Single-purpose mailing machines are good investments for organizations with enough volume to keep the equipment operating. For smaller companies, an investment in equipment dedicated to a single operation is cost-prohibitive. But small businesses still need to mail. According to the National Federation of Independent Business, most small businesses spend $338 per month on postage—about $4,000 per year.1 Small businesses with 20 employees or more spend approximately $1,000 a month.2 It is evident that the need to use the US Postal Service is essential for small businesses as well as their larger counterparts. The USPS offers lucrative postage discounts for mailers who sort their mail before presenting it to the post office. Using the right processing equipment can help organizations save money on their outbound mail. We should also remember that mail goes both ways. Handling inbound mail is often just as taxing as processing outbound mail. Processing equipment is needed for mail going in both directions. But as with any investment, cost and space constraints are weighed against the benefits provided by the mailing equipment. The ideal scenario is a single piece of gear that is versatile enough to handle all mail tasks. Inventory: What is Your Postal Process? The first step in determining what mailing equipment you need is assessing what you do. This is a list of some common mail processes. Presorting Mail (Weighing, Labeling, and Manifesting) Mail Forwarding Flats Sorting Parcel Sorting Mixed Mail Processing Imaging & Archiving Inbound and Outbound Sorting Packaging all your mail functions into a single piece of equipment is cost-effective and space-saving. The newest mail technology is multi-tasking. It processes outbound presorted mail, inbound mail, returned mail, and digital mail with a single unit. Flexible feeding and transport mechanisms and industry-leading software allows organizations to automate several document processing functions with a small-footprint device that operates in limited space. Mixed Mail Mixed mail has always been a challenge for mail center managers. Mixed mail is considerably different from mixed-weight mail. A mail tub with 200 one-ounce #10 envelopes and 200 two-ounce #10 envelopes is mixed-weight mail. Processing this type of mail is an easy task for most mail machines. A mail tub filled with inbound magazines, postcards, letters, flats, newspapers, poly-wrapped pieces, and parcels is more challenging. Cutting-edge mail technology can process these disparate items on the same transport. The mail is scanned at over 300 dpi and the images stored with a time/date stamp. A time/date stamp is essential for postal accounting and chain of custody tracking. A Single Sorter: Inbound and Outbound Tritek sorting technology processes inbound mail, presorted mail, and returned mail. The sorter also scans barcodes and images documents for archival storage. If your organization happens to be a municipality or other government entity, the Tritek sorter also processes vote-by-mail ballots. Browse Mail Sorters Tritek’s innovative sorter solution is versatile. The operational software can quickly switch between sorting outbound and inbound mail. In addition, all types of machine-printed or handwritten mail and barcoded mail are scanned and then sorted. USPS CASS certified processing provides postal presorting and makes it easy to take advantage of generous postal discounts. The Tritek sorter’s flexibility is designed for specific needs and space constraints. Every aspect of your inbound and outbound mail operation is considered. This includes mail volumes, piece sizes, deadlines, SLAs, and personnel. Enjoy the benefits of a single piece of mailing technology that is cost-effective, space-saving, and improves mail center productivity. Leading Edge, Field-Proven Patented Technology With over two dozen issued and pending US patents, Tritek remains a leader in developing new technologies while incorporating existing expertise to deliver highly configurable mail automation systems. Every system we build is specifically designed for each client’s mail processing environment. As one of the most recognized visionaries of mailing technology, Tritek has engineered and patented field-proven mailroom automation and document imaging solutions for decades. Proprietary technology powers the mail center to process mail simultaneously on the same transport. The Tritek technology drives greater mail processing productivity and efficiency. Learn More About Mail Processing Automation: Why You Should Presort Mail Improve Customer Experience with Mailroom Automation The Changing Role of Mailrooms for Businesses SOURCES: 1 https://www.icsid.org/uncategorized/how-mouch-does-the-post-office-charge-small-businesses-to-ship/ 2 IBID
