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How to Implement a Digital Mailroom

Every business wants to do more with less in these uncertain economic times.

Implementing a digital mailroom solution is one way that businesses can streamline their back-office processes and reduce the time and effort required to perform routine tasks.

This article details the benefits of a digital mailroom solution and shows how to implement one.

What is a digital mailroom solution?

A digital mailroom solution automates the receipt, processing, and distribution of customer correspondence, supplier invoices, contracts, and other documents that arrive via postal mail.

Digital mailroom solutions convert documents that arrive via mail into an electronic format.  Some digital mailroom solutions also receive digital copies of mail such as scanned documents, emails, documents sent as PDF attachments to emails, FTP uploads, and web or mobile forms.

Digitized documents are centrally stored in a cloud repository or document management system, making information instantly available to authorized users at any time, from any location.

Digital mailroom solutions use advanced technologies such as document scanners, optical character recognition (OCR), artificial intelligence (AI) with machine learning, and cloud-native technology to convert paper documents into electronic format and route them to downstream systems or processes.

Top mailroom challenges

Mail management is critical to a company’s daily operations.

Inefficiencies in the way that a business manages the documents that arrive via the mail can drive up costs, negatively impact its customer service, and increase the risk of fraud or compliance issues.

But managing mail can be labor-intensive, time-consuming, error-prone, and risky.  The higher the volume of mail, the greater the complexity and the bigger the challenge for most businesses.

Here are the top mailroom challenges that businesses of all sizes face:

  • Inefficiency. Manually sorting, processing, and distributing mail bogs staff down.  Staff wastes lots of time keying data, shuffling paper, and chasing down information.  All these manual mailroom tasks inevitably lead to errors that create headaches for staff downstream.
  • Cost. It costs a lot of money to manually sort, process, and route documents that arrive in the mail and to store paper documents in file cabinets, cardboard boxes, and with third parties.
  • Poor visibility. Manual processes make it hard to know what documents have been received through the mail, where documents stand in the process, and to who documents should be sent.  Poor visibility makes it hard to keep processes moving or respond to customer inquiries.
  • Poor communication. Slow distribution of documents to downstream systems and processes can result in missed deadlines and make it hard for stakeholders to collaborate.
  • Risk. It’s hard to control sensitive information that arrives via the mail.  Mishandled or stolen information can result in financial losses, fines, penalties, and reputational damage.

These are some of the reasons that more businesses are evaluating digital mailroom solutions.

How to implement a digital mailroom

Implementing a digital mailroom requires careful planning and execution.  Here are proven steps that a business can follow to help ensure that their digital mailroom project delivers optimal benefits.

  • Step 1: Assess where you stand. Evaluate the way paper and electronic mail is currently sorted, processed, and routed to understand the time and resources spent on mailroom operations, identify areas that need improvement, and uncover bottlenecks in your process.
  • Step 2: Define your requirements. Determine the requirements for your digital mailroom solution.  Consider the volume and complexity of documents that the mailroom receives, the systems that must receive documents, and your goals for automating mailroom management.  Also, think about any sensitive information you receive that will need to be safeguarded.
  • Step 3: Look for the right technology partner. Choosing the right digital mailroom solutions provider is crucial to the success of your project.  Give extra weight to solutions providers with features and functions that match your needs, a proven track record in digital mailroom solutions, and the cost, adaptability, and scalability of the provider’s solution.  Find a partner with high-production scanners that can easily convert paper into electronic format.
  • Step 4: Create a project plan. Don’t leave anything to chance with your automation project.  Collaborate with stakeholders to establish a project timeline, layout milestones, assign responsibilities, and identify resources required for each step of the project and any dependencies.  Be sure the project plan addresses the implementation of both hardware and software.  And don’t forget to develop a plan for training employees on the new system.
  • Step 5: Measure and adjust. Continuously track the status of your project, measure progress against your objectives, solicit user and stakeholder feedback, and set up a way to quickly address any issues or bottlenecks.  Designate a person to periodically report back to senior management on the success of the project.  And be sure to consider how new staff will be trained on the system and how system upgrades or adjustments will be managed.

Following these steps will help a business successfully implement a digital mailroom solution that meets its requirements and improves mailroom operations, enhances service, and mitigates risk.

Benefits of a digital mailroom solution

Successfully implementing a digital mailroom solution can pay big dividends for a business.

  • Efficiency. Digital mailroom solutions eliminate the manual sorting, processing and routing of documents that arrive via the mail and emails and other documents received electronically.
  • Reduced cost. Digital mailroom solutions eliminate the need for physical document storage.  Documents are centrally stored in a repository or document management system.
  • Transparency. Digital mailroom solutions provide real-time visibility into the status of documents received via the mail and electronically, from the moment they are received.
  • Enhanced collaboration. Stakeholders can collaborate on documents from any location.
  • Security. Digital mailroom solutions reduce the risk of fraud and compliance issues through access permissions, a chain of custody assurance, and logging of actions taken on a document.

These benefits are hard to achieve without a successful approach to implementation.

Optimize your mailroom management

A digital mailroom solution is an efficient way to manage incoming mail, enhance the service a business provides its customers, and mitigate the risk of fraud and compliance issues.  Manually sorting, processing and routing paper and electronic documents is time-consuming and can lead to lost documents, which can result in severe consequences.  By following the implementation steps described in this article, a business can ensure that its digital mailroom project is a huge success.

To learn more about our digital mailroom solutions, contact us today.

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