Updating Your Postage Meter Machine? Do This First.
You may wonder whether business mail is dying or dead.
It’s true that business mailing isn’t as much of a priority as it used to be for many organizations. But mail processes still need to follow critical mail security standards and keep up with postage rate changes. (There have been two rate changes in 2019 alone!)
If you’ve never had a top-to-bottom review of your mail process, you’re likely spending too much, are not compliant with United States Post Office (USPS) regulations and could be open to significant liability.
Why Schedule a Mail Process Review Before Updating Your Postage Meter Machine?
There is more to business mailing than postage meter machines. When it comes time to update your mail metering equipment, it pays to take a deeper look at your mail processes before deciding what to buy and who to buy it from. A mail process review will make you a better-informed decision maker on all facets of your organization’s business mail, including equipment, software, security, compliance and, of course, postage discounts.
Is your mail process the same as it has been for the last five or even 10 years? If so, it’s probably time to analyze your mailing workflow with a mail process review.
Four Reasons for a Mail Process Review
1. A Mail Process Review Can Save You Money
Mailing is expensive. The costs of postage, envelopes, printed documents and the time it takes to process mail adds up quickly. Take a single invoice printed in color, folded and stuffed into an envelope with a 50-cent stamp on it. Calculate the time, the equipment and the supplies on top of the postage, and the cost is $1.50 at a minimum per envelope. Multiply that times 500, 1,000 or 15,000 first class mail pieces per month, and we’re talking real money.
A mail process review will analyze what and how you mail. For example, have you ever looked at the five most common documents you mail from origination through mailing? Often, the answer to the question, “Why do so many people handle that document?” is “We’ve always done it like that.” What you've always done may work, but there are likely more cost-effective ways to bring a document from point A to point B.
The same goes for the basic mail process of physically folding and inserting those documents into envelopes and applying postage to them. If people are hand-folding and inserting documents into #10 envelopes, there are better, faster and more cost-effective strategies to complete the same processes. As important, what is the risk and cost if a page intended for one recipient is placed into an envelope addressed to someone else? PHI and HIPAA compliance have huge visibility and impact to the well-being of your business.
Finally, how many envelopes do you get back from your mailings due to addressing issues? Consider the wasted time and cost to print and mail returned documents.
2. A Mail Process Review Helps You Keep Up with Rate Changes
There have been two rate changes so far in 2019. One in January was centered on mail. The second in June was for package and parcel shipping. The USPS converted this part of their business over to “dimensional weighing.” This means a box's measurements (height x width x depth) and weight need to be input into an equation provided by the USPS to determine the price to ship that box. This is the same process used by other carriers like FedEx and UPS. While weight is still part of the equation, the physical size is now also a factor. No more mailing something the size of an iPhone inside a box the size of a microwave oven! Even though the item doesn’t weigh much, it still takes up a lot of space in the delivery truck. That's where the new rates come in.
If you haven't had a recent mail process review, you likely are not taking advantage of all the USPS postal discounts you are entitled to, simply because you don’t know about them. Businesses often fall behind and miss opportunities to save costs. Does anyone in your office have time to be an expert on changes like these?
3. A Mail Process Review Helps You Keep up When Needs and Applications Change
Your mailing needs change over time. Likewise, mailing applications also change. Do you mail the same amount now that you did when your current postage meter machine was installed? Does your growing business send out more invoices, direct mail or other communications? Or, have you decreased the amount of mail you send by going paperless? Your mailing needs change over time, and you want to be sure the postage mailing machine you own is the best fit for your organization.
Additionally, mail operators change over time. After a mail process review, professional installation and training follow the acquisition of new equipment. On-site training relieves frustration, because end users get to learn hands-on how to use the equipment and make the most of your investment.
4. A Mail Process Review Helps You Comply with Security Standards
When things go wrong and documents meant for Patient A go to Patient B, the HIPAA violations, legal liability and bad press can be crippling. When you send mail, if more than the name and address are seen, that, too is a potential HIPAA violation. Individual HIPAA fines can range from $100 to $1.5 million depending on the severity and length of the violation.
Compliance and security are at the forefront for most organizations. Significant financial and human resources are spent ensuring data security on the network. How much of those same resources are allocated to your mail process? Think of common documents such as personal financial portfolio data, invoices that show discounts, financial statements with Social Security Numbers, employee data, donation amounts to charitable organizations; the list is endless.
A mail process review can help you identify solutions to prevent security violations. Software solutions can take a PDF print stream from your line-of-business software and apply a barcode to each unique document. This will then be “read” or scanned by an electronic document folder inserter. This intelligent document processing enables users to guarantee that right documents go in the right envelopes every time. Looking at the above violations and fines, is your process where it should be?
When was the last time somebody took a hard look at the mailing processes at your organization? A mail process review is a painless way to make sure your mailing processes are aligning with best practices.
Don't just do what you've always done with your mail processes without taking a closer look at the big picture. Contact Loffler to book a mail process review with a USPS Certified MQC (Mailpiece Quality Control) and EMCM (Executive Mail Center Manager).
Read More: When to Outsource Document Printing Services
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