Is Digital Mail right for your organization?
Businesses have been gradually shifting to a mixed office environment, employing workers both on-site and offsite. With either setting, there still remains a challenge with paper and manual processes that depends on incoming mail and documents.
According to the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR), nearly half (42%) of the US labor force is working from home full-time and only a quarter (26%), mostly essential service workers, are working on-site. These new environments require a sensible solution to transition from paper mail and documents and move towards a contact-free digital solution. Digitizing mail in the mailroom solves the current complications businesses face today and transforms how a company manages all types of documentation.
Regardless of the physical location of the recipients, a digital mailroom is designed to ensure every piece of information coming into your organization is processed and directed to the right person, department, or digital workflow process. An intelligent digital solution opens, preps, and scans inbound mail, converting these documents into digital copies. These copies then become accessible by any permitted party, securely stored on the cloud.
Outbound mail spending is reduced as an automated system captures the best available way to process and send each mail piece. This allows your business to respond quickly to requests, distribute information in real time, and stay on top of important business processes previously slowed down by the manual mail process.
Benefits received by supporting a digital mailroom solution:
- Compliments existing document management systems; as intake, processing, classifying, and delivery happens automatically.
- Offers the opportunity to digitize documents and allow for multiple user access and eliminate time dealing with misplaced or single use paper files.
- Increases the speed at which information is distributed across business teams.
- If you’re in an industry that requires regulatory compliance, such as SOC2 Type II, HIPAA compliance, PCI Level 1; there are most likely rules about the length of time you retain correspondences. Unlike a physical mailpiece, every mail piece and document are trackable, searchable, and auditable.
- Review and take action on mail pieces from anywhere, which would increase productivity and reduce response and mail delivery times, therefore providing better customer service.
- Reduces the chance of human error. Digital technology, such as machine learning and pattern recognition, organizes incoming data as it arrives, which helps ensure overall information quality.
- Enhances security and confidentiality maintained through chain of custody.
- Decreases administrative work by removing repetitive labor-intensive tasks.
- Cost avoidance on document storage, archiving, maintenance, and transportation costs to storage facility.
- Transportation of interoffice mail eliminated.
- Stakeholders will be able to make real-time decisions backed by up-to-date information and with critical business communication availability.
- Ease and accessibility for remote workers.
- Unlike physical mail being centrally process, digital images can be moved around the globe without time or cost.
- Green Initiatives: Reduce reliance on paper, supports sustainability objectives.
Another strong factor that is particularly relevant to a digital mailroom application is improved customer service due to the immediate accessibility of incoming correspondence. This is particularly important in government, financial services, utility, insurance, and legal sectors. The faster initiation and better tracking of ensuing processes, such as customer inquiries, claims, account openings, new applications, citizen returns, and more, help meet response targets, improve quality, and raises process productivity.
The Digital Mail Process:
Digital mail is the automation of inbound and outbound mail. It’s using intelligent document creation and processing techniques, aligned with document scanning and document capture technologies. There are equipment and software options that utilize OCR (Optical Character Reading) or even (AI) Artificial Intelligence processes to automate the process to ‘read’ the document, determine appropriate recipient, and prepare the document for email delivery.
- You can choose to keep your mail coming to your place of business and have a team process and digitize the mail onsite. Or, you can have all your mail delivered to an appointed PO Box. You then re-direct your PO boxes to a digital mailroom production facility. Mail is received in containers that are pre-sorted by PO box number.
- If you choose to use the off-site route, team members at the facility open the containers and check the quality of the PO sortation to ensure there is no cross contamination of mail. They then acknowledge receipt of mail in an internal tracking system which gives you full visibility of your inbound mail.
- Some facilities are servicing multiple customers. In this case, the facility begins to build a hierarchy of the mail by customer and creates batches of mail. By batching mail, they are able to filter processed work to you as little and as often, as opposed to you having to wait for bulk delivery.
- Each worker processes only one customer’s work at any one time to ensure the segregation of mail throughout the entire process.
- Barcodes are scanned to move the items into the next process stage.
- The contents of all mail is processed with high-volume document scanners, most of which can process and digitize up to 7,500 pages per hour or 15,000 images per hour.
- Depending on your preference and SLA’s, the contents is scanned in either black and white or color. Keyword capture and OCR technology is functioning during this process.
- Data capture techniques will automatically classify document types and capture data from within the documents.
- Quality checks are performed often to ensure images are meeting high quality standards, comparing the original document against the scanned image.
- Now it’s time for delivery. Digital delivery makes it directly into the client’s content management system. The company’s employees now handle no paper mail — instead, they receive an email indicating that a digital copy of the mail item has been received and a link is provided to directly access their personal “mailbox” to view the images.
- You can choose several options, whether it is your own inbox system or through a hosted document workflow structure that can be retrieved by end-users via a password protected method.
- Depending on your preference, original documents are either returned to you, confidentially destroyed, or warehoused at your preferred facility. You can also request the system to rescan preferred documents, send the physical copy of the mailpiece, or discard.
- You can choose to continue to have your mail delivered to your physical business address. The only difference in the process, is a team will be digitizing your mail onsite, whether you choose your employees to manage the process or an outside service provider.
Services to look for when choosing an integrated Digital Mailroom Solution:
- Capture capabilities: Capturing information systematically from multiple sources. Scanner capture hardware that scans inbound physical mail and capture software that receives digital documents.
- Process Automation: Enabling processes to flow in a reliable, repeatable, and efficient way. Automation of repetitive process activities with orchestration provided by bots, critical data extraction and document type identification.
- Parallel Processing: Performing more than one activity at the same time, such as finding relevant data and responding to requests, multiplying processing capacity.
- Content Management: Using a data repository that receives data files from the processing software and ensures traceability. Managing the storage, retrieval, and retention of documents.
- Professional Services: Helping with the installation and configuration of the solution, including technical support, process development, training, and documentation assistance. On-site personnel to manage the solution daily, and leveraging off site digital centers, where available.
From the moment a physical mail piece or paper document enters your building, this is your opportunity for automating the process of converting physical mail into digital documents. By automating the process and utilizing an intelligent capture and a content management solution, you can lower your operational costs while ensuring all key stakeholders have access to business-critical information. A Digital Mailroom solution provides your organization with incredible new ways to process incoming mail, improving collaboration and decision-making.
Each mailroom consists of so many variables, mail volumes, physical scope, industry requirements, etc. A couple of things though are not varied, the integrity and security of the contents of your inbound mail and correspondence. Traceability and ease of mind are two other key factors, and you can have that with a digital mail solution.
If you feel like the environment of your office and mailroom is shifting and don’t know where to begin, the gateway in finding out if digital mail could benefit your organization would be to request a thorough review of your unique environment, along with what goals and outcome you desire. Employing an expert in the field of digital mail would be a good first step.