The Changing Role of Corporate Mailrooms

Man at white board changing direction
Written by Tritek Blog on August 16, 2022 in General

Recently, many businesses have determined that investing in mailroom equipment, software, and labor may not be in the best interest of the organization. This has prompted a renewed interest in outsourcing mail center operations. Several forces are at work. Declining mail volumes, a dispersed workforce, and labor shortages have contributed to the trend. At the same time, postage rates are escalating and rules for entering mail are increasingly complex. Moreover, mail center managers are being asked to support a level of hygiene that is virtually impossible when everything you touch comes from places and people you do not know.

Insurance companies are good at insurance. Real estate companies are good at real estate. Law firms are good at law. They are not experts in mail operations or USPS regulations. Mail service providers are experts in all things mail. Your goal when outsourcing mail processing is to find a provider that offers the breadth and depth of services necessary to support your organization.

The Big Picture
You do not need to be a postal expert to realize that the landscape of mailing has changed in the past 20 years. Just look in your mailbox. There is not much in there. Bills are sent and paid on the internet. While less effective, email advertising is cheaper than marketing mail. If mail centers are not sending much outbound mail and not receiving much inbound mail, you do not need much of a mail center.

Mail Centers Evolving to Small Parcel Centers
While mail is declining, parcel shipping is increasing. From 2015 to 2021, mail volume declined from 154 billion pieces per year to 129 billion pieces per year. During that time, the USPS’ revenues increased from $69 billion to $77 billion.1 The increase is attributed to parcel and Priority Mail shipping. It is plausible that parcel processing will be more significant than letters for corporate mail departments.

This is not the death knell of postal mail. 129 billion pieces must still be delivered. Many businesses will maintain a “service center” for shipping, copies, and office supplies. However, companies looking to optimize mail handling should consider handing off mail processing to a service provider.

Your Mail Center Does Not Have to Be Your Mail Center
Outsourcing involves just moving your mail center from your building to someone else’s building. Someone that knows the postal process and can provide a level of service to accomplish your goals. Service providers are vested in current technology to deliver benefits not usually found in corporate mail centers.

Biohazard Protection
As pathogens, viruses, and biohazards can be distributed through the mail stream, mail handlers find it necessary to institute safety measures and controls to evade these dangers. The Postal Service and OSHA guidelines recommend that mailroom operations have secondary engineering controls as a part of the daily workflow. Most corporate mail centers do not have these precautions. But service providers do.

Digital Email Delivery
Digital email delivery has been a viable technology for a decade, but its popularity has been limited. That is no longer the case. Remote work is the new normal, and teams without the right technology struggle to stay on top of their mail from home. Digital email delivery solves this predicament.

This is a simplified explanation of how digital mail delivery works:

  • The corporate mail center receives an envelope from a client addressed to Sally.
  • The mail center staff opens the envelope, extracts and scans the contents, and emails the information to Sally.
  • Sally opens the email on her phone or laptop, reads the letter, and responds.

It sounds easy, doesn’t it? Multiply this scenario by thousands of inbound letters every day. Clearly, mail centers would need technology beyond a mail opener and a scanner from the office supply store. The investment in technology and the implementation costs are beyond the scope of most corporate mail centers but digital delivery is within the reach of mail service providers. They can amortize the investment over several clients.

Returned Mail Management
The USPS returns outbound mail for several reasons, but the most common cause is inaccurate delivery addresses. The cost to a company is staggering. Experts estimate the operational cost at $25 per item.2 This does not include the “consequence cost.” When a bill sent to a client is returned because of an address error, the invoice remains unpaid until the biller corrects the address. Once corrected, the bill must be re-printed and remailed, and the remittance returned. What does that do to cash flow? Multiply that scenario by several thousand returned bills. That is the “consequence cost.” Mail service providers help with address correction and returned mail reduction.

Implementation
Since 1988, Tritek has engineered patented, field-proven mailroom automation and document imaging solutions to improve productivity and mailroom efficiency. Tritek’s expanding menu of mail services includes Biohazard Screening, Digital Email Delivery, Database Management, Returned Mail Processing, Inbound Mail, Presorted Mail, and Parcel Processing. Tritek’s clients include Fortune 500 companies, government, educational institutions, financial services, healthcare, insurance, and fulfillment.

Let us be your new mailroom.

 

1 https://facts.usps.com/table-facts/

2 https://mailingsystemstechnology.com/article-4640-Report-The-Cost-of-Returned-Mail.html