Solution Profile: Buck Consultants Employee Benefit Statements
Buck Consultants, an ACS Company, is a global HR consulting firm that helps organizations develop, deploy and manage their human capital. With more than 2,000 professionals serving clients across the US and around the world, Buck is one of the largest and most comprehensive human-resource and benefits consulting providers in the country. Headquartered in New York, NY, Buck has offices located worldwide. Buck's technology solutions group helps companies solve complex HR issues through the creative use of data, communication and technology. Buck’s solutions include online total rewards statements, benefits and HR Websites, decision-support tools, modelers, document management tools and other print and digital communication applications.
Before: Outsourcing and Limited Functionality
Prior to licensing Elixir’s document composition and production system in 2000, Buck’s technology solutions group approached personalized print engagements with a combination of in-house and contracted application development and printing. The 401(k) Defined Contribution Statements were developed by a programming group and then printed internally. For more complex applications, like total compensation document packages, Buck was outsourcing application development and printing to regional service bureaus. Their analysis of document composition software systems concluded that they could become more responsive to customer requirements and achieve considerable savings by bringing composition in-house.
- Speed up development cycle
- Improve the informational quality of the documents
- Improve the clarity of printed documents, including variable data
- Expand graphics, layout and digital color capabilities
- Generate designs that can be produced on a variety of printers allowing Buck to shop out their printing for best price
- Achieve cost savings by removing print costs from the equation when delivering statement images online and/or eliminating the need and costs associated with preprinted forms
Specific Objectives Not Supported by LCDS/Metacode Environment
- Data-driven pie charts and bar charts
- Multicolor support – Highlight color printers limited their offerings to one color per document or to printing on preprinted stock
Solution Evaluation Process
Buck recommended document redesign and then applied the resulting requirements to define their criteria for selection of document composition software. The decision was selecting Elixir Technologies’ document composition system which met all Buck’s objectives.
Application 1: Total Compensation Statements
This statement provides a complete snapshot of the company’s total compensation spending.
Before: Formerly, one design format that displayed the overall benefits value was in the form of a check image that showed the total estimated value of all company contributions as the check amount, with the employee’s name and benefits information laser printed onto a preprinted form.
Now: All total compensation statements developed by Buck are totally personalized, and each employee statement may include one or all of these elements: cash compensation, medical elections, 401(k) contributions, life insurance, and even 401(k) and retirement plan projections. Data-driven graphics are used heavily in these statements to give a vivid representation of employee benefits. Printed as flats or booklets, these compensation statements are also produced in Adobe Acrobat PDF for reprinting and archiving.
Application 2: Defined Contribution Statements for 401(k) Plans. Before: Buck formerly offered these as simple line data statements with one fixed-pitch font printed on pre-printed forms or plain black-and white.
Now: Statements include dynamic images, variable text messaging, and pie charts that are entirely data driven. A typical statement will outline the status of 10 to 35 funds and display 10 to 15 quarterly activities that demonstrate opening balance to closing balance cash flow. Asset allocation pie charts and fund activity tables are big selling points for them. Many of the 401(k) statements are generated for Web viewing and represent the printed statement with 100 percent fidelity. Elixir solution’s flexibility has also allowed Buck to be flexible and responsive to unusual customer requirements. One such requirement utilizes the ()feature to imbed key attributes within tags that are then used by Buck’s online statement viewing process.
For highly compensated individuals, the statement design can be 3 to 5 pages, depending on each individual’s data profile, which displays:
- 401(k) Plan
- Non-qualified Retirement Plan
- Stock Equity
Application 3: Ad hoc Communications Before:
This type of spontaneous communication was not supported due to the developer’s statement application development backlog. Today: Now, Buck can respond to customer requests as they are submitted. Thus far, Elixir’s document designer has been used to develop a wide variety of letters, confirmation statements, worksheets and statements for employees and retirees.
Buck has been able to meet or exceed client expectations with respect to personalized communications and satisfy customer requirements for document complexity.