Corporate and campus mail centers are continually challenged to deliver mail to the correct recipients even as they change jobs within the organization, move to a new building, relocate, or are replaced when they leave for other opportunities. The work-from-home workplace model and other changes brought about by the pandemic have made these tasks even more frequent and problematic. Traditionally, companies have informally tracked employee moves and changes using sticky notes, a 3-ring binder, or mail center employee memories. Temporary and permanent staff shortages and increased worker mobility now make manual methods of re-directing mail risky. Fortunately, user-friendly technology reduces errors and improves productivity by automatically creating new address labels and re-directing mail to a recipient’s current location according to pre-established business rules. The benefit is three-fold: Mail center employees spend less time processing inbound mail. The organization lessens its reliance on tribal knowledge. Remote employees receive their mail faster and with less chance of mis-delivery. The Mail Forwarding Dilemma Digital mail seemingly solves the problem of mail forwarding to remote or relocated employees. See this video about Tritek’s Oasis digital mail delivery solution. With digital delivery, mail center staff opens employee mail, scans it, and then forwards PDFs to the addressee’s email. Digital mail has its place and offers a certain level of convenience. It creates a digital archive of all incoming mail. However, many companies do not want mail center staff opening and scanning everyone’s mail. This practice could reveal confidential or protected information to unauthorized parties. Tritek’s 2-step digital mail delivery option lowers the risk of unintentional privacy breaches, but forwarding unopened mail is a better solution in some situations. Hardcopies with wet signatures are a part of doing business in many industries like legal, healthcare, and insurance. Forwarding these documents unopened to the intended recipient is a sound business practice that documents the chain of custody for critical communications. Rules governing the disposition of specific documents may make physically re-routing certain mailpieces the only choice open to some organizations. Fiduciary documents, for instance, may require delivery to a corporate address, not the home of an employee. Digital Mail Delivery Solutions Why This is Happening Now The remote employee phenomenon was well underway when the COVID pandemic occurred. Video conferencing was already in place by several vendors, territorial salespeople had worked from home for decades, and real-time workgroup software was common. COVID just made the inevitable shift in work processes happen faster and on a grander scale. Manual mail forwarding worked for many organizations for many years. Eventually though, they would have adopted a standardized mail forwarding technology to improve efficiency and reduce the chance of error. COVID made the technology adoption more urgent. Technology Finds Nomadic Employees The good news is that employees working at home or at another office will not miss out on their mail. A mail processing workstation and intuitive software make mail forwarding simple. You may never touch a keyboard or a mouse in the process. This is how it works: Incoming mail is separated into two bins: One for delivery to on-site employees and one for remote employees. Further sorting may take place after the initial “rough sort.” A mail piece for a remote employee is placed under a scanner. The name and address are scanned. Mail forwarding software determines the forwarding address by referencing an up-to-date database of corporate address changes. A mailing label is produced with the forwarding address and placed over the existing address. If an employee is receiving many pieces of mail in various formats, such as #10 envelopes, postcards, and folded self-mailers, accumulate them and mail everything in one envelope. This saves considerable postage over forwarding each piece separately. The mail forwarding software standardizes addresses to USPS specifications to speed delivery and reduce the chance of mishandling. Mail arriving at the recipient’s current address could be delayed by as little as one day, depending on internal processing and the final destination. Putting it into Practice Since 1988, Tritek has engineered patented, field-proven mailroom automation and document imaging solutions to improve productivity and mailroom efficiency. The Tritek Mobile ACE workstation and Mail Forwarding System assures an organization their employees will receive important documents, even if the employee has moved to a new location. See this short demonstration video of The ACE Mail Forwarding System, which joins Tritek’s growing family of mail center automation solutions. Our lineup includes inbound mail sorting, imaging and archiving of mailed documents, parcel sorting, and the industry-leading Correct Elect Vote-By-Mail technology. Tritek’s clients include Fortune 500 companies, government, educational institutions, financial services, healthcare, insurance, and fulfillment. Learn More About Digital Mail Delivery Start Giving Employees Mail How They Want It Why Your Business Benefits From Digital Mail Delivery Keep Up With Work from Home Employee Mail Delivery Digitally Deliver Incoming Mail
