Ashley finds Virtual Solution to Christmas Post

  • Anil Kanda
  • 22 Dec, 2006

We all know that in the run up to Christmas, the postal system struggles to cope with the additional volume. This year the problems could be compounded by threatened strike action in southern England. Getting pre-Christmas business mail delivered on time can be a nightmare and people need to plan in advance to beat the Christmas rush.

Small business invoice finance specialists Ashley Commercial Finance has already implemented a failsafe solution to this problem by using Virtual Mail Room (VMR), a company based in Twickenham. VMR has been employed by Ashley to deliver its mail electronically, via email or fax. Ashley has recognised the need for speed as well as a flexible approach and with customers paying faster Ashley are using smarter services. Of the 1.2 million Christmas cards that will go missing this Christmas, they are very unlikely to be Ashley’s.

A recent survey conducted by The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has called for a shake-up of postal services. The survey of more than 3,000 small businesses across the UK found that the introduction of Pricing in Proportion by Royal Mail has increased postage costs for 43 per cent of firms and time spent on preparing the mail for 44 per cent of businesses, with 48 per cent of firms reporting that their mail arrives later.

Steve Hart, IT Director of Ashley Commercial Finance, recognised that VMR would make a valuable contribution to Ashley’s service. He wasn’t wrong! Not only does the VMR solution speed up mail delivery, VMR report back to Ashley on the delivery of each item. Paper usage is reduced with the obvious environmental advantages; cost savings are made in reduced labour, paper and postage.

Operations Director of Ashley Commercial Finance, Jayne Merriman, said:

“Using Virtual Mail Room makes good business sense, both for us and our clients. Speed of service is so important in finance and Ashley has been able to improve its service to clients. We have saved more than 50 per cent of what it would cost Ashley to use an envelope and a stamp, not to mention the time element that is saved by outsourcing. We save money for every one of thousands of letters that are distributed electronically, which equates to thousands of pounds for Ashley.”

Mickel Bak, Director of VMR, said:

“Ashley was quick to see the advantages of our system and has been very responsive to our suggestions. Ashley was an early adopter of this technology and has migrated from using a 100 per cent hand prepared and delivered postal service in 2003 to more than 80 per cent of their post sent electronically, ensuring therefore the majority of their clients are getting their documentation within hours. This initiative and other activities has given Ashley great green credentials. Embracing this technology has created real benefits in the way Ashley works. The Virtual Mail Room cuts right through the Christmas postal blockages when speed and accuracy is needed. Ashley will be communicating with their clients independently of postal strikes, increased postal traffic or inclement weather.”