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Spending on technologies and services that enable the digital transformation (DX) of businesses approached the $2 trillion mark in 2022, according to market research firm International Data Corp. (IDC). One of the best places for an organization to jumpstart its DX is its mailroom — the main point of entry for documents. An inordinate number of documents still arrive at the office in paper form, making mailrooms one of the most manual-intensive areas of most corporations. That’s because most physical mailroom “silos” operate outdated, inefficient workflows. Corporate mailrooms are responsible for much of the incoming and outbound messaging between an organization and its customers, suppliers, regulatory authorities, and other entities. Yes, some of that communication has transitioned to electronic delivery, but most companies still process a healthy volume of physical mail every day. “On-premise mailrooms are slow, error prone and require too much labor and valuable real estate,” contends David Winkler, a contributor to Entrepreneur.com. “Not to mention [that] they simply cannot support today's ‘new world of work.’” Due to such inefficiencies, companies lose between 20% and 30% in annual revenue, IDC reports. Outdated manual mail processing procedures can have a negative effect on high visibility corporate objectives like customer experience and regulatory compliance. An emphasis on automation and new technologies, combined with changes prompted by remote and hybrid workplace environments, are encouraging companies to seek better ways of dealing with incoming mail. Automation in the mailroom means taking some of the human-based decision-making, routing, transporting, and tracking tasks associated with inbound mail and assigning them to specialized hardware and software. Automation allows the mailroom to process more mail with fewer employees while simultaneously speeding delivery. Tritek’s Digital Mail Solution Digital mail delivery converts incoming paper mail into digital form. Instead of waiting for once-a-day courier delivery of physical mail items, employees can receive documents at their workstations electronically. Recognizing the popularity of a modern mobile workforce, a digital mail system delivers mail to employees whether their office is on site, at a satellite location, at home, or on the road. An automated solution such as this creates a digital record tracking the progress and documenting the history and delivery method for each mail piece. With the simplest form of incoming mail automation, known as advance notification, employees receive an email with a link to the digital image of each physical mail piece addressed to them. Advance notification will inform employees about the physical mail they will receive hours before the corporate mailroom delivers it. With the next level of automation, employees decide on the disposition of each of their mail pieces. They can choose to have the piece scanned and emailed to them, have it physically delivered, or ask the mailroom to destroy it. The Tritek Oasis sorter can scan up to 10,000 pieces per hour in this manner, with a single operator. Watch a short video about Tritek’s Oasis email delivery solution here. According to the Rule Book Companies regularly receive mail they must always handle in a certain way. The Tritek digital mail system uses rules to process those pieces automatically by identifying them during the scanning operation. Bill payments, for instance, may always be sent to Accounts Receivable, orders might be scanned and emailed to Fulfillment. At an insurance company, some documents may go to Underwriting while others to Claims Processing. Processing mail using the Tritek Rules Editor software decreases the need for individual employees to make piece-by-piece decisions about how to handle the mail. Some rules might cover situations such as: Which types of mail are always opened, scanned, and routed electronically by mail center staff? What mail stays sealed and forwarded to the addressee? How is marketing mail handled? Tackling Today’s Business Challenges Automated incoming mail handling solves three problems for businesses. The risk associated with the organization’s reliance on key mailroom employees. Most mailrooms still manually delivering mail rely on key staffers who know the employees working in each department. Their memories help them distribute mail accurately to an individual when it comes addressed to a predecessor in the employee’s department. This knowledge is often augmented with sticky tabs or a notebook full of hand-written instructions. Delivering time-sensitive documents to a remote or semi-remote workforce. COVID-19 changed the corporate landscape for lots of companies. They have either embraced the concept of remote or hybrid workplaces or grudgingly accepted remote working as a factor necessary for attracting and retaining the most talented workers. But they still need to facilitate efficient communication throughout the organization. Staffing shortages in the mailroom. In many companies, vacancies in the mailroom have been difficult to fill. Automating inbound mail reduces the amount of tedious manual work, allowing organizations to reallocate talent or operate the department with a lower headcount. Automation is the Answer Corporate mailrooms are the lifeblood of their organizations. They play a critical role in company operations, contributing to key company goals like improving the customer experience and complying with regulations. The growing trend of remote and hybrid work environments makes incoming mail distribution more challenging, prompting mailrooms to embrace technologies and automation to keep pace. Tritek Technologies has offered their patented, field-proven mailroom automation and document imaging solutions to improve productivity and mailroom efficiency to companies since 1984. The Tritek Mail Forwarding System works with a variety of Tritek equipment, allowing companies to choose the solution size that best meets their needs to deliver important documents to their employees, regardless of where they work. Tritek’s family of mail center automation solutions includes inbound mail sorting, imaging and archiving of mailed documents, parcel sorting, digital mail delivery, and the industry-leading Correct Elect Vote-By-Mail technology. Our clients include Fortune 500 companies, government, educational institutions, financial services, healthcare, insurance, and fulfillment.