Is your corporate mail center ready to enter the digital age? Most organizations are considering it. Those that are implementing digital mail delivery are looking to reduce costs and increase efficiency. It is necessary for a dispersed workforce. But some organizations are slow to adapt. Perhaps digitization seems too complicated or too expensive, but that’s not the case. Any organization with a dispersed workforce, which now includes a lot more companies than pre-COVID, should probably consider the benefits of a digital mail system to handle incoming mail. What is Digital Mail Delivery? Digital mail delivery is a postal mail and scanning process that converts incoming paper mail into digital form. A digital mail system delivers mail to addressees electronically. Digital delivery solutions create a digital record of each incoming mail piece, and track the progress, history, and delivery methods. Employees receive e-mails with links to the images of the physical mail pieces. Organizations can digitize mail and automate indexing, classification, and distribution. Establishing Business Rules The worst of the pandemic may be behind us, or further challenges could be ahead. Regardless, processes that businesses changed in response to COVID remain in place today. As the health threat came on fast, no organization had a Plan B to get hard copy documents to transient employees. Today, companies are dealing with postal mail and parcels intended for employees that will stay remote, but those methods were conceived in times of crisis. They were not meant to be permanent solutions. It is time to update the mail center procedure manual. Write formal business rules to ensure consistency and avoid misunderstandings. Document how to sort the mail and parcels. Determine the criteria to open some items while others stay sealed. Decide when to forward some mail and shelve others. Set the standards for recycling vs. delivering. Procedure updates require input from managers in many departments, not just mail professionals. Confirm that everyone agrees about how and when the mail center handles mail and parcels for on-site and remote employees. These documented standards, updated to address new business processes, are helpful regardless of whether or not an organization adopts digital mail delivery. What Probably Cannot be Digital Some documents may never be converted to digital delivery. This includes formal documents requiring a wet signature and anything that changes the trajectory of a business. Certified Mail, Registered Mail, and confidential items are examples of mail not opened by staff but delivered to the addressee as-is. Benefits of Digital Mail Digital mail allows users to receive an immediate notification of an arriving document. Employees can examine the document before walking or driving to the mail center to retrieve the physical piece or waiting for the mail to be delivered to them. Digital mail improves the management of high-value and time-sensitive mail Employees on the other side of town or the other side of the planet receive mail just like employees on-site. Digital mail reduces labor By delivering only the mail employees must have in physical form, organizations can reduce the number of couriers and routes. Digital mail is trackable Digital mail systems send a confirmation e-mail when an employee picks up their mail, thus closing the custody loop. Digital mail improves efficiency A worker on the 17th floor or at home can decide if the mail piece they just viewed on their computer is worth visiting the mail center on the 1st floor. They can reply with a message to hold for pick up or to recycle. Doing Digital Mail The main hardware ingredient for a digital mail center is a scanner. Because of diversity in mailpiece sizes, shapes, thickness, and orientation, mail centers intent on a do-it-yourself solution rely on labor intensive flat-bed scanners. A team member must place items in the scanner by hand and determine the distribution of the image. Mail center staffers send notifications to the employees to inform them they have received postal mail. Specialized solutions for handling incoming mail make digital mail delivery workable. Systems like Tritek’s Oasis solution are built to take most of the manual and decision-making tasks out of the hands of mail center employees. According to your business rules, Oasis can separate important mail from not-so-important correspondence, locate the printed address block, and notify employees about their mail. Employees can then decide if the mail should be opened and scanned, delivered to them in physical form, or discarded. These are exactly the features mail centers need when dealing with incoming mail addressed to a widely distributed workforce. Making changes in the mail center isn’t easy. It’s not usually on the top of the list when organizations consider strategic advances. But companies that believe digital mail delivery isn’t for them are putting their employees at a disadvantage. Without a digital mail delivery solution, everything takes longer to do. Employees are always waiting for old-fashioned physical mail delivery or a home-grown solution to get them the information they need to do their jobs. Customer experience will suffer when delays that could be avoided are built into the workflow. This is a good time to decide how corporate mail centers can best serve their organizations by permanently addressing the significant organizational changes most companies have undergone. Digital mail delivery is in the future for many organizations.
