Case study: How Zurich transformed its mail system to make home working a reality
How a two-week mail digitisation programme helped power a rapid move to remote working for Zurich in the UK
Sara Benwellposted on Monday, November 23, 2020
In late February 2020, Zurich began to prepare for the possibility of a UK-wide lockdown of its UK offices.
Key to these preparations was the ability of Zurich’s 4,500 staff to continue remotely and still have access to all the physical mail and documents received into Zurich’s offices daily and held in its archives.
Everyday Zurich’s UK offices receive high volumes of mail containing hundreds of different document types from customers, brokers and intermediaries relating to claims, underwriting, its legal team, customer services, accounting, and other back office support functions.
Alex Pollock, Zurich UK, Head of Document Logistics said: "The whole of Zurich’s UK business was relying on us rapidly implementing a digitised mail solution that would allow for secure remote access."
Most of this mail was being received at Zurich’s offices for delivery as a hard copy to individual desktops on-site or scanned and forwarded to the appropriate location and team.
Similarly, hard copy archiving was carried out by local teams. Zurich knew that for the business to continue operating efficiently through a lockdown and incorporating homeworking, it would need to rapidly deploy a mail digitisation programme across its UK operations.
The challenge was for Zurich to implement a solution that would allow safe, secure and timely remote access to a large range of incoming documents for a dispersed workforce, in a matter of days rather than months.
Prior to lockdown the mail digitisation programme had been focused on Zurich’s core processes but it had yet to be rolled out across the business.
"The challenge was for Zurich to implement a solution that would allow safe, secure and timely remote access to a large range of incoming documents"
As a result, only 50% of the incoming mail to Zurich’s UK offices was subject to digitisation. The remaining 50% was still subject to manual handling and desk delivery.
Whilst a two-year implementation plan was underway to achieve full mail digitisation across the UK, in response to lockdown Zurich took a bold and ambitious step.
It set about implementing the two-year digitisation programme in just two weeks.
Zurich had already worked with SPS to implement a successful solution to centralise and automate the scanning and processing of a range of inbound mail.
Zurich and SPS now worked together to plan and execute the rapid expansion of these services and SPS‘ Digital Mail solution across all incoming UK mail.
All incoming mail is now received directly into SPS’ ISO-certified Digital Transformation Centre (DTC) near Swindon where it is sorted, digitised, classified and indexed before being delivered to the business users’ desktop.
"Users can receive, view, process, share, and archive digital mail documents, replacing the physical delivery process"
SPS‘ Digital Mail solution combines several document management capabilities delivered through a simple web application.
Users can receive, view, process, share, and archive digital mail documents, replacing the physical delivery process without introducing the complexities of integration and process change that often accompany traditional workflow solutions.
This makes the solution quicker and simpler to implement, avoiding disruption to business processes.
Zurich employees can access their assigned mail via a secure application and see all the new items of work for their area, team or department.
"Powerful management information tools allow supervisors and managers to see the overall status, enabling them to react to changing workloads"
Users can see the status of work items and ensure that all service levels are met, and customer queries are handled promptly and efficiently.
Powerful management information tools allow supervisors and managers to see the overall status, enabling them to react to changing workloads and to ensure all items are efficiently processed, reallocating work as needed.
SPS has automated the process, accelerating the speed at which incoming mail reaches the teams, making it easy to manage, and allowing users to spend more time focusing on business operations, whether they are in the office or at home.
Equipping staff for transition
On the 23rd March 2020, the British Government announced a national lockdown, with the Scottish government announcing similar measures.
This resulted in almost all of Zurich’s UK staff rapidly moving to remote or homeworking across the UK. Just over one-week later Zurich went live with a UK-wide mail digitisation solution managed and delivered by SPS. A successful culmination of a rapid two-week implementation project.
"Every document is now available digitally to Zurich’s employees with many being searchable"
The project is ongoing, with Zurich’s Document Logistics team working with SPS to automate further the extraction of data for indexing and the automation of onward tasks.
The service also supports a digital scan-on-demand service for legacy archived paper files and microfiche which replaces over 300 daily physical deliveries.
Every document is now available digitally to Zurich’s employees with many being searchable, further helping Zurich get to the right information to make decisions.