Guide to Increased Mail Productivity


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How to utilize modern postage solutions from to streamline business communications and improve overall mailing productivity.

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Guide to Increased Mail Productivity

  1. 1. How to ImproveMailing Productivity.A White Paper from Neopost Cut Costs Improve Productivity Communicate more effectively Manage the mail process©2012 Neopost Page 1
  2. 2. How to Improve Mailing Productivity | White Paper Contents Introduction. Why an efficient mailroom is important to your business. 03 Design & Efficiency. The importance of design and ergonomics to mailroom productivity. 04 Mail Preparation. Extending the benefits of automation beyond the mailroom. 05 Outgoing Mail. How to process outgoing mail more quickly. 07 Incoming Mail. How to speed up the opening and distribution of incoming mail. 09 Why Neopost. How Neopost can help you improve productivity throughout your business. 10...mail processingmust keep up withdigital workflows...Page 2 ©2012 Neopost
  3. 3. How to Improve Mailing Productivity | White PaperIntroductionMail is vital to the smooth running of any business and the speed andaccuracy with which invoices, contracts, statements, reminders, marketingmaterial and other business-critical mail is processed can have a major impacton everything from cash flow and new business generation to the quality of anorganisations relationships with customers, suppliers and employees.This is especially true today when most business activities rely on acombination of digital and paper-based information. In order to maximiseefficiency, mail processing must keep up and integrate with digital workflows:if it takes minutes to arrange a loan or take out insurance online, customerswont be prepared to wait days for the necessary paperwork to arrive.Bottlenecks and delaysOrganisations that rely on manual processes for the opening and distributionof post or for the processing of outgoing mail risk creating bottlenecks thatcould impair their competitiveness, reputation and profitability.Processing mail by hand is slow, expensive and an unwelcome distractionfor employees who might be co-opted to open the morning post or stuffenvelopes for marketing campaigns or invoice runs. It can also lead tomistakes and inaccuracies, from applying too much or too little postage toinserting the wrong letter in an envelope.Be more productiveAutomating mail processing can help businesses eradicate such inefficienciesand be more productive. Our research shows that even an entry-levelfolder-inserter can fill envelopes at least 13 times faster than by hand andan automatic letter opener can open 2,500 envelopes in less time than ittakes to open 38 manually. Combining letter opening with scanning anddigital distribution can bring even greater efficiency gains, while frankingmachines that weigh letters and automatically apply the correct postage in anuninterrupted process dramatically reduce the time needed to prepare bundles Automatingof mixed mail for postage. mail productionSolutions that make use of powerful software to streamline an entire processtake mailing efficiency to a higher level and enable users to personalise and processingand control communications in ways that would not be possible if done byhand. From automatically varying envelope insertions for each addressee can bring coststo selecting a distribution method (post, email or fax) to suit customerspreferences, modern mailing solutions are a necessary complement to savings...effective communication strategies.Automating mail production and processing can bring costs savings throughreduced manpower and more efficient mailing choices (see our white paperon How to cut the cost of postal communications). The potential productivitygains are equally significant – arguably even more so, as they can have a bigimpact on efficiency across all areas of a business.©2012 Neopost Page 3
  4. 4. How to Improve Mailing Productivity | White Paper Designing an efficient mail process In order to maximise the productivity benefits of any investment in mailing technology, it is essential to have a thorough knowledge of existing mail processes within your business. Who sends mail, when, in what volumes and from where? Are there peaks and troughs at certain times of the day? Do mail volumes fluctuate in line with invoicing schedules, marketing programmes or seasonal demand? How much time is spent filling envelopes? How important is personalisation/confidentiality? How much mail is received and how is it distributed? How do you cope with periods of peak demand? Do other employees help out to avoid bottlenecks and what impact does this have on their productivity? Answering these and other questions will help identify areas where efficiency can be improved by changing a process or installing new equipment. Automating manual processes. Look out for manual processes (e.g. opening mail, stuffing envelopes or collating content) that can be automated to save time or free employees up for more productive tasks. Integrated Solutions. Consider whether separate tasks can be is essential so that mail flows from one stage to another in an uninterrupted process. Could you combine letter opening, content extraction and document scanning/to have a distribution in a single production