The Corona virus caused companies to change how they conduct business, and analysts predict some of those changes may be permanent. Much has been written about the adjustments employees made to attend meetings via Zoom or other online solutions, but what about the physical documents that fuel important business processes? How will work from home (WFH) employees get access to those paper communications that continue to arrive at corporate mail centers? When health experts are discouraging physical contact that can spread the virus, do you really want extra traffic in the mail center from remote employees coming in to pick up their mail? Is sending company couriers out to deliver mail throughout a large campus a good idea? What if addressees aren’t in the office? How long will mail sit in their in-boxes before the employees know it’s there? Temporary Solutions In the short term, customers will accept slower service from companies that rely on paper documents. Companies can set up temporary measures to get critical mail to the employees, even if it slows productivity. Consumers know the pandemic-forced business shutdown is affecting everyone. Many organizations are struggling to keep business functioning as their workforce suddenly became 100% remote. As the health threat lingers however, customers will expect organizations to get a better handle on how to conduct business in this challenging environment. And, if companies transition permanently to a WFH model, they will need to solve the problem of how to get critical paper documents to the employees who need those materials to do their jobs. This is an issue that didn’t exist when workers received hard copy documents delivered to cubicles by the corporate mailroom twice a day. Because of the Corona virus and changing corporate attitudes about a distributed work force, a fresh way of thinking about mail delivery is in order. Technology solved the staff meeting challenge with easy access to video conferencing platforms. Uniting mailed documents with WFH employees will also require some technology investments. Mail Forwarding Services The tough part about forwarding incoming mail is deciding about the disposition of each mailpiece. The mail center should forward some mail as unopened physical documents, open and scan certain pieces, and shred other mail without forwarding to anyone. An enterprise can set up rules about forwarding incoming mail, but exceptions will always exist. Often, only the addressee can decide how to handle a mailpiece. No mail center wants to mis-direct sensitive mail or send important documents to the shredder! In a large corporation or a university that receives thousands of mailpieces every day, the only answer to the mail forwarding challenge is using technology to speed delivery and reduce human intervention. An institution may already have inbound mail sorting equipment, but when the workforce is scattered as it is today, they need more capabilities. First, set up the incoming mail rules. Typical everyday mailpieces like bill payments, for example, are easily identified and the destination for the mailpieces is clearly defined. Mail addressed to individual employees, however, probably require their evaluation before the mail center can take action. The employee should be able to view images of unopened mailpieces and decide if the piece should be trashed, forwarded to them, or opened and scanned. In-house or Outsource? Technology developed by Tritek can scan and record images of mail regardless of size and shape. Our user-friendly rules engine captures data from scanned images and uses that information to route the images to the addressees. If employees have left the company or changed jobs, the system can route the scanned images to their replacements. For some organizations, installing and operating the scanning and sorting equipment is the right answer. They need to establish and maintain control over the mailpieces from the moment they arrive in the corporate mail center. Tritek’s Digital Email Delivery Solution includes our versatile feeding, scanning, and sorting equipment paired with the Tritek rules engine. The system notifies employees, delivers mailpiece images via email, and allows employees to decide how to handle each piece. Tritek’s equipment labels each piece with a time stamp, assigns a unique ID number, and logs the activity. In other cases, an outsource arrangement makes more sense. With this solution, the outsource company picks up their client’s inbound mail every business day and runs the Tritek systems that handle the scanning, forwarding, and employee notification tasks as a service. Tritek Technologies operates such outsource mail forwarding service bureaus in selected cities in the United States. WFH Employees Need Modern Tools The work-from-home transition has forced organizations to re-think how they operate. The pandemic made it impossible to continue business as usual. Workflows that depend on daily delivery of physical documents are one of those areas likely to change as companies abandon the centralized office model. Technology like video conferencing, VPN’s, and digital mail forwarding will play important parts in the transition.