Managing a ceaseless flood of inbound data is today considered part and parcel of modern business. However, digital information is only part of the torrent. Just as growing traffic to electronic inboxes presents a logistical problem, physical deliveries show no signs of abating, and businesses must seek to control the influx of both paper and digital documents. Indeed, successfully bringing this information into the system as quickly and accurately as possible is now an essential part of effective daily operations. The in-tray has been long established as both a symbolic and literal starting point for administrative tasks. Today it remains incredibly important to effectively design the incoming mailbox in a way that helps organise both digital and paper-based inputs and drive productivity. Furthermore, increasingly rigorous data protection regulations mean that the systems used to this end can be the key to achieving compliance. Digital Mailroom solutions can offer significant advantages in both respects, while freeing employees from repetitive administrative tasks.
Whether digital or paper-based, the organisation of inbound mail is becoming a major challenge for many companies. The process for sorting mail is in many cases still manual and tends to be time-consuming, subject to human error and costly. Hence, 32% of companies are already seeing the advantages of using Digital Mailroom solutions, rising to 43% among the largest organisations, a number that has increased steadily over the last five years and which shows that ‘business at the speed of paper’ is becoming increasingly untenable.
This is perhaps inevitable, given the scale, speed and complexity of typical situations – for example, a common challenge is redirecting correspondence sent to a single mailing address to multiple company locations. The good news is that more and more information is being sent digitally, but this is still only half the story, as many documents still arrive in paper form. A quarter (23%) of UK businesses, for example, receive more than 5,000 items of inbound mail every month, while three fifths (60%) still receive faxes in their mailrooms. How businesses use their MFPs is also telling – with over a third of devices more often used for copying than scanning. So while digitalisation is on the rise, paper-based processes remain remarkably resilient.
Moving to digital workflows clearly allows businesses to benefit from the efficiency gains inherent in more accessible and actionable data across the organisation. Additionally, the higher error rate of paper-based mailboxes and the possible negative consequences for the whole organisation make digitalising the process even more attractive: 30% of companies in the UK namely said that mishandling mail has a negative effect on their performance or reputation while two fifths (39%) stated that mishandling mail has a negative impact on customer service levels.
Hence, data captured through electronic inboxes is an improvement for various downstream processes. Digitalising documents at source also provides the benefit of making information readily available to remote workers.
Fortunately, many companies already have many of the required technologies in place for a Digital Mailroom solution. However, while the components of this system may be in operation, all too often organisations simply lack the appropriate software solution to fully leverage the full potential of technology.
Process inbound mail more efficiently to enhance wider business performance
Ultimately the goal of a Digital Mailroom solution is to provide a business with a higher degree of transparency through the centralised and digital capture of all incoming documents. When Konica Minolta works with customers to implement these solutions, a strong emphasis is placed on reducing costs and the time required for internal postal logistics, as both these factors can be cut massively. Furthermore, the project can unlock value at every level of the company: For example, the targeted, secure and location-independent distribution of mail provides employees with greater flexibility and increases possibilities for mobile work, while the increased efficiency and speed of customer response can prove decisive. Ensuring audit-proof documentation of all processes is also key to compliance with data protection regulations such as GDPR.
Achieving these objectives with Konica Minolta’s Digital Mailroom solutions
Digital Mailroom solutions help to bring together a range of often existing technologies to help organisations digitise mail efficiently. All incoming mail can be digitised on existing MFPs, with intelligent software reading out all relevant information and classifying the documents.
The solutions are capable of automated distribution: whether letter or fax, all documents are captured digitally, automatically classified and forwarded to the employee they are addressed to – reaching them reliably irrespective of whether they are in-house, in a regional office or travelling on business. This also raises the level of user friendliness, as employees are automatically provided with onscreen notifications when there is new mail in their personal digital post box. Documents can be forwarded conveniently or added to existing work processes. This automated mail delivery is executed within seconds and not tied to one fixed location or device so as to enable workplace flexibility.
Additionally, the Digital Mailroom speeds up turnaround and processing times significantly. Invoices, offers and delivery notes are centrally available and accessible at any time and from anywhere for all employees with the appropriate access rights. This procedure increases responsiveness and helps free up considerable time that can be used for more valuable, mission-critical tasks. It also ensures compliance in all aspects as all processes connect to the Digital Mailroom system – digital capture, automated distribution and processing – are all monitored in a transparent way to ensure complete traceability. This establishes completely audit-proof and legally compliant archives.