Vote by mail is here to stay for the U.S. electorate. Despite polarizing opinions about mail-in ballots, recent elections have demonstrated the popularity of this voting method. Analysts from every position on the political spectrum agree that mail-in voting affects election outcomes. We also know that delayed election results breed unfounded suspicion about election integrity. To speed up the process, election officials are turning to automation and technology. Before Tabulation Before ballot envelopes are even opened, they must be sorted by precinct and pass the prescribed signature verification steps. Tritek’s patented technology automates these processes. Our solutions allow the ballots to enter the counting process quicker while building an audit trail that includes time-stamped images of every ballot that passes through the system. Our patented Correct Elect Vote-by-Mail technology drives solutions custom designed and built for each entity’s requirements. Tritek evaluates variables such as floor space requirements, volume fluctuations, and ballot designs to help customers acquire the combination of software and hardware that matches their needs. Defining Vote by Mail Mail balloting systems come in two varieties. The first is what some states call universal “vote by mail,” where the state government mails ballots to all voters. In most states, however, voting by mail is through absentee balloting, where the voter must request an absentee ballot. Despite partisan fears, research suggests neither party gains an advantage via mail-in voting. There is no evidence that mail ballots increase electoral fraud and several anti-fraud protections are built into the process. Though they came to the forefront during the COVID pandemic, mail-in voting was already gaining popularity. In 2016, nearly one-quarter of U.S. votes (33 million) were cast by either universal mail or absentee ballots.1 What is Automated Ballot Processing? Automated ballot processing uses hardware and software technologies to verify, sort, and tabulate mailed-in paper ballots instead of manually verifying and counting votes. Computerized technology is cheaper, faster, and more accurate than manual counting. It also improves the voting process by making complex electoral systems easier to use. With automated ballot processing, election offices can offer better security and faster results. The Need for Speed With automated ballot processing, election offices can increase citizen trust because technology is impartial. Voters can trust that election workers are custodians of important information and work in the community’s interests. Any improvements election officials can make to speed the announcement of results while maintaining the integrity of the process is positive. Trust declines if uncertainty about election winners linger. It is necessary to count ballots quickly for several reasons: Ensuring the accuracy of the election results: The quicker a jurisdiction can complete the ballot count, the faster they can announce the election results. Rapid processing helps ensure correct and reliable results, as automated systems identify errors or irregularities more quickly. Maintaining public confidence in the electoral process: When counties count ballots quickly, it prevents the spread of misinformation and conspiracy theories that could undermine public confidence in the electoral process. People are more likely to trust the results that are announced promptly and transparently. Allowing for a smooth transition of power: When a change of leadership occurs, such as in a presidential election, counting the ballots quickly helps ensure a smooth and timely transition of power. Immediate processing is vital for maintaining political stability, continuity, and avoiding potential disputes or conflicts resulting from delayed information. Meeting legal requirements and deadlines: Election officials must meet some legal requirements and deadlines for the election results to be valid. A speedy count ensures they meet these requirements, and the election results are accurate and legally binding. In short, quickly counting votes is essential for ensuring the accuracy and legitimacy of election results. Speedy processing helps maintain public confidence in the electoral process, facilitates a smooth transition of power, and meets legal requirements and deadlines. www.brookings.edu/policy2020/votervital/how-does-vote-by-mail-work-and-does-it-increase-election-fraud/
Mailers should expect postage rates to increase twice a year for the foreseeable future. They should take every step possible to minimize the impact of postage rate hikes. Some strategies include taking advantage of postal promotions, improving address accuracy, and postal presorting. What Does the Postal Service Do? This question may be a blinding flash of the obvious. Ask anyone; the USPS delivers mail. As much as the Postal Service is the preeminent delivery organization, they are equally adept at sorting mail. From dropping a birthday card in a blue mail receptacle in Key West, Florida, to delivering it in time for the party in Hope Point, Alaska, the sorting effort is staggering. Whenever the Post Office touches a piece of mail, it costs money. If you sort your mail before delivering it to the dock at the Postal facility, you qualify for a postage discount. Sorting before induction into the mailstream is called “presorting.” Of course, the USPS has rules and requirements for preparing mail for acceptance. The good news is hardware and software technology make presorting discounts available to almost any mailing organization. Sort the Good Americans change addresses at an astounding rate. Over 15% of the country’s population moves each year. Additionally, the Postal Service realigns ZIP and ZIP+4 Codes as the population shifts and because of new construction. Inaccurate address information has a knack for infiltrating your mailing list because of data entry errors and list corruption. For a postal presort to be valid, mailers must update and correct addresses. A “clean” address is necessary for the USPS presort discount programs. Two well-known postal programs that ensure deliverable mail include: CASS-Certified™ address standardization. This application corrects misspellings, directionals (north, south, east, west), and suffixes (drive, street, circle). It verifies the address, updates the ZIP Code, and adds the ZIP+4 code. Today, a machine reads the delivery address more often than a human, so everything needs to be correct. Software calculates the