Perspective: Hybrid Mail – Offering the Best of Both Worlds?

May 2, 2014

Hybrid Mail Has Arrived – and It’s Making Its Mark

By Sefas

It’s perhaps not surprising that, in the current economic climate, organizations want to reduce their operational costs. Imagine, then, a solution that allows you to outsource the print, fulfilment and postage of mail generated from users’ desktop applications, thereby ensuring significant cost savings and operational benefits.

Imagine no longer. The reality is here – and it’s called Hybrid Mail.Making Its Mark

The term ‘Hybrid Mail’ effectively defines the combination of online and postal communications. A Hybrid Mail, or ‘Hub Mail’ solution offers a simple, cost-effective method of consolidating traditional mail documents from any desktop application.

Instead of being printed locally on desktop printers and manually processed, documents are aggregated and securely transmitted to a centralized production facility for printing, inserting and delivery.

It really is the best of both worlds.

Print & Mail Join the 21st Century
Hybrid Mail represents real innovation, bringing the 20th century industries of print and mail into the 21st century. Of course, it’s not that new – Hybrid Mail has been around for some time, but it has only really come into its own in recent years with significant improvements in technology.

It effectively allows organizations to reduce the amount of time, effort and money required to mail high volumes of documents - for relatively minimal capital outlay. All you need is a desktop PC and a Hybrid Mail solution/service in order to print and mail any document for approximately the same price, or less than, the cost of a stamp.

How Does It Work?
Hybrid Mail
works by enabling users to send individual or multiple documents created on any PC or laptop to a central print site via the internet. The finished documents are printed and merged with letters that the printer has produced for other customers that day and sorted into Mailsort, ready for posting. At the end of each day, the mail is then dispatched via a bulk mail service supplied by Royal Mail or one of their competitors. It’s that simple.

Any business printing letters via a desktop printer will probably save time and money by switching to a Hybrid Mail service. Even organizations with larger in-house operations or employing third-party suppliers, such as a Subscriptions Bureau, to print their customer service letters, invoices, renewals or statements can save money.

Research has revealed that having a letter printed and mailed via Hybrid Mail is typically 60 percent cheaper, so Hybrid Mail can compete on price and service for large promotional mailings, such as direct mail campaigns which are commonly placed with third-party printers.

How Is It Evolving?
Technology and the Internet have evolved to the point where businesses can use a Hybrid Mail
service to print and mail all their letters and documents. It can deliver cost and process benefits to the publishing industry, for example. Subscriber renewal and customer service letters, customer invoices, statements and direct mail are just a few examples of documents which could all be printed and mailed via a Hybrid Mail service.

Unlike most print and mail services, the cost is not dependent on the volume being mailed. Whether you are mailing one bespoke letter to one recipient, or 200 standard letters to 200 recipients, the unit cost is usually the same.

Furthermore, technology has evolved to the point where many services will easily accommodate variable text, images and pages per letter. This can be a real benefit when creating a mailing of, say, invoices or sales literature which contain text or images specific and/or tailored to the recipient.

Keep It Safe & Secure
Hybrid Mail uses automated approval processes to validate mail prior to submission according to user profiles, and/or the presence of keywords in the content. All documents are encrypted and sent via a secure connection to the production center. With end-to-end tracking, the solution lets the sender know exactly where every document is in the production process – irrespective of media channel.

Users can track all work submitted via the web, through email or even by SMS updates, and reports are easily generated showing accurate and up-to-the-minute information on usage statistics by department, by location or individual usage and spending patterns. And Hybrid Mail simplifies compliance, allowing thorough audit and helping to accelerate the resolution of any disputes through reporting logs.

Reduction in Carbon Footprint
Hybrid Mail doesn’t just offer cost and process savings either. There is a significant reduction in the carbon footprint of each letter mailed. Letters mailed via a Hybrid Mail service are printed on presses which are considerably more energy-efficient than a desktop printer on a per unit basis. Furthermore, bulk mailings cost less to transport and deliver across the country, which further reduces the carbon footprint of each letter. Hybrid Mail can reduce the carbon footprint of each letter by anything up to 50 percent.

So there’s no doubt that Hybrid Mail has arrived – and it’s making its mark.

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