Bell and Howell Releases Report on Cost of Downtime in Print and Mail Operations

Addresses downtime, preventative maintenance, data protection and recovery, and optimal efficiency Durham, N.C., Nov. 30, 2016 – Respondents to a survey of print and mail professionals on operational downtime reported that idle employees was their biggest concern, followed by customer satisfaction and excess labor costs. These are just some of the findings in a new report from Bell and Howell titled “Assessing the True Cost of Operational Downtime,” available immediately for download. In order to assess the true cost of operational downtime, Bell and Howell reached out earlier this year to more than 625 professionals responsible for commercial mail operations, and invited them to participate in a survey. Among other things, survey questions were designed to assess their primary concerns regarding downtime and the number of incidents they faced in a typical year.

Key Findings

Despite technological advances in print and mail production, and finishing and sorting technologies, many organizations still deal with the drag that operations downtime places on productivity and profit. Below are some key findings from the report.

  • 54 percent of respondents reported more than three downtime incidents in the past 12 months; 21 percent reported two or three incidents
  • 61 percent reported average downtime durations between two to six hours, while 13 percent reported more than 12 hours per incident
  • In addition to idle employees, customer satisfaction and excess labor costs, respondents also cited the following concerns of operational downtime: lost or missed revenue (46 percent), repair costs (42 percent), employee morale (33 percent), and quality of the finished product (33 percent)
  • When asked to cite their number one concern when it came to operational downtime, respondents overwhelmingly listed customer satisfaction (58 percent), followed far behind by lost or missed revenue (17 percent) and excess labor costs (13 percent)
  • 67 percent responded that they perform preventative maintenance more than four times per year; 19 percent said they do it three to four times per year
  • 62 percent of respondents back up their system configurations one to four times per year, and 9 percent do it more than 10 times per year
  • When asked to rate the operational efficiency of their equipment versus when it was new, 48 percent rated it as average and 29 percent rated it as slightly above average

Bell and Howell CEO Ramesh Ratan said the ability to run a successful production operation relies on equipment operating at optimal levels. “If an organization’s in-house technicians can manage a successful preventative maintenance and optimization program, then they are in great shape,” he said. “However, if they cannot, it’s imperative to find a qualified services partner that can help reduce downtime and improve profitability.” “Assessing the True Cost of Operational Downtime” is available for download for free at


Bell and Howell distributed surveys to more than 625 print and mail professionals throughout the United States and Canada, and analyzed their responses. More than 80 percent of respondents belong to a mail presort operation, and 46 percent reported working for an in-house print and/or mail operation. In terms of company revenue, 46 percent of respondents worked for organizations that generated more than $10 million in revenue, while 25 percent worked for organizations with revenue between $5 million and $10 million. For additional information, visit, call 1-800-220-3030, or follow the company on LinkedIn and Twitter @bellandhowell. ###

About Bell and Howell

Bell and Howell delivers innovative service and technology solutions that enrich customer communications and fulfillment for the world’s largest finance, industry and public sector enterprises. The company helps its customers streamline high-volume, high-integrity production of customer communications and product fulfillment, track delivery throughout the supply chain, maximize postal discounts, and monetize every customer touchpoint. Our service organization is among the most sophisticated in the world of production workflow, automation and industrial mechatronics. Headquartered in Research Triangle Park, N.C., with offices around the world, Bell and Howell is the trusted partner to thousands of organizations globally. For additional information, visit

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