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Employee working in mail room.

How intelligent is your organization’s mail?

by Endré Jarraux Walls
 

Today’s workplace bears little resemblance to the office of 30 years ago. 

From smartphones to tablets and powerful laptop computers, an ever-evolving series of technologies have revolutionized the ways we work, communicate and collaborate. But the reach of those technologies doesn’t always extend into every part of your organization.

Take the mailroom, for instance. You could be a part of a multi-billion dollar global company on the cutting edge of your field, but chances are good that your mailroom is running the same type of operation that it did back in the '80s: manually gathering, sorting and distributing thousands of pieces of physical mail. Prioritization is rare, if it happens at all, so critical time-sensitive information is often delivered at the same speed as junk mail. It’s time-consuming, costly, and prone to backups and errors.

So why haven’t things changed? 
 
Mailing parcels
 

A new type of mail

After all, today’s fast-paced business world is defined by information mobility—having anytime, anywhere access to your critical business information, in whatever format you need. Mobile workers, already a big part of modern organizations, will only become a larger share of the workforce in the coming years.

The typical mailroom doesn’t work for most mobile workers. Indeed, most mailrooms can be seen as the antithesis of the idea of information mobility. But there’s a better way, and it’s called intelligent mail. Here’s how it works


  • Step 1: Reception — Mail is received, same as before. This can be done either in-house, or by a third-party at an off-site location.
  • Step 2: Scanning and Extraction — Mail is opened, scanned and digitized immediately when it’s received. This centralizes and accelerates the capture of all information arriving in paper form to your organization.
  • Step 3: Routing — By using advanced capture software, key documents can be identified immediately and prioritized—invoices, contracts and the like. Information can then be delivered more quickly to the intended recipient, in a variety of formats, both digital and physical.
 

You could be a part of a multi-billion dollar global company on the cutting edge of your field, but chances are good that your mailroom is running the same type of operation that it did back in the '80s: manually gathering, sorting and distributing thousands of pieces of physical mail.

 

Reforming such a paper-intensive process isn’t a step to be taken lightly. But the benefits to your organization can be immense. Imagine a mailroom that is no longer a bottleneck but a performance booster that can help you make better business decisions. Moving to an intelligent mail system can help your organization:


  • Speed up processes: Paper can be slow and costly. Capturing this information earlier in the process allows you to centralize and automate many of the processes that are currently being done manually. This has the benefit of dramatically improving information flow within your organization.
  • Support information mobility: Physical mail isn’t meeting the needs of most mobile workers. But intelligent mail can take your mail mobile as well, so workers can access this information no matter where they are in the world, providing a boost to collaboration and productivity.
  • Stay in compliance: Considering the volume of mail that goes through the standard mailroom, it should be no surprise that compliance challenges could arise. And with paper-based manual processes, it can be difficult to search for information, retrieve the necessary files, and create an audit trail. A centralized hub for mail with easy-to-use search capabilities can make this a much simpler process.
 
The business world is driven by ROI, and there are very few areas that business leaders haven’t scoured, looking for ways to improve efficiency and cut costs. However, the mailroom hasn’t seen the same sort of overhaul as other departments have experienced in most organizations. Most mailrooms haven’t changed much in decades—it’s long past time for them to catch up with the rest of us in the new world of work. 

Digitize information for efficiency

Looking for ways to improve productivity and cut costs?
 
Endre Jarraux Walls
Endré Jarraux Walls is Practice Leader for the Ricoh USA, Inc. Enterprise Mobility Solutions Consulting Practice. A winner of the CIO award of excellence in 2013, Walls brings executive perspective to enterprise mobility program development and execution, mobile applications development, information security, cloud operations and program development. He has deep leadership experience in several industries, including healthcare and human services, telecommunications, hospitality, and hosted infrastructure providers