The Quadient iX Series mailing system provides a future-proof platform for smarter communications
Amazon’s decision to extend the date when employees are expected to return to the office from September 2021 to January 2022, following similar delays from Google, Facebook, Twitter and other tech companies, highlights continuing uncertainty around the return to work.
This is not just a US phenomenon. It is prevalent in the UK, too, where the lifting of Covid restrictions has forced employers to consider where and when they want employees to work and the extent to which they can force workers, who might be anxious about the risk of infection, to travel into the office.
Mixed messages from the Government and flip-flopping by large enterprises and public sector organisations like the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), which recently delayed the introduction of rules stipulating how much time employees should spend in the office, underline what a difficult problem employers face.
Re-opening offices is not merely a health and safety issue. After 18 months of home-working, it is a major HR challenge, as a new survey conducted by headset specialist EPOS for its Understanding Sound Experience report makes clear. This reveals a pronounced divergence between the wishes of employers and employees, with 53% of bosses expecting employees to spend more time in the office, compared to just 26% of workers.
No wonder commentators talk about ‘the Great Resignation’ – the phenomenon of mass resignations by workers unhappy with a return to old working practices.
For business leaders looking to advance their organisations’ digital transformation and put their IT infrastructure on a more solid, secure and future-proof footing after a year and a half of ad hoc, often emergency procurement, the confusion and lack of clarity over future working practices (and locations) is equally problematic.
How can they make the necessary investments in technology if their workplace strategy is still uncertain and where and when people work is still a topic for debate?
The answer for many is to invest in solutions that have the flexibility to accommodate any future requirement. The cloud is an obvious example, with easy access from anywhere and the ability to scale up and down on demand.
With more and more technology vendors integrating their devices with cloud services, the cloud can also future-proof essential investment in hardware devices like multifunction printers, scanners and franking machines.
Quadient’s new iX Series mailing system with S.M.A.R.T. software is a case in point, as Anthony Coo, Head Of Product Marketing, Quadient UK explains.
“Connectivity is nothing new to franking machines. From the recharging of postage over phone lines to network connectivity, they have always been much more than purely standalone devices. The iX Series takes this to a new level by harnessing the power of the cloud to provide sophisticated services that can be updated, enhanced and expanded to meet changing needs, now and in the future. Integration with cloud-based S.M.A.R.T. modules effectively converts the iX series from a hardware device into an intelligent platform that offer benefits to users throughout a business, from mailroom operatives to desk-based employees and even to remote workers.”
As a customer communications specialist with a 97-year heritage in automating time-consuming manual processes, Quadient has proved adept at meeting customers’ changing needs, arguably never more so than in the last decade when organisations have increasingly adopted multi-channel customer communications strategies embracing both digital and printed communications.
Quadient has supported this transition by enabling organisations to automate the distribution of communications by email, post, SMS and web portal, according to each customer’s preference, while also giving them the flexibility to centralise the processing of communications at a corporate facility or outsourced provider, bringing cost savings and greater efficiencies to organisations with branch offices and remote workers.
By combining efficient hardware and versatile software, Quadient gives customers confidence that any investment they make in technology will continue to meet their needs well into the future.
The Quadient iX Series mailing system is a product of this culture, as its marketing slogan ‘Now and Beyond’ attests.
In this context, Beyond isn’t just a question of time, but also of place, as organisations adopt different organisational structures, often based on smaller corporate offices, more regional work hubs and home working.
Beyond also refers to the ongoing transition to integrated multi-channel communications and the changing position of postal communications in the overall mix, as well as the rise of new mail types, notably parcels and packages – Royal Mail’s latest annual results show that in the 12 months to March 28, 2021, it experienced a 38.7% increase in parcels revenue and a 12.5% decline in letters revenue.
By integrating its franking technology with a cloud-based platform offering additional services, Quadient addresses these changes and future challenges. Think the iPhone and app Store or the office MFP and cloud-based services for document storage, OCR scanning and other applications.
In the case of the iX Series, the platform in question is called S.M.A.R.T., which stands for Shipping, Mailing, Accounting, Reporting and Tracking.
Each of these cloud-based modules give access to a range of additional capabilities that can help businesses improve the productivity, efficiency and effectiveness of their transactional and marketing communications
The cloud-based shipping application, for example, allows desktop users and mailroom staff to ship parcels domestically with the ability to compare Royal Mail rates and services on one screen.
Desktop users can prepare parcels for shipping by the mailroom, filling in the appropriate forms and generating barcodes so that mailroom staff don’t have to enter details manually, including single-click label generation from public and personal address books.
Alternatively, users, including home workers, mobile staff and employees in remote offices, can print off labels themselves and arrange collection from their location, reducing the workload for the mailroom and ensuring that flexible and agile working models aren’t an obstacle to efficient communications.
Other applications within the S.M.A.R.T. portfolio offer further efficiency improvements:
- Mailing. Users are able to manage every aspect of the mailing system and meter through their online interface, with a rate wizard for easy navigation of mail classes and services;
- Accounting. Mailing and shipping expenditure is tracked and controlled via the same platform, with the ability to set budgets and apply spending limits to all or specified accounts;
- Reporting. Instead of having to collate reports from multiple systems, reports for both mailing/shipping activities and expenses are available through one application. Reports can be scheduled and automatically run and emailed to multiple recipients; and
- Tracking. A rolling 13-month parcel transaction and tracking history provides a useful record of activity, with the ability to filter and search for transactions and send automated notifications to multiple email addresses.
For Anthony Coo, Head Of Product Marketing, Quadient UK, these enhancements are just the beginning.
“With its Royal Mail Mailmark meter, integrated label dispenser and wide range of optional accessories, the iX Series has everything needed to streamline and speed up the processing of mid to high-level mail volumes. But that is just half the story. Integration with cloud-based S.M.A.R.T. modules, accessed through an online dashboard with a consistent look and feel, gives improved usability, visibility, control and reporting to managers and users in the mail centre and throughout the business – wherever they are located. Because these applications are cloud based, customers can be confident that any investment in iX Series franking machines will be future-proofed and provide a platform for additional functionality in the future.”
Quadient has a long history of using automation to make mail processes more efficient and more accurate, from franking machines and folder-inserters that combine faster mail processing with improved accuracy and reporting to output management solutions that automate the distribution of communications via multiple digital and physical channels according to each customer’s preferences, with processing managed in-house, centralised or outsourced.
The Quadient iXSeries mailing system with S.M.A.R.T. software continues this heritage by providing a platform that addresses the challenges faced by customers in today’s world of hybrid work, as well as the ability to add extra capabilities in the future as new challenges emerge.
Quadient iX Series Mailing Systems
- Replaces IN Series
- Modern look and feel
- Streamlined navigation. n
- New Menus and Rate Wizard makes the iX Series the easiest mailing system to use
- On-Screen Dimensional Weighing (DIM) – The mailing system will prompt operators to enter the length, width and height of an item and will then provide the DIM value. n
- IMI Meter: Intelligent Mail Indicia holds stricter guidelines for data security and management than Information Based Indicia (IBI) offered by previous models (IS/IM/ IN-Series).
- Mailmark meter: ensures the lowest franking tariff rates from Royal Mail n
- Integration with S.M.A.R.T. Software.