Even in the digital age, insurers and other businesses generate lots of mail. Applications include claims, policies, billing, correspondence, checks, notices, statements, and more. Managing postage spend is always a concern, which means sorting the mail to take advantage of USPS workshare discounts is a smart strategy. Presort services exist, but many insurers create enough local and regional mail to make sorting their own mail a reasonable alternative. What is Presorting, and How Do You Do It? Presorting the mail means sorting individual mailpieces and grouping them to enable more efficient delivery by the US Postal Service. Companies sorting their own mail use two methods, usually together. The first method is to sort the data into zip code sequence before printing. Sometimes companies sort and group the mail even more finely, thus generating a complete automated mailing without ever rearranging the order of the physical envelopes. This is rare, however. Most organizations run several print jobs every day. Though they may sort each job by zip code, few companies can sort the data for an entire day’s mail and create one giant print stream. Jobs are ready for printing at different times and companies can’t wait until the end of the day to start printing. Also, print applications use different paper stock, outbound envelopes, and return envelopes or inserts. Document operations must process the jobs separately to accommodate this variety in physical composition. The second method of presorting takes place after documents are printed, folded, and inserted into envelopes. Operators feed the mail from multiple daily jobs into a machine equipped with a high-speed multi-line optical character reader (MLOCR). The sorting machine looks up the address on each mailpiece, sprays the postal barcode on the envelope, and sorts mail into bins or pockets. As the bins fill, machine operators unload the envelopes into mail trays, mark them, and stack them on pallets for transportation to a USPS facility. Benefits of Presorting Your Mail The largest benefit of mail presorting is a reduction in postage. When mailers do some of the work, the USPS rewards them with workshare discounts, which can reduce an insurer’s postage spend substantially. Presort postage discounts depend on the number of mailpieces to be delivered to a particular area. Groups of mailpieces destined for the same 5-digit zip code qualify for greater discounts than groups addressed to a 3-digit area, for example. Groups must include at least ten pieces to be eligible for a presort discount. If an insurer’s mail is relatively dense, meaning they have lots of mail addressed to a small geographic region, they can qualify most of their mail for a postage discount. They needn’t mingle their mail with that of other mailers to reduce their postage costs, as is done with outside presort service bureaus. Presorted mail tends to get delivered faster, since mailers have already grouped and packaged the mail for delivery to USPS regional facilities. The postal service skips the sorting steps and begins transporting the mail right away. Why Presort In-House? Mail generated by insurance companies is particularly well-suited for presorting. Insurers often serve a consistent group of customers from regional processing centers. This increases mail density and allows insurance company mail centers to define sort schemes they use every day to process the mail. Besides the postage discounts and faster delivery benefits offered to all presort mailers, those who presort their own mail enjoy other advantages: Keep All the Discount — Presort service bureaus charge fees, usually by keeping a portion of the postage discount for which the mail qualifies. When insurers or other businesses sort their own mail, they save more on postage than they would by outsourcing this work. Later Cutoff Times — To get all the mail sorted and delivered to the Post Office by the USPS deadline, presort service bureaus must pick up mail from their customers in the afternoon. Companies sorting their own mail can work well into the evening, qualifying more of their mail for discounted postage and inducting some of their mail a day earlier. For some applications such as bills, this one-day acceleration in the process can make a difference in days sales outstanding and cash flow. Security and Accountability — Given the nature of their confidential correspondence, many insurers prefer to maintain control of their mailpieces until they deposit the mail with the USPS. An in-house mail sorting operation gives them this option. The organization can track important documents such as policy cancellation letters through the document production process, including the date the documents were inducted into the USPS delivery network. For more details on the way presort bureaus work, see THIS ARTICLE. Available from Tritek Tritek Technologies builds mail sorting equipment to meet the needs of insurers based on their mail volume, production schedules, sortation density, and physical space. Our superior reading technology allows Tritek machines to process mail often rejected by other equipment. CLICK HERE to review our product information for presort mail equipment. Many of our customers use our versatile sorting machines to distribute incoming mail in the morning and process outbound mail in the afternoon. Our flexible design and intelligent software make this possible, improving the ROI on sorter equipment purchases. Contact us to assess your mail sorting needs. By analyzing your mailings we can tell you the best way to achieve postal savings and realize other benefits important to your organization.
