UNIT 7 INWARD AND OUTWARD MAIL
7.0 Objectives (
7.2 Nature and Importance of Mail Service
Organking the Mi Smrice
7 -3.1 Cenhahtiqn of Mi Service
7.3.2 ~ e c e n t t a l d o n Mail Service
7.4 Stages in Handling Inward Mail
7.5 Stages in Handling Outward Mail
7.5.1 Stages in Making Outward Mail Ready for Despatch
7.5.2 Stages in despatch of Outward Mi
7.0 Equipment for Mail Handling
7.6.1 Letterwniag Machine
7.6.2 Folding Machine
7.6.3 Addressing Machine
7.6.4 Franking W n e
7.7 Let Us Sum Up
7.8 Key Words
7.9 Answers to Check Your Progress
7.10 Terminal Questions
After going through 'this unit, you should be able to :
a explain the nature and importance of mail service in the office
a distinguish between centralised and decentralised organisation of mailing servke
describe the stagb in handling inward and outward mail
a identify and explain the uses of equipments and machines for mail handling work!
One of the basic functions of an office is to receive and transmit information relating
to the operations of the organisation. This is particularly important in a business
office. A business concern has to keep contact with its customers, creditors,
investors and dther organisations in of conducting its business operations.
Mail service plays very important
In this unit, you will learn the nature and im rtance of mail service, the
organisational set-up required to handle the mail and the routine steps involved in
handling inward and outward mail. You will also be acquainted with the equipments
and machines used in a modem office for handling mail.
7.2 NATURE AND IMPORTANCE OF MAIL
Correspondence r d v e d or sent through the post office or through messengers is
called 'mail'. Mail may be classified into three distinct categories : Inward mail,
Outward Mail and Interdepartmental mail. The value and effectiveness of mail to an
thi s~eed effjcjencywith which it is handled or deal,
mdOutward mail Every u f f i ~ e ,
:for nmm-+ --
fficient handling of mail n :- xt up
of mail service to an organisation should not be underestimated. It is the focal point Handling Incoming a
of most business activities.
An effective and economical mail service enhances the efficiency of the organisation
@ various ways. By helping to improve interbranch and interdepartmental relations,
it ensures better functioning of the organisation. Mail service is an indispensable and
integral part of office operations. It supplements other office operations like
correspondence, typing and duplicating and record keeping. These operations lose
much of their effectiveness unless their efforts are backed by an efficient mail service.
Prompt and correct handling of mail by the mailing department also helps in
reducing the overall cost of office operations by eliminating unnecessary
correspondence. Moreover, it helps in promoting the goodwill of the f r among
customers and the public through prompt and correct handling of mail.
7.3 ORGANISING THE MAIL SERVICE
Where people work in a group, their combined efforts can be productive only when
their individual efforts are organised and coordinated. Organisation helps to achieve
the desired objective in the most efficient and economical manner. Like any other
office service, mail service also requires the combined efforts of a number o staff
working as a team. The purpose of organising the mail service is to ensure
performance of mail handling work with maximum efficiency and at minimum cost.
Organising ir~volves bringing together functions, personnel or staff and physical
facilities (vi7. ai'cc)ln~~~trlatic)~~, u-~)rk condition and equipment) and
lay out, i1.g
estahli! hing thci~r c l i ~ ~ ~ o n ~ : ~ ! j ;a well-planned system. Organising the mail
service invcdv~~i ; ; : : ! . ? , i : ~ i i ~!!i t '
: . : :.tw tcir handling mail, assigning the task of
r>crf(,rming 11ic~. . > . u i , i - - ~ , . . -r > l r tpossc\sirig tiif necessary skills, providing the staff
vgith nzct.sbiirv ! > I . :,i fncilitics and sstablishing well-defined relationships bctween
them within i i t t . , j b t e r n . This helps in controlling and coordinating the work of
~rltiividual staff 10 achieve the desired result. The type of organisation to be set up
will depend on the size and nature of business. It also depends on the volume and
t frequency of mail handled each day, the system and routines established and the
degree o mechanization of work. Mail service may be centralised or decentralised.
Let us now discuss them in detail.
F( 7.3.1 Centralisation of Mail Service
'Centralisation' of mail handling work means physical concentration of the work in
one section or area of the general office. The central mailing section will b;l
responsible for handling all inward and outward mail of the functional or operating
departments of the organisation. The main object of centralisation of mail &mice is
to achieve greater effic~ency and economy through job sub-division and
specialisation. The repeated performance of the same routine operation by the same
worker leads to specialisation and greater efficiency. Routinization and
standardization of the operations also facilitates mechanization resulting in greater
efficiency and accuracy. Centrahsation of mail~ng work also makes it feasible to
appoint an expert supervisor to coordinate and control the work of individual
Advantages : Centralised mail service has several advantages :
1) Systematization of work : It facilitates setting up of proper sy'stems and routines
in mail handling work. This leads to elimination of duplication of work and
unnecessary operations, thereby effecting saving in time and expense.
