The Challenge

Harte Hanks has been a trusted partner with one of the world’s largest asset management companies for more than 16 years. Our on-premises team is responsible for coordinating the production and distribution of virtually all tangible marketing and informational materials that get delivered to 20,000 global employees as well as their customer and investor communities. The financial industry is highly regulated and extremely time sensitive. A missed drop date can correlate to millions of dollars in losses due to fines and missed opportunities. There is no room for error.

In 2020, the company CEO outlined the company’s commitment to making sustainability a key component of the way they will shape their business model moving forward. Their perspective is that adoption of a net zero energy outlook will fundamentally reshape the global economy.

To that end, the CEO set a mandate to “walk the walk” by requiring that all tangible  marketing and informational elements migrate to eco-friendly, sustainable and recyclable materials. This included paper stock, inks, packaging and display materials. Considering the millions of individual pieces, the vast number of printers and fabricators and the short timeframe, this was a daunting task.

Our Insights

Due to the constant workflow of materials and the nature of the financial services industry, a change this dramatic on a global scale required that we double team, bringing in additional Harte Hanks resources. This was an all-hands-on-deck effort. Further, we could not risk any disruptions in delivery schedules during this transition.

Our history and expertise in the commercial printing and logistics business was brought to bear on this effort. We were able to immediately pursue a variety of practical options. New paper stock had to be assessed in terms of both performance and availability on a global basis. Being a global company ourselves, we were able to coordinate and engage our global network to ensure flawless implementation.

Corporate brand standards could not be compromised, necessitating multiple experiments in how inks would adhere to new sustainable paper stocks with different properties. We discovered that many of these paper stocks required printing double black layers to ensure full-color saturation and maintain the bold aesthetic of their corporate brand.

In the end, our partner was pleased with our efforts and the outcome of this massive initiative.

Our Approach

We needed to establish new printing protocols and revamp the entire supply chain to make sure all facilities had adequate inventory. This required a comprehensive assessment of existing and new suppliers and vendors, and in some cases renegotiating fees and costs.

We created new sustainability standards to which all configurations were required to adhere. For instance, Harte Hanks GoBoxes are self-contained sample boxes which housed folders, meeting materials and premiums which we sent out to participants for virtual meetings during the pandemic. These too had to meet the strict new sustainability standards, right down to the tissue paper used to protect enclosed items.

The Results

In six months, we successfully transitioned the company’s marketing and information channel to a fully sustainable operation.

All paper stock and inks, including internal and external packaging materials used, were in full compliance of the new strict standards and protocols.

We accomplished this without raising the cost of goods or operations.

There were no missed deadlines or glitches in workflow during the transition period.

This effort put the asset management company one step closer to achieving their self-imposed mandate to operate as a net zero, fully sustainable corporation by 2050.

And while there is still a long way to go, our money is on them.