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Transform Your Mail Room Ops with a Digital Intake Center

By David VanDerEems / Director, Innovation and Business Process Centers
Canon Business Process Services
From MAIL Magazine’s 2018 CEO Perspectives Issue

In today’s digital world, businesses are challenged by the need to turn physical mail into digital information that can be accessed, viewed and shared at the speed of the customer. The time it takes a business to convert thousands of inbound paper documents into digital information matters, and organizations with sound digitization strategies are in the best position to improve customer service, reduce operational costs, and mitigate risk.

That is why more and more businesses are leveraging Digital Intake Centers – a hybrid mailroom and scanning service that uses specialized mail scanning technology and workflow techniques to convert physical mail into digital information immediately upon receipt.

That information is then efficiently delivered to employees or into your business workflow electronically, allowing your employees the convenience of receiving their information quicker and enabling your business to move faster and smarter anywhere at any time.

If you are a business leader looking to improve the flow of information within your company and streamline processes, here are five ways your business can benefit from a Digital Intake Center.

1. Save Money And Increase Cost Efficiency

With a Digital Intake Center, you can drastically reduce the manual labor and processing costs associated with mail delivery. By digitizing and distributing mail electronically, you can virtually eliminate fine mail sorting and distribution costs. This can also help you significantly reduce the volume of nonessential and personal mail, freeing your mail center personnel to focus on other value-add activities. In addition to these immediate cost-savings, a Digital Intake Center helps you cut time on paper-to-digital processing times, in turn enabling you to realize a variety of other cost-saving benefits (for example, vendor discounts for faster paper invoice processing).

2. Enhance Operational Efficiency And Process Throughput

What does it take to ensure that each piece of mail that your business receives is sorted, classified, repackaged, tracked and shipped to the intended recipient? For many companies, this process involves dozens of full-time workers, duplicative work and unnecessary workflow stops.
A Digital Intake Center however, whether implemented and managed internally or in conjunction with a managed services provider, can help eliminate these inefficiencies by scanning inbound mail immediately upon receipt, while simultaneously indexing and classifying each piece of mail. This digitization and straight-through processing removes inefficiencies, and enables instant delivery of business information to the intended recipient or business workflow with analytics that allow you to focus on continuous process improvement.

3. Strengthen Security, Compliance And Risk Management

With a Digital Intake Center, your mail can be more secure than ever, and only accessible by its intended recipient or workflow. One solution is to partner with a managed serviced provider that can create a controlled intake environment, which can only be accessed by badged employees and monitored 24/7 by surveillance cameras. Once the mail is received, it is processed, time-stamped, and added to the desired workflow with a clear audit trail – giving your security and compliance teams newfound peace of mind. And the paper trail needed to maintain compliance with strict audit requirements.

4. Improve Customer Response Times

When your customers inquire, they expect fast response times. A Digital Intake Center enables your business to respond to clients and prospects faster than ever. Regardless of whether a client inquiry is received in paper or digital form, a Digital Intake Center solution give you the ability to process inbound mail and route it to the appropriate recipient or workflow instantly. This helps ensure that your customer response times are as short as possible, which in turn helps maintain high customer satisfaction.

5. Improve Visibility And Control

How long does it take your business to deliver each piece of inbound mail to its intended recipient? Does all mail get opened by the right person and/or added to the appropriate business workflow? What happens if mail gets lost? With a Digital Intake Center, you can gain the visibility and control needed to answer these and other critical mail flow questions.

With the ability to immediately scan and document all incoming mail, you have unprecedented insight into the overall mail stream and any delivery issues. You’ll be able to report on how many pieces of mail are received by each recipient or workflow, processing time from initial receipt to intended delivery, and where mail is getting stuck (potentially resulting in unhappy customers or wasted dollars). It is this type of insight that allows business leaders to effectively improve the mail flow in ways that satisfy customers, reduce costs, and eliminate inefficiencies.

The Digital Intake Center is the latest evolution in managing incoming mail and, outsourced or supervised in-house, offers a turnkey solution that can help your business improve the customer experience, reduce costs, and improve operational efficiencies and visibility.

If you are considering outsourcing, look for providers that ideally can provide end-to-end service including mail center staff, digital mail system and installation, imaging hardware, mail processing workflow design based on Six Sigma methodology, customer service support, and comprehensive reporting.

Leveraging these capabilities can enable you not only to implement the best solution today, but to also be prepared to continuously improve and meet new challenges in the days ahead.

David VanDerEems is Director, Innovation and Business Process Centers for Canon Business Process Services, a leading provider of managed services and technology for information and document management, business process outsourcing and specialty workforce services.

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