What are the advantages
of an internal post room versus an outsourced hybrid mail solution

Hybrid Mail for NHS Trusts may seem a relatively low-risk option as it does not require a significant investment in software and services. However, the actual costs of implementing hybrid mail solutions over 3 -5 years can be more expensive than bringing the capabilities and technology to an internal post room.

A quick Google Search for ‘Hybrid Mail’ would only show the benefits of Hybrid Mail; obviously from Hybrid Mail providers.

What are these Hybrid mail benefits?

Hybrid Mail does provide a more secure and cost-effective alternative to traditional print and post methods, which enables users to send physical mail such as letters or invoices, directly from a computer connected to the internet. They can also;

  • Cheaper than Franking – We will go into Hybrid mail costs later on in the article, but overall, it is a more cost-effective communication channel compared to Franking Machine post as you remove material costs (such as envelopes, letters and manual labour).
  • Improved Tracking – Digital platforms allow documents which are fully partnered with Royal Mail MailMark to be tracked from post room to door, which can be viewed on one Portal.
  • Centralised workflow – By choosing a hybrid mail provider that integrates with your in-house software, your employees are empowered to gain control of your templates. Your team can decide to send or recall scheduled documents without the need of going through an external hybrid mail provider.

Your patient communications shouldn’t be limited to outsourced Hybrid Mail providers, because there are more efficient digital solutions which will improve your internal productivity, make your job easier and save you a lot more money.

Hybrid Mails Unexpected Charges

Many hybrid mail platforms deliberately offer a low entry-level price for each letter to make their business services seem more attractive and competitively priced at a budget offering, but typically they charge premiums for additional pages and services. Most Hybrid Mail providers conveniently don’t advertise this.

Hybrid mail costs

If all you ever print is a simple one-page mono letter, hybrid mail can be attractive and suitable for your needs. If your typical letters are larger than a single page, if you use colours, inserts or require double-sided, these costs soon mean that the savings on the initial pack price disappear when all the additional costs are taken into account.

To give you an idea of how this can affect your overall cost. Let’s consider a scenario where we have to send out 500 documents each consisting of 3 black and white pages; each document also includes an additional insert.

Assuming it costs 3p for the first page, 3.5p for an insert and 5p for each additional page, we would have the following:

3 mono documents + 1 insert x 500;

Ignoring the hidden costs, one may assume:

(3p x 4pages) x 500 = 12p x 500 = £6,000

However, with the additional costs, this is actually:

Initial document cost: 3p + additional page cost: (5p+5p) + insert cost (3.5p)

Actual cost considering the above hidden costs: (3p + 5p + 5p + 3.5p) = 16.5p x 500 = £8,250

Limited Control

Most Hybrid Mail solutions require you to hand over control of your documents to a third-party print and fulfilment house. Although this can be great if you require an outsourced provider to reduce workload, you can actually limit your organisation in terms of cost and customer satisfaction.

Hybrid Mail providers typically offer one postal solution which is theirs, and your contract means you’re locked into a single supplier hybrid mail solution – whatever the price may be. You are limited to what they offer which may not be the cheapest postal price, and a lot of the time, hybrid mail-only providers do not integrate with other digital services so you are forced to set up different digital platforms if you wish to send your communications which can get a bit messy.

To uninstall or switch Hybrid Mail providers comes at a high cost which understandably makes the option to switch prohibitive. By outsourcing your letters to a third party, your organisation is limiting your ability to manage and control your digital transformation strategy.

Less Auditability & Compliance

Hybrid Mail isn’t a full digital solution and by outsourcing your print and post, you lose the ability to fully track and trace individual letters.

For appointments or time sensitive documents such as NHS health records, information governance makes it essential that an organisation implements the maximum levels of auditability and compliance possible around the creation, despatch and delivery.

In May 2022, our team conducted a study on 270 UK NHS Trusts, in which ____ replied. We found that although all of the NHS Trusts were sending out physical post, only ___% were using Royal Mail with the possibility of using Royal Mail MailMark.

Not only is MailMark cheaper than Franking Machine postage by 10p, with the right digital software in place, individual letters can be tracked from the post room to the receiver. Using an outsourced Hybrid Mail provider doesn’t always allow your organisation to decide which postal carrier to use.

