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Postman Pat - An accidental metaphor for the benefits of an automated mailroom

I am a working mum of three children all seven and under. And to make it possible for me to get ready for work, Cbeebies in the morning is essential. This means I've often been forced to watch Postman Pat while doing my make-up. And after watching him for the last few years I have come to the conclusion that the man is an idiot, and highlights serious failings in our postal system! He drives to the main depot, where he is given items to deliver one by one. i.e. "here you go Pat can you deliver this to Mrs Goggins. Once delivered drive back here and we'll give you your next parcel for her next door neighbour". Oh yes, that seems a super-efficient way to deliver post...

Then there is the big man himself. "We have a 'special delivery service' for you today, can you take this bucket of water to Ted Glenn please - and don't spill any?" What do you think Pat does? Obviously ties the bucket of water to the roof of his van...Oh he doesn't need a lid this man!

And, even though it may seem ridiculous to compare the antics of a children's programme to organisation's mailrooms, I really think it highlights what often happens. We don't always change a traditional way of working, or we don't focus on back office improvements, when the front end gets more visibility.

But traditional mailrooms are very inefficient by nature. We have paper post entering a building, plus there are still the fax machines out there, combined now with emails. These all enter, are opened, read and then decided manually which person or team they need to reach. Then with physical post this is delivered round the building. With some organisations who get a massive amount of inbound communications this can take 3-4 people most of the day to complete.

However, with a digital automated mailroom, all inbound mail is digitalised i.e. paper is scanned but then fully indexed along with your emails. Robotics can send the mail directly to the inbox of the right person or team. This has cut staff working in mailrooms dramatically to zero or one, and can be achieved in a few hours.

It saves you real costs in the medium to long term, as well as replying to customers quicker, getting vital pieces of information to people sooner, and a clear audit trail of where data goes, perfect for GDPR.

And when benefits are listed, I can't help but feel large organisations with traditional mailrooms are essentially doing double the amount of work just like Pat and his one item in a van at a time policy; and are increasing the time and risk of losing vital information by remaining so heavily reliant on paper and man-power, i.e. strapping a bucket of water to the top of a van and hoping none will get spilt.

SPOILER ALERT: Pat makes a huge mess of the delivery.

If you want to chat more about our digital mailroom solutions (or Postman Pat!) please pop me and email: keri.barton@restoredigital.co.uk

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