yes we do. We often turn around a short notice mailing within twenty-four hours, and have frequently completed urgent last minute mailings within two to three hours.
Do you do digital printing?
Yes we do. We do high quality colour and mono. This can be generic or personalised, and both can have fast turnarounds of under twenty-four hours if needed.
Do you offer lithographic printing?
Yes we do. We are specialists in UK litho printing and management so we’re able to leverage maximum quality at the best price.
Do you do email campaigns?
Yes we do. Our software can generate and send personalised responsive emails. We can even use a single interface to build and design all your business communications. Designing your print, email or web documents from the same tool gives you the ability to use a shared set of variable data and insures your documents are consistent with one another.
Do you offer a design service?
Yes we do. From web to print, we provide graphic design services that can be tailored to meet your needs.
Do you do SMS/text campaigns?
Yes we do. Our software can generate and send personalised texts with links to web pages. We can even use a single interface to build and design all your business communications. Designing your print, email or web documents from the same tool gives you the ability to use a shared set of variable data and insures your documents are consistent with one another.
What data management services do WDM offer?
We can offer data cleansing and storage. This is ideal if you don’t have a centralised system where you work, because you can collate, cleanse and maintain all your data off-site for regular mailings. This also helps with returned mail because we can update your data within our storage without needing to pass it back into your multiple systems. In essence, storage and cleansing with WDM is a great way to get round dealing with multiple in-house systems.
Do you offer a range of paper stocks?
Yes we do. We have access to a huge range of paper stocks because it’s one of the most important decisions you’ll make when creating a printed product.
Do you do automated envelope enclosing?
Yes we do. We have a whole range of high speed enclosing machines for most envelope sizes, and the capability to enclose 3 million envelopes per week.
Do you do print finishing?
Yes we do. We offer a wide range of print finishing including Gloss, Matte and Soft Touch Laminating, stitching and stapling, spot, pattern gluing, fugitive, remoistenable, peel and seal and latex glue, die-cutting in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, and optional unique die creation. We also offer half-folding, tri-fold, roll-fold, gate-fold, double-gate-fold, and z-fold.
Do you do hand packing?
Yes we do. We can hand pack for all those non-machinable items using a team of experienced hand-pickers and packers.
Do you offer Polywrapping?
Yes we do. Polywrapping is fast, economical and efficient. It can be used to enclose and mail brochures, catalogues, books and magazines and provides an excellent solution to ‘wrap’ promotional items, newspapers or leaflets. It’s lighter than an envelope so it can reduce postal costs*. It protects and keeps dry your printed item. It gives full view of the contents so you get more impact.
*For bulk mailings polywrap items are high sort which is more expensive than low sort.
Do you do digital labels?
Yes we do. Our digital printing technology allows us to print even small orders of custom stickers and labels at affordable prices with a quick turnaround. If you’re looking for full-colour custom labels and you don’t want to buy thousands, we can help you.
What are the differences between Lithographic and Digital printing?
Digital printing provides a much faster job on short runs because there are minimal set-up requirements. Files are still prepared and checked, but digital print runs get rid of all the unneeded print plates and inks. And additionally, because there is no drying time required, the digitally printed sheet can be sent straight for finishing – binding, lamination etc.
Digital printing can deliver substantial savings through ‘print on demand’, because customers now need to only buy exactly the print quantities they need. Lithographic printing has always needed a minimum print quantity to make it viable.
With lithographic printing, the more you print, the cheaper it gets. There is only ever one set-up cost, rather than a cost with every item.
So essentially, if you want a low volume or highly personalised print job, digital printing will be cheaper and far more cost effective than traditional offset printing, but if you have huge numbers or the same item, then litho is usually the way to go.
3) Short runs
The best bit about digital print is the ability to create ultra short print runs. And because digital print data is easy to change and update, an infinite number of personalised versions can be sent to the printer. This means greater flexibility and there is very little point to holding bulk print stock for regularly changing items.
4) Variable Data and Personalisation
With the ability to personalise each and every print item, you can create truly bespoke messages for your audience. Digital print personalisation enables smarter marketing – giving direct marketers a highly effective way to talk with their customers in a one-to-one way.
