02
March
2020
|
11:00
Europe/Amsterdam

Controlling the flood of mails in orderly paths as the basis for digital progress

Summary

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.[1] 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.[2] 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.[3] 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.

Customer case study: Stadtreinigung Leipzig

Even while the municipal cleaning and waste management department was successfully keeping the city of Leipzig clean and organised, Stadtreinigung Leipzig was itself at risk of being overwhelmed by a chaotic flood of information and documents. With 800 employees, Stadtreinigung Leipzig handles waste disposal, street cleaning, winter services, landfill aftercare and urban green spaces for more than 530,000 people over 300 square kilometres. However, with around 70,000 documents (and rising), the effort taken up by organising incoming mail and keeping all documents current was simply becoming too great and consuming too much of the organisation’s resources.

To tackle this challenge, Stadtreinigung Leipzig worked with Konica Minolta to implement solutions for Digital Mailroom management. Now more than 85% of its documents have been digitised.

With the flood of documents significantly reduced, they can now be rapidly located and all legal requirements for data storage as well as compliance with legal auditing standards met.

 “Konica Minolta’s solution for the Digital Mailroom is perfect because all incoming documents are archived digitally immediately and the copy processes for all colleagues have been dramatically cut,” explains Elke Franz, Deputy Operations Manager at Stadtwerke Leipzig.

Ensuring digital transformation

A Digital Mailroom is a vital enabling technology. It provides the foundation for other digital solutions which, when executed as part of a holistic solution, can provide huge benefits for the whole organisation. Besides improving business-as-usual operations in the post room, Digital Mailroom solutions can be one of the keys to effectively achieving a wider digital transformation in the business.

“By using a Digital Mailroom solution you can be sure to eliminate paper processes as much as possible as you are tackling the issue at the point of entry,” explains Marcel Cobussen, Business Development & Product Marketing Manager Managed Content Services, Konica Minolta Business Solutions Europe. “Paper documents are always digitised immediately and stored in the information management system, allowing you to also connect this content to the rules you have established within your system to ensure compliance and data security.”

The improvement of business processes across the organisation is closely linked to the optimisation of inbound mail, faxes and e-mails, as these in turn depend on a breadth of administrative tasks. Hence, alongside steps like digital invoice processing, digital contract management etc., inbox digitisation can underpin the creation of a fast and efficient organisation and is a starting point for further optimisation. From accounts payable and accounts receivable to archiving records, contract management and HR, all of these processes can be significantly transformed by reducing paper-based processes and digitalisation.

[1] Improving and automating business operations through information management; Comspec Consulting & Konica Minolta; 2018; https://newsroom.konicaminolta.eu/konica-minolta-information-management-survey/

[2] Research finds mailroom automation will drive better business performance in the digital era; EDM Group; 2018; https://www.edmgroup.com/blog/mailroom-automation-will-drive-better-business-performance-in-the-digital-era

[3] Research finds mailroom automation will drive better business performance in the digital era; EDM Group; 2018; https://www.edmgroup.com/blog/mailroom-automation-will-drive-better-business-performance-in-the-digital-era