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. Learn More About Mail Processing Automation: Mailroom Automation to The Rescue for Businesses How You Can Use One Machine for all Mailing Operations How The Role of Corporate Mailrooms is Changing
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. View Related Vote By Mail Articles: Is Vote by Mail Safe? How Does Automated Ballot Sorting Work? Addressing the Top Concerns of Vote By Mail Automated Processing
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. Related Vote By Mail Resources: Top 5 Questions Election Officials Ask About Vote by Mail Is Vote By Mail Safe? Addressing Concerns with Automated Processing for Mail-In Ballots
Recently, many businesses have determined that investing in mailroom equipment, software, and labor may not be in the best interest of the organization. This has prompted a renewed interest in outsourcing mail center operations. Several forces are at work. Declining mail volumes, a dispersed workforce, and labor shortages have contributed to the trend. At the same time, postage rates are escalating and rules for entering mail are increasingly complex. Moreover, mail center managers are being asked to support a level of hygiene that is virtually impossible when everything you touch comes from places and people you do not know. Insurance companies are good at insurance. Real estate companies are good at real estate. Law firms are good at law. They are not experts in mail operations or USPS regulations. Mail service providers are experts in all things mail. Your goal when outsourcing mail processing is to find a provider that offers the breadth and depth of services necessary to support your organization. The Big Picture You do not need to be a postal expert to realize that the landscape of mailing has changed in the past 20 years. Just look in your mailbox. There is not much in there. Bills are sent and paid on the internet. While less effective, email advertising is cheaper than marketing mail. If mail centers are not sending much outbound mail and not receiving much inbound mail, you do not need much of a mail center. Mail Centers Evolving to Small Parcel Centers While mail is declining, parcel shipping is increasing. From 2015 to 2021, mail volume declined from 154 billion pieces per year to 129 billion pieces per year. During that time, the USPS’ revenues increased from $69 billion to $77 billion.1 The increase is attributed to parcel and Priority Mail shipping. It is plausible that parcel processing will be more significant than letters for corporate mail departments. This is not the death knell of postal mail. 129 billion pieces must still be delivered. Many businesses will maintain a “service center” for shipping, copies, and office supplies. However, companies looking to optimize mail handling should consider handing off mail processing to a service provider. Your Mail Center Does Not Have to Be Your Mail Center Outsourcing involves just moving your mail center from your building to someone else’s building. Someone that knows the postal process and can provide a level of service to accomplish your goals. Service providers are vested in current technology to deliver benefits not usually found in corporate mail centers. Outsource with Tritek Biohazard Protection As pathogens, viruses, and biohazards can be distributed through the mail stream, mail handlers find it necessary to institute safety measures and controls to evade these dangers. The Postal Service and OSHA guidelines recommend that mailroom operations have secondary engineering controls as a part of the daily workflow. Most corporate mail centers do not have these precautions. But service providers do. Digital Email Delivery Digital email delivery has been a viable technology for a decade, but its popularity has been limited. That is no longer the case. Remote work is the new normal, and teams without the right technology struggle to stay on top of their mail from home. Digital email delivery solves this predicament. This is a simplified explanation of how digital mail delivery works: The corporate mail center receives an envelope from a client addressed to Sally. The mail center staff opens the envelope, extracts and scans the contents, and emails the information to Sally. Sally opens the email on her phone or laptop, reads the letter, and responds. It sounds easy, doesn’t it? Multiply this scenario by thousands of inbound letters every day. Clearly, mail centers would need technology beyond a mail opener and a scanner from the office supply store. The investment in technology and the implementation costs are beyond the scope of most corporate mail centers but digital delivery is within the reach of mail service providers. They can amortize the investment over several clients. Returned Mail Management The USPS returns outbound mail for several reasons, but the most common cause is inaccurate delivery addresses. The cost to a company is staggering. Experts estimate the operational cost at $25 per item.2 This does not include the “consequence cost.” When a bill sent to a client is returned because of an address error, the invoice remains unpaid until the biller corrects the address. Once corrected, the bill must be re-printed and remailed, and the remittance returned. What does that do to cash flow? Multiply that scenario by several thousand returned bills. That is the “consequence cost.” Mail service providers help with address correction and returned mail reduction. Implementation 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. Let us be your new mailroom. View Related Articles: The Future of Mailroom Automation for Businesses How You Can Use One Machine for every Mailing Operation Solving Corporate Inbound Mail Challenges 1 https://facts.usps.com/table-facts/ 2 https://mailingsystemstechnology.com/article-4640-Report-The-Cost-of-Returned-Mail.html
Counties across the country are struggling to recruit enough staff for their election operations to sort and verify absentee ballots. This is becoming a problem now. You need not wait until the November mid-terms or the 2024 general election to see that staffing issues are impacting efficient ballot processing in primaries and local elections. Many factors contribute to this strain on resources, including COVID-19 health concerns, the “great resignation”, intermittent school closures, and competition from for-profit enterprises. Private companies are luring workers with enhanced wages and signing bonuses. Some election jurisdictions are responding to staffing challenges by paying election workers $15 per hour and recruiting them from distant locations, just to have enough people to process the ballots. At Tritek Technologies, we have heard from entities who previously believed they could not justify an investment in automated ballot-handling equipment. Now they realize that automation is becoming a necessity to carry out their duties in managing elections. Those who formerly saw automated equipment as “nice-to-have” are looking at their staffing situations and deciding their traditional reliance on volunteers may be insufficient. Space is Not a Limiting Factor Smaller districts often assume that vote-by-mail technology is complex, cost-prohibitive, and designed for large municipalities and states. They envision room-size sorting machines that take up valuable square footage. Those perceptions are untrue. Automated solutions from Tritek Technologies come in sizes designed to meet the needs of even small or medium size voting