Published Thursday 30th July 2020

A safer way of dispatching outgoing mail by reducing the contact staff have with others outside your organisation whilst reducing overall costs.

‘Hybrid Mail’ is not a new concept and adoption across the UK has been slow to take hold. However, during these trying times of ‘social distancing’ it could provide an ideal way for staff to dispatch mail without coming into contact with other people.

The term ‘hybrid’ comes from the fact that the mail piece leaves the sender in electronic format, yet the recipient receives a physical letter, invoice or statement.

The Hybrid mail provider typically maximises the postal discounts available by using address verification techniques and printing the combined volumes of many organisations thus avoiding the collection and sorting elements of the Royal Mail’s processes.

In the UK, Ofcom – the mail market regulator – introduced competition to the Royal Mail by ensuring that competitors still had access to the Royal Mail’s delivery network. The service offered is known as Downstream Access (DSA) and offers the carriers discounts of around 60% on the cost of postage. Most businesses don’t reduce the volumes or frequency of their own mailings to meet the entry requirements, which are normally a minimum of 4,000 items in a single mailing.

These alternative carriers will offer varying discounts to organisations and will collect filled envelopes ready for dispatch, but even then the volume requirements are very high, usually 500 items per working day. This in turn means that for the vast majority of UK businesses the discounts available for physical mail delivery are simply not available.

Generating hybrid mail can be as simple as installing a virtual printer driver, and they bring substantially reduced costs (25-40% of total mailing costs) to even small volume users.

Hybrid mail therefore gives the potential for organisations to link their output transactional mail from ERP or other Accounting Systems, to create a truly integrated approach. Similarly, letters, invoices and statements will tend to be produced as Word or PDF documents meaning that hybrid mail printer drivers will be able to read these documents ‘out of the box’.

The transition from physical mail to hybrid mail is seamless and can often lead to payments being received more quickly; particularly if all items are transmitted solely by email.

Most Hybrid mail providers will combine a secure email with a physical ‘fall back’ by means of the sender being alerted to any emails that are not opened within an agreed number of days, thus ensuring delivery of the item by one medium or the other, therefore giving clients the best of both worlds.

Our postal experts are well versed in the technology and can advise how to ‘Hybrid Mailing’ could provide a ‘safer way of working for your’ organisation.

About the Author: Zoe Willis, has strong stakeholder management skills and her friendly approach ensures she engages all project team members within both client and supplier businesses. Her experience allows Zoe to offer well researched advice, due to her thorough and unsurpassed understanding of the working practices, procedures and sometimes confusing tariffs offered by Royal Mail and its competitors.