postal barcode from this information. The National Change of Address™ (NCOA) move updating program. Software providers and internet services offer a cost-effective NCOA service to update recently moved residences and businesses. Sorting and MASS™ Certification Throughout processing, sortation hardware scans the address block of each piece of mail, searching for address information or the postal barcode. The scanning process is highly flexible. The address does not have to be in a consistent location on the envelope or flat. It can be on either side of the mail piece. As the mail travels down a conveying track, the equipment diverts mailpieces to the appropriate bins for the presort schema based on the ZIP Code and other address data. The correspondence is moved from the bins to mail trays already sorted and ready for the post office at a reduced postage rate. The sorting hardware continues to process mail during loading and unloading. There is no reason to stop working. The USPS certifies sorting hardware to sort based on postal standards and print clean, accurate postal barcodes on the mailpieces. The MASS™ certification extends the CASS™ software certification system mentioned earlier. The USPS and the mailing industry cooperated to design the process to improve the accuracy of postal codes. MASS™ certification is mandatory for mailers using sorting hardware to print delivery point barcodes (DPBCs) on mail pieces submitted for mailing at discounted automation rates. Mail Manifesting Mail sortation hardware often offers the benefit of mail manifesting. A manifest mailing system enables a mailer to document postage and fees for all pieces in a mailing paid via permit imprint. One significant advantage of manifesting is it qualifies mailers to pay for nonidentical weight pieces with a permit imprint. Other benefits of manifesting include: Automated documentation provides easily maintained mailing records. Convenience of paying by permit imprint. There is no need to affix stamps or meter strips. Combine different classes of mail on the same manifest. From Tritek Technologies Since 1988, Tritek has engineered patented, field-proven mailroom automation and document imaging solutions to improve productivity and mailroom efficiency. Tritek's outbound mail processing equipment and software allow organizations to weigh, label, manifest, barcode, print reports, and build trays and bundles. Our expanding menu of mail services includes Biohazard Screening, Digital Email Delivery, Database Management, Returned Mail Processing, Inbound Mail, Presorted Mail, and Parcel Processing. Tritek’s clients include Fortune 500 companies, government, educational institutions, financial services, healthcare, insurance, and fulfillment.
When companies consider customer experience (CX) initiatives, they rarely focus on postal mail. Websites, mobile apps, and chatbots get the most attention. But for most companies, communication through the mail is still a vital component of the overall customer relationship. Today we will consider how efficient outbound mail processing, inbound processing, and returned mail processing affect the total customer experience. Customer Engagement Customer engagement is how an organization communicates and interacts with its customers or constituents. Interactions occur through a variety of channels as a way to build that relationship. Robust customer engagement means: High rates of customer retention Increases in sales revenue Improved brand loyalty and trust Growth in brand awareness Memorable customer experiences Amplified customer feedback and insight Authentic customer engagement requires a strategy based on your customer’s wants, needs, and communication preferences. Direct Mail as Part of the Customer Experience Marketers are increasingly adding direct mail to their media mix, as mail is far more effective than electronic media for communicating with customers and prospects. A recent survey showed that 84 percent1 of marketing managers believe that direct mail improves advertising campaign performance. Like online marketing strategies, direct mail can also target customers at each stage of their buying journey, from brand discovery to retaining satisfied customers. With 56 percent of people believing that print advertising is trustworthy, businesses may consider it a better way to contact prospects.2 Much of that trust comes from direct mail’s tangibility. It can be touched, interacted with, and saved. Electronic messages are fleeting, while paper messages have permanence. The most significant appeal of direct mail is that it can be personalized in hundreds of ways. Customers are more likely to engage with your business if they know the content is created just for them. “Wow, my name is everywhere in this flyer, and these coupons are for stuff I buy!” That is a positive customer experience. Making Mail Work in Your Customer Experience Initiative Timely Outbound Mail One reason email and electronic media are attractive to marketers is the time from idea to “in-the-mail” is short compared to other channels. A marketer can react to market conditions with an email and send it to their customer base within minutes, if needed. It takes longer to develop and print a direct mail piece, but nothing compared to a few years ago. Companies can design and publish a mail piece in hours. Outbound mail processing technology can apply postage and presort the mail for postal discounts and accelerated delivery, allowing mail that was printed to enter the mailstream the same day. Outbound mail equipment is one arrow in the marketer's quiver to get communications in the mail stream rapidly. Companies can react to market conditions or share critical consumer information through a channel that gets their customer’s attention. One of the best customer experiences is receiving a relevant and timely offer or communication. With outbound mail processing technology as part of the communication workflow, an organization can provide a memorable experience consistent with interactions customers have with the company online, on the phone, or in-store. Inbound Mail Processing Customers today demand an immediate response to mail sent to an organization. This includes posted checks and payments. People trust the mail. They know a letter dropped at the Post Office will make it to the addressee on time. The USPS has published delivery standards that they meet 93 or 94 percent of the time. The onus of mail delivery is as much on the receiving organization as on the Postal Service. Processing payments