Despite all the digital tools at a company’s disposal, mail is still an important means of communication for many businesses. Estimates of mail operations suggest that they account for around 9% of the budgets of Fortune 500 companies.
This article will explore how you can achieve a more organised mailroom, from altering the way you use your mailroom space to technology that can make your life easier, such as fracking machines, which weigh, calculate, and print the postage needed for each item.
There are some services which can take the weight off your mailroom, creating tailored solutions to your mailroom woes. In the first quarter of 2017 alone, the contracts for outsourcing mail services were worth £437 million. Such services can evidently be very expensive, though you may feel that it is worth it. However, there are some simpler solutions you can try beforehand to make your mailroom more efficient.
First off, there are some basic questions that you can ask yourself or the people running the mailroom, so you can effectively deal with the problem at hand:
Space is a very basic aspect of the organisation process, but a crucial one. The way in which you have positioned the furniture and equipment hugely affects productivity. Look at the space in which you are sorting and packaging your mail and how you and your employees work within that space. It is a good idea to have internal mail on one side of the room and outgoing mail on the other side. Then create an easy workflow with the outgoing mail, scale and franking machine (which will be discussed below) all in a convenient line.
For internal mail, you could even colour-code mail sorters based on individual departments as a simple visual aid. For external mail, have specific bins or mail bags for the most frequent destinations. Make sure that all your employees understand the system your putting in place and the workflow. Investing time in training and discussion is really worth it in the long run, even if it appears like a basic system.
If you are dealing with a lot of mail then you might be able to get faster shipping, better deals or postal services that are more tailored to you. Do research online about the various services on offer and get down into the nitty-gritty of the terms and conditions.
Whether you are sending your mail domestically or to foreign countries it is crucial to investigate the best postal services, especially for foreign countries, which ones will give you discounts or rewards for your loyalty.
When considering buying machines you have to consider what is important to your business, how regularly you are sending mail, how many employees you have as well as other issues. Is technology that saves you time more important enough to invest in? For example, it is likely that the time you save by buying the machines below will save you money long-term, which essentially pays for the machines. As the old adage goes: time equals money. In other words, the right machine will save you a lot of hassle.
A basic but important piece of equipment is a letter opener. Letter openers can seem very old-fashioned but resist the cynicism because they can save you a lot of time. Electronic letter openers start from around £30 but industrial sized models can cost up to several hundred pounds.
You could also invest in other technology, such as franking machines. Franking machines calculate the exact amount of postage required for each item, including any discounts that may occur through using the machine. They have a scale built in so it's all there to use. The easy-to-use software then allows you to put the business name and message onto the parcels.
You can rent franking machines if you would like to test out the difference they could make to your business.
If you are a large business then you almost certainly need a fracking machine. It would be ridiculous to do all your mail by hand. It simply isn’t worth the cost not to invest in a machine. Even for small businesses without a dedicated room for mail, franking machines can save a great deal of time in the long-run, particularly if you are looking at expanding your business.
Automation of your systems via technology also prevents human error, which is always going to happen even if your employees are dedicated and excellent at their jobs.
There are many ways in which you can organise your mailroom to make it as efficient as possible. Start by assessing the weight of all the mail you are sending, how often you send mail as well as where you send your mail. Then, invest in your mailroom accordingly.
Once you have looked at all the simple practical measures and undertaken them, consider investing financially in your mailroom by buying technology. For example, you might think about buying a fracking machine, which, as discussed, conveniently calculates the accurate postage and then puts correct postage, date, company logo or message, and unique code on the parcel. It is at least worth considering more basic machines such as letter openers, which cost very little and can greatly increase the efficiency of your mailroom.