line; or link folding inserting, envelope printing and franking? Most modern mailing equipment can be linked togetherthorough to create integrated solutions that take up less space and are more productiveknowledge of than separate units. Applying software. Software offers further scope for integration. Can youexisting mail speed up the processing of incoming post by scanning letters and distributing them electronically? Or increase the impact of marketing campaigns byprocesses within implementing output management software to personalise customeryour business. communications? Centralisation. Is there an opportunity to improve productivity by centralising mailing operations and output management, for example by replacing several smaller and slower machines in multiple locations with a larger machine in a central position? Mailroom Design A separate consideration that also has a bearing on productivity is mailroom design. Mail processes are repetitive and have considerable scope for human error, so it is important to provide specialist furniture and space planning to ensure staff can operate effectively during peak periods. The positioning and design of tables, benches, sorting units and mailing equipment is critical for process efficiency and staff productivity. Installing the right furniture is not just a question of optimising workflows: modern, ergonomic fittings and seating can improve operator comfort and morale and have a beneficial effect on overall performance levels.Page 4 ©2012 Neopost
  5. 5. How to Improve Mailing Productivity | White PaperMail PreparationMail preparation is a critical part of the mailing process. The number of stagesinvolved – document design, printing, addressing, insertion and pre-sorting –means that it can be time-consuming and complex, especially for businesses thatrely on manual processes. Failure to make the most of technology to automatemail preparation will not just impair productivity, but also competitiveness. Inparticular, it makes it impossible to deliver the levels of personalisation demandedby customers, from customised mailings to a choice of communication channel.For businesses that do embrace mailing technology, todays solutions offerenormous scope to enhance the effectiveness of postal communications and theproductivity of mailing processes.Software SolutionsAddressing Software. Ensuring that addresses in databases are accurate,complete and properly formatted helps eliminate the waste and expense ofundeliverable or duplicated mailings and is essential in order to qualify for RoyalMail discounts. For businesses that print return addresses on envelopes, accurateaddressing will cut the amount of time needed to deal with undeliverable returns.Output Management Software. Users can streamline the printing andpreparation of mailings through the use of output management softwarelike Neopost PrintMachine™ or the entry-level OMS-100 solution. As well asautomating mail processing (see below), output management software maximisesthe productivity benefits of folder inserters by encoding letters with optical marksor barcodes that specify what insert(s) to include with each letter. Sensors on thefolder inserters read the marks and adjust insertions accordingly. In this way, thesoftware makes it possible to implement fully automated, personalised mailings.Other ways in which output management software can simplify and speed up thecreation, production and despatch of printed communications include the abilityto: n esign and save forms that can be printed-on-demand on office laser d printers; n reate a uniform format for common print jobs such as invoices, payslips, c statements etc.; n tore/archive electronic images of printed documents so that they can be s viewed by customer service staff and other employees; n atch print items so that you only have to enter printing parameters/ b properties once; n re-sort and group documents automatically by envelope size, postage type p or postcode to reduce the need for time-consuming manual sorting, saving 30-60 seconds per item; n enerate all required postal documentation, reports and postage statements; g and n group together documents to the same address in a single envelope.Some solutions also have parallel printing so that a print job can be sharedbetween several printers and output more quickly.©2012 Neopost Page 5
  6. 6. How to Improve Mailing Productivity | White Paper Business Machines Folder inserters. Versatile folder inserters automatically fold and insert documents into envelopes at least 13 times faster than by hand. Our experience shows that an office worker can stuff approximately 100 envelopes per hour by hand, compared to 1,350 on an entry-level machine. As you move up the range and insertion tasks become more complex, the Folder inserters are productivity benefits of automation are even greater: easy to use the most sophisticated models can insert up to 12,000 envelopes an hour and have multiple feed stations allowing a variety of documents, leaflets, reply paid envelopes, even booklets and CDs to be inserted. Associated software solutions let you personalise the types of insert sent to each customer. Envelope Printers. Dedicated high speed envelope printers that print addresses and marketing messages in colour directly onto envelopes are a productive alternative to the use of labels and pre-printed envelopes in large mailings. Print speeds of up to 39,000 envelopes per hour and an inaccurate addressing detection feature let you get more done, more accurately in a limited period. The ability to print envelopes on demand removes the need to manage, order and hold pre-printed envelopes: just load blank envelopes and start printing – its that easy. CASE STUDY Standardising on Neopost OMF International sends missionaries to support Christian movements in East Asia. With a turnover in excess of £4 million in gifts and legacies, the non-profit organisation has a 33-strong team based in the UK.