Employees don’t stay in the same cubicle forever. They move quite a bit; getting promoted, changing employers, or responding to corporate restructuring. Some companies even have in-house relocation departments just so they can move boxes and files when people, or entire departments, are assigned new workspaces. Keeping track of each employee’s physical location is a constant challenge for corporate mail centers. Often, informal updates come to the center in the form of courier observations, emails, or post-it notes. It’s common to see hand-written re-routing instructions taped to the sorting bins. The whole system relies on scraps of paper and information lodged in employee's heads. Obviously this approach is inefficient. People make mistakes, causing letters, parcels, and interoffice memorandums to be mis-routed. Delays and wasted resources result. Fortunately, organizations can install automated solutions that eliminate most of the issues associated with matching incoming mail to delivery destinations. Inbound mail sorting systems route mail accurately while simultaneously reducing the manual sorting and handling tasks that consume most of the labor hours in corporate and campus mail rooms. Why Isn’t This Automated Already? Given the high degree of automation dedicated to processing outbound mail, one might wonder why so many organizations continue to operate manual inbound mail distribution operations, even after they’ve invested in sophisticated outgoing mail solutions. The reasons for the disparity are big differences in the materials that make up a company’s outbound and incoming mail. Control is the most obvious difference. With their outbound mail, organizations control when they process, how they format the mail, and what data they use for addressing. They even verify addresses for deliverability and they update delivery addresses if mail recipients have moved-all before the mail ever leaves the building. Conversely, organizations have almost no control over the mail that comes to them from outside the organization. A notable exception being mail they originally produced themselves, such as Business Reply Mail or bill payment envelopes. Much of the inbound mail comes into the mail room as single pieces. Large quantities come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and weights. Bags and tubs of letters, postcards, newspapers, magazines, flats, and parcels arrive daily. Another distinction of incoming mail is the address block. Inbound addresses may be hand-written or printed with fonts or color contrast difficult for some cameras to capture. The addresses may appear anywhere on the front or back sides of the mailpieces. The biggest challenge with processing incoming mail though, is lack of information. Incoming mailpieces don’t always give the mailroom enough details to identify where to deliver the mail. Employee names may be missing or outdated, or mail drop locations are omitted. The addresses were good enough for the postal service to deliver to the company, but lack the specificity necessary to pinpoint the correct recipients. Even if employee-level details are present, they aren’t necessarily up to date. Company employees don’t always inform people outside the company when they move to a different office, assume a new position, or leave the company. The mailroom can’t assume an address appearing on a mailpiece is 100% correct. All this disparity in the incoming mail leads many organizations to rely on human mail sorters to read and interpret the mailpieces, compare what they see to what they know about the organization’s sites, departments, and employees, and assign mailpieces to courier routes. Technology to the Rescue Camera technology and computer processing speeds and capacities have allowed innovative companies like Tritek Technologies to develop inbound mail processing solutions that can perform nearly all the functions of human mail sorters. Our solutions process mail quickly, leaving more time for the mailroom staff to handle their other duties. On Tritek machines, cameras capture images and extract data from the mailpieces. Then our proprietary rules engine uses that information to determine who should receive each piece, where employees are located, and which courier route serves their workplace. Intelligent Tritek machines distribute the mail into bins representing courier routes or storage locations. The Tritek Advantage Our machines can handle the inbound sorting tasks efficiently because of two important features that distinguish Tritek from other mail handling equipment. The first is our data capture capability. Our machines find and read address blocks on either side of the mailpiece, in any orientation. We can capture printed data and handwritten information and do it all at lightning quick speed. Our cameras also capture additional information from the mailpiece, such as the sender’s return address, which helps us match the mailpiece with the correct recipient. We archive an image of the mailpiece, which is important for chain of custody documentation. The second advantage is the Tritek Editor software. This is the essential part of the solution that allows the machine to match mail addressed to Jane Smith, Mary Jane Smith, and J. Smith to the correct Ms. Smith in the accounting department. If she has left the company, the rules will route Jane’s mail to her replacement. The rules engine reduces the mailroom’s reliance on employee knowledge and written notes to deliver the mail. The Tritek Rules Editor software is highly configurable, and therefore a powerful and effective tool. Machines lacking the rules engine rely on simple OCR capture. Without considering context, that equipment cannot route the mail accurately. The Tritek machines process all these complex rules in a very short time and deposit the mail in the proper sort bins at top speed. Organizations benefit by implementing automated inbound mail equipment and software. Tritek’s advanced technology makes it possible to design and build inbound sorting equipment for organizations of all sizes. When the mailroom swiftly delivers mail to the right place it makes the whole business run more efficiently. Companies can profit by processing payments sooner, responding to customer inquiries faster, or allowing themselves more time to respond to bid requests or other business opportunities.