and application forms the day they are received provides an excellent customer experience using the mail. Immediate processing of inbound mail is a snap with inbound mail processing equipment. A chain of custody begins when mail enters the receiving organization. When a customer calls wondering about the status of their mailed application, request, or payment, the inbound mail tracking data allows customer service representatives to provide updated information. Returned Mail Processing When people move, they have a million things on their minds. Changing their address with everyone they do business with is probably not one of them. When the USPS returns mail because of the move, it is essential to process the return quickly. Find the new address and get the mail out to the customer. Returned mail processing equipment makes this process automated, so the customer receives the mail without further delay. Tritek’s Contributions to Customer Experience Since 1988, Tritek has engineered patented, field-proven mailroom automation and document imaging solutions to improve productivity and mailroom efficiency. Tritek’s expanding menu of mail services includes biohazard screening, digital email delivery, returned mail processing, inbound mail, presorted mail, and parcel processing. Tritek’s clients include Fortune 500 companies, government, educational institutions, financial services, healthcare, insurance, and fulfillment. When considering customer experience improvement strategies, don’t forget about the mail. For many companies, documents customers send and receive through the mail ARE the experience, unless they have a special need or a problem. Every step in the mail handling process contributes to how customers perceive the organization. It pays to ensure those important customer interactions that occur through the mail flow smoothly through the organization. 1 https://martechseries.com/sales-marketing/marketing-automation/report-84-of-marketers-state-direct-mail-improves-multichannel-campaign-performance/ 2 https://theagencyltd.net/the-new-direct-mail/
Will mailroom robotics someday route the mail? While the short answer is, “probably not anytime soon,” the reality is that, in the not-too-distant future, robots could play a role in routing or delivering employee mail at corporate mailrooms. Industrial robots have already made inroads within several industries, including some aspects of postal mail production and distribution. Back in 2011, ADM Automation rolled out its iCart material-handling vehicle capable of operating around a mailroom without an operator. (The AGV device is distributed by mailing equipment provider Kern.) Five years ago, FedEx Corp. began using Savioke’s (now Relay Robotics) autonomous, mobile-delivery robots to essentially take the place of mailroom clerks. However, the slick tech has yet to go fully mainstream. Some manufacturers already deploy automated robotics to feed mail trays and pallets. Ricoh and Starship Technologies teamed up at the MAILCOM ’19 trade show to explore what it would take to use and service robots in mail, distribution, fulfillment, and warehouse applications. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, mail fulfillment and parcel shipments have grown. Just think about all the online shopping orders delivered in the past three years that required boxes with shipping labels. Companies are looking for ways to handle the increased volumes without adding to the staff. Though they don’t need sick days and benefits which make them attractive alternatives, don't expect mechanical workers to replace your corporate mail center employees tomorrow. That said, most mail centers could do with some automation, and some of the available technology is impressive. Time = $ “The old adage that ‘time is money in business’ has never been truer,” says Jack Noonan, VP of business development at the PRINTING United Alliance trade association. The time to money ratio is where high-speed sorting from firms such as Tritek Technologies comes into play. (Noonan once ran a company in Central Florida that used Tritek’s sorters.) Economies of scale apply to high-volume mailers in vertical markets such as financial/insurance, governments (think vote by mail during the recent election cycle), healthcare/pharma, and higher education. “If you’re responsible for millions or billions of pieces of mail, a lot of money stands to be lost if operations don’t run as efficiently as possible,” he notes. “People are trying to get [save] fractions of pennies on each piece.” Tritek’s lineup of sorting equipment and software is also beneficial to organizations with smaller volumes. Those entities can choose small footprint solutions that solve their mail distribution challenges without occupying a tremendous portion of their limited office space. For the ultimate in space-saving mail solutions, check out the Tritek Mobile Ace Workstation. “Streamlining the feeding and finishing processes is key to preparing today’s mail pieces for shipment, distribution and delivery,” adds Noonan, who spent 10 years working with the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) on the Intelligent Mail Barcode. A self-described “Post Office geek,” he is very familiar with related mailing technologies, such as Tritek’s intuitive software and its corresponding algorithms. This technology offers ways to automate traditionally manual operations for in-plant mailrooms, such as sorting inbound mail to courier routes according to business rules and current employee locations. Automating Inbound Mail Tritek’s digital mail delivery solutions aren’t mechanical robots, but they can solve part of the mail-forwarding dilemma when it comes to relocated employees or those working remotely. Automated digital mail delivery is the answer. With digital delivery, mail center staff opens employee mail when instructed, scans it, and then forwards PDFs to the addressee’s email. Digital mail delivery gets inbound mail to the intended recipients faster and less expensively than manual delivery via a courier crew. Vote by Mail Tritek’s ballot processing solutions feature patented vote-by-mail technology. Our vote-by-mail solutions are built to meet each municipalities’ specific requirements according to floor space consideration, volume fluctuations, and types of ballot designs. Our Correct Elect technology is proven at county election offices, nationwide. We hold the exclusive patent on the ballot method and apparatus to provide a full audit trail, ballot process management, and status reporting.
Campus mail center employees spend most of their time sorting incoming mail and attempting to deliver it to recipients scattered over a large geographical area. This is especially true now that many students and instructors are studying or teaching from home. Automated, rules-based sortation and electronic mail delivery can slash a university’s dependence on mail center staffers while simultaneously speeding up mail delivery. A student’s residence is often difficult to pin down, especially when they move to off-campus housing. That challenge increased dramatically with the remnants of COVID-19 still with us and at-home learning. Delivering to faculty, staff, and students is a guessing game, yet packages and mail continue to arrive. The key to keeping the campus mail center functioning is automation. Here are five factors motivating campus mail center administrators to seek automated mail delivery solutions for the educational institutions they serve. Space Challenges The dilemma for college mail centers is optimizing floor space while maintaining timely notification of package or mail arrival. Volume is shifting from letters to packages. Packages take up space and need manual handling. Knowing that mail is not going away anytime soon, how can colleges reduce mail’s footprint to make room for packages, yet still process correspondence? Automated inbound sortation technology is flexible enough to process mixed-weight mail, parcels, flats, and postcards. The equipment can enable more efficient package storage and retrieval while optimizing the space allocated to the facility. Digital Mail Replacing Hard Copy Digital delivery of hard copy postal mail is gaining wide acceptance in corporate mail centers. For businesses, digital mail delivery automates manual sorting and delivery. Corporate inbound mail is repetitive. It is usually a form or a standard response. Once opened, automated processes scan the envelope’s contents and send images electronically to the appropriate employee, even if the name on the envelope no longer matches the person holding the position. The automated system captures the recipient’s name and other information from the envelope and software looks up the employee’s email address. Cameras scan the front and back of the envelopes, date-stamp them, and send the images to the recipients.College mail differs from private business mail. However, much of the same technology now adopted by businesses can be effectively deployed to serve the students, professors, and staff at a college. University mail is personal. An envelope could contain a card from home with 20 dollars secretly folded inside. If it has a First-Class stamp, the mail center cannot open it.Rule editor software uses business rules created by university privacy administrators to control what mail the mail center can open and what stays sealed. The automated system scans the front and back of the envelopes and sends images to student phones. They can pick up their mail at any time. Staffing Challenges The Printing Industries of America reported that 30%-50% of skilled workers in the industry will retire in less than ten years. Replacing these workers is a challenge. Vocational schools are not producing graduates with traditional print and mail processing skills. Hiring employees in any capacity is a struggle. Finding workers with an understanding of mail processing is rare. College mail centers must adopt automated inbound mail and parcel sorting to make up for the lack of staff. Centralization At most colleges, mail and parcel management is moving toward centralization. The traditional model is delivery directly to a dorm or office where staffers sort the mail into personal mailboxes. Dormitories, keep packages behind the desk until residents retrieve them. The chain of custody is lax. Today, the common carriers deliver to one building: the mail center. Students and staff receive an email or text to pick up their items. The Face of Mail Has Changed Legacy campus mail center designs, policies, and processes are not equipped to accommodate the transformation of the traditional mail stream. The demand for transactional and social mail has declined rapidly, while package volumes have grown exponentially. Higher education mail centers will reinvent themselves and embrace new technologies, such as alternative delivery and management solutions. Eventually, the nomenclature will change. The “mail center” will be known as the “service center” or a similar description. The evolved mail room will provide distribution of mail and packages to the campus community and also offer outbound shipping and printing services. Tritek’s Inbound Mail Processing Systems for Universities Customers use the Tritek rule editor software to apply business rules to inbound mail. The rules determine which mail to open and scan. Some envelopes are only externally scanned. The software directs envelopes and catalogs to bins for pickup. Our solution also includes the hardware. The hardware feeds, scans front-and-back, opens the envelope, and gathers mail into collection bins. Tritek’s line of mail and parcel sorters helps campus mail centers overcome space and staffing constraints and provides notification in a safe and secure environment. Since 1988, Tritek has engineered patented, field-proven mailroom automation and document imaging solutions to improve productivity and mailroom efficiency. Tritek’s expanding menu of mail services includes biohazard screening, digital email delivery, database management, returned mail processing, inbound mail, presorted mail, and parcel processing. Tritek’s clients include Fortune 500 companies, government, educational institutions, financial services, healthcare, insurance, and fulfillment.
