Highlights from the Critiqom Postal Savings Summit 2015
Over 100 delegates attended six postal industry seminars hosted by Critiqom during September 2015. The interactive events brought specialists in postal savings, hybrid mail technology and public sector procurement frameworks together with users from the NHS, local government, consumer finance, legal and pensions industries. Although cost savings were top of the agenda, topics also included driving better response rates, FCA compliance, increasing process control and improving customer service. The seminars, held in Glasgow, Leeds, Newcastle, Birmingham, Manchester and London provided the perfect opportunity to discuss how organisations can transition to the most cost-effective mail tariffs through a coordinated outbound communication strategy.
Each seminar session started with an overview of different sectors and an insight into how data and technology were now the key drivers of an efficient print and mail operation. Referring to a recent White Paper on the burdened cost of print and mail, data was presented suggesting local government was missing out on £37 million worth of savings across a current annual spend of £170 million. On a transactional level there are clearly savings available but mail merges and hybrid mail technology also plays a part as can be seen in the NHS with regards multiple patient appointment letters.
Discussing a real world example, former Chief Procurement Officer David Thomas discussed the consolidation of print and post at HMRC and how this achieved significant savings on a total spend in the region of £200 million. He went on to explain that although the drivers for lower transactional rates can be driven through the RM1063 Postal Goods and Services framework, savings at an organisational level could only be achieved with support from process owners. As an example of cross-departmental working, redesigning a single document template as well as changing envelopes, annual spend dropped by £60,000 on this one document type alone. His concept of getting ‘match fit’ suggested that realising these levels of savings is a journey that both procurement and process owners must go on together. In terms of the framework, both the direct award, as long as it can be proved to be the most cost effective route or mini-competition process considerably reduce the procurement overhead when compared to traditional one-off purchasing exercises.
Chris Sutton was able to elaborate on David’s case study involving HMRC having worked on the project whilst at Royal Mail. This led into an open discussion on upcoming changes to Royal Mail tariffs and the drive towards Mailmark. This change is viewed as a landmark step in the evolution of the UK postal system, equivalent in significance to the introduction of the stamp and later, the post code. Chris discussed the technology and benefits associated with this change as well as the challenges involved in taking advantages of the lower tariffs on offer. The key driver for realising these savings though remains the underlying data. Clean address data will ensure the lowest tariff is charged and with such a high differential in rates, the policing is likely to become a lot stricter in the future and so organisations are advised to act now in order to prepare.
Hybrid Mail expert James McCulloch completed each seminar by demonstrating the IQ PostMe solution and answered questions on its uptake and implementation. He explained that by using the RM1063 framework touched on above, public sector organisations can now tender, or go straight to a direct award, and implement within a matter of weeks. Despite the fact Hybrid Mail has been around for over 10 years now, this technology has only very recently gained widespread appeal. This has a lot to do with the general acceptance of SaaS and cloud based services where organisations and people are now happy for technical services to be hosted outside of their organisation. Needless to say, the introduction of Mailmark, accelerating adoption of Hybrid Mail technology and an increasing drive towards consolidated purchasing means that 2015-16 is shaping up to be a watershed period in world of transactional print and mail.
For organisations considering a review of their total outbound transactional print and mail spend, the Critiqom Postal Savings Audit is probably the most efficient way of evaluating whether there is a business case for Hybrid Mail and/or centralised print and postal services. When blended with a bulk print and mail contract, case studies from the likes of Fife and Gateshead Councils demonstrate how this can have a significant impact on in-year spend with savings in excess of £30,000 per annum (equivalent to 27%).
For further information about our Postal Audit or to arrange a free demonstration of IQ PostMe, click here.