by Bill Cornelius, Regional Vice President, Xerox Federal Solutions
Mailroom logistics, document imaging, data capture and document management are all tasks that are essential to government’s mission but outside its core competency. A pilot wouldn’t be asked to fix a mechanical issue on an airplane, and government agencies shouldn’t be asked to be experts in back office functions. Repetitive, high-volume, transactional processes such as mail fulfillment or claims processing can be handled by third-party partners. This will save money and free up valuable time for government agencies to spend on higher-priority tasks.
While email is the most common form of communication today, receiving documents and letters by mail is still prevalent for government agencies that process claims, determine eligibility, etc. Processing such paper-based correspondence is labor-intensive because documents need to be sorted, routed, delivered, opened, and analyzed to determine what is important, and then forwarded to the appropriate department for required action. That’s a lot for agencies to handle. The result is typically low productivity and high costs. But a document management expert can revamp the document process to increase efficiency, improve accuracy and reduce costs.
Xerox recently worked with a U.S. Federal government agency to consolidate its mail centers, automate its document processes and alleviate its operational bottlenecks.
The agency’s mail centers were de-centralized with receipts across multiple regions, each with unique processing requirements and platforms that led to inconsistencies with data. The non-standardized forms and complex clerical processes required hundreds of sorts prior to processing.
Together, we transformed mailroom receipt into a single operation with common workflow methodologies and a shared processing platform. We also redesigned the agency’s inbound processes to employ automated document recognition (ADR) technology to electronically recognize document types. By doing so, we reduced manual sorting requirements by more than 75 percent and are processing more than 35,000 documents a day with a 50 percent reduction in turnaround time.
By working with a partner, this agency was able to reverse the adverse effects of the previously slow, labor-intensive and error-prone process.
But not all partners are created equal. So agencies should consider the following when choosing one:
- A pool of expert resources
- Proven, risk-mitigated, business-based solutions that are secure and scalable
- Run-rate cost optimization and utility pricing
- Best of breed technology infrastructure that offers flexibility, accuracy and transparency
- Operational stability for continuity and redundancy
- Single point of accountability
- Continuous improvement through innovation and mutual incentive
Pilots focus on the job at hand; it’s a great approach for government, too. With day-to-day tasks handled, government agencies can focus on core objectives, constituent services and doing the work they do best.