Bringing agility to outgoing mail management

Editorial Type: Case Study Date: 2021-02-01 Views: 469 Tags: Document, Covid-19, Strategy, Print management, Workflow, Quadient PDF Version:
A UK housing association has achieved estimated annual savings of £8,500 with agile postage cost control, and empowered employees to send post from wherever they are without leaving their desks - invaluable when the pandemic kept staff out of the office in 2020

Housing association Grand Union Housing Group provides 12,000 homes for more than 27,000 people across Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Northamptonshire and Hertfordshire. For over 25 years, it has committed to providing affordable homes and support to help build strong communities.

A relocation of its 330 employees from four regional locations to one central office in Milton Keynes provided an opportunity for Grand Union to transform its outgoing mail management, reducing costs, saving time and supporting a more agile way of working.

Grand Union sends out around 3,000 items of mail a month, mainly to keep in contact with customers but also to communicate with suppliers. Cost control is important to the business, in particular managing which items need to go 1st class postage, as most can be sent 2nd class to keep costs down. Maintaining consistency in this was a challenge for Grand Union when mail management was spread across multiple locations.

Grand Union is driven to do more, empowering staff to help the association become more efficient, flexible and ambitious, to have a positive impact on its customers and communities. To achieve this, Grand Union works to support agile and flexible working with employees equipped to work from different locations. It needed an outgoing mail management system that would support the company's strategic objectives.

Efficiency was also a big consideration, as manual mail management was a considerable time investment across Grand Union's employees. By centralising outgoing mail management through a single system, Grand Union expected to see efficiency improvements, time savings and greater cost control.

"We had the opportunity to set one way of managing outgoing mail when we centralised our operation," explains Richard Pearce, Procurement, Facilities & Insurance Manager at Grand Union Housing Group. "This would give us greater visibility into our mail distribution, but we also wanted to equip our employees to work in a more agile way - not to be tied to a particular location by manual processes."

Grand Union had an existing relationship with Quadient, so Richard spoke with their account manager and initiated discussions with other suppliers. Richard involved Grand Union's IT director from the start to ensure any resulting solution could be smoothly implemented within the company's existing infrastructure. Richard was impressed that Quadient demonstrated its recommended solution at Grand Union's site.

"The discovery process was good," says Richard. "Quadient spent time understanding our needs, the account manager was approachable and the whole engagement was very straightforward. The solution Quadient recommended made sense for what we wanted to achieve."

"We were up and running within three months," Richard went on. "Impress Distribute is straightforward to use - most staff are self-taught from simple instructions we were able to share on our intranet - and it's helped us transform mail management in the way we wanted to."

Impress Distribute from Quadient takes care of preparing and sending mail, freeing up busy employees to focus on other activities. Instead of printing out documents to put into envelopes and post themselves, staff at Grand Union securely 'print' them to Quadient's state-of-the-art mail production facility which takes care of the rest - printing, envelope-stuffing, applying postage and posting. In this way, mail is prepared and sent without staff having to leave their desks. What's more, they can manage the activity from wherever they are, and have visibility into what has been sent and at what cost, across the whole business.

Grand Union has transformed the way it manages outgoing mail with the flexibility to send documents from wherever staff are and time saved that was previously spent putting documents into envelopes and applying postage. The housing association estimates annual cost savings of £8,500 since it made the switch to Quadient’s Impress Distribute solution.

Richard Pearce explains further: "It gives us postage cost control. We can set the default for postage to 2nd class and staff simply change this if they're sending urgent items. That way, we have consistency in the way we send post and visibility into where spend is occurring."

With staff no longer reliant on being in the office to send mail, letters and documents can go out as soon as they're ready. This flexibility proved invaluable in 2020 when staff couldn't be in the office.

"It would have been a real issue if we hadn't transformed mail management before the pandemic struck," Richard concludes. "We were at a maximum 25 per cent occupancy for social distancing when we were able to start returning employees to the office. As it was, with Impress Distribute, we could still stay in touch with our customers throughout. We now manage outgoing mail in a very agile way; we've reduced our costs and given staff time back in their day. Working with Quadient has been a good experience."

More info: