Digital Mailroom Benefits: Why You Should Consider a Digital Mailroom
If your organization is overwhelmed by the amount of incoming mail and documents it must handle, it is not alone. The way that most organizations receive, process, sort, distribute, and archive the contracts, invoices, correspondence, and other documents they receive is inefficient and ineffective.
Businesses lose between 20 percent and 30 percent of their annual revenue due to inefficient mailroom processes, according to research conducted by IDC. In fact, the average business spends $10 to manually process a single piece of mail, McKinsey found in another study.
That’s why more organizations are modernizing their operations with digital mailroom technology.
In this article, we explore why businesses should consider deploying a digital mailroom solution.
The biggest mailroom challenges
Few back-office tasks are as burdensome as manually handling incoming mail and documents.
- Cost. Labor expenses and paper-related costs such as printing, postage, and physical storage can add up fast. What’s more, these costs rise as an organization’s mail volume grows.
- Inefficiency. Handling incoming mail and documents bogs back-office staff down by keying data, shuffling paper and emails, chasing down information, and fixing errors and mistakes.
- Delays. In a manual environment, the onus is on back-office staff to physically route mail and documents to the appropriate individual or department. It’s not uncommon for documents to become lost, misplaced, or misfiled. Misrouted documents can result in delays getting data into a customer relationship management system and other enterprise systems. Sixty percent of businesses have experienced mail-related delays that have impacted their customer service, according to the Association for Intelligent Document Processing.
- Inadequate visibility. Paper processes make it difficult to know where mail stands in the process. And retrieving documents from filing cabinets is time consuming and error prone.
- High risk of data breaches. Manual mailroom processes make it difficult to prevent customer details, financial information, and other sensitive data from becoming lost or falling into the wrong hands. Forty percent of businesses have experienced data breaches or security incidents related to their mailroom processes, per Nuance Communications.
These are some of the reasons that more organizations are deploying digital mailroom solutions.
What is a digital mailroom solution?
Digital mailroom solutions automate and simplify the receipt, processing, sorting, distribution, and storage of applications, sales orders, payments, agreements, and other incoming mail and documents.
Digital mailroom solutions can process paper and electronic mail and documents.
Here’s how a digital mailroom works:
- Receipt. Electronic documents are received via email, fax, mobile application, and file transfer. Physical documents arrive via U.S. Postal Service to an organization’s mailroom.
- Scanning. Physical documents are converted into digital images. Some digital mailroom solutions use high-speed scanners that can process different types of documents comingled.
- Sorting. Documents are digitally sorted by type for further processing and routing.
- Extraction. Digital mailroom solutions use optical character recognition (OCR), barcode recognition, artificial intelligence (AI), and other capture technologies to extract customer or supplier information, due dates, amounts, and other relevant data from mail and documents.
- Distribution. Mail and documents are digitally routed to the appropriate individual or department based on pre-configured business rules such as the type of document.
- Integration. Incoming mail and documents can be exported directly to an enterprise content management (ECM) solution, customer relationship management (CRM) platform, enterprise resource planning (ERP) application, or other legacy system across the organization.
- Archive and retrieval. Documents and data are digitally stored in a centralized cloud repository and can be instantly retrieved by authorized individuals from any location.
- Security. Digital mailroom solutions use data encryption, access controls, and other security features to safeguard sensitive information and ensure compliance with laws and regulations.
These features transform the way that organizations handle incoming mail and documents.
What are the benefits of a digital mailroom solution?
Digital mailroom solutions offer numerous benefits to organizations of all sizes.
- Cost savings. Eliminating manual tasks, physical document storage and retrieval, and paper-related expenses such as printing and mailing can significantly reduce back-office costs.
- Improved efficiency. Automating manual data entry and other repetitive tasks frees back-office staff to focus more time on fulfilling, higher-value activities such as customer service. And digital mailroom solutions can scale easily to handle increasing volumes of mail and documents as an organization grows – typically, without the need to hire additional staff.
- Faster cycle times. Automating the processing, sorting, and routing of incoming mail speeds the delivery of documents to their intended recipients and to downstream systems.
- Fewer errors. Typos, transposed numbers, misfiled documents, and other errors are inevitable whenever manual intervention is involved. By automating the handling of incoming mail and documents, digital mailroom solutions reduce the risk of human error.
- Increased customer responsiveness. Digital mailroom solutions make it easy to respond quickly to customer inquiries. Authorized users can effortlessly share details and collaborate with other stakeholders and instantly access information stored in a centralized archive. Users don’t have to call customers back until they can chase down information.
- Reduced risk of compliance issues and fraud. Digital mailroom solutions use access controls, encryption, audit trails, and centralized archives to ensure that sensitive information such as patient details remains secure and compliance with data protection regulations.
- Environmental sustainability. Digitizing the handling of incoming mail and documents reduces an organization’s carbon footprint associated with paper production and disposal.
- Disaster recovery and business continuity. In the event of a disaster or other disruption to back-office operations, archived documents remain intact and can be recovered instantly.
While any organization can benefit from a digital mailroom, the technology is especially valuable for fast-growing organizations or those that handle high volumes of incoming mail and documents.
What types of organizations can use a digital mailroom?
Digital mailroom solutions can benefit a wide range of organizations. But here are some examples of the types of organizations that can benefit the most from adopting the technology.
- Multinational corporations. The higher the volume of incoming mail and documents that an organization handles, the more it can benefit from the efficiency and automation offered by a digital mailroom solution. For instance, digital mailroom solutions make it easy for stakeholders across geographically dispersed departments and locations to collaborate.
- Remote teams. A digital mailroom ensures that remote staff can access and collaborate on documents regardless of their physical location, improving communication and productivity.
- Government agencies. Digital mailroom solutions help agencies streamline bureaucratic processes, improve information sharing, and respond faster to constituent requests.
- Financial institutions. Digital mailroom solutions help banks, insurers, and other financial institutions improve customer responsiveness, and enhance security for financial information.
- Healthcare providers. Digital mailroom solutions help hospitals, clinics, and healthcare facilities handle patient records, insurance documents, and medical reports.
- Law firms. Law firms deal with vast amounts of paperwork, including legal contracts, court filings, and correspondence. A digital mailroom can help organize and manage legal documents, improve collaboration among legal teams, and speed up the discovery process.
- Real estate companies. A digital mailroom can help real estate companies streamline document processing, improve client communication, and share information with agents.
- Logistics companies. A digital mailroom solution can help optimize logistics companies better manage their shipping documents, invoices, and supplier communications.
- Educational institutions. Schools, colleges, and universities can use a digital mailroom solution to streamline and centralize the management of student records, applications, and loan documents, improve student services, and enhance administrative workflows.
- Nonprofit organizations. Automating the handling of donations, correspondence, and other incoming mail and documents helps nonprofit organizations streamline donor communications, enhance fundraising efforts, and improve overall organizational efficiency.
Any organization that handles a significant amount of incoming mail and documents is likely to find a digital mailroom solution beneficial. It’s for this reason that digital transformation is accelerating.
Automating the handling of incoming mail and documents with a digital mailroom solution empowers organizations to optimize their back-office processes, drive efficiency, and enhance data security and customer satisfaction. Digitizing the mailroom is no longer an option but a necessity for organizations that want to achieve sustainable growth, success, and competitive advantage.