Guide to Increased Mail Productivity

How to Improve Mailing Productivity. A White Paper from Neopost Cut Costs Improve Productivity Communicate more effectively Manage the mail process ©2012 Neopost Page 1


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

Transcript of Guide to Increased Mail Productivity

Page 1: Guide to Increased Mail Productivity

How to Improve Mailing Productivity.A White Paper from Neopost

Cut Costs

Improve Productivity

Communicate more effectively

Manage the mail process

©2012 Neopost Page 1

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Page 2 ©2012 Neopost


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

How to Improve Mailing Productivity | White Paper

...mail processing

must keep up with

digital workflows...

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©2012 Neopost Page 3

How to Improve Mailing Productivity | White Paper

IntroductionMail is vital to the smooth running of any business and the speed and accuracy with which invoices, contracts, statements, reminders, marketing material and other business-critical mail is processed can have a major impact on everything from cash flow and new business generation to the quality of an organisation's relationships with customers, suppliers and employees.

This is especially true today when most business activities rely on a combination of digital and paper-based information. In order to maximise efficiency, mail processing must keep up and integrate with digital workflows: if it takes minutes to arrange a loan or take out insurance online, customers won't be prepared to wait days for the necessary paperwork to arrive.

Bottlenecks and delays Organisations that rely on manual processes for the opening and distribution of post or for the processing of outgoing mail risk creating bottlenecks that could impair their competitiveness, reputation and profitability.

Processing mail by hand is slow, expensive and an unwelcome distraction for employees who might be co-opted to open the morning post or stuff envelopes for marketing campaigns or invoice runs. It can also lead to mistakes and inaccuracies, from applying too much or too little postage to inserting the wrong letter in an envelope.

Be more productive Automating mail processing can help businesses eradicate such inefficiencies and be more productive. Our research shows that even an entry-level folder-inserter can fill envelopes at least 13 times faster than by hand and an automatic letter opener can open 2,500 envelopes in less time than it takes to open 38 manually. Combining letter opening with scanning and digital distribution can bring even greater efficiency gains, while franking machines that weigh letters and automatically apply the correct postage in an uninterrupted process dramatically reduce the time needed to prepare bundles of mixed mail for postage.

Solutions that make use of powerful software to streamline an entire process take mailing efficiency to a higher level and enable users to personalise and control communications in ways that would not be possible if done by hand. From automatically varying envelope insertions for each addressee to selecting a distribution method (post, email or fax) to suit customers' preferences, modern mailing solutions are a necessary complement to effective communication strategies.

Automating mail production and processing can bring costs savings through reduced manpower and more efficient mailing choices (see our white paper on How to cut the cost of postal communications). The potential productivity gains are equally significant – arguably even more so, as they can have a big impact on efficiency across all areas of a business.


mail production

and processing

can bring costs


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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 integrated so that mail flows from one stage to another in an uninterrupted process. Could you combine letter opening, content extraction and document scanning/distribution in a single production line; or link folding inserting, envelope printing and franking? Most modern mailing equipment can be linked together to create integrated solutions that take up less space and are more productive than separate units.

Applying software. Software offers further scope for integration. Can you speed up the processing of incoming post by scanning letters and distributing them electronically? Or increase the impact of marketing campaigns by implementing output management software to personalise customer 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 DesignA 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. is essential

to have a


knowledge of

existing mail

processes within

your business.

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How to Improve Mailing Productivity | White Paper

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How to Improve Mailing Productivity | White Paper

Mail PreparationMail preparation is a critical part of the mailing process. The number of stages involved – document design, printing, addressing, insertion and pre-sorting – means that it can be time-consuming and complex, especially for businesses that rely on manual processes. Failure to make the most of technology to automate mail preparation will not just impair productivity, but also competitiveness. In particular, it makes it impossible to deliver the levels of personalisation demanded by customers, from customised mailings to a choice of communication channel. For businesses that do embrace mailing technology, today's solutions offer enormous scope to enhance the effectiveness of postal communications and the productivity of mailing processes.

Software Solutions

Addressing Software. Ensuring that addresses in databases are accurate, complete and properly formatted helps eliminate the waste and expense of undeliverable or duplicated mailings and is essential in order to qualify for Royal Mail discounts. For businesses that print return addresses on envelopes, accurate addressing will cut the amount of time needed to deal with undeliverable returns.

