Bridging the Power Gap

Dawn Weimer of Novitex oversaw the construction and design of two document outsourcing “mega centers” that provide unparalleled security and seamless service

After 15 years of working with Novitex in various roles, including a stint as a consultant for real estate project implementation, Dawn Weimer knows a thing or two about the unique needs of the document outsourcing giant. The company mostly serves Fortune 500 companies in capacities large and small. Its offerings extend from scanning secure documents to printing and mailing high-security and highly regulated items, such as benefit policies
and statements.

As the document business becomes increasingly digital, so too has Novitex. In order to ensure an optimized workflow that provides clients the security they need for their files, the company built two “mega centers” that bring together the functions of several smaller production sites around the country.

“The mega centers allow us to optimize equipment and employee expertise that had been in separate locations and were underutilized,” Weimer says.

The first center in Windsor, Connecticut, opened in March 2015. The facility spans 138,000 square feet, more than 80 percent of which is dedicated to production and core processes rather than office or meeting spaces. Weimer’s team looked for a location to lease that would allow both the consolidation of the functions of nearby facilities and also provided close proximity to some of the company’s major clients.

The design phase took into consideration existing infrastructure of the target buildings, including HVAC and power systems, to assess what additional infrastructure would be necessary to power multiple workflows. Installing a power system was a major focus, because the ability to maintain the service and keep documents secure depends on a steady supply of power generation. In order to ensure a seamless experience for clients, Weimer’s team installed a state-of-the-art system that uses multiple generators with UPS backup systems designed to recognize power load and shed backup power as needed.

“For example, if the site experienced a power failure, we would never know,” Weimer says. “The UPS would bridge the power gap while our four 1-MW generators power up. The system would then assess the current power requirement for the building and shut down each generator that is not needed so we are generating power for only the required power load.”

Although an advanced power generation backup system is more commonplace in hospitals, it’s not a typical feature in the document-processing sphere. “It’s critical to our clients that their documents go out on time,” Weimer says of the power backup system. “That’s the level of service we want to provide to our customers.”

Another consideration of the building design was determining how the space could optimize workflow. Her team considered how documents enter the facility (via the loading dock or digital files) and then followed the documents through the process to ensure a seamless efficiency. As a result, they created minimal touchpoints for the supplies, employees, and actual product as it made its way through the facility.

The team also examined the security system design.

“We knew that we needed this to be a very secure facility by virtue of customer requirements,” Weimer says. “With data breaches being more prevalent, we want to assure our customers that their documents are highly secure through every step of the workflow.”

The final buildings were designed with attention to the placement of card readers and digital cameras. This was necessary in order to facilitate the creation of restricted access areas. Weimer’s team also considered how employees would enter the building and be given access to critical areas without compromising security. No detail of security was left untouched in order to ensure that the mixed-media documents could enter the building and remain secure throughout the processing required.

In order to ensure that backups, delays, and natural disasters would not affect its services, Novitex opened a second document mega center in Austin, Texas, in early 2016.

“When we were building the first mega center, we were already designing the second one,” Weimer says, and adds that design was done with an end goal of having two centers in different locations in the country that could share data and services. “If we become overloaded in one location, we can push the work to the other location.”

The second center provides a backup and disaster-recovery services for the other. For example, if flooding occurs in Connecticut, it likely won’t affect Texas.

“The two facilities perform the same functions and work in tandem,” Weimer says. “They offer the promise of continued service no matter what happens. That sets Novitex apart from its competitors.”