officeSOLUTIONSDoumas, Mike
500 words
1 September 2005
Office Solutions
Volume 22; Issue 5; ISSN: 15291804
Copyright (c) 2005 Bell & Howell Information and Learning Company. All rights reserved.

Within the next decade, all businesses will transition their mail centers to digital postage meters, which will speed mail processing and significantly enhance productivity of mail center operations. The new digital meters offer full compliance with the U.S. Postal Service’s (USPS’) Information-Based Indicia Program (IBIP)-the highest level of security proposed by the USPS to date. In addition, the new digital meters will offer integrated software and security that protect postal funds and enable process improvements.

PKI protects postal funds

The new digital meters are backed by the latest security technology. Working within the parameters set by the USPS, postage meter manufacturers have invested millions in the latest encryption technology, communications software, and security features to handle the private key and public key infrastructure (PKI) aspects of the new digital meters.

PKIs provide the highest level of security for Internet transactions, verifying a business’s identity using a unique numeric, time-stamped certificate. Public key cryptography is used to scramble the transaction before it’s transmitted and then to decode that transmission once it’s received.

With this level of automation, the new IBI-compatible meters support the USPS’Intelligent Mail objectives. The flexibility of the technology also provides long-term adaptability. In fact, the USPS expects the digital printing meters to be on the market for many years-as long as there are no security risks identified.

Smart card technology

Advanced meter hardware and software tools also provide flexibility over internal mail center operations. Mail center managers now have the opportunity to re-strategize and finetune their mailing operations to better meet the needs of the organization.

For example, the latest digital postage meters with their integrated software components are able to efficiently handle addressing, sorting, presorting, folding, and inserting any document in one seamless process. This can reduce the use of outside services for mass mailings-and the chance that corporate proprietary information (customer data, prospect mailing lists, billing details) may fall into the wrong hands.

Digital meters help create a more “knowledge-based” mail center that safely and efficiently handles a company’s needs. This may include all paper-based information-from customer invoices to incoming and outgoing packages, and from interoffice communications to marketing campaigns and beyond. In addition, the built-in scalability of the new digital meters means that mailhandling operations can actually expand, taking on the large, complex mailings that were previously outsourced to mail houses.

The latest digital meters also provide intelligence through printable standard reports that give mail center managers the information they need to plan more proactively. The reports can also be used to provide statistics to company executives and as a feedback source to help employees advance.

For any small to midsize business, going digital brings a host of advantages, from increased protection of postal funds to greater flexibility within the mail center operation.

Copyright Quality Publishing, Inc. Sep/Oct 2005
by Mike Doumas, CEO, FP Mailing