Green light for speed and efficiency

02/11/2015

Once the stuff of science fiction, driverless cars could soon be on the streets of Greenwich, Milton Keynes, Coventry and Bristol, following the Department of Transport’s decision to give the green light to trials on public roads.

Green light for speed and efficiency

Driverless cars might be a back-seat driver's worst nightmare, but for many they represent the future of motoring. Their advocates say they have the potential to reduce congestion and emissions, save time, make better use of the existing road network and even cut the cost of public transport. 

Contrary to the fears of many, driverless cars should also be safer, as human error is a factor in more than 90% of road accidents. For this reason, they could even lead to cheaper motor insurance.

Driverless cars may not have the romance of the open road, but anything that eliminates human error should be welcomed – in all areas of life, including the workplace.

In a recent survey by Neopost, human error came out as one of the top three challenges small businesses face in relation to outbound communications, along with slow processes and the difficulty of tracing sent items.

All activities, even the most highly regulated and automated, are at risk of human error. The challenge is to minimise that risk through everything from process design and staff training to environmental and ergonomic factors.

When it comes to customer communications, many small businesses still rely on repetitive, manual processes that are prone to error and no longer compatible with the demands of business in the twenty-first century. 

If all you are doing is putting a label on an A4 envelope, inserting a generic mailing and sealing it, there is little likelihood of a mistake. A manual process will be slow and inefficient but low risk. 

However, the more elaborate your mailing becomes, the greater the risk of human error and the greater the potential damage to your reputation. Should you decide to reduce the cost of a mailshot by folding it and sending it in an A5 envelope you introduce the possibility of poor presentation due to misaligned folds. Vary the insertion by customer type or location or add a personal greeting in a covering letter and you increase the chance of putting the wrong message in the wrong envelope.

At a time of more personal, customised contact with customers, any business that relies on manual processes to send is going to experience the frustrations and inefficiencies cited by our survey respondents. Some could even get into hot water if, due to human error, they send confidential information to the wrong person.

Send with confidence

Neopost mailing systems and solutions, such as folder inserters and output management software, minimise the risk of human error, enabling businesses to send with confidence. Crucially, they also give businesses the flexibility and intelligence to contact customers in a more dynamic, personalised and spontaneous fashion.

The effects of automation have equally far-reaching consequences in the way small businesses receive customer communications. Take a solution like the Neopost IMW-20 document management system, for example. It combines a scanner, touch-screen PC with a 1,000 GB hard disk and document management software with optical character recognition (OCR) for automatic indexing and full text retrieval and pre-defined workflows for invoice processing and mail distribution.

Installation and staff training takes just a matter of hours but the benefits are enormous. Replacing paper with electronic images speeds up business processes, reduces the need for filing cabinets, improves access to information and, crucially, eliminates inefficiencies caused by human error, such as the mis-filing, loss or hoarding of paper documents.

Self-driving cars and passenger pods sound futuristic, when really all they are doing is using existing technology in smarter ways to avoid bottlenecks and congestion. It's what Neopost customers do every day.

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