Stored somewhere in every mail center is an accumulation of mail that was undeliverable as addressed. The US Postal Service calls this UAA mail and returns such First Class pieces to the sender. Often, mail centers stack this mail in trays and shove it aside until someone has time to work on it–which never happens. UAA mail affects businesses in several ways: Returned mail may contain sensitive personal information. Storing large quantities of such mail for long periods of time can present a security risk. Mail that never gets delivered causes companies to lose contact with their customers and prospects, affecting future sales. Companies that create too many undeliverable-as-addressed mailpieces may be subject to USPS fines, fees, or penalties. For billing applications, returned mail represents unpaid invoices that trigger cancellation or collection activities–never good for customer relationships. Undelivered mail is wasteful. Many organizations spend money repeatedly to send mail to the same undeliverable addresses because they have no method to identify them and fix the databases that create the mail. Mail centers should consider the situations described above as severe enough to prompt them to take action and fix the problem, but that’s not what happens. The primary responsibilities of the mail center are getting the day’s outgoing mail to the post office on time and distributing the inbound mail. Dealing with returned mail is always low on the priority list. It’s a task that mail center staffers never seem to address, and the mail continues to pile up, making the problem worse every day. Fortunately, Tritek has a solution for you. But before we talk about the solution, let’s examine what is causing returned mail to be such a problem for so many mail centers. Why So Hard to Fix? Processing returned mail requires time and resources. Because of the variability of returned mail, employees must perform detailed inspections and conduct research before determining how to handle each piece of mail. Returned mailpieces come from many outbound mail applications. The shape, size, and format of the mailpieces vary. The databases containing the addresses used for the mailing are difficult to detect. In some industries, regulations limit company options for correcting addresses of record. The USPS returns mail for many reasons. Automation is the Answer Human labor is clearly not the way to resolve returned mail issues–especially now, when so many companies are challenged to find employees to fill open positions. If assigning an employee to resolve the backlog of returned mail produced satisfactory results, more companies would do so. Analyzing pallets full of returned mail is too large a job to be handled by individuals. Organizations that begin with the manual approach find they don’t have the staff resources to dedicate to a long-term project. Employees work on the mail until the department needs their services elsewhere. Then the mail center abandons the project is until someone has free time again. In the interim, more UAA mail arrives. Automation is the only way for mail centers to deal with UAA mail continuously, and fix this problem. Feeding and Scanning Hardware When implementing an automated approach, the first hurdle to overcome is dealing with the physical variability that is inherent in returned mail. The automated solution requires hardware that can accept all mailpieces, regardless of size, shape, and thickness. This is an area in which Tritek Technologies excels. We use the same feeding and transport systems built to process inbound mail to handle the mixed bag of returned mail, be it letters, postcards, self-mailers, brochures, or flats. Cameras mounted on the Tritek equipment capture data from each mailpiece, including the sending address, return address, USPS reason-for-return stickers, permit numbers, and more. Some of the information to be captured might be printed on either side of the mailpiece, and in any orientation. The Tritek camera and data capture system can gather all the information from this hodgepodge of mixed mail. Data Processing and Routing The second challenge in automated return mail processing is using the captured data. Systems must determine the originating corporate department and inform the individuals responsible for updating the corporate database that it contains bad addresses. Software from Tritek uses business rules to separate mailpieces by department and kick off other processes, such as referencing resources like the USPS National Change of Address file. Decisions made by the software can be based on information gathered from logos, tag lines, permit numbers, the return address, or any other information present on the mailpieces. Software and processing speed must keep up with the transport mechanism. Within fractions of a second, the equipment deposits the UAA mailpieces in the correct output bins, allowing mail center personnel to deliver the mail to the correct internal departments across the enterprise. To learn more about TriTek’s returned mail solution, see the brochure. Returned mail is easy to ignore, and in most mail centers, it is. But organizations cannot ignore the impact of undeliverable mail. Tending to this situation can improve customer experience, lower costs, and improve cash flow. Contact Tritek Technologies to see how our solutions can help you finally fix your returned mail situation.
Until recent elections, the voting public rarely paid attention to how mail-in ballots were processed, verified, and submitted for tabulation. It just happened. The election results appeared on television way past your kid’s bedtime and that was that. Now, it seems everyone is concerned with this mostly administrative process. Election offices at any level relying on manual tabulation by volunteers will find their procedures questioned. Fortunately, automated ballot processing provides the level of accountability crucial to election officials’ credibility. What is Automated Ballot Processing? Automated ballot processing uses hardware and software technologies to process mailed-in paper ballots instead of manually verifying, sorting, and counting votes. Automated technology is cheaper, faster, and more accurate than manual handling. Automation also improves the voting process by making complex electoral systems easier to use. Automated Ballot Processing Security and Accountability The first question an election official would ask a provider of automated ballot processing technology is: “How do you guarantee security?” The election official will field the same question from voters in their municipality. Constituents demand accountability from their election administrators. Automated processing answers this fundamental question. Ballot integrity is central to the voting process. It begins with scanning each envelope, verifying signatures, and sorting the sealed ballots by precinct. Digital ingestion of the ballot provides an audit trail, ballot process management, and status reporting. Scans are archived in color, grayscale, or black and white. Automated signature verification reduces the labor costs associated with manual validation and assures regulatory and security compliance. The automated systems detect voters’ signatures with barcodes and verifies them against a database of registered voters. Voter fraud or voting twice is virtually impossible with automated ballot processing. If an individual who has already voted using an absentee ballot shows up at a polling station and attempts to vote again, electronic poll books will display that information. Poll workers will not admit the voter or will require them to complete a provisional ballot. If a second vote slips through, the election database detects two votes from the same voter and only counts the first vote. The U.S. Election Assistance Commission recommends states establish written procedures for the manual duplication of voted ballots to verify that each vote is counted only once. The number