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Every business, regardless of its size or industry, relies on various equipment to function efficiently. This is particularly true for companies that handle large volumes of physical mail. Your mail sorting equipment is the unsung hero, soldiering on day after day. But, just like any machine, manufacturers do not design this equipment to last forever. Your company might be running mail on sorters that have been in action for several decades. This presents some issues: Replacement parts are hard to find Difficulty finding skilled technicians familiar with old models Decreased efficiency owing to wear and tear Increased maintenance costs It's not unusual for us at Tritek to encounter 20-year-old mail sorting machines running in mail centers, diligently sorting the mail. But soon, the 'age factor' can present challenges that are hard to ignore. It may be time to reconsider the role this aging mail equipment plays in your business strategy. What are the drawbacks of clinging to outdated mail equipment and why might embracing new technology be the best plan for continuously efficient mail handling? The Risks of Old Mail Sorting Machines As companies continue to rely on aging mail sorting machines, various risks emerge that can negatively affect operations in the mailroom. Mail center managers should have a clear understanding of these challenges to measure them against the benefits of investing in modern technology. Increased Maintenance Costs Just as with an old car, the older your equipment gets, the more maintenance it requires. Key components wear out and need to be replaced. Mail sorting machines have lots of moving parts. Over time, expect increased wear and fatigue. You may find you are spending more money each year to keep your machines going. Risk of Breakdowns and Downtime It's not just about maintenance - older machines are also more likely to suddenly break down, potentially disrupting your mailroom operations. When these machines fail, they can cause significant delays, affecting your ability to deliver on time and potentially damaging relationships with customers or internal departments. The effects of a missed mailing date for mail such as customer invoices, can ripple through the organization. Late-mailing invoices disrupt cash flow and can cause customer service problems. Limited Capabilities Compared to modern alternatives, older mail sorting machines have a limited range of functions. They may not handle different sizes or types of mail efficiently or they may have difficulty reading some fonts in printed addresses, for instance. Equipment from Tritek overcomes these limitations. Our sorting machines easily handle all varieties of mail, from postcards to newspapers, with no operator adjustments necessary. We routinely read address information printed on the front or back of mailpieces, regardless of orientation. Difficulty Finding Replacement Parts One of the major issues with older equipment is replacement parts that become increasingly difficult to find as manufacturers stop producing them. Although you may source parts from third parties, this solution is often both time-consuming and costly. As more companies retire their vintage machines, spare parts manufacturers may cease supporting your particular model of equipment. From then on, you're on borrowed time. Reduced Efficiency As mail sorting machines age, their efficiency may decrease, slowing down your entire operation. A machine upgrade can help to streamline your mailroom processes and improve efficiency significantly. Technology improvements in cameras and other components of sorting machines allow the newer equipment to run faster. An upgraded mail sorter can save you money by reducing the labor hours it takes to run the mail each day. The Technician Challenge Another major challenge is the diminishing pool of technicians skilled at maintaining and repairing these old machines. We hear about this problem a lot. As the tech world continues to evolve, newer generations of technicians are being trained on the latest equipment. This trend makes it increasingly difficult - and expensive - to find the specialized labor needed to keep older machines running. Technician shortages are not limited to mail sorting machines. Qualified maintenance technician availability is an issue for many companies that rely on legacy machines for mission-critical operations. Approximately 75% of companies struggle to find technicians skilled in maintaining older equipment. (Source: Next TechNik, an Oracle Company). Although your older mail sorting machines may still be operational, it's worth considering whether holding onto these machines is the best approach in the long run. New technology from Tritek may be the best business decision. New Mail Sorting Technology Contributes to Sustainable Growth Newer mail sorting technology paves the way towards sustainable growth by leveraging advanced functions that streamline the mailing process, improving overall productivity. Improved Efficiency and Speed Modern mail sorting machines are faster and more efficient than their older counterparts. They operate at high speeds without compromising accuracy, allowing your business to handle larger volumes of mail swiftly and improving overall productivity. A decrease in manual labor and the time taken to sort mail translates to an increase in customer satisfaction and, subsequently, potential revenue. Advanced Functionality and Adaptability New mail sorting equipment comes equipped with features like state-of-the-art optical character recognition and barcode reading that further improve sorting efficiency. They are also adaptable to a wide range of mail formats and can handle envelopes and flats of various sizes and thicknesses with ease. Digital Integration Today's mail sorting machines can interface with digital platforms. They can easily sync with existing digital infrastructure, such as database management systems or customer billing or chargeback software. This ability to integrate helps simplify