Digital mail 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 when working from home, at the office, or somewhere else. Digital mail delivery fixes this predicament. As with any new technology, companies have more than one level of implementation from which to choose. To meet today’s demands, organizations must establish a digital mail platform that meets the level of security required, addresses privacy, and follows internal business rules. Digital Mail: The Basics Digital mail delivery is a postal mail and scanning process that converts incoming paper mail into digital form. The digital mail system delivers documents to the addressees electronically. The system creates a digital record of each incoming mail piece, tracking the progress, history, and delivery method. Employees receive an email with a link to the digital image of the physical mail piece. Organizations can digitize mail and automate indexing, classification, and distribution. Digital Mail: The Rules The COVID health threat changed business operations forever. Instantly, most employees were transient. They could not receive mail. Other than pushing mail out to a regional, traveling sales staff, it never occurred to mail center managers to have a corporate-wide mail distribution plan in place. Today, companies must have a plan to deal with postal mail and parcels addressed to employees that will most likely stay remote at least part of the time. These are considerations when formalizing a mail distribution plan: • What classes or types of mail are opened by mail center staff? • What mail stays sealed and forwarded to the addressee? • How is marketing mail handled? • How are “accountable items” handled? This includes certified mail, registered mail, and overnight or two-day documents delivered by the common carriers. Are these decisions entirely up to the addressee, or do corporate mandates take precedence? One-Pass Digital Mail Option The single-pass digital mail option notifies employees of the number of mail pieces they receive each day. If they are on-site, workers make arrangements to pick up their mail or organize delivery to where the worker is located. With mail center downsizing, daily delivery may no longer be an option. It makes little sense to deploy a delivery person when few employees receive mail each day. A worker on the 14th floor or the other side of campus may wait until enough mail has accumulated to warrant a visit to the mail center. However, that brings up more questions. How long is mail saved before the mail center discards it? How many notifications must be made? Is there an escalation procedure if the addressee does not respond? Formal rules that everyone understands need to be in place. Watch a short video about Tritek’s Oasis email delivery solution here. Two-Pass Digital Mail Option With the two-pass digital mail option, employees receive scanned images of the outside of each mail piece. The addressee determines the disposition of each mail piece. These options include: 1. The mail piece is opened and scanned by mail center personnel and emailed to the addressee. 2. The mail piece is delivered to the addresses or held for pick up. 3. The mail piece is tagged for recycling. 4. Or some combination of the three options. On its face, the process appears simple. Multiply this scenario by thousands of inbound letters every day. Depending on the organization, mail distribution can be a formidable task. Clearly, technology beyond a mail opener and an office supply store scanner is needed. Implementation For the two-pass digital mail option, companies have two choices. The first is to do it yourself. Mail center staff operates a workstation that automatically opens the envelope, extracts the contents, and places them on the scanner. The worker chooses the recipient and emails the contents of the envelope. The software makes most of this process happen, or the organization relies on mailroom worker knowledge. The investment in software varies depending on the functions you need. The second way is using an outside service. The central part of implementing a digital mail delivery system is not the hardware or the software. It is the process. It is what to do and when to do it. It is about governance and the administration of business rules. Third-party services have the expertise needed for digital mail implementation. Working in concert with your current mail center staff, you will realize the benefits of digital mail delivery. Execution 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. Digital Mail Delivery Solutions For those organizations that prefer to handle incoming mail themselves, Tritek supplies the hardware and software that automates much of the process for a one-pass or two-pass solution. Learn More About Digital Mail Delivery Digitally Deliver Incoming Mail Why Your Business Needs to Digitalize Mail Delivery How to Keep Up With Employee Mail Delivery WFH Employees Ask “Where’s My Mail?
