In an age of increased electronic communications, state agencies are often relying on digital resources to reach clients. Some, however, still depend on Enterprise Services Consolidated Mail Services (CMS) to help them reach customers who rely on paper mail to receive information regarding their services and benefits.
As mailing needs change, employees at CMS are constantly looking for ways to save taxpayer money and help state government become more efficient. The program’s recent merger of its automated mail inserting program with one run by the Department of Social and Health Services provides a prime example.
According to John Miller, manager of Outgoing Mail, the consolidation of the two operations saved costs and improved service.
“We expanded and reorganized the insert production floor to allow for a more consistent workflow,” he said. “We also were able to eliminate some duplicate equipment and move the DSHS operations out of their Tumwater warehouse.”
The move will save more than $416,000, mostly on maintenance and rental costs, according to Miller.
Jerry Clements, the DSHS Economic Services Administration Operations Support Manager, was a key team member during the merger to help manage and coordinate the transition of the DSHS operations to CMS in downtown Olympia. DSHS now sends electronic files to the CMS fileservers for electronic tracking and processing.
“This works in conjunction with sophisticated inserting equipment and software to validate the mailing down to the thousandth of an ounce for mailing weight verification,” he said. For three-ounce first class mail alone, the process saves DSHS 25 cents per letter.
Another cost-saving project CMS staff is working on is the use of a standardized envelope. Instead of pre-printing and storing envelopes, agencies can switch to a standardized windowed envelope. They come in two sizes and, according to John Conley, Program Support Supervisor, because CMS buys and stores the envelopes, agencies save resources — space, staff time and cost.
Before DES was an agency, the Agency Financial Reporting System (AFRS) program at the Office of Financial Management switched to the standardized envelopes. The change saved CMS staff from having to calibrate insert machines to accommodate customized envelopes and AFRS eliminated annual printing and storage costs. Those efficiencies were transferred to DES during the consolidation of all or parts of five agencies and their programs, including AFRS and CMS.
“The standardized envelopes don’t work for every mailing because the business need may call for some kind of customization,” Conley said. “But agencies are finding they are the more efficient choice in many cases,” he said.