record-keeping, tracking, and planning processes, providing businesses with a smart, long-term strategic advantage. Digital integration reduces the chance of manual data entry errors, improving overall efficiency. Lower Maintenance Costs New mail machines are less likely to break down, which means lower maintenance costs. With less downtime, businesses can keep their operations running smoothly, avoid potential revenue losses due to interruptions, and focus resources on other value-adding activities. This consistent operation is a fundamental part of maintaining growth in any organization. A mail sorting technology investment is a strategic decision that facilitates significant improvements across your business operations and propels your enterprise towards sustainable growth. In embracing modern mailing technologies, you're not just stepping up your mailing game, but you're also ensuring that your business future-proofs itself. You prepare your business to navigate the challenges of the ever-evolving corporate world. Signs Your Mail Sorting Equipment Needs Replacing Understanding when your mail sorting equipment requires an upgrade isn't always obvious. However, certain signs can indicate it is time to invest in new technology. Awareness of these indicators will help you avert costly breakdowns and ensure your operations flow smoothly. Frequent and Prolonged Downtimes If you find that your mail sorting equipment often gets jammed, breaks down, or requires frequent troubleshooting, it's a telltale sign an upgrade is due. Constant repairs not only disrupt your business operations but also result in productivity losses. Escalating Repair and Maintenance Costs When routine maintenance becomes a major cost factor, it might be time to invest in newer technology. Watch out for mounting costs associated with replacing obsolete parts, finding specialized technicians, or time wasted with every service intervention. Over time, these costs can exceed the price of a new, more efficient machine. Contact us at Tritek to discuss the financial implications of continuing to maintain old equipment. Decreased Speed If your mail handling speed isn't what it used to be, even after regular maintenance, your machinery might be at the end of its service life. In an industry where speed is crucial, slower equipment can put you at a competitive disadvantage. Limited Scalability As your business grows, so do your needs and volumes. If your current equipment cannot efficiently handle your increasing volume of mail, it's a sign that you need to upgrade to a more scalable solution. Holding onto a machine that can't keep up with your growth can hinder business expansion. How to Transition to New Mail Sorting Equipment With careful planning and a well-thought-out strategy, you can change from old to new with minimum disruption to your mail center operations. Conduct a Cost-Benefit Analysis A cost-benefit analysis helps you understand the financial implications of replacing old equipment with new. Detailed calculations that consider not only the purchase price of new machines but also long-term maintenance costs, expected efficiency boosts, and potential savings from reduced downtime can help convince stakeholders that an upgrade is worthwhile. Create a Transition Plan A detailed transition plan will help manage machine replacements. This plan should include timeframes for equipment installation, testing, and employee training. Although well-managed machine upgrades can be done without operational disruptions, the transition plan should identify potential risks and create contingency plans to deal with them effectively. Choose the Right Vendor Choosing the right equipment vendor is a critical part of making this transition successful. Look for a vendor that offers robust after-sales support, including training for your staff and help with maintenance. A good vendor should welcome your questions and be able to provide detailed answers about the equipment's functions, benefits, and potential drawbacks. Tritek’s equipment and software are recognized by organizations nationwide as a trustworthy manufacturer of mail processing machines. Many of our customers enjoy double benefits from their equipment, using the same platform to sort incoming mail in the morning and outbound mail in the afternoon. Our flexible feeder and transport components, combined with cameras that read addresses in any orientation, along with space-saving sort bins, have made Tritek equipment a favorite in mail centers for decades. Invest in Training Even the most advanced mail sorting equipment won't deliver optimal results without well-trained operators. Investing time and resources in staff training on the new machines is crucial to reaping the benefits of the technology. The Tritek mail sorting machines are easy to use. Most companies find their operators can quickly learn how to set up machines, load the sort schemes, troubleshoot, and run reports. Training hours are modest for this equipment and software. A smooth transition to new mail sorting equipment is not merely about buying the most expensive machines. It involves a calculated approach that analyzes financials, plans for the change, chooses a trustworthy vendor, and focuses on training. Is it Time to Upgrade? Migrating to an updated mail sorting system is a strategic move that guarantees a more efficient and cost-effective mail handling process. A decision to continue repairing outdated equipment may seem cost-effective initially, but increasing maintenance expenses, frequent and prolonged downtimes, and inefficiency suggest otherwise. By choosing to embrace newer technologies, you are investing in your company's future. Apart from directly enhancing the speed and effectiveness of your operations, adopting new mail sorting equipment indirectly strengthens your competitive edge in the market. The time to upgrade is now, before a major failure causes big problems. With careful planning and analysis, you can manage the transition seamlessly and secure your company's relevance and growth in the era of postal communication.
