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Employee working in mail room.

How intelligent is your organization’s mail?

by Kris Heidecke
 

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 mail center, for instance. You could be a part of a multibillion dollar global company on the cutting edge of your field, but chances are good that your mail center 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?
Office space woman going through cubicles handing out mail
 

A new type of mail

After all, today's fast-paced business world requires 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 years to come.

 

The typical mail center doesn't work for most mobile workers. Indeed, most mail centers can be seen as the antithesis of the idea of portable information. But there's a better way, and it's called Intelligent Delivery. 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.
  • The Bonus: Actionable Analytics — At the end of the day, there are quantifiable advantages made possible by Intelligent Delivery. Companies that make it a part of how they do business have access to data that uncovers process improvement opportunities, enables better-informed business decisions, supports a more nimble organization and identifies an actionable road map to move from current state to desired state.
 

You could be a part of a multibillion 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 mail center that is no longer a bottleneck but a performance booster that can help you make more-informed business decisions. Moving to a process-driven 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.
  • Empower digital workspaces: Physical mail no longer meets the needs of most mobile workers. But Intelligent Delivery can take your mail mobile as well, so workers can access important 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 mail center, 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 few areas that business leaders haven't scoured, looking for ways to improve efficiency and cut costs. However, the mail center hasn't seen the same sort of overhaul as other departments have experienced in most organizations. Most mail centers 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?
 
Kris Heidecke
Kris Heidecke, Portfolio Marketing Manager — Services Marketing at Ricoh USA, Inc., is responsible for the outbound and inbound marketing activities for Ricoh's Workplace Productivity and Customer Communications Management & Mail portfolio of services. These include strategic messaging, implementing working standards, Voice of Customer (VoC) utilization and ongoing post-launch management of the services within each portfolio. Kris has held a variety of Managed Service operations leadership and services/product marketing roles throughout his 16-plus year career with Ricoh.