districts. Simply move them into storage when the machines are not in use and reclaim the space. Ballot processing equipment can sort ballots to the precinct level using multi-pass sort schemes. Making room for a bin to hold ballots for every precinct is not required. Vote-by-mail technology providers like Tritek help voting districts set up sort schemes to process their ballots according to the size of their operations and the number of sort bins installed on their machines. Correct-Elect Tritek’s Correct-Elect systems feature patented vote-by-mail technology that slashes an election office’s reliance on manual labor. Every solution is custom designed and built to handle each voting district’s requirements. Equipment specifications consider floor space availability, volume fluctuations, and ballot designs. Portable and desktop systems are options for lower volume and limited space environments. We customize the sorting bin layout according to a voting district’s volume requirements. One or two people can process ballots accurately, doing the work that would require dozens of volunteers or temporary workers. The machine can generate the results quicker than organizations can achieve with only manual labor. Our company holds exclusive patents on our ballot methods and apparatus. The vote-by-mail system provides a full audit trail, ballot process management, and status reporting. County election offices save ballot scans in color, grayscale, or black and white. Signature verification reduces the labor costs of validation and compliance even more. Signatures detected with barcodes are verified by a database of registered voters. Only the exceptions require human inspection. If a lack of people will keep your election operation from processing ballots on schedule, contact Tritek Technologies and ask about our flexible and affordable solutions. View Related Vote By Mail Resources: 10X Processing Speed for Vote By Mail Envelopes Why Election Officials Are Expecting a Surge in Vote-By-Mail Automated Ballot Processing: How it Works 5 Questions Election Officials Are Asking About Vote by Mail
Mail services within government entities have always been labor-intensive operations with manual sorting, stacking, and traying of both inbound and outbound mail. Because of the change in how states run elections, this manual work has never been more important. Unfortunately, besides causing a surge in mail volume, COVID-19 also impacted mailroom staffing. Governments had to handle the work while some of their experienced employees were sick at home. Finances were strained as well, as local governments dealt with the combination of COVID-related expenses and lower tax revenue because of commerce shut-downs. Some government entities were better prepared than others. Local, state, and county governments that embraced automated mail sorting and processing technology reduced the impact of fewer employees working fewer hours. Automation provided a way for state and local governments to keep up with the demand for mail services and deal with budget cuts and a labor shortage. Other labor-dependent government mail operations struggled. Mail Services Needs a Digital Workflow Digital workflows have the potential to reduce costs, often while boosting customer satisfaction. Private businesses adapt quicker than government agencies and have revolutionized their workflows with digital automation. Though governments have made progress in moving some repetitive, labor-intensive functions to online services, opportunities to digitize processes still exist. Government workers spend more time providing personal customer service than their private industry counterparts, driving up labor costs. A Harvard Business Review study estimated that it costs between $7 and $13 for every live service a government provides. Digitization and automated transactions could yield vast savings. Digital Mail Delivery How do remote government workers, whether working from home or in dispersed agencies, receive mail-in applications, correspondence, and the myriad of daily inbound government forms that need processing? The answer is digital mail delivery. In facilities that have adopted a digital workflow, digital mail technology scans the mail and archives the images on secure servers. Pre-defined business rules determine what happens to each mailpiece. It could be that the mail center opens and scans all First-Class Mail, while they set Marketing Mail aside for later physical delivery. Other mail, identifiable by the address block or other envelope markings, could be automatically routed to specialized departments for processing. The address on the mailpiece can determine the disposition of many items. In other cases, the scanning and sorting software will look up the physical location of an employee’s workspace by matching the addressee’s name printed on the envelope to an organization database. Mail for some departments may be held awaiting further instructions or packaged for courier delivery. The business rules can define many scenarios, depending on the needs of the company. Lack of Postal Knowledge Workers The talent pool of workers in the paper, print, and production mail industries has declined for years, and opportunities for industry training, education, and certification have recently dwindled. The premiere mailing industry event, the National Postal Forum, was reduced to a virtual presence for the second consecutive year because of COVID-19 concerns. Exacerbating the situation, local Postal Customer Council events, where mail training is administered, also transformed into virtual affairs. The pandemic has strongly curtailed postal training in 2020 and 2021. Grooming new unskilled employees for jobs in the mailroom has become a challenge. Automated mail sorting and processing technology reduces the level of postal knowledge required to manage inbound and outbound mail. With automation, more mail center jobs can be easily shared among available employees or assigned to temporary workers when a shortage of permanent mail center staff occurs. Vote by Mail Voter preference surveys show that vote-by-mail is here to stay. The job of accepting, validating, sorting, and counting completed ballots as they are returned will continue to be a task governments must tackle. Speed, security, and accuracy are absolutes in election mail. Fortunately, vote-by-mail technology is scalable for larger state governments as well as city and state mail volumes. Systems like Tritek’s Correct Elect solution automatically monitor the ballot acceptance process. The key to a successful vote-by-mail program for governments with labor and budget constraints is deploying automated mail center technology. Compared to human reading, sorting, and tabulating, automation is 10 to 20 times faster. Wake Up Call The COVID-19 crisis had devastating consequences for state, county, and local governments. Service cutbacks, labor reductions, and a shrinking tax base all contributed to the issues. Local governments may receive some funding from Congress but will still look for ways to recover from the pandemic’s effects. In addition, the government workforce is not what it once was. The government has often been slow to embrace technology, especially in the mail center. Now they have little choice. An environment with fewer knowledge workers and high vote-by-mail ballot volumes demands requires a new solution. Digital technology in the mail center provides an answer for the cash-strapped state, county, and local governments.