Mail handling may not be at the top of a company's process improvement agenda. Business executives give little thought to how their company handles mail. But they appreciate that mail is an important component of their organization's communication pipeline. For companies seeking to streamline daily operations, Tritek offers a way to automate both incoming and outgoing mail and update a critical business function that has remained unchanged for decades. This two-fold automation, enabled by a single piece of equipment, offers a strategic and cost-effective automation solution. Achieving operational efficiency through automation is a critical goal for any business, and the selection of the right mail sorting equipment plays an instrumental role. Firms stand to gain a dual benefit, as new machines seamlessly manage both incoming and outbound mail. A combination of hardware and software from Tritek lowers floor space requirements and results in significant cost savings, contributing to overall operational productivity and profitability. Incoming Mail Every business day, companies collect incoming mail from the Post Office. Some organizations may segment their incoming mail by paying for multiple permits and box numbers, but most do not. All the mail arriving for distribution to company employees arrives together in bags, tubs, and trays. In a typical environment, mailroom employees sort through the mail one piece at a time. They use some version of the centuries-old "pigeonhole" method and their own knowledge of the organization to divide the mail according to internal or external courier routes. The sorting process depends on employees who somehow keep track of where to deliver each piece of mail. Senders do not always print a current employee's name, building, or mail stop number on the envelope. Some mail is addressed to a position like "Marketing Manager". Other senders include only the business name in the address block, with no indication of the mail’s relevance to a specific internal department. Lots of mail comes addressed to former employees or people who have changed departments. The mailroom employees must interpret the information on the envelope and decide where to route the mail. They use their memory, sometimes augmented by written notes or Post-it stickers. Ideally, the organization informs the mailroom when new employees are hired, dismissed, or transferred, but that is not always the case. Often, this information is gathered informally from the couriers as they return from their routes. Mailroom employees must research any mail for which they cannot determine the recipient. A series of phone calls or emails ensue before the staff can deliver those mail pieces. The prevalent method of sorting and delivering incoming mail features no logging, tracking, or accountability. The organization has no record of receiving an individual mail piece and no way to know for sure where it was routed. If a piece is mis-delivered, it could be days before it returns to the mailroom to be re-processed - if ever. When a key mailroom employee leaves the company, they take a great deal of valuable internal distribution information with them. This approach, repeated every business day in countless organizations across the country, has some serious drawbacks: The process is manual and slow Success relies on employee knowledge No tracking or accountability process exists Automated Inbound Mail Processing Tritek's advanced sorting equipment streamlines mail center operations. The hardware handles the complex task of sorting mail for internal distribution. As mail arrives from the Post Office each morning, mailroom employees feed it into the equipment. The machine's superior capabilities allow for rapid and accurate sorting of this incoming mail to the delivery routes of the company's internal or external couriers. Tritek's software solutions provide an innovative layer to the sorting procedure. The software identifies and categorizes incoming mail without human intervention. By scanning and analyzing various features, such as barcodes, printed addresses, or other unique identifiers, the software sorts the mail according to pre-established rules and prepares it for distribution. Invoices, for instance, may always be sent to Accounts Payable, tax documents to Finance, etc. The business rules retain the delivery information, lowering the organization's reliance on the experience of individual workers. Tritek's hardware and software solutions work in harmony to sort incoming mail. Automation not only reduces manual labor, and any errors associated with it, but ensures every piece of mail reaches its intended destination in the most efficient way possible. The Tritek system will retain a time-stamped scanned image of each mail piece, providing proof of the mail's arrival at the facility. Returned Mail Processing Undeliverable mail is a problem for nearly every mail operation. The USPS will return mail to the sender if they cannot deliver it to the address printed on the mailpiece. They call this mail “Undeliverable as Addressed”, or UAA. Purging UAA addresses or correcting them prevents companies from wasting money by repeatedly attempting to mail to the same bad addresses. Software from Tritek allows organizations to deal with their UAA mail, using the same machines they use for processing inbound and outbound mail. The software reads the notification messages printed on the yellow USPS stickers and takes appropriate action, according to rules the organization has established. Double Duty - Outbound Mail After completing the morning activity of distributing the incoming mail, the mail center employees turn their attention to handling the outgoing mail. Some outbound mail arrives at the mailroom via the internal couriers who pick it up from the departments along their routes. Employees throughout the organization may drop off more outbound mail at the mailroom throughout the day. The mail center processes jobs for various departments that may require printing, folding, inserting, or addressing. Most of the outbound mail comes from items generated by the company’s print and mail facility. The mail center organizes the outbound mail into logical batches. To qualify for the most favorable postage rates, mail must be sorted and grouped. The mail pieces must feature an intelligent mail barcode (IMb). Mailers seeking postage discounts must furnish the USPS with reports and documentation that describe the mailings. Tritek's equipment and mail sorting software takes care of all the preparation work, allowing businesses to take advantage of favorable rates and lower their postage spend. At the end of the day, outbound mail is delivered to the Post Office along with the documentation. Once the outbound mail has finished processing, the equipment is re-configured to process incoming mail and is ready for work the following morning. Optimized Equipment Utilization This strategic arrangement, achievable only with the dynamic capabilities of Tritek solutions, ensures the machines are effectively used throughout business hours. Such diligent usage reaffirms the return on investment and maximizes operational efficiency. A double-duty strategy paints a compelling picture of cost efficiency and operational excellence, offering businesses a persuasive argument to invest in Tritek solutions. These machines represent a forward-thinking approach to maximizing institutional resources while streamlining mail operations. The result is a smooth, efficient, and effective mail handling process that positively impacts daily operations and contributes to overall business performance. An investment in Tritek's sorting equipment gives organizations double the automation, enhancing the functionality and efficiency of the mailing process — all without needing two separate machines. It’s the epitome of cost and process optimization.
