BY JOE FREEMAN
Canon Business Process Services
(This article appeared in the Official Mail Guide, Fall 2016 – Winter 2017 Edition.)
Since today’s mail center continues to evolve in ways that add value and also serves as a gateway to supporting and improving so many business processes, operating it efficiently is a key element of an enterprise’s success. Mail center operations, however, can be complex and labor-intensive.
For this and other reasons, outsourcing mail center operations is an important consideration for many organizations. Working with the right service provider can give a company greater flexibility in dealing with ongoing changes in technology and mail management processes as well as help reduce costs, implement best practices and better meet the challenges of managing mail center staff.
With these trends in mind, I will highlight a case history of how a healthcare industry leader tapped Canon Business Process Services (Canon) for mail management services designed to help support the organization’s commitment to quality. Then I’ll wrap up by spotlighting how we are building on our expertise in managing mail and other document processes to coordinate outsourced corporate services delivered at large business campuses.
Solving Mail Management Challenges
First, let’s look at the case history example. The story involves a leading integrated health enterprise that operates numerous academic, community and specialty hospitals as well as outpatient sites—employs several thousand physicians and offers an array of healthcare and health insurance services. The healthcare leader contracted with us to help improve operations and reduce costs connected with its mail management processes.
The goal was for our solution to enable the organization to focus more time and resources on providing state-of-the-art industry leading patient care and health insurance services. The first challenge was to improve the disparate mail management system that distributed mail throughout the enterprise. The healthcare organization had over 10 separate mail room operations managed by multiple resources within its hospital network.
Because these centers operated separately, an unacceptable number of mailpieces were either lost or not delivered in a timely fashion. The lack of coordination also meant that mail transport and staff costs were higher and operational efficiency lower than desired.
Our team consolidated the disparate mail rooms within the hospital network into a centralized “hub and spoke” model. In the new operation, all mail was received and distributed from one location. Cost savings from the new mail program totaled $1 million in the first year.
By year two, we also assumed management of the healthcare provider’s complete transportation logistics program, which at the time we took over, included 16 different courier companies transporting biopharma- ceutical and related items within the hospital network.The Canon team consolidated this program into one centralized courier operation that comprised 55 vehicles making over 2,000 stops daily. Cost savings from the revamped transportation logistics program were $700,000 in the first twelve months.
The next challenge was to implement a comprehensive production mail solution, which automates the production and mailing of customer statements for the health plan division. The mail processing system, which handles about 1.5 million statements per month, feeds and merges mail statement enclosures; folds and inserts the collated documents into an envelope and seals, addresses and transports the mail piece for processing by USPS.
The system’s tracking technology improves job control and integrity as well as end-to-end quality assurance. This includes minimizing errors such as mailing a document set that has missing pages, diverting jammed mail pieces out of the mailstream and inserting mail pieces that include Protected Health Information from several different clients into a document set.
Based on the success of the production mail system for health plan statements, the healthcare provider engaged Canon to use this system for managing billing statements that cover hospital patient and physician services. This function totals approximately 750,000 statements per month. Under our program, combined costs for the health plan and patient/physician services billing statements were reduced by a total $200,000 annually.
In addition to providing this wide range of services, we subsequently added two more solutions:
1) Canon now oversees document management activities for the healthcare organization’s open enrollment function. This spans assembling and mailing all of the forms and documents associated with annual open enrollment. Our management has enabled the healthcare enterprise to reduce document management costs for open enrollment by 20 percent.
2) In addition to handling open enrollment, Canon was assigned as general manager for all pre-sort mail services, enabling the healthcare leader to lower costs due to Canon’s expertise in leveraging USPS pre-sort mail discount programs.
A New Approach in Delivering Corporate Services
Expanding on our ability to meet these kinds of document management challenges for the healthcare provider and other clients, Canon now manages corporate services delivered at large corporate campuses with thousands of employees. These services, referred to as corporate campus logistics, can now be managed cost effectively, efficiently and under one contract with Canon’s new comprehensive outsourcing solution.
We are currently providing corporate campus logistics to two of the largest privately owned commercial real estate projects in the U.S. For one of these clients we coordinate mail, records and many other services from a central location that enables the receipt, inventory and distribution of materials, office equipment, supplies, mail and packages, all which our team records, warehouses and distributes to locations throughout the campus. This coordination spans hundreds of mail drops and includes distributing USPS accountable mail pieces daily from the central mail hub.
Whether managed internally or outsourced, today’s mail management operations and broader corporate services are benefitting from new ways to solve challenges and ensure business success in the days ahead.
(Editor’s Note: Joe Freeman is an Operations Specialist for Canon Business Process Services, a leading provider of managed services and technology. To learn more go to www.cbps.canon.com.)