5) Printing Quality
Digital printing simulates different colours using a four-colour system whereas litho produces colours that are based on the Pantone range. Digital used to be associated with a reduction in colour print quality, but the gap between high-end digital printing and litho printing has now reached a point where most non-printing industry observers would be unlikely to tell the difference between the two. Crucially, WDM uses high-end digital printers.
What is the difference between machine enclosing and hand-fill?
Machine enclosing has a fast turnaround and is perfect for large volume or urgent fulfilment runs. Items or mailings are fed and collated at high speed. These are then inserted into envelopes.
Hand Enclosing is very much the opposite end of the scale. Mail, products – and these really could be anything from teabags, golf balls, t-shirts, etc. – or other media are hand inserted into polybags, envelopes, or packaging. It’s slower and more expensive than machine enclosing but ideal for irregular items.
If you are unsure which is suitable for you, please contact us on 0191 487 5148 For more advice. Or, fill out our quick enquiry form.
What does DSA stand for?
DSA stands for ‘Down Stream Access’ and usually refers to providers of postal services such as Whistl or UK Mail, further down the fulfilment process.
What is Advertising Mail?
The Royal Mail definition of Advertising Mail is a ‘mailing which comprise a largely uniform message to all addressees, with the purpose of promoting the sale or use of products or services, or to encourage contribution to, or support of a cause.’
What’s a PPI?
A PPI – in Royal Mail terms – is a Printed Postage Impression. When you’re sending large quantities of mail, Printed Postage Impressions (or PPIs) offer a simple, pre-printed alternative to postage stamps or franking machines. With PPIs you print postage in-house, directly onto the envelopes and labels used for mailing. There’s no need for extra equipment – you simply download and print your postage mark, then print it.
To use PPIs, you need to be an Online Business Account holder with a Credit Account. You’ll also need to apply for a PPI licence.
What are Clear Zones?
The clear zone is an area on a document that cannot contain any printing that will interfere with the barcode or OCR encoding being read accurately by scanning equipment. Any printing in this area, other than the encoding, must be printed in an ink that cannot be read by the scanner.
What is 100% Guaranteed Mailout?
When any mailing at any mailing house is run through the machines, there will always be a very small percentage of what is termed ‘wastage’ through clogged feeds and bad alignment of printed addresses, etc. This is normal and many mailing houses simply mail out the remainder.
WDM guarantee that 100% of customer data will be mailed. Unless otherwise instructed, we will ensure that all the customer data is used.
What are 100% mailings?
Sometimes it’s crucial that all the inserts into a mailing are correct – bills, bank statements, medical results – no one would want to receive someone else’s private and personal details, and equally, no one would want to think that their own details could end up in the hands of other people.
This can only be guaranteed by using a verification system of cameras and weight checkers.
We recognise that 100% mailing integrity is important and that’s why WDM offers it.
WDM does this as standard.
What is match mailing?
When there is a two-piece mailing that requires personalisation of more than one item, it is essential that each inserted piece has the same name and address etc. This is called match mailing. A two piece mailout would be known as two-way matching, three piece would be three-way matching, and so on.
What is Downstream Access?
‘Down Stream Access’ usually refers to providers of postal services such as Whistl and UK Mail, etc., further down the fulfilment process, and is sometimes referred to by its acronym ‘DSA’.
What is Mailmark?
WDM is an accredited Mailmark provider.
The Mailmark barcode can be added to your mail, and as each piece of mail is sent out, it’s details are added to an electronic manifest that gets sent to Royal Mail. As your mail rolls through the Royal Mail system, they read the barcodes, generating a personal report which you can look at online to check exactly what’s happening with your mail.
What is PAF Validation?
The Postcode Address File (PAF) is a database which contains all known “Delivery Points” and postcodes in the United Kingdom. The PAF is held by Royal Mail and is a collection of over 29 million postal addresses and 1.8 million postcodes. Royal Mail is required by section 116 of the Postal Services Act 2000 to maintain the data and make it available on reasonable terms for lookup services. Customer data can be checked against PAF files for validation of address details as a method of cleansing.
What is OCR?
OCR means Optical Character Recognition and – in relation specifically to the mailing industry – is used to reduce customer postage costs by making the mailed items easier for Royal Mail to sort and deliver.
What is Mailsort?
Royal Mail Mailsort – now sometimes called Low Sort and High Sort – is a discount service offered on bulk mailings by Royal Mail. WDM carefully sort your address and name data into Royal Mail selection areas, so that when we pack your mailings, Royal Mail are already saved a lot of the work, and in return they pass us a 40% discount on the postage costs.
