Electronic mailroom scanning is the process of scanning incoming mail and faxes into a digital format by a third party. The scanned images can then be indexed and distributed without having to sort through a pile of paper. Document scanning services are often an essential part of creating a digital mailroom.
How Electronic Mailroom Scanning Works
Electronic mailroom scanning usually follows a workflow where incoming mail and faxes are delivered to the service provider, the provider processes them, and the digital documents are sent to the customer.
Those using electronic mailroom scanning either have their mail forwarded to a third party service or else deliver their mail to the service provider themselves. The service provider can also manage a dedicated PO box on behalf of the company. Faxes and payments may also be forwarded to the provider for processing.
Document scanning and digitization
As mailroom items are collected, the provider scans them into a digital format using sophisticated hardware. The documents can be saved in several different formats, but PDFs and TIFFs are the most common.
Data entry services may also be added on to make the information on incoming mail fully searchable on a computer database. In addition, payments can be processed using secure procedures known as “lockbox services.”
Delivery of data
Once everything is digitized and processed, the data is delivered to the customer for them to sort, distribute, and store accordingly.
Uses of Electronic Mailroom Scanning
Electronic mailroom scanning can help businesses streamline their mailroom management and data processing while also improving security and reducing loss. Some of the uses of electronic mailroom scanning include the following.
Streamlining mailroom management
Mailroom management can be a time-consuming and messy process, especially in larger companies that receive large volumes of incoming correspondence every day. It takes extra staff and office space to handle paper mail and faxes effectively, so it can constitute massive cost savings if those processes are outsourced.
Paper correspondence often needs to be kept on file and completely secure, particularly items containing sensitive information. On the other hand, digitizing it all through a third party electronic mailroom scanning service saves on the space and expenses associated with handling paper mail in house.
Facilitating access control
Some data found on paper correspondence is highly sensitive, which means effective access control and security measures are vital when it comes to managing and storing it. Rather than having to dedicate individually locked filing cabinets and relying on physical security measures alone, digitizing mail converts it into a format that can be protected with encryption and passwords. It’s much easier—and less expensive—to handle this through mailroom scanning.
Handling payment processing
While it’s common to pay for items and services online, many people still send checks, and it’s important to handle those payments securely and efficiently. Lockbox services offered by mailroom scanning service providers can streamline this process, reduce its associated costs, and even handle it faster than might be possible in-house.
With lockbox services, your incoming check payments are handled through a secure system, and funds are deposited into your accounts.
The best lockbox services adhere to stringent security protocols, making them highly reliable while at the same time reducing overhead.
Paper mail can be easy to lose, and it may be compromised during processing. Electronic mailroom scanning helps reduce the possibility of loss by quickly converting incoming mail into a digital format. That data can be kept on a secure server and—if indexed—quickly located through database searches. This ultimately saves the time spent locating missing mail and replacing lost data.
Features and Services of a Digital Mailroom
Digital mailroom services can be adapted to a wide range of business needs and objectives. Some of the features that may be included with digital mailroom services include those described below.
One of the fundamental components of digital mailroom services is document scanning. Using scanners capable of quick speeds and high-resolution imaging, each piece of mail can be converted into an easily stored and transferred digital format. Those documents are then easy to send via email, store on an in-house server, and sort to the designated recipients.
In addition to physical mail, faxes can also be processed and digitized, saving the costs of paper and reducing the risks associated with having physical faxes floating around the office.
When mail is scanned into digital format, it’s saved as an image. As such, computers can’t “read” the information on the document without highly specialized software. When mail is stored in large volumes in this format, it can lock that data up within the system, making it hard to access.
Data entry and OCR (optical character recognition) software can be used to index the information found on the documents, making them searchable on your business’s database. This makes it much easier to find, sort, and distribute mail within your business.
Much of the mail businesses receive may consist of checks. Digital mailroom services can receive these checks through dedicated postal boxes, scan/process them and then deliver the funds to the recipient’s accounts, all while maintaining the most stringent of security measures.
Electronic Mailroom Scanning Automation
Some processes involved in electronic mailroom scanning can be automated, such as “reading” and indexing digitized correspondence using optical character recognition. Response letters can also be automated. Other processes must be handled manually, however.
To discuss which electronic mailroom services can be automated for your organization, it’s best to talk directly with a professional about what solutions are the right fit.