Cherry picking the easy volumes

Cherry picking is a term used where Hybrid mail suppliers will only pick up easy-to-process templated letters such as Council Tax, but will generally stay away from the more difficult templates, thus reducing the long term savings from a project like this.

Hybrid mail suppliers are not technology specialists, leaving your organisation with ineffective solutions;

  • A two tier communications strategy: You are only limited to just two methods of communication which typically are not fully trackable; email and post.
  • Hidden costs: The savings you may make on Hybrid Mail, opposed to franking, are offset by the labour costs of managing the physical volumes.

Unfortunately, this means that if you are a smaller organisation, or if your templates are not standardised, you may be hit with premium, hidden costs or not seen as a preference and they may prioritise higher budget organisations.

Benefits of an internal post strategy

Although the costs of setting up an internal communication solution may initially seem a bit more expensive, when installed and utilised as a long-term strategy it often works out to actually be cheaper than outsourcing via hybrid mail.

You stay in control

Keeping your print and post solutions internal means you remain in control of your documents and remain informed of the total price.

Cost control is another benefit of keeping your communication internal. Outsourced Hybrid Mail prices include both the toner coverage and their hidden additional page costs but if the same job were produced within your internal post room, the actual cost would reflect only the toner used. You can also shop around for cheaper postal services to help your budget remain low, whereas outsourced providers will typically lock you into their postal providers.

As a fully integrated software, Publisure will integrate with many UK postal providers so you can change postal services at any time. As a flexible non-proprietary software, if you wish to move forward in your digital transformation strategy, we offer further online communication platforms including encrypted email and two ways SMS messages to help your organisation work towards a modern digital solution, increasing your outbound communication savings.

Publisure Lite

Our aim is to help your organisation improve document management workflows through automated solutions. Publisure Lite introduces customer engagement and improved experiences for customers and employees by incorporating a simple digital strategy within your internal postroom.

As with all of our digital services, your customers can choose how they wish to be contacted, and you keep control over your own documents and database.

Benefits for SMS

Around 90% of all SMS messages are opened within three minutes, so helping your customers access their documents quickly is essential. Publisure Lite allows your customers to select a link within your SMS which sends them to their unique webpage by simply inputting their Unique PIN to help us verify them and keep their documents as secure as possible.

Benefits for eMail

Publisure Lite allows your customers to visit their encrypted digital documents from a URL with your email message. The URL will direct your customers to a secure webpage which requires only their Unique ID to help us verify them and keep their documents as secure as possible.

Archive your SMS and email templates in our secure Portal which can be saved, re-used and edited across departments to keep branding consistent. Similar to our standard software, variable data letter generation and the formulation of pre-built templates can be activated to improve time efficiency, and all communications are encrypted for maximum security.

Full Auditability

A great internal solution will be able to provide increased levels of auditability and compliance. The progress of every document submitted to Publisure can be monitored, where each user has access to a personal post box, where the details of a document and its status such as pending, posted and emailed etc can be viewed.

For physical documents, we are partnered with Royal Mail MailMark to ensure every single step in the print and postal process is tracked to provide your organisation with complete tracking and auditability over your correspondence, which is easily viewable on the Publisure Portal.

Increased Security

Ensuring your outsourced hybrid mail provider is up to date with the latest security measures and frameworks can be difficult to monitor. With an internal solution, you can monitor your security measures and know that your patient documents won’t be compromised.

Publisure offers regular maintenance and service updates alongside advanced encryption and compression techniques to guarantee the security of each document in the system. Once a document is submitted, all documents remain in an encrypted state until they are printed and despatched or, when using eDelivery, the recipient has successfully authenticated themselves (via PIN number or Login).

Centralise your communications

We understand it may seem cheaper to outsource your workflow to an external provider, but in reality, by taking full advantage of a multi-channel, integrated software, you will enjoy reduced financial costs and improved efficiencies throughout your postroom and document workflows.

By keeping control of your documents, you can decide how they are sent, when they are sent and to who they are sent. We offer a variety of channels to deliver your documents, so get in touch with our team to discuss these options further, and see how we can transform your communication strategy.

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