How to improve your mail and shipping operations

Achieve a competitive advantage in your workflows

In today's rapidly evolving business landscape, enhancing your mail and shipping operations is a non-negotiable mandate rather than a mere choice. By leveraging strategic operational assessments, advanced analytics, and the adoption of robust technology, businesses can significantly optimise their workflows. This article delves into how you can streamline your operations, meet compliance requirements, enhance customer value, and ultimately secure a competitive edge in your market. We'll unpack the wisdom of industry experts and illustrate how to identify key performance indicators that align with your specific business goals. Let's embark on this journey towards operational excellence, underpinned by productivity and continuous improvement.

Unique challenges

Striving for operational supremacy necessitates a deep dive into your current processes, understanding the flow of product movement, the timings, and the individuals involved. Similarly, it's critical to comprehend the unique goals of your entity or client, whether that's cost reduction, cash flow enhancement, or assuring regulatory compliance.

The margin for error is slim. Questions to consider include: Is your production floor optimised for ultimate productivity? How does information concerning mailing and delivery flow within your organisation, and from your firm to partners and clients? Here are some key aspects to ponder while evaluating your operations:

  • Integration: Scrutinise your production environment. Could there be a fusion of distinct tasks into a single production line to escalate productivity and optimally utilise space?
  • Design: Consider if the layout and design of your production space, including equipment and furniture, contribute to efficient processing and employee productivity.
  • Centralisation: It might be worth considering whether your mailing operations or output management should be centralised or decentralised.
  • Motivation: Do your employees have the right training and motivation to perform their tasks? Is there a clear understanding of expectations and goals? Is there a sense of value?
  • Visibility: Information might be trapped in silos across your organisation, inhibiting your ability to evaluate costs and carrier performance, and to institute more transparent procedures.
  • Education: Could there be challenges created by employees (or clients) due to late drop-offs, incorrect service requests or other avoidable actions?
Mail manufacturing productivity is about achieving consistent repeatable results and maintaining a disciplined mind-set focused on continuous improvement. Fortunately, evolving technology is giving managers greater insight into performance across the production environment. "says Richard Smith, head of Client Success Services at Pitney Bowes

Harnessing technology's potential

The judicious deployment of technology in printing, mailing, or shipping ventures can have far-reaching implications beyond the mailing department. Let's delve into these advancements:

Automation: Manual mail shops are virtually extinct. Advanced automation does more than just expedite processes and reduce labour costs. It elevates accuracy and precision, facilitating regulatory compliance, mitigating customer service issues, and enabling more personalised communication.

The Industrial Internet: powered by big data analytics and intelligent decision-making, revolutionises production asset and enterprise interaction. It brings to the table predictive indicators to avoid service disruptions and advanced job scheduling and capacity planning tools.

Lower-Cost Inkjet: This technology has revolutionised printing operations. High-speed, continuous-feed systems now facilitate 100% variable data colour printing, eradicating the need for pre-printed forms and consolidating multiple tasks into a single machine. The advent of cost-efficient systems makes inkjet an economical choice even for mid-range volumes.

Operational excellence

  • Achieving operational excellence involves identifying appropriate key performance indicators (KPIs).
  • Bottlenecks must be eliminated and job set-ups optimised for maximum efficiency.
  • Capacity management and effective job scheduling are crucial.
  • Costs need to be analysed considering materials, labour, and equipment.
  • These costs should be linked with production environment processes.

Importance of productivity

  • Productivity is key to operational optimisation and excellence in production.
  • Consistency, repeatability, and a disciplined mindset towards continuous improvement enhance productivity.
  • Advanced technology offers managers valuable insights into performance across production environments.

Role of technology

  • Technology greatly impacts businesses beyond the mailroom through automation, the Industrial Internet, and cost-effective inkjet systems.
  • Technological advances improve precision, ensure regulatory adherence, and prevent customer service issues.
  • Technology allows for more targeted messaging and communication transformation within companies.
  • Utilisation of technology reduces processing times and labour costs.
“Printers and mailers must learn to adapt to changes in mail and application profiles, handling and adjusting multiple disparate projects,” says Richard Smith, head of Client Success Services at Pitney Bowes. “They must meet or exceed the service level agreements to which they’ve committed and improve their performance on compliance — but also be agile enough to respond to changing client needs.”