Last spring when the COVID-19 pandemic began to take hold on a global scale, nearly 50% of organizations reported that 81% or more of their employees were working remotely (according to Gartner research). A follow-up survey found that 80% of leaders plan to allow employees to work remotely at least part of the time after the pandemic, and 47% will allow employees to work from home full-time.
Impact on the back office
While these statistics are not surprising, this sudden (and ongoing) shift to a work-at-home workforce has many organizations scrambling to keep up with some of the everyday back-office functions that have always worked seamlessly. One of these critical functions is managing the common business mail that is received at a company’s corporate or regional locations each day — often upwards of 10,000+ pieces of mail or more per month.
Organizations have had to quickly adjust to meet these challenges and implement a band-aid approach to solving the problem. Whether it’s a legal notice that requires a timely response, a complaint letter from a customer, payments sent to the corporate office in error, or any sort of documentation that must be received in a timely fashion, the significant delays that result when physical mailrooms are paired with “virtual” mail recipients can have costly and serious consequences.
A virtual workforce thrives on digital mail solutions
We’ve heard from several of our clients about the many challenges they’ve experienced with managing common business mail since the start of the pandemic. In industries such as retail, manufacturing, healthcare, insurance financial services, utilities, transportation and telecom, there may be sophisticated technology and process innovation when it comes to the back office — yet modernizing the mailroom, specifically, has not been a key imperative.
In today’s “new normal,” companies are increasingly looking at ways to automate their legacy mailrooms and transform their business. Here are five key reasons to get that transition in process right now.
1) Streamlined mail distribution: In our pervasively digital-enabled world, it’s easy to forget that physical mail is still very important to business operations. Turning that mail into digital content whenever possible gets important letters, notices, contractual documents and other mail where it needs to go quickly. Allowing recipients to customize their delivery methods helps ensure that engaged users pay close attention to their incoming mail and respond or take action in a more timely and effective manner.
2) Better access and sharing of data: It’s a fact that digital content is much easier to share with required parties. It also enables business stakeholders to easily route important documents through an organization using the proper chain of custody, greatly improving business processes and communication efficiency.
3) Lower costs: Implementing a digital mailroom solution has many cost benefits such as reducing or even eliminating staff and office space, as well as reduced shipping costs from bundling and bulk-shipping envelopes to employee homes or other offsite locations.
4) Business continuity: Less reliance on physical operations ensures that more mail can be delivered without disruption during times of crisis, pandemic or natural disaster.
5) A more connected enterprise: Overall, a digital mailroom can help organizations share data more quickly and feed it into other systems. For example, if a customer payment is accidentally mailed to a corporate address, it can be quickly digitized and routed to the accounting department for processing. Legal notices or insurance documentation can be reviewed quickly and processed straight into relevant systems and databases without skipping a beat.
Defining your path forward
If your organization is relying mostly on physical mailrooms and traditional distribution of mail, you have likely experienced challenges over the past year. But defining your path forward — and whether or not to digitize your mailroom operations — requires a considered approach. No matter how you structure your mailroom resources, automation of key processes and data is crucial to moving your business forward in a world that is forever changed.
If you’d like to discuss your digitization and workflow automation needs, contact us anytime. For more information on Conduent’s Digital Mailroom Solution, visit us online.
About the AuthorMore Content by Partha Bose