Insurers and financial service companies know the value of postal mail. Whether using the mail to attract or upsell customers or for vital transactional correspondence, these organizations conduct a good amount of their business via the US Postal Service. Unfortunately, companies for which mail is a critical part of their business plan are experiencing disquieting postage cost hikes. Every January and July, for the foreseeable future, postage rates will increase by approximately two to five percent if industry predictions hold. With no practical alternatives that match the effectiveness of postal mail, insurance and financial service companies seem to be captive to the rising costs. Fortunately, the U.S. Postal Service offers several discount programs. The primary strategy available to mailers that allows them to qualify for workshare postage discounts is presorting. Many companies send their mail to a presort bureau, but others sort it themselves. Organizations such as large insurers, banks, brokerage companies, and credit card issuers may have enough volume to justify handling the mail presort operation in-house. What is Presorting? In its most basic sense, “presorting” means grouping mail by ZIP code before handing the mail to the post office. In a presorted mailing, all the pieces going to the same destination are grouped into bundles or trays. Mailings are sorted to specific ZIPs and then sorted up to more general ZIPs. Most mailings will have some mail qualifying at the 5-digit level, the most sought-after discount. Depending on geographic density, a portion of the remaining mail may be entered at a higher rate. However, this rate is still less than full-rate postage. Some companies generating daily mail send it to outside services for presorting. Outsourced presorting involves no capital investment. However, it does not always save money. Presort bureaus charge a processing fee and/or keep some of the postage discounts gained by commingling mail from several companies. Companies may decide on outsourced presorting as a matter of convenience. Insurers and financial service companies, however, have unique considerations that often make them excellent candidates for presorting their mail in-house rather than using an outside service. Here are some of the key reasons: Data Privacy and Security Insurers and financial service companies handle sensitive customer information, including personal and financial data. Presorting mail in-house allows them to maintain greater control over the security and privacy of this information. While using an external mail service is generally secure, companies may be uncomfortable with having their customer correspondence handled by an intermediary before it is turned over to the USPS. Compliance The insurance and financial sectors are subject to strict regulatory compliance requirements, such as HIPAA, GLBA, and Sarbanes-Oxley. Presorting mail internally provides more control over meeting compliance standards and ensures an organization can manage confidential information appropriately. Customization Insurers and financial service companies often have specific needs regarding the organization and delivery of their mail. Presorting in-house allows for greater customization and adaptability to meet unique business requirements. Financial organizations can build a presort schema when sending claim forms, statements, and other documents to the same geographic areas. They schedule the mail and fine-tune the order of the printed output to achieve the deepest postage discounts with the fewest runs through the sorter. Speed and Efficiency Companies transacting business through the mail must quickly process and distribute large mail volumes. Presorting in-house can offer more control over the timing and speed of mail delivery, essential for time-sensitive communications, such as policy updates, financial statements, or account information. Flexibility Presorting in-house provides greater flexibility to make changes or updates to mailing processes, adapt to developing business needs, and address issues promptly without relying on an external service provider. Business Continuity While established presort services have disaster recovery and business continuity backup plans, presorting in-house allows companies to build, practice, and control their business continuity programs themselves. Presorting Pays Off Insurers and financial service companies rely heavily on printed and mailed communication. They welcome any strategy that helps offset rising postage costs, including presorting their mail. As with any business decision, weighing the advantages of in-house presorting against the costs, time, and convenience of an outside service is essential. Companies must consider factors like equipment, labor, and expertise when determining whether to presort mail internally or use an external service. The decision will depend on the specific needs and priorities of the organization. Action Tritek stands ready to support the presorting requirements of financial and insurance companies who decide an in-house solution is best. Since 1984, 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 of outbound mail. For companies that prefer to outsource their presort work, Tritek operates their own presort service bureau. Tritek’s clients include Fortune 500 companies, government, educational institutions, financial services, healthcare, insurance, and fulfillment.
