The sudden (and ongoing) shift to a work-at-home workforce over the past year and a half has left many organizations scrambling to keep up with some of the everyday back-office functions that previously worked seamlessly. One of these is managing the common business mail received at a company’s corporate or regional locations each day — often exceeding 10,000+ pieces of mail or more per month.
Organizations have had to quickly adjust to meet these challenges, sometimes implementing a band-aid approach to solving issues as they arise. Whether it’s a legal notice that requires a timely response, a complaint letter from a customer, payments sent to the corporate office in error, c-suite-level notifications, or any sort of documentation that must be received in a timely fashion — the significant delays that result when physical mailrooms are paired with “virtual” mail recipients can have costly and serious consequences.
Transitioning from a legacy mailroom to a digital solution
In industries such as retail, manufacturing, healthcare, insurance financial services, utilities, transportation and telecom, there may be sophisticated technology and process innovation when it comes to the back office — but modernizing the mailroom to manage common business mail, specifically, had not been prioritized. Fast forward one year, and that’s changed.
With the “new normal” of a work-at-home/remote workforce, companies are under new pressure to ensure their business can meet the needs of today’s increasingly remote workforce. The difficulty legacy mailrooms face in keeping pace with the volume, velocity and density of incoming information — and their ability to navigate the physical mail/virtual recipient landscape — has become more pronounced.
Here are five important reasons organizations decide to transition to digital mailroom solutions to handle their everyday business mail needs:
1. Streamlined mail distribution: Despite our digital-enabled world, a significant volume of physical mail is still a reality and, in many cases, critical to business operations. Turning physical mail into digital content whenever possible accelerates the delivery of important letters, notices, contractual documents and other mail. Allowing recipients to customize their “digital mailbox” helps ensure engaged users pay close attention to their incoming mail and respond or take action in a more timely and effective manner.
2. Faster, better access and data sharing: A digital document is much easier to share with required parties than a document that’s only in physical form — and it’s more searchable. With a digital document, a business stakeholder can easily route important documents through an organization using the proper chain of custody. Workflow rules can be built to automate manual processes such as creating distribution groups and work queues based on the document’s properties. All of this facilitates efficiency in business processes and communication.
3. Lower costs: Implementing a digital mailroom solution has many cost benefits such as reducing or even eliminating staff and office space, as well as reduced shipping costs from bundling and bulk-shipping mail to employee homes or other office locations.
4. Business continuity: Reduced reliance on physical operations ensures more mail can be delivered without disruption during times of crisis, pandemic or natural disaster.
5. A more connected enterprise: Overall, a digital mailroom can help organizations share data more quickly and feed it into other systems. For example, if a customer payment is accidentally mailed to a corporate address, it can be quickly digitized and routed to the accounting department for processing. Legal notices or insurance documentation can be swiftly reviewed and processed straight into relevant systems and databases without skipping a beat.
Defining your path forward
Organizations that rely mostly on physical mailrooms and traditional distribution of mail have experienced challenges over the past year. But defining a path forward — and how to transform mailroom operations — requires a considered approach. No matter how mailroom resources are structured, automation of key processes and unlocking data is crucial to moving your business forward in a world that is forever changed.
As the General Manager of Document Management and Automation at Conduent, Bill Nicholson is responsible for helping clients gain visibility, control and compliance with scanning, extraction and workflow automation of data through Conduent’s platform and intake facilities. He is a seasoned information and technology leader and joined Conduent from Fiserv, where he was the Chief Information Officer for their lending services division.