Businesses have realized the important role the mailroom plays in meeting larger organizational goals. It’s not just a mailroom, it’s a channel for critical inbound and outbound communications. Whether we’re talking about communication from an important customer, an invoice from a supplier, or a package for an employee, the mailroom is tasked with receiving and distributing it all.
In 2022, this is no easy task.
More employees are working remotely which makes it more difficult to get physical items to them, and labor shortages are putting pressure on managers to create a healthy workplace where employees are engaged. This means supporting flexible work options, eliminating manual, redundant tasks for operators, and enabling employees to focus on the work they love is top of mind.
For this reason, many organizations have turned to software and web-based applications to help manage and automate mailroom activities. Mailroom automation software, when it’s deployed correctly and designed for people, has the ability to transform outdated process bottlenecks into efficient activities. The result? A true competitive advantage for the organization.
So, automating the mailroom is clearly a no-brainer. But where do you start with so many options?
In this article, we’ll break down the marketplace for mailroom management software that helps you receive, track, and distribute inbound mail. We’ll show you all your options and evaluate the pros and cons of each to help you make the best decision according to your organization’s needs.
There are three main categories of mailroom software for managing inbound mail: virtual mailbox services, document management software, and package tracking software. Let’s explore each in depth and then look at a few others that don’t quite fit into these categories.
Virtual mailbox services, also referred to as digital mailbox services, are the simplest of the bunch because they are outsourced solutions.
Here’s how they work: You are given a separate physical address where all mail is delivered and then scanned by the service provider. Scans of envelopes or package labels are then delivered to recipients digitally via a virtual mailbox. From there, recipients are able to request for their mail to be opened and scanned, recycled, or forwarded to an address. Many of these services also do check deposits for your business as an added service.
While these services focus primarily on mail, most do receive packages for you as well. However, as you can imagine, this can get expensive due to extra holding and shipping costs.
Since these services require outsourcing all mailroom operations, they simply are not a great solution for those that need to maintain control of the mailroom for any reason. So, unsurprisingly, many of these services target individuals, home businesses, and small startups as opposed to medium sized businesses or enterprises.
Here are some of the most popular offerings for virtual mailbox services:
Next up is document management software. Unlike virtual mailbox services, this kind of software focuses on enabling the mailroom to better distribute mail to recipients with some basic scanning capabilities and custom workflow automation.
Much of the focus with this kind of software is put on scanning the documents within a mail piece, using technology to extract data from those documents, and give recipients access to it online.
This kind of software does very well at creating structured data from scanned documents and integrating into downstream applications. However, as you would expect, it’s much more expensive. While this kind of software is usually packed with tons of features for customization, implementation becomes complex. Many of these vendors will encourage your organization to open and scan all mail, and they put a lot of focus on “transactional” mail, as this is the only way to justify the high implementation and support costs.
Here are a handful of companies that offer document management software:
Like the name suggests, package tracking software is designed to help mailrooms track and manage incoming packages. Unlike the previous two categories, there is no recipient mailbox side to these solutions. Instead, recipients are simply notified that they have received a package via email or text. These solutions are built for environments where pickup or in-office delivery happen.
Almost all of these solutions focus solely on packages, and those that do support envelopes, Notifii and Q-Trak, require a separate workflow for those items. Envelopes are definitely more of an afterthought for these solutions.
As for the technology they use, some leverage OCR (optical character recognition) for reading labels while others turn your mobile device into a barcode scanner. Others require an actual handheld barcode scanner for capture.
Here are some of the most popular offerings for package tracking software:
There are a few honorable mentions that don’t quite fit into any of the previous categories.
First, there’s PackageX. They have a solution called PackageX Receive that functions similar to package tracking software. However, when paired with their app Receive Connect, it also gives recipients a virtual mailbox. This means recipients can ask the mailroom to scan, send, forward, or destroy items. Still, managing envelopes seems to be more of an afterthought while they promote package tracking first and foremost.
One final note is that Anytime Mailbox and PostScan Mail, virtual mailbox services, both offer a second solution that’s different from a traditional virtual mailbox. These solutions allow mailbox providers to give their customers the virtual mailbox experience. Instead of the service provider receiving and scanning all the mail, the mailbox provider does the receiving and scanning. These white-label solutions work especially well for managers of residential complexes and assisted living facilities.
If none of these options look to be sufficient or you’re wondering if there’s a better way to manage your organization’s incoming mail and packages altogether, don’t worry! We’ve been thinking the same thing.
That’s why we’ve introduced Received Digital, mailroom management software built for the modern day. We’ve rethought what mailroom software can be because we believe equipping the mailroom with better technology enables it to better contribute to customer satisfaction, employee engagement, and company growth.