Digital transformation is not just the latest business buzzword. Companies are quickly migrating analog and manual processes into the digital realm. You might think the mailroom is one area unlikely to be affected by digitization, but you would be wrong. The transformation from an analog mail room to a digital one involves implementing digital technologies and processes to improve efficiency and productivity. General Trends in Mail Center Transformation Electronic messages are replacing traditional paper-based communication with digital alternatives. Document scanning and storage allow companies to convert physical documents into digital formats through automated envelope opening, document extraction, and scanning. Implementing a document management system for efficient storage, organization, dissemination, and retrieval of digital documents eliminates the need for physical storage space and allows quick access to archived information. Inbound Mail Digitization and Delivery Digital email delivery of physical documents has been a practical technology for a decade, but its acceptance was limited. That is no longer the case. Remote work is the new normal; teams need technology to stay on top of their postal mail as they work from a home office. Digital mail delivery solves this predicament. An organization configures digital mail for their specific needs. Business rules control who gets what mail pieces and security protocols. How digital mail delivery works: Insurance Company ABC’s main mail center receives an envelope addressed to Ted in Human Resources via sent First Class Mail. There is still an HR office onsite, but Ted works remotely and visits the office monthly. Since the envelope is an HR communication and may have legal consequences, waiting for Ted to visit the company office building is not an option. During their digital mail system implementation ABC would have created business rules dictating how to handle mail addressed to remote employees. They could decide to open and scan such mail. Alternatively, they may choose to physically deliver mail to the HR department, even employees were away. A third approach might have the mail center scan the front and back of the envelope without opening it. The mail center staff opens the envelope, then extracts and scans the contents. Ted’s email address is selected from the company database; the scanned document is attached and sent to Ted for action. The process is straightforward. But ABC receives thousands of inbound letters each day. Scalable technology beyond an office supply store scanner and an opener is needed. The Tritek Oasis inbound mail system offers a solution for companies with significant mail volumes. The scan area provides imaging of the front and back of each mail piece or document and is stored in a .tiff, .jpg, or .pdf file format. Each document receives a digital time/date stamp for retention and look-up. The system features an optional opener/extractor, scanner, imaging and archiving software, and duplexing in a single workstation. Digital Mail Delivery Onsite So far, our discussion has focused on remote employees. How does digital mail work for onsite employees? Essentially the same, but like delivery to remote employees, business rules dictate the disposition of mail. Let's say that Insurance Company ABC has 16 floors and 900 employees. The mail center begins delivery to onsite employees at 3:30 p.m. Inbound mail is scanned, identified as an onsite employee, and an email is sent to that employee. The employee can respond with "recycle," "I will come to pick it up," "deliver," or some other response. Some companies no longer deliver mail onsite. They send the envelope scan to the recipient, and the recipient decides if they want to travel from the 16th floor to the mail center to pick up their mail. Security and Privacy Consider that First Class Mail may be opened by someone other than the addressee. Robust security measures must protect digital mail and sensitive information. Build business rules to identify envelopes that should remain sealed, the disposition of the mail piece, and if local and remote employee mail is treated differently. Security measures include encryption, access controls, and regular security audits to ensure compliance with data protection regulations. Training, Support, and Implementation The digital mail center is a paradigm shift. It significantly changes how people think and work in the mail center and replaces 50-year-old business practices. Initial training and ongoing support are crucial for employees implementing the new system. Tritek will provide a detailed plan to familiarize the mail center team with the digital mailroom processes and tools. Ongoing support addresses issues or questions during the transition and ensures smooth adoption of the new digital environment. Digital Mail Center Master Plan Tritek engineers patented field-proven mailroom automation and document imaging solutions to improve productivity and mailroom efficiency. Besides the inbound mail solutions described here, Tritek's outbound mail processing equipment and software allow organizations to weigh, label, manifest, barcode, print reports, and build trays and bundles of mail. Tritek’s expanding menu of mail services includes Threat Detection, 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.
In every mailroom, there invariably lurks a pile of returned mail the Postal Service could not deliver. This issue, termed UAA (Undeliverable as Addressed) mail by the US Postal Service, usually pertains to First Class mail pieces returned to the sender (the USPS destroys undeliverable Marketing mail unless the mailer has requested otherwise). Being First Class mail, the contents of the returned envelopes are important. Resources were deployed and money was spent to produce and mail the items. The organization would like their bills, statements, or important notices to reach their customers. Regrettably, mail centers habitually stack this undeliverable mail in trays, pushing it to the side, and waiting for a time when someone is free to sort it out — a time which never seems to arrive. We've covered the challenges of dealing with returned mail before in this blog with articles such as: Finally Fix the Returned Mail Problem How to Finally Deal with Returned Mail Why Mail Centers Avoid Dealing with Returned Mail Based on conversations with Tritek customers, we can see the returned mail problem still exists. In some cases, it's getting worse and, in a few instances, the returned mail issue has become a full-fledged crisis. State health departments, in particular, currently find themselves buried under an unprecedented volume of UAA mail they can no longer ignore. Other organizations may not be facing the same challenges as the health departments, but this situation is a good example of how events can change things in a hurry, and it could happen again. Next time, it may affect your industry. Highly regulated businesses such as healthcare, insurance, and financial services are vulnerable, as they can be compelled to follow new rules and laws that govern their efforts to communicate with customers. How would your organization fare if you needed to write to thousands of people that had not received mail from you for several years? Much of that mail would probably come back to you. You would have to scramble to locate these people, correct their postal addresses, and re-mail the information. Why the Sudden Increase? 