Old and new sorting machines

Mail Sorting Equipment Has a Lifespan

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 What are the drawbacks of clinging to outdated mail equipment and why might embracing new technology be the best plan for continuously efficient mail handling?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.

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