“...we have The mailroom at OMF International processes around 10,000 items of outgoing mail a month including glossy papers, leaflets and flyers of variable sizes, whichgreatly benefited are folded and inserted into C5 and DL envelopes before saving the When its old folder inserter leased from another supplier started jamming, OMF International began to look for a new machine. Mailroom Co-ordinator Simonamount of time Tucker considered a number of possibilities before choosing a DS-70.required to Now installed in the mailroom, the powerful yet compact DS-70 Folder Inserter with MaxiFeeder provides efficient, uninterrupted operation.process volumes Recurring machine jams are a thing of the past. You can turn your back on theof outgoing mail.” DS-70 and it keeps working! The greatest appeal of the system is the flexibility it offers to insert and fold a vast array of document types, explains Simon. We have saved ourselves a whole days work by switching to Neopost. Our previous machine kept jamming and was unable to cope with the types of document we process everyday in our mailroom. This meant we had manually to fold a lot of documents”. He adds: “With Neopost, we have greatly benefited by saving the amount of time required to process volumes of outgoing mail. This has undoubtedly had a positive impact on our mailroom operations and created greater efficiency within the organisation.Page 6 ©2012 Neopost
  7. 7. How to Improve Mailing Productivity | White PaperOutgoing MailFaster processing of outgoing mail has the potential to drive new business,enhance cash flow and improve customer satisfaction. The ability to processstacks of outgoing mail more quickly also helps create a cleaner workingenvironment that could improve morale and efficiency.Franking machines. The ultimate labour-saving device for Royal Mailcustomers, a franking machine is the most important investment you can maketo improve mailing productivity. As well as giving access to Royal Mail discountsfor franked mail (see Neoposts How to cut the cost of postal communicationsWhite Paper), a franking machine reduces the time it takes to get post out of thedoor and on its way to your customers.Franking machines automate several key steps in a logical, linear sequence thatis considerably faster and more accurate than disjointed manual processes,including weighing, franking and sealing envelopes. With fully integrated RoyalMail pricing, franking machines automatically calculate the right postage from theweight and size of the item and the postal service selected.Higher end models maximise throughput with conveyor belts and in-line weighingscales that create a single joined-up workflow with the ability to process mixedbatches on the fly. If necessary, franking machines can be linked to otherequipment, such as folder inserters, in a fully integrated mailing production line. The IS-6000 high volume franking machineModern machines feature all the time-saving features of digital technologyincluding touch-screen displays; one-touch access to saved settings for regularjobs; network connectivity for remote management; and detailed accounting andusage reports. The latest Smart franking machines also provide VAT accountingmaking it easy for businesses to reclaim VAT paid on retail mail services.Clearly, the more mail a business sends out, the greater the efficiency savings,but even businesses with low mail volumes can save time and effort with afranking machine. Having one removes the need to queue at a Post Office tobuy stamps, as franking machines can be re-credited with postage online 24/7.Network connectivity also allows remote maintenance, online supplies orderingand automatic tariff updates as postal rate changes are introduced.©2012 Neopost Page 7
  8. 8. How to Improve Mailing Productivity | White Paper Mail accounting software. Postal expenditure is another area that can be made more efficient through the use of technology. The ability to consolidate data from franking machines in multiple locations makes it quick and easy for managers to monitor usage across an entire organisation. Using software monitoring and reporting instead of paper forms simplifies administration and management. CASE STUDY Greater efficiency at the Royal Borough of Greenwich The Royal Borough of Greenwich recently amalgamated three postrooms from around the borough into one central facility. Serving seven directorates and managing every aspect of the Councils incoming and outgoing post, the Woolwich postroom handles an average of 20,000 items per day. To cope with such a high workload, the Council needed a new franking machine, as Financial Support Service Manager Sue King explains: “The previous franking machine was nearing the end of its life, it didn’t offer all the services we required and