By Jeffrey Lipes
For Regus Americas, a legacy network of postage meters across our business centers presented a challenge in terms of cost, visibility and control.
Worldwide, Regus operates more than 1,000 business centers across 450 cities in 85 countries. The company has a large footprint in the US, where we offer fully equipped and staffed offices, business support services and conference/video communication services in prestigious buildings such as Rockefeller Plaza, The Chrysler Building and Spear Tower. Our business model allows our clients to reduce their facility costs, increase employee productivity and achieve a tighter focus on their core business.
However, our business centers had traditionally relied on postage meters to manage clients' mailing and shipping needs. Each business center had a dedicated area that housed a large postage meter along with all of the other consumables required to supply it. Employees used this space to support their clients by collecting, sorting and processing postage requests.
The Problem with Postage Meters
Although clients paid for the postage used to ship their packages and mail their envelopes, each location incurred considerable expense by operating its postage meter, including:
Cost. Between the multi-year lease, maintenance fees, proprietary ink costs and hidden charges such as insurance, reset fees and extra phone lines, the cost of using postage meters at each business center location added up quickly.
Time. Managing numerous leases, keeping track of constant inventory changes with center openings, closings and acquisitions, and manual management of the postage fund for 400 centers were all very time-consuming.
Productivity. Postage meters did not maximize employee efficiency. Our business center staff was forced to print separate address labels for each piece of mail, handwrite international customs forms and manually input client charges into our billing system, leading to inefficiency, errors and delayed billing.
From Hardware to Software
Our management team soon recognized the operational waste caused by the postage meters and initiated a search for a more modern and cost-effective solution. As the person responsible for evaluating and selecting the technologies offered to our clientele, I led the search. My key selection criteria included:
- Cost savings for Regus and for our clients.
- The ability to meet every type of postage demand.
- Scalable across 400 business centers.
- Robust reporting capabilities to track postage spending.
- Automated client chargeback.
After a thorough evaluation process, my team and I chose an Internet-based, enterprise postage service from Stamps.com in 2008. This new solution allows employees at our business centers to calculate and print official USPS postage from the computer, improving productivity, saving space and eliminating the need for expensive postage meter ink and dedicated phone lines.
Working with our Operations and Procurement teams, Stamps.com quickly rolled the solution out to 400 business centers. As part of the company's "White Glove Roll-Out Program," Stamps.com managed the creation of all our postage accounts and provided customized communications materials and software training for all our users. The implementation went smoothly, and I did not have to invest a lot of time overseeing the process.
Stamp of Approval
We've realized a number of benefits since implementing Stamps.com Enterprise, including:
Cost savings. Our Internet-based postage solution has reduced costs by approximately $1.2 million per year by allowing us to use the computers and printers we already own instead of renting expensive postage meter equipment. With Stamps.com Enterprise, no extra equipment is required, no special labels or ink refills are needed, and we're not locked into a complex multi-year contract.