New research amongst mailing houses carried out by The Software Bureau reveals a 25 percent automation gap. The survey shows that currently two thirds of mailing houses have automated 50 percent of their processes, however the optimum level of automation is considered to be 75 percent, revealing a 25 percent gap. Only one mailing house in the survey has automated all of its workflow processes.

Data automation was found to be highest on the wish list for mailing houses, including postal sortation and cleansing processes, whilst automation of ‘run of the mill’ day-to-day processes was the next highest priority.

AI-enabled solutions were revealed to be the area with the most potential, with 70 percent of businesses currently not using AI. The remaining 30 percent were found to have employed some AI enabled solutions, but all are also actively looking to implement more. Robotics are another area of potential. Currently a third of mailing houses use robotics within their workflow automation, whilst another third is looking to invest in the near- or medium-term future.

Concerns surrounding automation are largely focused on the workforce and employee mindset. The perception that automation will result in job losses is still prevalent, rather than seeing it as an opportunity to redesign jobs to include more complexity or new product design. Whilst the second largest barrier to automation was the incompatibilities between different technology and software suppliers which makes automating an entire process difficult without significant investment.

Comments Martin Rides, Managing Director of The Software Bureau:

“The results of our survey reveal that there is significant opportunity to innovate within mailing houses through automation. Whilst some mailing houses are not necessarily famed for their adoption of new technologies; this shows that there is an appetite to integrate emerging tech into the workflow to enable greater innovation. It is clear that in the near future we will see exciting developments in the processes that are behind the items that

come through the mail. We are proud to work collaboratively with our clients to ensure that we are providing the best solutions including automating postal sortation and data cleansing and delivering it across different channels to best suit their needs.”