wasn’t fast enough to cope with the volume of mail we needed to process. It also had a nasty habit of missing the occasional envelope, so...the Woolwich required a lot of supervision throughout the process.”postroom Financial Support Services Team Leader Vicki Cook, who oversees the day-to- day running of the post room, assisted Sue in the search for a new machine.handles an Together, they assessed products from three suppliers before settling on Neopost’s IS-6000 high volume mailing system.average of A mixed mail feeder makes it possible for envelopes of various sizes and20,000 items formats to be loaded together, then by simply pressing start the IS-6000 will automatically weigh, seal and frank envelopes at a rate of 260 letters perper day. minute. The IS-6000 also gives users the ability to add additional items as the machine is running, decreasing the number of stops and starts and increasing productivity. Another useful time-saver, says Sue, is simplified cost management. “The IS-6000 mailing system offers lots of features that we haven’t had access to before such as bar coding and electronic reporting. We needed to be sure that any new machine could accommodate all our mailing needs, whilst also providing a facility to manage costs so we could recharge various teams and directorates correctly. Bar coding has really helped us to manage this part of the costing process.” Vicki adds: “The IS-6000 has saved us a lot of man hours through its higher level of reliability. Before, on big jobs, we could have a situation where one or two people would have to be at the machine for up to three hours to supervise it and make sure it didn’t miss any envelopes.” In addition to its productivity benefits, the IS-6000 has provided the Council with cost savings through compliance with Royal Mail discount schemes and cheaper consumables.Page 8 ©2012 Neopost
  9. 9. How to Improve Mailing Productivity | White PaperIncoming MailLetter openers and scanners that create digital images of incoming post allowmail to be distributed to employees more quickly helping organisations improvecash flow by processing sales orders and payments more quickly; enhancecustomer service by ensuring that staff quickly receive enquiries and complaints;and boost business efficiency by enabling general correspondence to be dealtwith more quickly.Letter openers. An essential time-saver, letter openers can open mixedmail 60 times faster than by hand.The most productive machines canopen 10 envelopes a second or up to45,000 per hour without damagingthe contents. Even small, portablemodels can open mixed mail atspeeds of 300 envelopes per minute.Entry-level models slit the envelopeon one side and an operator is stillneeded to remove the contents,but mid- to high-end machines cancut an envelope on three sides andautomatically extract any inserts. Theaddition of an optional conveyor beltthat delivers letters to staff for sortingand electro-mechanical sensors that check an envelope is empty take automation Easy and quickto a higher level. For maximum efficiency, letter openers can be integrated into extractiona complete system with a conveyor belt that runs past one or more operatorsallowing them to date stamp letters and place them in sorting trays from a sittingposition. Opening and delivery speeds are controlled by optical sensors triggeredby sorting staff.Mail and document digitisation. A growing number of organisations are takingincoming mail processing to the next stage by incorporating document scanningat the letter opening stage. Creating digital images of opened letters and routingthem to recipients electronically has many benefits: it speeds up distribution sothat employees can respond to mail more quickly; reduces the amount of paperflowing around a business; minimises the scope for human error; creates anaudit trail; gives shared access to documents; removes barriers between paperand electronic documents; streamlines document retrieval; and reduces hardcopy storage requirements. As more businesses adopt electronic workflows toimprove customer service, speed up business processes and reduce their carbonfootprint, it makes sense to digitise documents as soon as they enter a company.Doing so reduces the time taken to deliver mail to recipients and improves theproductivity of knowledge workers by giving them access to the documents theyneed at the click of a button, while relieving them of the burden of scanning atthe workstation.Specialist Applications. In addition to products for processing daily mail,businesses can take advantage of a number of additional solutions designed toimprove the processing of exceptional items, including deliveries from couriers(see overleaf).©2012 Neopost Page 9