of mailed ballot return envelopes must balance with the tabulation. This standard accounting practice assures the vote is correct. Other automated equipment may open the outside envelopes and the carrier envelopes that hold the ballots. The opening and extraction process uses precise milling technology and thickness detection. Automated opening is safer and provides a higher level of security than opening by hand. Workers are considerably less involved, supporting a voter’s privacy. How Election Offices Benefit from Automated Ballot Processing When should city, county, and state election offices consider an automated process? When: It is difficult to recruit qualified administrative staff. This is especially relevant given record low unemployment. There have been irregular vote counts in past elections. Candidates, constituents, and the media routinely question the vote counts. There is a need to reduce the number of election workers. The ballot us too complex to be easily read by workers. The vote count comes in too slowly. With automated ballot processing, election offices can provide a greater level of security for citizens. Trust in the system is escalated. Any thought of improper handling by workers is eliminated. Public perception of the election officials and the office is positive. Voters trust that election workers are custodians of important information and work in the community’s interests. The election office has proven accountability. With mail-in voting, citizens can submit their ballot when it is convenient. However, the surge of mail that election centers receive is often overwhelming. Ballot surges are taxing for municipalities lacking enough employees they can redeploy for processing the envelopes. Analysts predict mail-in balloting to increase. Government employee headcount likely will not. How will city, county, and state governments count tens or hundreds of thousands of ballots? Privacy and security are paramount concerns. Automated equipment and software allow election officials to process thousands of ballots per hour with secure tracking and accountability. Implementation Tritek features patented vote-by-mail technology. Our vote-by-mail solutions are custom designed and built for each municipalities’ specific requirements. This includes floor space consideration, volume fluctuations, and types of ballot designs. Portable and desktop systems are available. The number of sort bins is customizable based on volume requirements. Tritek’s Correct Elect technology is proven at many county election offices, nationwide. Tritek holds the exclusive patent on ballot method and apparatus to provide a full audit trail, ballot process management, and status reporting. We custom design and build Vote-By-Mail solutions that will fit any facility, ready to process any mail volume and ballot design.
Corporate and campus mail centers are continually challenged to deliver mail to the correct recipients even as they change jobs within the organization, move to a new building, relocate, or are replaced when they leave for other opportunities. The work-from-home workplace model and other changes brought about by the pandemic have made these tasks even more frequent and problematic. Traditionally, companies have informally tracked employee moves and changes using sticky notes, a 3-ring binder, or mail center employee memories. Temporary and permanent staff shortages and increased worker mobility now make manual methods of re-directing mail risky. Fortunately, user-friendly technology reduces errors and improves productivity by automatically creating new address labels and re-directing mail to a recipient’s current location according to pre-established business rules. The benefit is three-fold: Mail center employees spend less time processing inbound mail. The organization lessens its reliance on tribal knowledge. Remote employees receive their mail faster and with less chance of mis-delivery. The Mail Forwarding Dilemma Digital mail seemingly solves the problem of mail forwarding to remote or relocated employees. See this video about Tritek’s Oasis digital mail delivery solution. With digital delivery, mail center staff opens employee mail, scans it, and then forwards PDFs to the addressee’s email. Digital mail has its place and offers a certain level of convenience. It creates a digital archive of all incoming mail. However, many companies do not want mail center staff opening and scanning everyone’s mail. This practice could reveal confidential or protected information to unauthorized parties. Tritek’s 2-step digital mail delivery option lowers the risk of unintentional privacy breaches, but forwarding unopened mail is a better solution in some situations. Hardcopies with wet signatures are a part of doing business in many industries like legal, healthcare, and insurance. Forwarding these documents unopened to the intended recipient is a sound business practice that documents the chain of custody for critical communications. Rules governing the disposition of specific documents may make physically re-routing certain mailpieces the only choice open to some organizations. Fiduciary documents, for instance, may require delivery to a corporate address, not the home of an employee. Why This is Happening Now The remote employee phenomenon was well underway when the COVID pandemic occurred. Video conferencing was already in place by several vendors, territorial salespeople had worked from home for decades, and real-time workgroup software was common. COVID just made the inevitable shift in work processes happen faster and on a grander scale. Manual mail forwarding worked for many organizations for many years. Eventually though, they would have adopted a standardized mail forwarding technology to improve efficiency and reduce the chance of error. COVID made the technology adoption more urgent. Technology Finds Nomadic Employees The good news is that employees working at home or at another office will not miss out on their mail. A mail processing workstation and intuitive software make mail forwarding simple. You may never touch a keyboard or a mouse in the process. This is how it works: Incoming mail is separated into two bins: One for delivery to on-site employees and one for remote employees. Further sorting may take place after the initial “rough sort.” A mail piece for a remote employee is placed under a scanner. The name and address are scanned. Mail forwarding software determines the forwarding address by referencing an up-to-date database of corporate address changes. A mailing label is produced with the forwarding address and placed over the existing address. If an employee is receiving many pieces of mail in various formats, such as #10 envelopes, postcards, and folded self-mailers, accumulate them and mail everything in one envelope. This saves considerable postage over forwarding each piece separately. The mail forwarding software standardizes addresses to USPS specifications to speed delivery and reduce the chance of mishandling. Mail arriving at the recipient’s current address could be delayed by as little as one day, depending on internal processing and the final destination. Putting it into Practice Since 1988, Tritek has engineered patented, field-proven mailroom automation and document imaging solutions to improve productivity and mailroom efficiency. The Tritek Mobile ACE workstation and Mail Forwarding System assures an organization their employees will receive important documents, even if the employee has moved to a new location. See this short demonstration video of The ACE Mail Forwarding System, which joins Tritek’s growing family of mail center automation solutions. Our lineup includes inbound mail sorting, imaging and archiving of mailed documents, parcel sorting, and the industry-leading Correct Elect Vote-By-Mail technology. Tritek’s clients include Fortune 500 companies, government, educational institutions, financial services, healthcare, insurance, and fulfillment.