Paper and mailed communications between insurers and their clients are a big part of the customer experience. Insurance companies have a fiduciary responsibility to their policyholders. It is a relationship built on trust. Customers place trust in the permanence and accountability of paper documents and using the U.S. Postal Service to deliver mail to their insurer. They further trust that documents are processed quickly and directed to the right person or department. Inbound Mail Accounting By accounting for incoming mail as it arrives in the mail center, workers can route documents to the proper department. The complexities of compliance in the insurance industry present challenges. The complexity escalates as the industry adds new product and service offerings. Insurance companies must enhance and improve legacy methods with new automation tools. Accountability for when mail pieces arrive at the insurer’s mail center and when they are processed and delivered is necessary for customer service and compliance. Manual inbound sorting does not offer the required level of accountability. Routing When mail centers install full-featured inbound mail processing solutions, they may scan inbound documents and deliver them electronically to employees responsible for handling claims or policy renewals. With many employees working from home because of COVID-19 lockdowns, companies benefit by automatically scanning, sorting, and routing inbound envelopes and electronic images. Inbound Mail Efficiency in the Insurance Industry The insurance industry faces many of the same inbound mail processing challenges as every company. But the insurance business operates under additional controls and regulation. A well-managed inbound mail operation affects three areas: customer experience, compliance, and cost-cutting. Inbound Mail Processing Solutions Customer Experience USPS delivery has slowed because of the pandemic and internal changes at the Post Office. There is no one a customer can call at the Postal Service to inquire about the status of a document they mailed. They call the insurer. Even an answer that the document has not arrived gives the client some satisfaction. At least they know. If a document has arrived and is directed to the proper department, the policyholder sees progress. The faster this happens, the better for everyone. With automation, customer claims are paid faster, and insurers provide excellent customer service. Prompt service can reduce complaints and increase renewal rates. Inbound mail sorting automation is the foundation for providing this level of success. Customers who feel their claim or other transaction is processing and resolution is imminent are less likely to complain to customer service or the state insurance commissioner. Compliance As insurance companies enhance the customer experience using automation for faster claims processing, they must consider the regulatory implications as well. According to Wolters Kluwer 2018 Top 10 Market Conduct Actions for Property and Casualty Insurers, one of the top compliance concerns include “failure to acknowledge, pay, investigate or deny claims within specified timeframes.” Steven Meirink, Executive Vice President and General Manager for the Compliance Solutions for Wolters Kluwer said, “Our annual review results confirm the importance of implementing a sound compliance program management process.” As they say, time is of the essence. Once the mail arrives at the insurer’s loading dock, the accountability process starts immediately. Virtually every state has a law requiring insurance companies to pay claims in a “reasonable” length of time. Cost-cutting Manual inbound sorting for time-sensitive insurance claims is no longer a practical choice for insurers in competitive markets. If your mail center is labor-heavy and automation-light, it is time to reverse that trend. Not only will companies reduce hard labor costs by using automated inbound sorting technology, but they will also lower the frequency of errors and complaints. The insurance commissioner can penalize insurance companies, forcing them to pay claims and take other actions to resolve a policyholder’s complaint. Tying up loose ends and improving efficiencies in the mail center reduce the chances of a penalty. Mail, Paper, and Trust Why are insurance customers still using mail? An insurance document (a claim, for example) is a fiduciary instrument. First Class Mail comes with a set of security, safeguards, and federal protections. Most electronic communications have none of these. Certified Mail takes protection to another level. It has no counterpart in the electronic communication domain. This is especially true for a document that is sent with a physical return receipt. The customer knows the insurance company has received their claim. The insurer must sort and process the inbound mail quickly. Organizations generally establish business rules for Certified Mail, such as priority delivery to the employee or department. Certified Mail can be handled on the automated inbound sort as a separate entity. The automated solution can treat it as an exception and flag the piece for immediate delivery, increasing the speed and efficiency of inbound document processing. Related Quick Read: How Mortgage Processing is Changing