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Modernizing Mailing and Shipping with Analytics

How data analysis can help government agencies send and receive mail and packages securely and efficiently while reducing costs.

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When it comes to sending and receiving mail, many state and local government agencies are behind the times, using legacy processes and technologies to manage massive amounts of mail. According to a survey prepared by The Colography Group for Pitney Bowes, local government generates over 65 million mail pieces per month. Of this number, nearly 87 percent is prepared by hand.

The costs of manual mail preparation are vast and varied. For example, government employees are spending precious resources preparing mail by hand. This is an inefficient use of their time, particularly when many government agencies are understaffed and underfunded. There is also an increased risk of error.

“When humans start to touch mail, that’s when mistakes happen,” explains David Bilodeau, director of global product marketing for Pitney Bowes.

With manual preparation, there are no safeguards in place to ensure the document or package gets to the right person. When an agency sends out a tax bill or a court summons, they need that information to get into the right hands.

While there are new solutions, many government agencies are creatures of habit when it comes to mailing. They often use the same processes they have used for years simply because that is the way they’ve always done it, even if that means they are spending more time or money than they would with a modernized workflow.

Much like mailing, most government agencies process packages and shipments in the same way they have for years. According to The Colography Group survey, local government agencies process more than 10 million packages annually. Of this number, 95 percent are shipped with a single carrier.

“Most government agencies simply don’t know all of the changes happening in sending and shipping. Carriers issue new fees, there are changes in carrier delivery times, and there are rate increases. It’s hard for agencies to keep up with it all, and to get shipping right,” says Bilodeau.

Along with new technologies, there are also changes in shipping processes. For example, the way government agencies shipped pre-COVID looks different than it does today. According to a recent Pitney Bowes survey, 94 percent of government respondents had some portion of their workforce working remotely as a result of COVID-19. This resulted in an increase in the number of disparate shippers. Without modern tools in place operations are disrupted and employees may not make the optimal shipping decisions, ultimately leading to lower productivity and higher shipping costs.

Using Data to Improve Processes

Data and analytics can help government agencies make better decisions about mailing and shipping. Pitney Bowes, a technology company with 100 years of experience in sending, works with government clients to apply their mailing data to save time, reduce costs and increase efficiency.

“We specialize in data,” explains Bilodeau. “Our goal is to give clients visibility.”

Pitney Bowes helps customers understand who sends what across their organization, how they are sending it and how much they are spending on it. They also provide usage and spend data across all Pitney Bowes devices and subscriptions an organization might be using.

With a comprehensive report of all this data, government organizations can then make smarter decisions about which service or carrier to use, what processes to change, and overall, how to make sending processes more efficient.

Finding Solutions

Once an organization has visibility into their current mailing and shipping operations, they can examine solutions that will allow them to address particular issues within their systems.

  • If an organization wants to reduce staff time spent on preparing mail, they can automate processes like folding and inserting documents. Automation can also help reduce manual errors to mitigate risk, ensure compliance and provide employees more time to focus on strategic activities.
  • Agencies can also employ software that monitors the entire receiving process to ensure incoming envelopes or packages get to the right recipient.
  • Cloud-based sending software like SendPro solutions from Pitney Bowes allow users to mail, ship and track items sent from a single, user-friendly application. It’s accessible from any location, even a mobile device, and it allows agencies to manage and monitor all sending activity and optimize their processes along the way.
  • Diversifying your carrier mix, meaning shipping with more than a single carrier, can reduce overall shipping spend by 5-15 percent. Cloud-based sending software helps organizations choose how to get a package to an address in the fastest, most cost-effective way, no matter the carrier.
Together, sending hardware and software help agencies ensure their mail pieces and packages are sent and delivered securely. Automated mailing solutions decrease the need for staff to read private documents, keeping information secure. Software ensures users are making the optimal sending decisions and also ensures whatever is sent gets to the right hands, on time.

People and Processes Before Technology

When looking to modernize mailing and shipping systems, government agencies should turn to trusted mailing experts for advice. With over a century of experience in sending and receiving, Pitney Bowes knows how to work with government offices to understand their current processes and help define specific goals.

“You need to know what playing field you are on,” says Bill Walter, national director of government at Pitney Bowes. “You need a thorough, professional, no-cost analysis of current workflows and processes.”

Mailing and shipping experts can then help agencies move forward with the best solutions.

“Clients need to feel comfortable with an established business partner that is an expert and leader in the field,” adds Walter. “Government organizations need to collaborate with established, reliable partners that will give them accurate information on which to base intelligent, fiscally responsible decisions.”

To learn more about ways to modernize your mailing and shipping processes, speak with a Pitney Bowes expert today.