Digital Mailroom: The Growing Relevance of Digitization & Automation within a Mailroom
As the notion of the paperless office is gaining prevalence in industries across the nation, one of the remaining departments that still have to deal with paper is the mailroom. Offices receive mail daily, consuming time and storage. The mail has to be properly sorted, organized, and then sent to the correct recipient. In its current state, the mailroom is a chaotic, unorganized, and inefficient setting. The same technology that has helped make offices paperless can now be applied to mailrooms as well, creating the concept of the digital mailroom.
The primary technology responsible for streamlining office work and eliminating paper is OCR, which helps power automation software. OCR, or optical character recognition, can recognize characters such as letters and numbers, and then convert them into an electronic text file. A digital mailroom uses OCR to recognize, classify, and then send incoming mail to the proper recipient. This is a much faster, organized, and accurate method of handling mail, especially in large volumes. Mike Keenan, product director of Hasler, Inc., says that, “Today’s business climate demands information at an ever-increasing speed.” To cope with the continuing growth of information transfer, many offices are implementing a digital mailroom.
Although the benefits of utilizing a digital mailroom are clear, and the technology exists to make it a feasible solution, it has not yet seen widespread use. While some industry experts predict that companies will catch on to the idea and bolster digital mailroom demand, others say that it may take a few years for that to happen. Jim Vickers, of EMC says that, “The technology is probably ahead of the market. I predict that vibrant demand for a digital mailroom is still a few years away.”