Despite some voters and election boards questioning whether voting by mail in the 2020 presidential election was secure and efficient, the response was overwhelmingly positive. This comes as no surprise to those enrolled in the absentee voting program. Municipalities nationwide administer this program successfully. The difference between the past election and the next one is an expected increase in volume and added security. Analysts expect that after experiencing mail-in voting, more voters will choose this method in the future. State legislatures will work to make the process more efficient and avoid any element of mistrust. The Need for Automated Ballot Processing Mail-in voting makes the voting process easier. Voters can submit their ballot when it is convenient for them, rather than finding time on election day or during an early voting period. However, the surge of ballots that election centers receive is often overwhelming. It is taxing for small municipalities without enough employees they can redeploy to process the mail. Given that mail-in balloting is predicted to increase, and government employee count probably will not, how will city, county, and state governments count tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of ballots? Privacy and security are paramount concerns. Ballots must undergo a series of security measures, including signature matching and evidence of tampering. A mail-in ballot has two envelopes: an outer return envelope and an inner “carrier” envelope which holds the secret ballot. From a labor perspective, two envelopes must be opened, often by hand. Automated equipment and software allow election officials to process thousands of ballots per hour with secure tracking and accountability. How Does Automated Ballot Processing Work? Two processes are necessary—physical/mechanical and digital. The mechanical process includes opening the envelopes and extraction. The opening and extraction process uses precise milling technology and thickness detection. Automated opening is safer for the contents than opening by hand. The ballot is then transferred to a workstation and automatically sorted. Ballot integrity is fundamental to the voting process. Technology supports that value. The digital process provides an audit trail, ballot process management, and status reporting. Automated ballot processing systems can archive ballot scans in color, grayscale, or black and white. Accurate signature verification reduces labor costs of manual validation and assures regulatory and security compliance. The system detects ballots with barcodes and verifies signatures against a database of registered voters. Voter fraud or voting twice is virtually impossible with automated ballot processing. When a voter who has already voted via absentee ballot shows up at a polling station and tries to vote again, electronic poll books will display that information. Poll workers do not admit the voter to the polling station or voting booth. If a second vote slips through, the election computer system identifies two votes from the same voter and only counts the first one received. Any Size Municipality There is a misconception that vote-by-mail equipment is only for large voting operations. Some election experts assume that smaller districts handle absentee ballots manually. This is untrue. Automated ballot processing solutions can be configured to fit any size office. A desktop version is ideal for offices where volume is light, budgets are tight, and floor space is limited. For growing communities, sort bins and new features can be added at any time. The county will not have to “re-buy” a new system simply because voters have moved to the area. Automated ballot technology is scalable, based on volume and available space. In addition, automated ballot processing machines sort regular mail, not just ballots. The county’s inbound mail can be sorted with technology, rather than by hand. With automation, the county mail center can deliver departmental mail earlier in the day because the automated process is faster. Employees can act on mail sooner and improve service to their constituents. Technology processes inbound mail at speeds up to 15,000 pieces per hour, allowing organizations to redeploy manual sorting labor to other work. The equipment is not idle between elections. Execution Tritek features patented Vote-By-Mail technology. Each Vote-By-Mail Solution is custom designed and built for each municipalities’ specific requirements. This includes floor space requirements, volume fluctuations, and types of ballot designs. Portable and desktop systems are available. The number of sort bins is customizable based on volume requirements. Tritek’s Correct Elect technology is proven at many county election offices. Tritek holds the exclusive patent on the ballot method and apparatus to provide a full audit trail, ballot process management, and status reporting. Tritek’s patented Vote-By-Mail technology is at work in counties nationwide. We custom design and build Vote-By-Mail solutions that will fit any facility process virtually any mail volume and ballot design.
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