The best way to save money on mailing is lowering your postage costs. Mailers realize savings by taking advantage of workshare postage discounts offered by the US Postal Service. As the name suggests, it involves work. You can outsource the task to a service provider or do the work yourself. How do you know which is the best approach? Mailers who present barcoded and sorted mail packaged for efficient distribution pay lower postage rates. The US Postal Service can efficiently transport properly prepared trays, sacks, or pallets of mail to USPS hubs and distribution centers without further handling. This saves the USPS money and they pass some of the savings along to the mailers in the form of postage discounts. The Outsourcing Model Many mailers earn postage discounts by contracting with a mail presort service provider. Outsourcing is a good choice for organizations with low or inconsistent mail volumes. Mailers address their envelopes, insert the contents, and add postage before turning their mail over to the service provider for barcoding and sorting. Presort service providers will dictate the postage rate at which mailers should meter their mail. The presort company will collect client mail every day according to an established schedule and transport it to their sorting facilities. Several factors determine the fees mail service providers charge their customers, including the volume and makeup of the mail. Low volume mailers, or those with low zip code density may pay a monthly or per-piece service charge to the presort vendors. Troublesome mail that causes sorting equipment to reject the mail because of data capture problems may trigger upcharge fees. If they don’t charge a handling fee, the presort service providers make money in rebates from the US Postal Service. Rebates depend on the difference in the rate applied by the mailers and the rate at which the presorter can qualify the mail by sorting, drop-shipping, or co-mingling mail from multiple mailers. Presort vendors may impose afternoon cutoff times to allow them time to pick up mail according to their established routes and return to their processing centers in time to comingle and sort the day’s mail. Any mail generated after the cutoff time must wait until the next mailing day or be deposited at the local post office at full postage rates by the mailers themselves. Delays can also occur after presort mailing vendors have mail in their possession. They may hold mail for a day to accumulate more volume and greater discounts. Some presort companies maintain multiple locations and ship their client’s mailpieces from one facility to another depending on the zip code distribution for the day’s mail. Extra transportation can cause pieces to enter the mailstream a day later than planned. Ideally vendors will notify clients when such delays occur. In-House Presorting Outsourcing mail to a presort service provider isn't always the best solution, however. An organization may have security concerns. They don't want the mail to flow through the hands of a third party before being entrusted to the Postal Service. Or, they want to run mail later into the day, beyond a deadline set by an outside presort company. Cost may also be a factor. With enough mail volume, a mailer may qualify for the lowest postage savings on their own, with no need to share the discount with a presort mail vendor. How do you know if in-house mail sorting is the right solution for you? That takes some careful research, analysis, and number-crunching. When weighing the decision about outsourcing or insourcing mail presort, it is critical to know your own mail. The best candidates for in-house mail sorting: Have a healthy understanding of the characteristics of their own mail Consistently mail to identical/similar lists Have tight delivery date requirements, preventing them from holding mail for a day or more Produce mail volumes sufficient to generate a positive ROI for their in-house sorting investment Have or can acquire in-house resources familiar with mail preparation requirements Have enough space in their facility to accommodate mail sorting machines Learn More About Tritek's Presort Solutions Which is Better-In-House or Outsource? Everyone wants to save money on outgoing mail. Barcoding and pre-sorting not only lowers postage costs, these steps can result in speedier and more predictable delivery times. Mail featuring Intelligent Mail barcodes (IMb’s) also allows mailers to track their mail and take advantage of other US Postal Service features and promotions. With the plethora of benefits associated with mail presorting, the only question for mailers is how to best qualify for the workshare discounts. Fortunately, Tritek builds a variety of equipment that helps organizations handle their own outbound (and inbound) mail. We offer machines that operate in small spaces. Our reading technology is the best in the business, allowing us to read, barcode, and sort mail other equipment will reject. Many of our customers leverage their machines for double-duty, acting as inbound mail sorters in the mornings and outbound sorters in the afternoons. The savings organizations realize by processing incoming mail more efficiently can help establish the ROI necessary for investing in an outbound mail sorting solution. Every operation is different. Contact the professionals at TriTek for an honest assessment of your mail sorting needs. We’ll analyze your mailings and tell you if an in-house sorting solution is the best way to achieve postage savings for your organization. Related Resources: How to Prevent High Postage Rates How You Can Use One Machine for all Mailing Operations