91 million people are qualified to receive Medicaid benefits. The Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) estimates indicate that 5 to 14 million individuals may lose their coverage across the nation because of Medicaid unwinding. Medicaid unwinding is a process where states withdraw Medicaid benefits from recipients. This occurs when a recipient is deemed no longer eligible for the benefits. During the COVID pandemic, the government suspended a requirement for individuals to re-qualify for Medicaid benefits periodically, but the waiver period has now expired. The Federal government has required the states to contact all their Medicaid enrollees. State health departments are now sending application materials to the enrollees. The states obviously want to stop providing benefits to individuals who no longer qualify for the aid. The problem is the health departments have not maintained contact with Medicaid enrollees. Many times, the last known address for an individual was updated in 2019. You might see how that can be an issue: People may have moved (some several times) Some people have died Some have increased their income to a level that disqualifies them for Medicaid A percentage of Medicaid enrollees is somewhat transient and may lack permanent addresses Regulatory Requirements for State Health Departments The task of locating Medicaid enrollees and documenting the search efforts falls to state health departments. This process is governed by a set of regulatory requirements, which consider an array of factors and complexities. The process of handling undeliverable mail and successfully distributing critical medical information includes the same steps any organization would take to attack their UAA mail backlog: Maintain Accurate Records: State health departments are tasked with maintaining correct and up-to-date records of Medicaid enrollees. Any changes in the enrollee’s contact information or status should be promptly updated to avoid returned mail. This maintenance duty is a continuous process and pivotal to the overall management of Medicaid enrollment. Initiate Location Attempts: If mail is returned, state health departments must carry out a systematic process to locate the enrollees. This involves various strategies, including cross-referencing with the USPS National Change of Address (NCOA) file and other databases, reaching out to known associates or relatives, or even collaborating with private location services. Document Efforts Thoroughly: Every attempt to locate a Medicaid enrollee should be thoroughly documented for accountability and future reference. This includes details about the chosen strategy, steps taken, the response received, and how any subsequent action was performed, ensuring a transparent paper trail. Adherence to these requirements is not just a matter of formality, procedure, or compliance, but an obligation rooted in an ethical commitment to provide continual health coverage to eligible individuals. While Medicaid unwinding plays a part in the returned mail crunch, the solutions to address this problem are within reach. Adopt modern technology, revamp communication processes, and keep recipient databases up to date - these changes will not only reduce the onslaught of returned mail but also significantly improve mailing efficiency. Human Labor is Not the Answer Using human labor to handle the challenge of returned mail is futile - especially when volumes swell. In a time when companies are dealing with the daunting task of filling vacant positions, assigning employees to address the issues of returned mail is frequently not an option. Organizations initially taking a manual approach soon confront the manpower demands necessary to tackle this lengthy project. Employees devote time and effort to UAA mail only until other departmental needs arise, causing the project to grind to a halt. Interrupted and neglected, the process picks up intermittently whenever a window of availability emerges. With each passing delay, the piles of UAA mail continue to grow. The only practical solution lies in automation. Automated processes allow mail centers to manage UAA mail continuously, thereby effectively addressing and resolving this enduring problem. Automation to the Rescue Tritek’s Return Mail Solution has been helping organizations take on the UAA mail problem for years. One of the foremost challenges that emerge when amplifying the efficacy of returned mail handling through an automated approach is accommodating the physical variability of the mailpieces. The feeding and scanning hardware must accept any mail form, size, or thickness. Tritek's feeding and transport systems will handle all types of returned mail, be it letters, postcards, self-mailers, brochures, or flats. Cameras strategically positioned on the Tritek system obtain essential data from each mailpiece. The collected data includes specifics like the sending and return addresses, USPS reason-for-return stickers, permit numbers, and so on. Such data capture can be tricky, as details may be printed on either face of the mailpiece or in inconsistent orientation. However, the proven competence of the Tritek camera and data capture system ensures gathering of all relevant information from the mix of mail. Software deployed by Tritek uses customizable business rules to segregate mailpieces by department. These processes also include referencing resources such as the USPS National Change of Address file. Assessments made by the software rely on information sources that can range from logos, tag lines, or any other information presented on the mailpieces. It is crucial that the software and processing speed keep pace with the transport mechanism. The Tritek returned mail solution deposits the UAA mailpieces in the stipulated output bins. This enables the mail center staff to expedite mail delivery to the respective internal departments for further research and address correction in the customer databases. Fix This Problem Now As we have seen with the Medicare unwinding situation, failing to implement a system to process returned mail and correct addresses can catch organizations flat-footed and unprepared to deal with new needs and requirements. The standard operating procedure in many mail centers is to simply ignore the UAA mail. They lack the manpower and time necessary to ensure their organizations are ready, should new needs arise. The answer for most organizations is automation.