  10. 10. How to Improve Mailing Productivity | White Paper Parcel tracking. Mail doesnt just enter a business through the mailroom; nor does it only arrive at regular delivery times. Packages are also delivered by courier – often to reception areas. Organisations that receive large numbers of such deliveries face a real challenge in keeping track of their whereabouts and arranging delivery to recipients who may be off-site. Software that tracks a package from the point at which it is received to delivery to the addressee removes much of the uncertainty and guesswork from this process. Once a package is dropped off, it is scanned and an email notification sent to the recipient. Such systems can also be used to track other items around an office, such as files, supplies and business equipment. CASE STUDY Homeserve opens mail 33% faster with Neopost letter openers Insurance company Homeserve has cut the time taken to open the 7,500 items of mail it receives each day by one third after replacing its old letter openers with three Neopost IM-75s that open envelopes and extract the contents in a single process. As a result of using the three IM-75s, we can process our incoming mail 33% faster equating to a saving of over £35,000 per year, explains Data Processing Manager Josie Bates. Homeserve had been using a basic letter opener to open general correspondence, applications and renewals. Once the envelopes had been slit open on one side, general correspondence (500 envelopes per day) was passed to 12 staff in the main office who manually extracted the contents for scanning. The remaining 7,000 insurance applications and renewals were processed at a rate of 300 items per hour. In total, mailroom and office staff took 30 man hours a day to process 7,500 envelopes at a cost of £4,428 per month. The three IM-75s have reduced the time staff spend processing general correspondence and speeded up the processing of applications to 700 items an hours, saving 10 man hours a day or 200 hours a month. WHY NEOPOST? Neopost is Europe’s number one supplier of mailing solutions, with annual sales of €1 billion in 2011. Its products and services are sold in more than 90 countries, and the Group has become a key player in the markets for mailroom equipment and logistics solutions. Neopost supplies advanced solutions for franking, folding/inserting, addressing, logistics management and traceability, as well as a full range of services, including consultancy, maintenance and finance. Its product range meets the needs of all mail users, from micro-businesses to the largest enterprises and public sector organisations, and covers the three main areas of mailroom activity: Incoming Mail; Mail Preparation; and Outgoing Mail. Neopost products are designed to work together and can be integrated into complete mail processing systems that address the specific needs of individual customers.Page 10 ©2012 Neopost
  11. 11. How to Improve Mailing Productivity | White PaperMail PreparationAddress Management. Neopost Bulk Mailer is a complete address managementsolution that can increase mail deliverability by cleaning address databases andmaximise Royal Mail discounts by sorting post in the right way and generatingrequired documentation, reports and postage statements.Output Management. Neopost has two solutions for automating documentproduction, distribution and dispatch, the entry-level OMS-100 for non-technicalusers and PrintMachine for larger volume applications. Both automaticallyprocess mailings to minimise manual sorting, for example by batch printing andgrouping documents destined for the same address in the same envelope. Otheruseful features include the ability to print OMR marks and barcodes that encodeinstructions for other processes, such as folding and inserting. The intelligencethese marks add to documents ensures accurate mailings (essential forconfidential information), facilitates varied content by addressee and simplifiesprocessing of returned mail.Folding and Inserting Machines. Neoposts DS range of Folder Insertersincludes models to suit any size business, from the desktop DS-35, with aninsertion speed of up to 1,350 envelopes per hour, to the DS-1200 that can fill upto 12,000 envelopes per hour and handle inserts from flyers and business replyenvelopes to thick booklets and CDs.Outgoing MailFranking Machines. Neoposts IS series of franking machines ranges from theentry-level AutoStamp2 with integrated weighing scale and LAN connectivity tothe IS-6000 with mixed mail feeding, dynamic scale, power conveyor and fullcolour touch-screen.Mail Accounting. Neopost Mail Accounting Software is the next step up from afranking machines built-in accounting features. The software collects and reportson data from multiple machines in multiple locations. As well as tracking allpostal expenditure, it lets you set budgets and will send out alerts if expenditureexceeds limits.Incoming MailLetter openers. Neoposts five-strong IM series ranges from the desktop IM-16, with opening speeds of 300 letters per minute, to the IM-75, which opensenvelopes and extracts the contents.Document Scanners. Neopost mail extraction systems can be enhanced withdocument scanners and software solutions that scan, archive and distributeincoming documents electronically. These include Neoposts IMW-20 all-in-onedocument management system featuring a duplex colour scanner, interactivetouchscreen, workflow management software and embedded archiving server forthe rapid retrieval of stored documents.Mail tracking. neoTrak automated parcel receiving software tracks packagesfrom drop-off at the post room or reception to delivery to a named recipient.neoTrak can also track files, equipment, office supplies, computers and otherequipment around a building.What Next?To find out how Neopost can help you cut mailing costs, please call us on0800 731 1334.©2012 Neopost Page 11
  12. 12. How to Improve Mailing Productivity | White PaperNeopost HouseSouth StreetRomfordEssexRM1 2ARTel: 0800 731 1334Fax: 01708 12 ©2012 Neopost