Mail Still Matters in 2015 - Play Ball!
by Joe Freeman
October 1, 2015
I had the opportunity to address the Greater Illinois Postal Customers Council at its National PCC Day Conference in Addison IL this past week. As we continue to drive forward in converting to electronic and digital communications, it is still important to note that many mailers still receive and process tons of mail pieces. These mailers serve as a clearing house, a portal to digital document conversion and a hub for re-routing physical mail that is subject to regulatory compliance.
This initial receiving platform is sort of like a catcher’s mitt. The short activity revolves around a sender pitching into corporate hands and relying on a capable receiver to not only "catch" the mail, but also make the correct decision where it should go next.
he catcher acts as a director looking to make the correct decision and guide the information in the mail piece into the correct hands, whether it is returning the piece to the pitcher or tossing it to another component (second baseman) responsible for keeping the information stream intact and implementing the logical next step in the process.
The conference audience was a cross section of corporate, insurance, financial and banking customers. While they continue to experience decreased volume, the also need to maintain effective operations that provide value to their internal customers and fellow employees. This includes the first order of priority: initial mail handling as there is no other resource to make that play.
Similar to baseball, the game sometimes gets slow with pitchers taking their time and batters stepping out of the box. If these delays continue, fans can grow tired and possibly leave the game. The added value that we create promotes a positive perception of our contribution to the enterprise and provides other opportunities for the mail service staff to prove its worth.
Some baseball stadiums are installing swimming pools, multiple food and restaurant venues and even provide "whiffle" ball stadiums in their outfield seating areas so that the fans can actually survive the boredom of an old time baseball game. Others can go to stores and purchase memorabilia that provides some justification for spending time at the ballpark.
In mail management, the challenge is different but solving the problem of "empty hands" provides great value to the corporation. I decided to provide my audience some creative direction by emphasizing the many solutions mail management can offer that go beyond the strict definition of "mail."
We spoke of getting involved in all services that their mailstream touches. In a flash we reeled off many logistics and facilities oriented tasks that had them thinking. Every service from conference planning, building maintenance and reception to others such as space planning, supplies management and food services delivery. In some client locations mail management staff can create and manage gym passes for in-house wellness centers, fleet vehicles and maintenance scheduling – even provide parking passes and ID building access badging.
There many services outside of mail, shipping and distribution functions that, due to budget decreases, give mail staff an opportunity to step forward and state, "I'll do it." Such individuals will be recognized as the "go getters" who become more valuable for being able to wear multiple hats.
No longer can smaller mail centers survive waiting for something to come in. Rather it is much better to find out what is expected and plan for when the important mail is coming, process it and then move on to the next step. In many cases that might be time and date stamping; in other cases it might include scanning/imaging mail pieces and integrating them into business process workflows.
Anything is possible in today’s environment. Regulations and compliance requirements are just two areas in which you can focus. There are many other tasks at hand that can reinforce positive perceptions and allow you to assume greater responsibilities—sort of the 2015 "fast track" to management— a familiar concept that can still add great value to your efforts.
We started talking in comparing baseball to business. When you come down to it, the most important player these days is called a "utility man" because this player can play any position. Management appreciates such a "player" and it seems that whenever the team needs help, managers will call on the utility player before anyone else because that player is dependable, flexible, eager to assist and always ready. That is today’s definition of value regardless of whether you provide it on outfield grass or in corporate conference rooms. Become that utility player and become the MVP of your operation!
Feel free to visit the Mail Services page of our website to learn more about how tapping the right managed services provider—one with the right expertise, technology and capabilities—can help organizations contain costs and increase operational efficiency. Additionally, our website offers more on industry best practices, case histories and whitepapers