Universities build state-of-the-art research facilities and top-of-the-line athletic training complexes. Upgrading the mail center is rarely on their investment list though. Inter and intra-campus mail delivery does not attract highly recruited students or research grants, so understandably, mail services do not get the same budget allocations as plans for a new weight room. Nevertheless, educational institutions must take the importance of the mail into account. A campus mail center handles all the incoming and outbound communications between the college and its alums, donors, students, staff, and faculty. Along with email and telephone calls, the mail facility is a primary conduit to the outside world. The difference is that when an official, perhaps direction-changing document arrives, it often comes through the mail center. Without efficient and secure mail operations, an educational institution could miss opportunities to apply for grants or secure an endowment. Operating university mailrooms with equipment no longer suited for the job is a risk. It is also unnecessary. Affordable replacement technology is available. The College Campus Mail Center Model Has Changed Change is difficult in any organization, including within the university mail center. Barriers to change include employee resistance, ambiguity surrounding the benefits of change, and inadequate resources or equipment to implement the proposed improvements.Most campus mail center designs, policies, and processes are 50 years old. Mail workflows today are dramatically different and not supported by legacy methodology. Workflows have changed because of new technology, improving traditional methods, and accountability requirements. University mail centers must accommodate the transformation of the traditional mail stream. Transactional and social mail has declined rapidly while package volumes have grown exponentially. Higher education mail centers will reinvent themselves and embrace new technologies, including electronic mail delivery and management solutions. The “Mail Services” sign on the building will soon give way to the “Parcel, Printing, and Mail Service Center” or a similar description. The evolved mail room will distribute mail and packages to the campus community and offer outbound shipping and printing services. Campus Delivery is Now Campus Pickup Carriers, including the Postal Service, rarely deliver directly to campus locations. The possible exception is overnight and accountable items. The mail center is there to connect students and faculty with their items. Traditional campus mail systems collected mail and packages at a central site and distributed them campus-wide, including dorms, where mail may be sorted into personal mailboxes. A parcel shipment is kept behind the desk in a dormitory until the resident retrieves it. The chain of custody is lax at best. A different type of centralized approach is gaining traction nationwide. Today, carriers deliver to one building: the mail center. Students and staff receive an email or text to pick up their items. This workflow provides a tighter, more accountable chain of custody. The Mail Center Challenge The challenge for college mail centers is optimizing floor space while maintaining prompt notification of package or mail arrival. Like the USPS, a college mail center’s volume has shifted from letters to packages. Between 2009 and 2018, First Class Mail volume declined 31%, Marketing Mail volume declined 6%, while shipping and parcel volume increased 100%.1 That number is pre-COVID. Package volumes overwhelmed postal processing centers during the pandemic. 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 boxes? The Mail Center Solution: The Tritek Oasis Inbound Mail Processing System Tritek’s Rule Editor software applies business rules to inbound mail. The editor determines which mail to open and scan. Some envelopes are only externally examined. The software directs envelopes and catalogs to bins for pickup. The mail processing hardware feeds the document, scans the front and back, opens the envelope, and gathers mail into collection bins. The Oasis Processing System helps campus mail centers overcome space and staffing constraints and provides notification in a safe and secure environment. For decades, Tritek has engineered patented, field-proven mailroom automation and document imaging solutions to improve productivity and mailroom efficiency for college campuses nationwide. The company understands the challenges faced by university mail center managers. 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. Their clients include Fortune 500 companies, government, educational institutions, financial services, healthcare, insurance, and fulfillment. 1 https://www.cato.org/cato-journal/fall-2019/restructuring-us-postal-service#usps-s-predicament
The next U.S. presidential election is not so far away. And, while administrational methodologies may change, the basic importance of verifying signatures and tabulating ballots is agnostic to county or jurisdiction. City and county offices, staffed by permanent employees, typically oversee the administration of elections. When Election Day approaches, these employees rely on temporary poll workers — sometimes called election workers or election judges — to assist with a variety of tasks. Recruitment efforts are underway for the estimated 1 million poll workers needed for the election cycle that culminates every four years in November. Yet finding volunteers to complete the manual tasks associated with democratic elections can be challenging in these divisive, polarizing times. In 2020, 775,000 poll workers staffed over 132,500 polling places nationwide, according to data gleaned from the Election Assistance Commission. Some 52% of election jurisdictions admitted difficulties in obtaining enough poll workers. Why? Because, despite state and federal laws that protect election officials (and voters), many people feel intimidated by political activists. Fearing for their personal safety, these citizens no longer wish to volunteer their time. Indeed, threats, politicization and violence around the election process have increased dramatically since 2020, reported the not-for-profit Brennan Center for Justice, a law and public policy institute at New York University School of Law. This past October, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) warned that seven states continued to see unusual levels of threats to election workers. In past elections, groups concerned about widespread voter fraud sought to encourage volunteer poll workers to challenge voters and question routine election processes. Some workers have been accused of fraudulent activity themselves. The working environment became uncomfortable for some people who had functioned as election helpers for years. An individual’s personal views or political party affiliation notwithstanding, reports of such incidents can affect the availability of temporary employees needed at election time. So, what’s the United States to do if it no longer can recruit a dependable and diverse cadre of poll workers to help generate a democracy that more fairly represents all Americans? The answer is objective machine automation. Election offices nationwide already rely on automated equipment to save time, increase accuracy, and reduce labor costs. This technology has two major benefits: 1) Automation reduces the number of temporary workers required for staffing during elections, and 2) it frees up officials to spend less time on training–and more time optimizing the process. Voting by Mail (VBM) Trends The use of absentee ballots is a practice that has been in place for over 160 years, since the U.S. Civil War (1861-65). During the recent COVID-19 pandemic, 46% of U.S. voters voted by mail in 2020, reported the Pew Research Center, and 33% did so in the 2022 mid-terms. With so many people now voting by mail, it is more imperative than ever that county election offices implement secure procedures for collecting, imaging, and sorting mail-in ballots. In the next elections, officials will work within legal guidelines to validate and count ballots received by mail and, in many cases, could use some help. Solutions are needed for handling mail-in ballots–either manually or by machines and software like those offered by trusted partners, such as Tritek Solutions. Using automated ballot-scanning machines can significantly reduce errors associated with manual processing and increase voter confidence. For example, Tritek’s ballot envelope-processing system features automation to fit specific needs, thus providing a targeted county office ballot solution that meets each municipality’s unique requirements. Our innovative Correct Elect system offers proprietary, vote-by-mail automation customized to voting-district requirements. The patented systems are proven in the field, having been successfully implemented in numerous cities and counties. With a processing speed of 10,000 to 30,000 per hour, this solution is ideal for jurisdictions that have higher volumes of vote by mail ballot envelopes. Additionally, the Nomad OCR (optical character recognition) document-scanning solution for elections can process up to 3,000 pieces per hour. As a mail-imaging machine, Nomad scans each piece, making it easy to store and archive digital copies. The mail scanner is portable and tabletop-sized, making it easy to move around and plug into any regular 120V AC outlet. Plus, its OCR technology enables it to read every single piece that passes through it, ensuring that nothing gets missed. Remember, whether cast in person or by mail, votes count for people determined to do their civic duties. During the coming election cycles, let Tritek help you employ robust technology to ensure that their ballots are tabulated fairly and accurately!