Quality Assurance Questions
What Quality Standards do you have?
We hold ISO9001 and 14001 certifications and our commitment to realising certification of the ISO18001 environmental management standard by early 2017. This will be followed by ISO27001.
What software licences do you have?
All users on-site have full Microsoft Office 365 licences. We have full Adobe Creative Cloud licences. We have licences for both Planet Press Classic and Planet Press Connect which are market-leading variable data design packages including cross-channel marketing. We have a full licence for Infigo’s Catfish platform which is a high-end web to print solution including their MegaEdit Pro online artwork editor and Symphony which is for email and text campaigns.
What reference customers can you provide?
Reference sites and contacts can be supplied on provision of a non-disclosure agreement.
What are your business principles?
WDM is still a family owned and family run business. We’ve been in our current location at Team Valley in Gateshead since 2004 and continue to invest in the quality of our people and our facilities.
We pride ourselves on our flexibility, reliability and most of all our reputation for honesty.
What people resources do you have in-house?
We have over thirty members of staff who are experts within the printing and mailing industry, and can call upon an additional bank of people should it be necessary.
What industries do you work with?
We work with both private and public businesses, including being a trusted trade partner. In many cases we even provide outsourced printing and fulfilment for other printers.
How long have you been in business?
We have been in business since 1983.
What are your payment terms?
Payment of Invoices
Invoices need to be paid on completion of the contract and in any event at not less than monthly intervals within 30 days of the invoice date unless otherwise agreed.
All prices quoted are strictly net and are exclusive of VAT.
We charge for any preliminary work produced by WDM at your request whether experimentally or otherwise and any corrections made after the first proof and any other changes requested by, on or after the first proof.
Postal charge refunds
Where the cost of postage is less than the amount paid by Direct Bank transfer we will either refund any sums remaining to the customer or provide a credit for them for the next mailing it puts through our account.
Interest on overdue bills
We reserve the right to charge interest at the rate of 5% above the base rate of The Bank of England on any overdue sums from the date on which payment was due (30 calendar days after the date of any invoice) to the date on which payment is received.
How do I pay for postage?
Where the mailing is to be undertaken by WDM’s own postal account, the cost of postage shall be paid, and cleared before the mailing begins. If the cost of postage is not paid within the specified time limit WDM shall have the right to withhold the mailing.
Can you send my mail over several days so it doesn't all land at once?
Yes we can, but there are exceptions. For example, Mailsort has to be despatched over a five day period. Please contact us for more details.
How many items do I need to mail to get a discount on postage?
You need to be sending a minimum of 4,000 letters or 1,000 large letters to be eligible for a postage discount. The amount of discount is variable dependent on volume.
Can WDM also send my parcels?
Yes we can as part of a mailing, but it would be highly unusual to send parcels as an ongoing contract.
Can you help me with which envelope type I need?
Yes we can. We have a dedicated team of team of experts to find the best products and prices for you.
Can you Mailsort?
Yes we can. Postage costs are (usually) the most significant part of a mail campaign but we can help you reduce your costs. We offer the full range of services offered by Royal Mail and DSA (Down Stream Access) providers, such as Whistl, UK Mail, etc.
Can you help with sourcing materials and print management?
Yes we can. We have a dedicated team of experts to find the best products and prices for you.
Can you help me with choosing a mailing service?
Yes we can. We offer 1st Class, 2nd Class (and economy for sorted mail) Royal Mail or a DSA Service Provider. We can help you achieve postage discounts by using Mailmark, OCR or CBC services and take advantage of advertising mail discounts where applicable.
Can I personalise my mailings?
Yes you can. You can customise and personalise multiple parts of your printed product including everything from images and text to barcodes, all without incurring additional set-up costs.
I don’t have my own postal accounts – can I use WDM’s?
Yes you can. All we ask is that you pay us the postage element of your mailing on a pro-forma invoice which we will send you before the first mailing date. We will send you a final invoice on completion of your mailing with the first pro-forma invoice amount deducted.
Can I use WDM’s online system and what does it do?
