April 20, 2012
80% of respondents to a survey conducted by Document Source & PrintSoft indicated that they thought it was important to increase the efficiency of creating customer correspondence in these economically challenging times. Why? The reason is simple. Organizations are facing several issues when it comes to preparing their outbound communications whether they are destined for mail or distributed electronically; from their preparation to their delivery, it is a costly and time-consuming process. And in times like these, every budget item of an organization is being looked at more closely for cost reduction and improved efficiency but still see the need for paper.
Think about the volume of correspondence that is printed by an organization of mid-size every year:
- There are invoices or account statements sent on a regular basis;
- Then there is daily customer correspondence. Whether it’s mailings or information on new services and products. These are usually printed on an ad-hoc basis, folded and prepared for daily mail by office employees.
- And that’s not taking into account the documents required for daily business; bills of lading, work orders and forms of all sorts.
- The total amount of documents printed and mailed at the end of the year can be quite significant and costly, both from a manual labour and consumables perspective:
- Office employees spend a lot of time creating, printing, folding and inserting documents into envelopes. Notwithstanding the time they spend resolving printer tray issues and finishing options, going back and forth from their desktop to the office printer;
- Printing on office desktop printers is also very costly in terms of consumables; toner, maintenance and paper costs and wastage can amount to important budget items very quickly.
- And then, there is the cost of franking. Taken individually or in small batches, the costs of stamps and mailings may appear insignificant. But add it up on a yearly basis and you will quickly see why organizations are looking for ways to decrease their postal costs.
All these issues create the need for a streamlined mailing process of business correspondence. The market landscape is changing fast. As Print Service Providers need to expand their offering and find new revenue streams, the aggregation of mail seems like a perfect service to offer.
So what is the solution to reduce the costs of business correspondence? Well there are many. But one of them is called Hybrid Mail.
HOW HYBRID CARS ARE MORE FUEL EFFICIENT WITH ALL THE COMFORT OF WHAT YOU KNOW, HYBRID MAIL IS THE SAME
Hybrid Mail refers to the implementation of an end-to-end mailing service, catering to each stage of the mailing process from document preparation through to document delivery. It is the centralization, aggregation and automation of regular, daily and ad-hoc business correspondence to allow economies of scale.
Simply put, all correspondence of an organization is transmitted electronically to a centralized location for consolidation; individual print jobs are collected from different departments or local branches for consolidation and further processing. Using automated business processes, the documents can be enhanced with barcodes or transpromo messages via white space management for example. Mail sorting can then be automatically applied and the proper inserts added to each individual mailings to optimize postal savings.
MODELS OF HYBRID MAIL
The principle and concept remain the same but the model depends on the volume and geographical distribution of the business correspondence.
Regional distributed mail means that any document available in electronic format at one stage of the document life-cycle is regionally distributed in such way as to minimize the distance between physical production (print) and the receiver.
As for local mail aggregation, it refers to the collection of print jobs from different departments or local branches for high volume printing to utilize economies of scale.
Selecting the best model for a specific organization will depend on their activities and the potential return on investment factoring print and mail savings.
BENEFITS OF HYBRID MAIL
We can quickly see how an organization can benefit from Hybrid Mail:
- Office employees print to a virtual driver which serves to consolidate the documents. The time they were previously spending on printing, folding, enveloping and resolving printer issues can be used for more important tasks. They are now free of the production process;
- Desktop printing is reduced to a maximum, thus significantly reducing consumables expenditures.
- As the documents that are destined for mail are consolidated, converting lower batches into high volume printing and mailing, postage becomes much cheaper and economies of scale are applied.
- Production costs and tracking delivery. It is easier to keep track of what is printed and by whom and to quantify the true costs of document production and mail;
- It reduces the need for local printing to a maximum and eliminates the need for storing pre-printed forms and stationery;
- Employee productivity is increased.
For Service Providers looking to offer a Hybrid Mail service to their customers, there are also numerous benefits:
- Economies of scale can be achieved with the purchase of higher volumes of toner, paper and envelopes;
- Providing such a services increases customer retention and opens up opportunities to become the sole service and print provider to those customers;
- Offering innovative services such as Hybrid Mail will allow you to offer a more consultative approach, selling professional services and training, thus increasing your revenues;
- The more customers you have, the more flexible your pricing can be, which gives you a competitive edge.
Before you decide on offering Hybrid Mail or similar services to your customers, it is important to have a proper business plan; know your market and clientèle, evaluate the opportunities, and learn how to sell these services to your prospective customers.
Talk to your existing customers; get to know their document and business processes. Learn about their challenges and pains relating to their document production, printing and mailing. Develop an ROI tool that will help you support your offering. Having this knowledge will allow you to better assess the expertise you need to gain in order to be successful.