Output Management Software. Users can streamline the printing and preparation of mailings through the use of output management software like Neopost PrintMachine™ or the entry-level OMS-100 solution. As well as automating mail processing (see below), output management software maximises the productivity benefits of folder inserters by encoding letters with optical marks or barcodes that specify what insert(s) to include with each letter. Sensors on the folder inserters read the marks and adjust insertions accordingly. In this way, the software makes it possible to implement fully automated, personalised mailings.

Other ways in which output management software can simplify and speed up the creation, production and despatch of printed communications include the ability to:

n design and save forms that can be printed-on-demand on office laser printers;

n create a uniform format for common print jobs such as invoices, payslips, statements etc.;

n store/archive electronic images of printed documents so that they can be viewed by customer service staff and other employees;

n batch print items so that you only have to enter printing parameters/properties once;

n pre-sort and group documents automatically by envelope size, postage type or postcode to reduce the need for time-consuming manual sorting, saving 30-60 seconds per item;

n generate all required postal documentation, reports and postage statements; 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 shared between several printers and output more quickly.

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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 productivity benefits of automation are even greater: 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 – it's that easy.


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.

The mailroom at OMF International processes around 10,000 items of outgoing mail a month including glossy papers, leaflets and flyers of variable sizes, which are folded and inserted into C5 and DL envelopes before franking.

When its old folder inserter leased from another supplier started jamming, OMF International began to look for a new machine. Mailroom Co-ordinator Simon Tucker considered a number of possibilities before choosing a DS-70.

Now installed in the mailroom, the powerful yet compact DS-70 Folder Inserter with MaxiFeeder provides efficient, uninterrupted operation.

"Recurring machine jams are a thing of the past. You can turn your back on the 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 day's 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."

Folder inserters are easy to use

“...we have

greatly benefited

by saving the

amount of time

required to

process volumes

of outgoing mail.”

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How to Improve Mailing Productivity | White Paper

Outgoing Mail

Faster processing of outgoing mail has the potential to drive new business, enhance cash flow and improve customer satisfaction. The ability to process stacks of outgoing mail more quickly also helps create a cleaner working environment that could improve morale and efficiency.

Franking machines. The ultimate labour-saving device for Royal Mail customers, a franking machine is the most important investment you can make to improve mailing productivity. As well as giving access to Royal Mail discounts for franked mail (see Neopost's How to cut the cost of postal communications White Paper), a franking machine reduces the time it takes to get post out of the door and on its way to your customers.

Franking machines automate several key steps in a logical, linear sequence that is considerably faster and more accurate than disjointed manual processes, including weighing, franking and sealing envelopes. With fully integrated Royal Mail pricing, franking machines automatically calculate the right postage from the weight and size of the item and the postal service selected.

Higher end models maximise throughput with conveyor belts and in-line weighing scales that create a single joined-up workflow with the ability to process mixed batches on the fly. If necessary, franking machines can be linked to other equipment, such as folder inserters, in a fully integrated mailing production line.

Modern machines feature all the time-saving features of digital technology including touch-screen displays; one-touch access to saved settings for regular jobs; network connectivity for remote management; and detailed accounting and usage reports. The latest 'Smart' franking machines also provide VAT accounting making 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 a franking machine. Having one removes the need to queue at a Post Office to buy stamps, as franking machines can be re-credited with postage online 24/7. Network connectivity also allows remote maintenance, online supplies ordering and automatic tariff updates as postal rate changes are introduced.

The IS-6000 high volume franking machine

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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.


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 Council's 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 required a lot of supervision throughout the process.”

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. Together, they assessed products from three suppliers before settling on Neopost’s IS-6000 high volume mailing system.

A mixed mail feeder makes it possible for envelopes of various sizes and 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 per 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.

...the Woolwich


handles an

average of

20,000 items

per day.

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How to Improve Mailing Productivity | White Paper

Incoming Mail

Letter openers and scanners that create digital images of incoming post allow mail to be distributed to employees more quickly helping organisations improve cash flow by processing sales orders and payments more quickly; enhance customer service by ensuring that staff quickly receive enquiries and complaints; and boost business efficiency by enabling general correspondence to be dealt with more quickly.

