Stratas has been working in partnership with a leading property management organisation for over 6 years on several digital transformation projects for inbound and outbound mail.
The partnership has continuously delivered operational benefits year on year.
The Outbound Mail Process Prior to Implementation
Before the implementation of the outbound mail solution, the organisation was running a manually intensive operating model. A sizeable team of people worked from two print rooms, equipped with rows of printers and mailing machines, churning large volumes of physical mail out of the business annually. Predominantly, these were finance documents relating to tenant billing and property management. This included printing invoices, statements, accounts packs, budgets, credit control letters, and other associated property-based finance correspondence.
The process itself was driven by multiple systems. So, in some cases, they would generate a templated document from their ERP system, Qube, and output this directly to the printers. In other cases, they would output templated documents along with raw data to a Neopost compilation system that would then assimilate the relevant pack. Bearing in mind that document types may have been made up of a Word document, a PDF, an Excel spreadsheet, and some XML data, the process was complicated and resource-intensive.
The organisation had been on a journey with a third party to try to develop a new document compilation platform, which had delivered limited success. This is because they were only able to address requirements across a very limited number of property databases that resided within Qube. This resulted in an inconsistent look across document types and brands.
At one of the locations, the internal staff were managing the systems themselves. As a result, they were physically printing and stuffing invoices themselves daily. This was an inefficient way of managing the process.
The Challenges with an Inefficient Outbound Mail Process
The organisation was facing many challenges prior to implementation. Firstly, the organisation had multiple systems that they needed to maintain and support. There was no single solution in the marketplace that met all their needs. This was established after several failed engagements with third parties who attempted to address their problems with a single platform.
Further challenges that they wanted to address included reducing operational costs, improving the overall look and feel of the documents that they presented to their tenants, and a refinement of the data driving the document compilation.
Stratas Addressed the Need for a Single Platform
When we first started building the relationship, we were able to provide a vision that consolidated all document creation within a single platform. We provided this platform within a hosted cloud environment, versus the previous on-premises solution which had to be maintained by the IT department.
We were able to onboard every single document type into this environment and accommodate all databases from Qube and the document and branding variances they presented.
Additionally, we unbundled the document creation and composition platform from the physical print, pack, and mail operation. This provided the opportunity to select the best of breed print and mailer whilst keeping control of the composition within the cloud environment.
We needed to take into consideration the separate brands sitting underneath the organisation as part of the output requirements. This is because each business needed to send out mail with their specific branding. Now, each brand can be managed within the same system.
Impact on the Wider Business
Due to the cost benefits of using downstream access as a mail delivery mechanism, we then opened this functionality up to the rest of the business. We did this by providing an accessible desktop hybrid mail driver to every employee. As a result, this gave everybody in the business the ability to use the more efficient and cheaper mail process through the solution we had delivered.
The extension of the solution addressed ad-hoc mail requirements. Therefore, printing and mailing of non-financial documents, such as client correspondence and building improvement plans, could benefit from the solution. This continues to strengthen business processes that are not typically supported in this type of project.
Significant Cost Savings
The major benefit for the organisation was the significant cost saving that our solution delivered.
The transactional cost per item has been significantly reduced, which has added up to a substantial 7 figure number over the past 6 years. Reflective of the continued drive for improvements, Stratas have further transformed physical mail to digital mail, enabling incremental monthly savings through the removal of physical mailing costs for over 25,000 mail items each and every month.
This cost reduction continues to deliver savings month on month.
“Our implementations are always focused and aligned with the customer’s needs, both short and long term. This alignment makes sure we deliver agile and relevant solutions that deliver on the promises we make.”Ashley Hamer
Chief Innovation Officer, Stratas
A True Partnership Approach
We worked with the organisation in a true partnership to enable an increase in digital outbound mail. The organisation drove the marketing plan for their tenant base and the messaging they wanted to communicate. We then facilitated the delivery of this communication through our platform. Now, we are also able to identify letters that can be delivered via the organisation’s online portal, which can then be sent digitally rather than as hard copy into the mail stream.
Critically, integral to our solution is a dynamic support and change model. This enables us to modify the system any time a change of whatever magnitude is required by the organisation. This could be a change to a template, the document type, the data feed, the output, or simply integrating a new brand. We do this dynamically as part of the overall solution cost without any incremental and ongoing cost to the organisation. This is a huge benefit for the organisation, as it enables us to be agile and rapidly adapt the solution based on the business needs. This made us very different to any other digital transformation partner.
Auditability and Dynamic Dashboard
Every document is now traceable through the system. Therefore, we can demonstrate for any single document that it was received, processed, templated, printed, and mailed. This is something that the organisation was unable to achieve previously.
Additionally, we provide a dynamic dashboard, which we have built over time based on the unique requirements of the organisation. This provides a real-time, in-process view of the transactional mail output. So, at any time, they can look at the dashboard to see what has been received, processed, templated, what is in print, and what has been mailed. This powerful dashboard updates dynamically minute by minute throughout the day. Therefore, the organisation have visibility of where peaks and troughs are in the business, who the key users are, and any information they would require to make informed business decisions.
“The ability to look at the dynamic dashboard and see exactly what is happening is really powerful. It is real-time visibility of the production process itself.”Ashley Hamer
Chief Innovation Officer, Stratas
Stratas have successfully transformed a previously manual, inflexible, and expensive outbound mail process for the leading property management organisation. As a result, the burden around mail fulfilment, envelope filling, procurement of stationery is now sitting within a single transactional cost per item model. The system is flexible and adaptable, which enables us to put the requirements of the customer first and continue to deliver tangible savings. We continually work with the organisation to identify new opportunities for change whether that be cost down initiatives, document structure changes or brand additions. This agile, partnership-based relationship is the key to what has been a hugely successful solution.