4 Essential Quality Control Measures for your Mail

In the modern competitive business environment, being mediocre or even good is just not enough to maintain efficiency and profitability. Customer expectations and competitive contenders are always on the rise. Therefore, mail organizations must process and deliver the right documents at the right time.

Quality Guidelines
The first step in launching a quality control initiative into your operation is through documenting existing work processes and procedures. Ideally, this will result in a process map that displays the individual steps and hand-offs between different teams and employees. Even if written procedures already exist, it’s important to revalidate the steps with the employees who do the actual work and review the steps with new hires. Using this process map, management can identify key areas where errors or miscommunication often occur. Based on this information, management can formulate the quality control program’s objectives. Then, management can identify and set monthly quality control goals.

Reduce External Addressing Errors
External and internal addressing errors are the most common quality problem with mail processing. However, the address is the keystone of the mailing industry’s entire process. Mail may contain valuable, confidential or time sensitive information, but if the address on the envelope is wrong, the intended recipient will never receive it. With regards to external mailing addresses, organizations must automate and digitize as much as possible because even the best-trained customer service rep will make keying errors. Bear in mind that external customers may move without notifying anyone and that the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) may unexpectedly change ZIP Codes in random parts of the country.

Reduce Internal Addressing Errors
Employees that handle internal mail operations and deliveries should also be concerned about the accuracy of addresses. These employees must know the correct mail stop designations and departments. Mail center managers can develop processes for tracking employee transfers and updating databases through working closely with HR, IT and facilities management. Bear in mind that many mail departments make the mistake of updating internal employee databases every month or quarter, but weekly updates are highly recommended. Mail center managers can also work with IT support to reduce printing errors caused by faulty programming, machine malfunctions or operator errors.

Quality Checks
In most mail operations, quality control for printing processes are performed by individuals or teams. These employees receive quality control training and use a checklist to review specific things, such as fonts, logos, key fields and readability. These checks should occur multiple times during the entire printing and mailing process. Many mail centers use special cameras to enhance the quality control process, which can be programmed to automatically review output for accuracy, quality and alignment. Additionally, these systems also provide valuable feedback through customized reports. These systems will significantly increase quality, but are best with physical checks performed by operators.

USPS has created two tools to help organizations improve the address management process: the Coding Accuracy Support System (CASS), which is used to standardize addresses, and NCOALink, which is used to detect address changes.