We are all aware that one of the mega trends for productivity enhancement over the last decade or two is the move from paper-based manual systems towards digitisation; paperless systems. In this article we are covering the topic of mailroom automation: digital shipping parcels and documents to, and from, a corporate office.
Whilst paperless shipping of documents and parcels has long been established and is covered by many suppliers, there is a distinction between the process of shipping parcels and pallets from a warehouse, and the process of shipping parcels and documents from a corporate office, where there are many departments, and staff in different buildings or floor levels, and at their individual desks involved.
In a corporate office environment, or at hospitals, universities, and government buildings, you have many staff in different departments or divisions, and so the process of shipping to a certain person within the building, or from a particular department in the building, and keeping control of all those transactions is more complex, and therefore harder to monitor in a paper-based environment.
Carriers shipping parcels are only required to ship to the front door, reception, or the warehouse. Therefore, if a large corporation or institution receives a large volume of packages each week to be delivered to particular individuals, they need to have a system for distributing those packages and documents from outside the business to within the business, and to the correct department or personnel.
In order to facilitate this process commonly these organisations establish a mailroom for the timely and accurate distribution of parcels and documents, both inbound and outbound, from the business.
Mailroom Chain of Custody
One of the important aspects of running a mailroom is called “Chain of custody” which is the process of ensuring that handing off the responsibility of delivering the parcel to the correct person within the organisation is transparent and easily traceable. Achieving this process in a timely and accurate way via a manual paper-based systems is slow and cumbersome and often difficult.
Cloud-based Mailroom Automation
The solution to this problem is to use a modern cloud-based shipping software application that is specifically designed to handle mailroom transactions.
Inbound Mailroom Automation Process
Using a fit-for-purpose application allows the parcel to be received:
- into the mailroom with a barcode scan,
- trapping the POD from the outside carrier,
- generating a specific consignment, which is linked to the original consignment, via a reference number
- allowing the internal mailroom person to deliver the item to the nominated person inside the building,
- and then capturing a second POD for the final destination via a scan on a phone app.
All tracking from both the internal and external carrier is searchable from the one reference number, and so chain of custody is maintained in a simple and accurate manner.
Outbound Mailroom Automation Process
With regard to shipping from a corporate location, aka outbound, the mailroom software allows staff members to:
- “request a shipment” – Non-transport department staff members can generate a request for shipment within the software; providing the receiver address and some package details, e.g., number of parcels or envelopes
- the shipment request will automatically be sent to a member of the transport or dispatch team
- the dispatch officer can then review the shipments details and modify them if needed;
- adding dimensions and weights to assist with rating the shipment;
- approve the shipment; select an authorised carrier; and arrange pickup
- the package will then be collected from the office staff member requesting the shipment
- and each time the package changes hands it will be scanned so that all tracking of the parcel from the internal transport as well as the external carrier can be monitored easily from within the shipping platform.
Again, full chain of custody is achieved without any need to produce and keep a manual piece of paper to track what has been done.
Mailroom Automation for Cost Recovery
One of the other important problems that mailroom shippers experience is the ability to assign costs associated with so many transactions coming to and from a large pool of people within an organisation. The mailroom software has the ability for shippers to allocate their shipments to departments or to a range of GL codes and create purchase orders for full cost tracking.
Authorised administrators can also set up a credit allocation to each department that generates ship requests, and have the system take the shipping amount off that credit balance in order to monitor costs and ensure that shipping charges do not get out of control. Super users can be added who can authorise costs against a GL code that they are assigned to as managers within that department.
In summary, by using a shipping platform that has been designed specifically to handle both internal and external shipping requirements, a large organisation or institution can rid themselves of a cumbersome paper-based system and hard to track emails chains. The shipping software will integrate all shipments in an easy to use, yet powerful shipping platform that captures all tracking and shipping costs for total control.
It also ensures quick absorption of all packages within the business and efficient deliveries to other office branches, customers, and suppliers. This efficiency boosts the communication and productivity of the overall business operations.
To learn more about mailroom automation shipping solutions contact us to arrange a consultation and online demonstration of our mailroom solution.