Ricoh - outsourcing the digital mailroom

Mailroom outsourcing: Its benefits, and the path to efficiency


We share some considerations for a digital mailroom and how to find the right partner.

Read time: 6 minutes

Years ago, the mailroom was generally regarded as a “cost of doing business." Times change.

Today, that mindset can put your company at a significant disadvantage. Enterprise leaders now recognize the many benefits of optimizing communications and reducing manual mail handling processes. Mailroom outsourcing is one way to do this. 

And enterprises that outsource their mailrooms have seen benefits including: 

  • Greater employee productivity

  • Enhanced customer experiences

  • Increased communication and mail delivery to employees anywhere

Moving to an outsourced mailroom may sound daunting. The good news is that you don't have to go at it alone. 

In fact, with the right partner, you’re likely to get a more flexible, scalable solution than what you have with an in-house solution.

When you entrust a partner who's able to focus on best practices for correspondence and package handling — and one that can can responsively scale resources as needed — you will often get better results than you might see from an in-house solution.

The business benefits of mailroom outsourcing

Companies tend to view outsourcing as a way to optimize processes, improve quality, boost efficiency, and increase the speed of service. But there are other less obvious benefits as well. 

For example:

  • You get the benefit of up-to-date technology. As a mailroom specialist, your partner keeps their technology updated, ensuring you also always have the latest technology available to you.

  • Training. Your partner will work with your team to ensure new employees understand how to use, engage, and make the most of the services provided. It’s in everyone’s best interest.

  • Workflow improvements get everyone what they need. Today’s remote workforce can make getting mail delivered in a timely manner a challenge. A digitally-driven, outsourced mailroom ensures everyone has what they need, wherever they are working.

Other benefits of digitized mailrooms include:

  • Process optimization enables faster, more accurate deliveries and greater efficiency by simultaneously processing both paper and electronic mail.

  • Compliance can be more easily documented thanks to audit trails.

  • Operating costs can be reduced (fewer staff members needed to open, sort and process communications, lower costs associated with the distribution of correspondence, smaller “real estate" requirements without the need to store documents on the company network or in cabinet storage/office space).

  • Improved communications due to the ability to track items within other systems (this aspect is mission-critical in e-commerce to ensure customers are kept informed of where their item is throughout the fulfillment process).

  • More reliable delivery made possible by the timely and accurate automated scanning of documents and packages (fewer packages are inadvertently misplaced by being left on the desk of an employee who may not be back in the office for weeks).

  • Better-informed decision making enabled by the expedited notification of package and document arrival and delivery regardless of where the recipient is on any given day/time.

Issues with return mail?

Break down common return mail misperceptions and see how actionable data helps elevate customer experience in our eBook, "Shifting Perspectives: Why it's time to look at your mail center as a strategic player."

View eBook

Don't send an analog mail center to do a digital job

One of the bigger challenges of relying on outdated mailroom setups and processes is that they offer analog services in a digital world, one that almost mandates the competitive advantages provided by analytics and efficient data management. Legacy mail centers that still rely on staff to process communications run the risks typically associated with human error. And while it may seem cost-prohibitive to modernize an entire communications system at once, outsourcing puts those benefits within reach — without having to incur the cost of substantial hardware and software upgrades.

Digital mail centers have been designed to accommodate the evolving nature of work: whether that means using personal devices while waiting at the airport, logging in from the dining room table, or occupying a flexible space used by workers who only need an office on special occasions. Wherever the day takes your employees, your mail and business communications should follow. Ideally, digital communications such as emails and more tangible correspondence such as packages all need to be viewable from one single source.

Sounds perfect, right? Here's what that modern mail center might look like:

Automated inbound mail and delivery allows you to receive mail and act on it regardless of physical location. Employees can access secured digital mailboxes from their mobile devices and take immediate action on each item. In addition, that automated system is capable of maintaining a digital record for each incoming mail piece (thereby supporting accountability and compliance). And mail analytics made possible by the automated communications processing help you improve mail management and information flow by providing insights into the types of mail your organization receives and how each type is handled. This digitization of correspondence is a vital step in helping your organization build a solid foundation that will be capable of supporting digital transformation efforts over the years to come.

If your company elects to have communications handled in an offsite location, a back-office services and BPO partner can establish a PO box where paper documents can be redirected; traveling employees who might receive notification of an incoming package could then ask the offsite location to hold the package until they were able to retrieve it.

Regardless of whether each communication originated as a hard copy or digital version, files may be ingested and then automatically sorted by document type, permitting valuable information to be extracted and saved with little human interaction. The automated route helps ensure greater accuracy, saves processing time and automatically images, codes and indexes useful information, eventually making it more searchable by employees who may later need to retrieve and reference it.

By outsourcing your digital mailroom, you also have the opportunity to help mitigate the compliance and security risks sometimes associated with paper documents and manual workflows. In this day and age, your digital data should be accessible to those who need it, but that doesn't mean it has to be more vulnerable. Look for security features like password-protected access, version tracking, backup and recovery, antivirus and 24/7 protection. In addition – especially if you are in financial technology, healthcare or other industries with heightened data security needs – you'll want to ensure the BPO vendor under consideration has in-depth knowledge of compliance requirements for your business and industry so they can help you develop and implement a comprehensive compliance plan.

Ultimately, an increasingly mobile world of work is here to stay, and making sure your digital mail center can get communications to your employees — when and where they need them — isn't a luxury, it's a requirement to survive in today's hyper-competitive market. It's time to explore a digital solution with the power to convert a cost center into a value-added service.

By outsourcing the digital mailroom, you create opportunities to realize a number of far-reaching benefits: greater security and documented compliance, actionable analytics, improved productivity, and a more consistent, seamless customer experience. And that's a step in the right direction toward helping to future-proof your company for whatever comes next.

For campus mail services, a hybrid mail solution combines physical and digital communications for efficient mail management.

Have questions or want to learn more about outsourcing and scaling your mailroom operations?

Frequently asked questions

Recommended for you

Modernize your mailroom
Modernize your mailroom

Modernize your mailroom

Mailroom automation extracts data, digitizes docs and speeds up processing using intelligent systems for greater access, compliance and savings.

Information governance solutions
Information governance solutions

Information governance solutions

Information governance services, including policies and procedures, help you ensure data is managed, secured, shared and measured effectively.

Philadelphia Eagles tackle information management
Philadelphia Eagles tackle information management

Philadelphia Eagles tackle information management

Ricoh provides data security: employee records, financials, player medical records, game-time call sheets and draft picks.