College students as a group have always been a nomadic lot. That tendency has increased dramatically with the onslaught of COVID-19 and at-home learning. For a college mail center, getting letters and packages delivered to faculty, staff, and students can turn into a guessing game. Where they were last month has probably changed. It could be a different building on campus, a nearby community, or nearly anywhere that distance learning takes place. Though the recipients are mobile, packages and mail addressed to them continue to arrive at college mail centers. Fortunately, technology can allow college mail centers to keep students, faculty, and staff connected and receiving all their mail. Campus Mail Today Campus mail centers are competing for real estate and resources. Staffing is not at the levels it once was. Space is also at a premium. Areas once allocated to mailboxes now accommodate packages as mail volume decreases, but parcels stack up. Instead of delivery to dorms, offices, and departments, a centralized approach is gaining traction nationwide. Carriers, including the Postal Service, typically do not deliver directly to campus locations. It is the mail center’s job to connect campus inhabitants with their items. This is happening under the constraints of COVID-19 protocols. Centralization In the past, college mail and packages may have been delivered directly to a dorm or office. The mail was sorted into personal mailboxes. In a dormitory, a package was kept behind the desk until the resident retrieved it. The chain of custody was lax. Today, carriers deliver to one building: the mail center. Students and staff receive an email or text to pick up their items. According to a survey conducted by Harris Poll, over 75% of adult respondents believe packages sent to students are safer delivered to a campus mail center and not a dorm or off-campus apartment. The Challenge The challenge for college mail centers is optimizing floor space while maintaining timely notification of package or mail arrival. Just like the USPS, a college mail centers’ volume is shifting from letters to packages. Mail volumes have declined by 39 percent since 2008. Package volume and delivery have grown by 21 percent. That number is pre-COVID. Package volumes overwhelmed postal processing centers during the pandemic. Packages take up space and need manual handling. Mail is not going away anytime soon. How can colleges reduce mail’s footprint to make room for packages? Handling Campus Mail Campus mail center managers should borrow a strategy from corporate America: digital mail delivery of hard copy postal mail. Digital mail delivery automates manual sorting and delivery. Once opened, equipment scans the envelope’s contents and sends electronic images to the professor, student, or staff member. Powerful rules software finds the recipient’s email address based on the name on the envelope. The equipment scans the front and back of the envelope, date-stamps the entry, and sends the images to the recipient. A college mail center differs from a corporate mail facility. In a business, inbound mail is repetitive. Documents they receive are often a form or a standard response. Mail is often not addressed to a person per se. College mail is more personal. A card from a mom to her son at the freshman dorm is an example. Opening personal mail is not only bad manners, it is also a federal offense. Here is where the power of advanced rules software takes over. College privacy administrators decide what mail can be opened and what stays sealed. These instructions are programmed into the digital mail system, which controls the handling of each mailpiece. The system scans the envelope of a greeting card sent to a freshman from his mom and sends the image to the student. If it is his birthday, he knows what is inside. He gets an email asking him to pick up his card. The mail is not opened until he does it himself. Suppose the next envelope is addressed to the athletic department — a business reply envelope supplied to high school baseball players interested in a summer camp. Each of these envelopes is easily identified and always contains a form and a check. Business rules compiled in the rules editor direct the mail handling console to open the envelope, scan the contents, and send the image to the athletic department. The mail center may hold the checks in a secure location for pickup by an authorized athletic department representative or sent directly to the business office for deposit. Magazines, Folded Self-Mailers, and Catalogs Many mailpieces do not present a privacy issue. These documents are already open and do not contain sensitive information, but they are important. People want them. In these cases, the system sends scanned images to recipients as directed by the rules software. The mail center will hold the pieces for pickup. Tritek Oasis Inbound Mail Processing System We have discussed the rules editor that applies business rules to inbound mail. The software determines which mail gets opened and scanned and directs envelopes and catalogs to bins for pickup. Tritek’s powerful rules editor makes it easy to transition from a system that manually distributes every mailpiece to one that lessens the burden on college mail center personnel. Besides the software, Tritek provides the hardware platform that feeds the material, scans front-and-back, opens (if directed), and gathers mail into collection bins. The processing console has a compact footprint, operates on standard power, and can process up to 10,000 mail pieces an hour. The Oasis Processing System helps campus mail centers overcome space and staffing constraints and provides notification in a safe and secure environment. Contact Tritek to Get Started