Letter openers. An essential time-saver, letter openers can open mixed mail 60 times faster than by hand. The most productive machines can open 10 envelopes a second or up to 45,000 per hour without damaging the contents. Even small, portable models can open mixed mail at speeds of 300 envelopes per minute. Entry-level models slit the envelope on one side and an operator is still needed to remove the contents, but mid- to high-end machines can cut an envelope on three sides and automatically extract any inserts. The addition of an optional conveyor belt that delivers letters to staff for sorting and electro-mechanical sensors that check an envelope is empty take automation to a higher level. For maximum efficiency, letter openers can be integrated into a complete system with a conveyor belt that runs past one or more operators allowing them to date stamp letters and place them in sorting trays from a sitting position. Opening and delivery speeds are controlled by optical sensors triggered by sorting staff. Mail and document digitisation. A growing number of organisations are taking incoming mail processing to the next stage by incorporating document scanning at the letter opening stage. Creating digital images of opened letters and routing them to recipients electronically has many benefits: it speeds up distribution so that employees can respond to mail more quickly; reduces the amount of paper flowing around a business; minimises the scope for human error; creates an audit trail; gives shared access to documents; removes barriers between paper and electronic documents; streamlines document retrieval; and reduces hard copy storage requirements. As more businesses adopt electronic workflows to improve customer service, speed up business processes and reduce their carbon footprint, 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 the productivity of knowledge workers by giving them access to the documents they need at the click of a button, while relieving them of the burden of scanning at the workstation.

Specialist Applications. In addition to products for processing daily mail, businesses can take advantage of a number of additional solutions designed to improve the processing of exceptional items, including deliveries from couriers (see overleaf).

Easy and quick extraction

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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.

How to Improve Mailing Productivity | White Paper

Parcel tracking. Mail doesn't 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.


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.

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How to Improve Mailing Productivity | White Paper

Mail Preparation

Address Management. Neopost Bulk Mailer is a complete address management solution that can increase mail deliverability by cleaning address databases and maximise Royal Mail discounts by sorting post in the right way and generating required documentation, reports and postage statements.

Output Management. Neopost has two solutions for automating document production, distribution and dispatch, the entry-level OMS-100 for non-technical users and PrintMachine for larger volume applications. Both automatically process mailings to minimise manual sorting, for example by batch printing and grouping documents destined for the same address in the same envelope. Other useful features include the ability to print OMR marks and barcodes that encode instructions for other processes, such as folding and inserting. The intelligence these marks add to documents ensures accurate mailings (essential for confidential information), facilitates varied content by addressee and simplifies processing of returned mail.

Folding and Inserting Machines. Neopost's DS range of Folder Inserters includes models to suit any size business, from the desktop DS-35, with an insertion speed of up to 1,350 envelopes per hour, to the DS-1200 that can fill up to 12,000 envelopes per hour and handle inserts from flyers and business reply envelopes to thick booklets and CDs.

Outgoing Mail

Franking Machines. Neopost's IS series of franking machines ranges from the entry-level AutoStamp2 with integrated weighing scale and LAN connectivity to the IS-6000 with mixed mail feeding, dynamic scale, power conveyor and full colour touch-screen.

Mail Accounting. Neopost Mail Accounting Software is the next step up from a franking machine's built-in accounting features. The software collects and reports on data from multiple machines in multiple locations. As well as tracking all postal expenditure, it lets you set budgets and will send out alerts if expenditure exceeds limits.

Incoming Mail

Letter openers. Neopost's five-strong IM series ranges from the desktop IM-16, with opening speeds of 300 letters per minute, to the IM-75, which opens envelopes and extracts the contents.

Document Scanners. Neopost mail extraction systems can be enhanced with document scanners and software solutions that scan, archive and distribute incoming documents electronically. These include Neopost's IMW-20 all-in-one document management system featuring a duplex colour scanner, interactive touchscreen, workflow management software and embedded archiving server for the rapid retrieval of stored documents.

Mail tracking. neoTrak automated parcel receiving software tracks packages from drop-off at the post room or reception to delivery to a named recipient. neoTrak can also track files, equipment, office supplies, computers and other equipment around a building.

What Next?To find out how Neopost can help you cut mailing costs, please call us on 0800 731 1334.

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Neopost House South Street Romford Essex RM1 2AR

Tel: 0800 731 1334Fax: 01708 726361

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How to Improve Mailing Productivity | White Paper