In today's business world, mailrooms are facing several challenges and one of the biggest is staffing. Seasoned employees are retiring, or they resign, seeking positions more aligned with revised personal priorities. Whatever the reasons, staffing the mailroom today can be difficult. The answer to this problem, as it is with many modern business issues, is technology. In corporate mailrooms, Tritek is the company businesses rely upon to provide the technology they need to handle their organization's new demands for incoming and outbound mail. Tritek offers a wide range of mailroom solutions, including equipment and software that can help mailrooms prepare outbound packages faster and route incoming mail more efficiently. More Work, Fewer People There’s no doubt about the remote working trend spurred by the pandemic being a lasting phenomenon. Companies were resistant at first but now recognize the advantages remote work can offer, and more employees are seeking fully remote or hybrid positions. Besides the effect work-from-home preferences have on the ability to recruit and retain mail center employees, a decentralized work force across the enterprise makes the mail center’s job more difficult. Company mail centers have operated with procedures that worked well for them for decades. Now, managing incoming and outbound business mail have become come logistical challenges for organizations that may handle thousands of mail pieces every month. Transitioning to a system that supports offsite employees, while continuing in their role as a hub for a company’s communications with the outside world, can be a real problem. Critical Business Processes Depend on Mail Some documents typically received in corporate mailrooms, such as legal notices, customer complaints, or last-minute claims documentation, require swift action. A system slowed by the limitations of physical distribution to a widely scattered group of recipients won’t do, especially when that system relied heavily on the knowledge and experience of mail center staffers who may no longer be employed by the organization. Automated Mail Processing Solutions Now that human-dependent legacy solutions are untenable, mailroom managers are turning to automation to bring their organizations up to speed with the rest of the business world. Mailroom automation has many advantages. Efficiency – Manual tasks such as scanning the mail, sorting, and routing can be accomplished by specialized hardware and software that can perform these operations quicker than humans, without taking breaks, getting sick, or going on vacation. Accuracy – Cameras and software for text and image recognition have advanced to the point that systems, such as those offered by Tritek, can read nearly any text regardless of skew or orientation, whether typed, computer-printed, or written by hand. Systems to sort outbound mail or process incoming pieces are less likely to make errors compared to human mailroom staffers. Security – Business rules and permission levels embedded in document processing systems can prevent sensitive information from being seen by unauthorized individuals. Mail pieces can be tracked and accounted for. Compliance with privacy laws can be controlled. Lower Cost – The labor savings are obvious, especially when considering the extra work necessary to correct mis-routed inbound mail, or extra postage if outbound mail is not optimized to take advantage of all the postage discounts the USPS offers. Automated mailroom solutions also offer organizations the opportunity to find and correct previously unrecognized inefficiencies that may never have come to light in a manually dependent operation. Automated systems can collect and report data about mail volumes, throughput, shift performance, mail piece status, and more. Ideal Time to Upgrade Many of Tritek’s clients have been challenged to continue managing their corporate and university mail centers since the pandemic. The changes in the employment market have only made matters worse. Mail centers do not always share in the technology and innovation investments companies have made in other areas of the business, but the time has come to do some upgrades. An updated, technology driven mail center will be more attractive to job candidates who may view mail processing as “old school”. Investing in mailroom automation solutions now is a good long-term strategy for supporting the requirements of modern businesses. Learn More About Automated Mail Processing: Pandemic Increases Inbound Parcel Obligations Robots In Your Mailroom? The Future of Mailroom Automation The Changing Role of Corporate Mailrooms
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. Our Digital Mail Solutions 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. Related Resources: Getting Inbound Mail to the Right Place (the first time) How to Digitally Deliver Incoming Mail How You Can Use One Machine for all Mailing Operations
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. Learn More About Automated Vote by Mail Processing: Why Election Officials Are Expecting a Surge in Vote-By-Mai How Does Automated Ballot Processing Work? Why Manual Ballot Handling is Not Enough Anymore www.brookings.edu/policy2020/votervital/how-does-vote-by-mail-work-and-does-it-increase-election-fraud/
Election Season is Here! There is still time to order Tritek Correct Elect ballot equipment!