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
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
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.
Inbound parcel processing has always been a task handled by mailrooms in corporate environments, universities, and large residential communities. Once the mailroom accepts a package, they assume the responsibility for the security and status of the material until they deliver it to the rightful addressee. While the volume of incoming packages was already on the rise, the surge in online shopping spurred by the Corona virus outbreak has resulted in even more packages arriving in mailroom facilities. The typical response to an increased workload has been to add staff to carry out parcel sorting and distribution duties. This approach has drawbacks. Besides the expense connected with adding more employees, this solution increases the opportunity for error. Manually identifying recipients and routing parcels to the proper locations frequently relies on the knowledge and experience of the mail clerks. As the staff grows, the expertise is diluted. New employees will make mistakes. Over the last few years organizations have experienced an uptick in package deliveries. With no one at home during the day, employees thwart porch pirates by shipping their purchases to their work addresses. Retailers or carriers may notify buyers of delivery, but getting parcels to the recipients becomes the responsibility of the mailroom. Mailrooms in even relatively small organizations are liable for the condition and status of hundreds or even thousands of packages. An automated solution is in order. Speed Up Parcel Processing Automated incoming parcel handling systems offer several benefits: Tracking – Package recipients get better information about when their parcels will be delivered or can make plans to retrieve them. Tracking also provides metrics about how the organization handles packages internally and can be used to improve operations. Speed – Automated sorting systems can trim hours from the handling and distribution tasks every day. Customers get their packages sooner. Consistency – Staffing challenges like vacations, stay-at-home orders, or illnesses won’t affect the mailroom’s ability to distribute incoming parcels. Accuracy – Eliminate errors introduced by hand-sorting which speeds delivery, lowers costs, and improves customer satisfaction. Accountability – In some instances, such as in law firms, finance, and healthcare, maintaining a chain of custody for materials the organization receives is important. An automated system for inbound parcel handling allows companies to document the handling and movement of the parcels. They can replace the paper and ink method common in most small to medium-size firms. Inbound mail, especially parcels, presents challenges for automated solutions. The packages come in all shapes, weights, and sizes with no standards for address label placement, orientation, or formats. Tritek’s small footprint Tritek Parcel Sorter handles packages with dimensions from 4 inches to 15 inches. Parcels may weigh up to 50 pounds and the sorter will still read, track, and sort the packages to the delivery bin hampers. Our proven scanning technology locates and reads the address information anywhere on the package. Guidelines established in the user-controlled Tritek rules engine ensures each parcel is handled as intended. Challenges in handling incoming parcels are not likely to subside. As more transactions for physical goods are conducted online, tracking shipments becomes critical. By adding a parcel sorting and distribution system to their mail centers, organizations can bring automation to this area they have historically neglected. With better tracking and control, mailrooms can fill the gap between the time common carriers deliver packages to the mailroom and when the mailroom employees deliver packages to the addressees with current and accurate information. View Related Articles: Use One Machine for all Mailing Operations The Changing Role of Corporate Mailrooms The Future of Mailroom Automation
As states and other jurisdictions seek ways to ensure elections are secure and accurate, they are considering vote-by-mail as an alternative to the cost and perceived risk exposure associated with electronic voting machines and in-person polling places. Four states (Oregon, Washington, Colorado, and Hawaii) have legislated all elections be conducted by mail. Twenty-one other states allow vote-by-mail in certain counties or for specific elections. Vote-by-mail has advantages, but how to handle the incoming ballots in a secure and accurate manner, while swiftly processing large volumes is a challenge jurisdictions must address as they consider making such a move. Chosen equipment must be reliable. Machine breakdowns on election day are problematic. The solution must also provide assurances of accuracy to allow lawmakers to switch to a vote-by-mail election process with confidence. Voters casting ballots by mail mark their ballots, place them in secrecy envelopes, and then in outside mailing envelopes. Voters sign affidavits on the outside envelope to confirm their identities and affirm they have legally cast their votes. Then they drop their ballots in the mail before the election deadline. Advantages for Voters, Election Officials, Civic Participation Interest in vote-by-mail is growing. Voters like not having to rearrange their work days or finding transportation or child care on election day. They can avoid standing in long lines to exercise their voting rights. Different from absentee ballots that often require voters meet certain criteria to qualify, vote-by-mail elections are open to all registered voters. Election officials are looking for cost savings. Many states anticipate capital expenses to replace voting machines that lack auditable paper trails. Switching to mail-in ballots, which furnish their own paper trail, may be less expensive than investing in electronic voting machines that will eventually be obsolete. Savings opportunities exist. Colorado trimmed an average of 40% from election administration costs after switching to vote-by-mail. Elections held by mail also affect citizen participation. Some evidence suggests the convenience of vote-by-mail improves voter turnout. In the 2018 mid-term elections, voter turnout in full vote-by-mail states was 10% higher than the national average. Vote-by-mail also seems to boost down-ballot engagement. Local politicians benefit from voters who would otherwise only complete their ballots for national and state-wide races. Some researchers suggest vote-by-mail encourages voters to be more informed. Citizens have time to research issues and candidates after ballots arrive in the mail and before they send them back to be counted. Go With a Proven Solution Jurisdictions contemplating a vote-by-mail solution must address how they will verify and count large volumes of paper ballots when they arrive at election headquarters. Election officials must be sure their solutions include signature validation, duplicate detection, and other quality control and fraud prevention features. Tritek offers custom-designed processing systems for any volume of ballots and any required applications. The systems support seamless integration with all US states’ database software vendors and features processing speeds up to 15,000 per hour for any size or shaped ballots. Additionally, Tritek’s Correct Elect inbound ballot processing equipment can include mobile machines and the ability to fit into any facility’s space. Tritek equipment is fully configurable. Additional features and sort bins can be added at any time. Many states and counties are considering vote-by-mail as an alternative to replacing electronic voting machines. Hacking and intrusion attempts, particularly when their voting machines do not include reliable auditing or paper trails, concern government election officials. With Tritek Correct Elect, jurisdictions can switch to vote-by-mail with confidence they have selected a trustworthy field-tested solution.