Let’s face it, paper mail is a slow, outdated, and error-prone way to communicate. For businesses who receive a high volume of mail each day, keeping up with the avalanche of incoming communications can be expensive.
The costs associated with hiring staff, setting up a dedicated workspace, and purchasing the equipment required to process mail can add up fast.
However, in many cases, eliminating paper mail from your business processes entirely can be impractical, or impossible.
Organizations looking to streamline the flow of mail into the business and improve operational efficiency should consider the numerous benefits of leveraging a digital mailroom service.
What is a digital mailroom?
Also known as mailroom automation, a digital mailroom eliminates the need for internal mail processing and routing by outsourcing the sorting, scanning, and electronic distribution of your physical mail to a third party.
Information is extracted from inbound paper mail via OCR, which is then converted into structured data that can be freely distributed across the the business to members of your team, greatly improving the speed in which mail based communications can be processed.
Mailroom automation ensures that incoming mail correspondence is processed and distributed the moment it arrives, regardless of where it enters the organization.
How does mailroom automation work?
Mailroom automation is incredibly simple. The entire process can be summarized into 4 simple steps.
Step 1. The business will update its primary mailing address with vendors and customers to a forwarding address provided by a third party mail processing company.
Step 2. All future mail is delivered to the mail processing facility, where it is immediately sorted and categorized based on specific criteria outlined by the business.
- Important documents, packages, or time-sensitive mail is immediately forwarded to the responsible party or to a specific address designated by the business.
- Correspondence designated as solicitation or “junk mail” is marked for destruction and securely shredded without opening.
Step 3. The remaining mail is then digitized. Each piece of mail is individually scanned and converted into a digital file, usually a PDF or TIFF. Important information is extracted from each document and made available for searching by text.
Step 4. The digitized mail is either delivered to a secure repository of your choice, uploaded to a secure FTP, or added directly into the document management system of the business’s choosing.
For a more detailed look at how this process works, see our complete mailroom automation process diagram below:
What are the advantages of a digital mailroom?
No matter what type of industry you’re operating in, outsourcing your mail processing with digital mailroom services offers huge cost and time-saving benefits including:
- Improve the efficiency of your mail processing pipeline.
- Lower your processing costs per item of mail.
- Reduce staff and/or manual labor associated with sorting and distributing mail internally.
- Improvements to responsiveness and the quality of customer communications.
- Reclaim valuable office space that was previously occupied by your mail processing staff.
- Eliminate the need for satellite mail rooms and overly complicated mail distribution.
- Distribute mail easily and share instantly with remote team members.
- Mail passes through fewer hands, offering a boost to data security.
- Create an electronic audit trail for incoming communications.
- Gain actionable insights into business processes and enhance monitoring capabilities
Process mail more efficiently.
With digital mailroom services, your business is able to take advantage of the latest scanning technologies, software, and sorting equipment without having to purchase it for yourselves.
You’ll get access to the most efficient and well designed systems for quickly and efficiently sorting and digitizing mail, along with highly trained staff members to operate the equipment.
This combination of expertise and high end equipment is likely more efficient than almost anything your business can cook up on its own.
Reduce the cost of processing mail.
Mailroom automation is one of the best ways to reduce the expenses associated with processing mail. That’s because with a digital mailroom, you’ll be able to process mail more quickly for less money by simply automating many of the most tedious mail related tasks.
Virtual mail gives small businesses and startups everything they need to manage any volume of mail, without ever needing to hire additional mailroom staff.
Reduce staff and manual labor.
Eliminating the manual labor associated with sorting and distributing mail to your team is a great way to reallocate talent to where it can be truly useful for your business.
By outsourcing the sorting, capture, and routing of your mail, your employees will have more time to spend on more useful business-centric tasks.
Respond more quickly to customers and vendors.
When customers have questions or concerns, they expect quick responses. Mailroom automation can help you distribute mail more quickly throughout your organization, especially when you have departments that operate out of separate locations.
Distributing your mail digitally generally means that incoming correspondence gets where it needs to go more quickly. Invoices, customer inquiries, and legal documents can all be delivered digitally directly to the relevant department, ensuring timely responses and faster turnaround times.
Plus, these departments receive physical and digital mail all in one place, making it easier to stay on top of their communications.
Reclaim valuable office space.
Limited space is a common challenge for many businesses. Office space is expensive, which is why it is important to utilize the space you do have as efficiently as you can.
Operating an in-house mailroom can occupy space better used for more important purposes, and add to your overall mail processing costs.
A virtual mailroom on the other hand eliminates the need to allocate physical space for processing mail altogether. Your mail is handled off site and delivered to your team digitally, so you can use your office space more wisely.
Eliminate satellite mailrooms.
For large businesses, mail distribution can become overly complicated pretty quickly. And complication creates inefficiency and unnecessary errors.
Spreading your mail operations out over multiple locations makes it difficult to optimize your processes and can even cause delays and slowdowns in mail delivery.
A digital mailroom allow your business to consolidate your mail processes into one ultra efficient mail processing pipeline. Receive, digitize, and deliver all of your mail from one location.
Distribute mail easily and share instantly with remote team members.
Digital files can be distributed to your team via email, secure FTP, or uploaded directly into the electronic document management system of your choice, making it easy to share mail with members of your team, regardless of their location. Capture inbound documents from every source and make them available to your team members instantly.
Improve the security of your mail.
With a digital mailroom service, your mail passes between fewer hands along the path of delivery, which can help to ensure your mail stays secure and protected. Once digitized, your mail can be secured with password protection, encryption, or any other security features your business deems fit.
Create an electronic audit trail.
Digitizing your incoming communications creates an electronic audit trail that can later be used to track and record every piece of mail from the very moment it enters your organization. Record every interaction with your digital mail automatically, meet regulatory compliance requirements, and maintain a secure chain of custody over your sensitive mail.
Gain actionable insights.
Digital mailroom services enhance your mail monitoring capabilities, providing you with an overview of all the mail entering your organization, including insights that can help drive key business decisions.
Bonus: No more junk mail.
Filter emails based on rules set by your business before it even arrives, ensuring your employees spend less time opening junk mail and solicitations. Control what happens to your mail with a few clicks of your mouse.
What comes next?
If you’re ready to automate your mailroom with a digital mailroom service, SecureScan can help. We’ll eliminate your mail headaches once and for all by providing you with a fully automated, fully staffed mail scanning pipeline capable of handling anything you can throw at it. Every member of our team is trained in HIPAA compliant document handling, and our processes and technology ensure your mail is handled with care during every step of the process. Get in touch with us today for more information, or click here to get a free quote.