Yes you can. Once you have a login for the WDM online system you can access all of your previous estimates and completed jobs including the final invoices and job completion statements. You can upload data files and artwork to a live job and view and approve proofs. You can view any items that we hold in stock and check the stock levels in real time. We prefer clients to use this system because it gives us a full audit trail of when data files were received and when proofs were sent and approved. We plan to add Web to Print functionality to the system very soon.
Can you help me prepare my data files?
Yes we can. WDM can supply excel templates to help you with the layout of your data files. We can also work with your data whatever state it is currently in and offer data cleansing solutions. We can source data for you too using our close relationships with data suppliers and expertise in this area.
What data file formats do I need to supply to WDM?
We can handle any Microsoft or Adobe files.
Microsoft – word, excel, publisher, powerpoint.
Adobe – PDF, photoshop, illustrator, indesign.
We can also work with any data file that is delimited – text, CSV. Data files exported from bespoke system could have an unusual extension but still be delimited which means we could work with those too.
What is the process for taking/giving a job brief?
We can take a job brief in person, by telephone or by email. We will then confirm what we have heard from you by itemised email for your go-ahead or alteration. Once we have received your go-ahead, we will acknowledge your order so you have a record of what we have agreed to do.
If you are completely new to this, don’t worry, we’ll walk you through the whole process, and at every stage we’ll be on hand to take your questions, answer your queries and offer our expertise and experience to advise you.
Do you have business continuity plans?
Yes we do. All of our business data is stored offsite in a secure data centre and accessed through a web browser. Any client data we hold is stored in a RAID 5 array and backed up to a location at the opposite side of our site and also offsite. We have at least 2 of every machine to avoid a single point of failure. All staff are trained in multiple job roles to cope with key personnel absences. If the site could not be used at all then we have a reciprocal agreement in place with another print and mail centre whereby we could use their site and equipment to fulfil our work and vice versa. The backup site would be made available with 24 hours notice.
Do you have building security?
Yes we do. Access to our site is restricted using a key fob entry system. Internal doors to all areas where sensitive data is stored / processed also use the same key fob system. There are CCTV cameras covering all of the entrances to the building and also inside the main warehouse. There are motion detectors throughout the building and sensors on all of the doors and the alarm is monitored by an external company. The industrial estate has its own security firm called Valleywatch that patrol the area 24/7.
Do you have data security?
Yes we do. We have a comprehensive data security policy that covers all aspects of data security. Firstly, our site is very secure (see question below). We can send and receive data files securely (see question above). Once we receive client data it is saved on our servers that are only accessible locally and are located in a locked room with 2 point authentication to restrict unauthorised access. Data is moved to separate network shares that can only be accessed in certain parts of the building to allow it to be worked on or used for printing and then removed and then all traces of the data are removed from our systems one month after a mailing is completed. All of our staff are CRB checked and trained in data security.
How can I securely send my data?
Most clients simply send their data files via email but this is not secure. As a minimum, we would recommend password protecting data files and emailing the data and password separately. Even better is to transfer the data using our Secure FTP server or securely upload the data directly into our management system and then email the password. Login details can be supplied for either solution on request.
Are you GDPR compliant?
Washington Direct Mail Limited (WDM) is GDPR compliant. Agreement to receiving information and marketing communications is part of our quoting and buying process, and clients are given the opportunity to consent to the continued storage and processing of their details whenever communications are sent out. Please see our section on Privacy for full details.
Is your client's data GDPR compliant?
For any project undertaken on behalf of our client which involves data provided by our clients about their clients, Washington Direct Mail Limited (WDM) will act as our client’s Data Processor. This data will be categorised and handled in accordance with WDM’s ISO27001:13 information security procedures. Our client ensures that data being transferred to WDM is done so in accordance with appropriate Information Security and GDPR principles and that these principles have been observed and followed.
Can you tell me anything about GDPR compliancy?
We recognise that our clients might have questions about how they might ensure their own data is GDPR compliant. For a basic overview of the GDPR legislation, how it will affect you, and a link to the actual legislation, please see our article.
I need help implementing GDPR... can you support me?
If you need more help to understand how GDPR will impact your marketing campaigns, Washington Direct Mail Limited (WDM) can recommend a trained GDPR consultant who will be able to assess and recommend any changes that you might need to make to your processes and policies. Please email us on firstname.lastname@example.org and clearly mark your email header with ‘GDPR ADVICE’ and we will supply their details to you.