2) Greater efficiency and accuracy : Each routine operation is performed by the
staff having special aptitude and training for such work. This ensures speed,
accuracy and efficiency in operation.,
3) Better supervision and coordinatiort : In ccnrralicrd mail it is feasible to appoint
work of individual
a qualified supervisor to >upcXr! irrlcl coorctinate ~ l l c
workers. Proper allocar~on f u111 c ~ ~ c - distribution of work-load and
o k. ri
continuous supervision tnsurc I~crrer~?crfo~.nianct:.
4) Prompt hndling of h a r d maif : Prompt and careful handling of inward mail
-Srr*tScr and their proper distribudion to the proper departments and individuals ensures
prompt action on the mail. This contributes to greater efficiency of the entire
5) Saving d derical bbow : Duplication-of work inherent in departmental mail
service is eliminated leading to saving of clerical labour and office cost.
6) ~ o n g e k i o nf mail avdded : Collection and despatch of outward mail from
different departments d a y be so staggered that there 'will be no congestion or
over-load of mail durin rush hours.
7) Better control over postage : Wastage and misuse of postage stamps can be
avoided. Better control over use of stamps and proper postage accounting
ensures economy in pustage expenses.
6) Eeolromiad use of mrlchines : A large volume of mail handled by central
mailing department jubtifies proper and fullest possible utilisation of mailing
machines. This ensures economy in use of office machines. *.
Diudvmtaga : The follc$bg are certain disadviintages of centralisation:
1) Costly : It is a costly Brrangement and proves uneconomic for small organisations
with small volume of~mail. '
2) A t o deiyed : s o b e delay in collection and distribution of departmental mail
is unavoidable in a centralised arrangement. Mail requiring quick action on its
receipt cannot be d d t with quickly.
3) Cwfidentiatity of +I:Central handling of mail results in loss of
confidentiality of mail. Mail dealing with confidential matters are best handled
4) Physical l&tion :H the locatton of the functional departments is scattered
widely, speedy and proper distribution or collection of mail from the
departments becoyes difficult and costly.
7.3.2 ~ e c e n t d d t i o n Mail Service
Deczntralised or Depatirmental mail service refers to arrangements whereby all
incoming and outgoing mail pertaining to each functional department is handled
within the department by the departmental staff. The actual arrangement will depend
on the size of the business and the volume and nature of mail.
Advaatnges : The a d b a n t a p of departmental service may be outlined as follows :
1) Less costly : It is less costly than centralised mail service and hence can be
adopted suitablyr by small and medium organiltions with small volume of mail.
2) Quicker ds o d of m a : Inward mail is received directly by the department
concerned and be disposed off more quickly than in a centralised
arrangement. Special arrangement can be made for quick despatch of outward
mail of urgent nature.
3) Secrecy +Wined : Secrecy and confidentiality of correspondence can be
better maintained in the departmental arrangement.
4) Fosters departmental loyalty : Departmental staff doing the mail handling work
develop a sense of loyalty towards the departmcnt which improves the quality of
their work. This enhances the reputation and image of the organisation.
DlsPdvamtsgea : Gertain disadvantages of departmental mail service should be noted:
1) toss of efsdeney and accuracy : Job subdivision and specialisation are not
possible under this arrangement to the same extent as in a centralised set-up.
Each departmental worker has to perform several routine operations single
handed. Thi$ results in loss of efficiency and accuracy in mail handling work.
2) Lack a proper supenision :.@ch department cannot afford to appoint an
expert supervisor to oversee mail handling work. The work cannot be properly
supervised and coordinated.
I 3) Duplication of work : The same operations are performed in different h d h g Incoming and
departments by separate sebof staff. This results in duplication of work and Outgoing kInifs
' increased labour cost.
4) Vse of mqchines uneconomical : The volume of departmental mail is not
hfficiently large to justify economical use of mail handling machines.
+ - - r ,
Check YO&P~Q& A : ..
1) w h a t is meant by centralisation of mail servick?
2) Your organisation has five departments. Each department receives and sends out
hundred letters a day on an average. Mention three principal advantages to be
derived from deeentralisation of mail service.
3) Which of the following statements are True and which are False?
i) Message received by telegram is not mail.
ii)Mail service enhances the goodwill of the organisation.
Centralisation of mail service saves clerical labour.
iv)Economical use of office machines is possible under departmental mail
v) Departmental mail semce leads to duplication of work.
vi) Proper supervision is ensured in both centralised and departmental mail .
7.4 STAGES IN HANDLING -INWARD MAIL
An important phase of planning a mailing service is the establishment of definite
routines for handling inward and outward mail. Inward mail is the logical starting
mint of the work of the mail service of an organisation. Planning and establishment
of proper inwafd mail routine is very important. The efficiency in handling inward
mail has a great impact on the efficiency and success of the business as a whole. The.
principles underlying the routine stages in handling inward mail are those of speed
and accuracy. The routine stages for handling inward mail follow the following
pattern in most large organisations.
1) Receiving tbe mail : The first stage in the routine is to receive or wUeectmail.
Mail may be delivered by postmen, collected from the post office, or received
through messenger. Ordinary mail is delivered by postmen once or twice a day or
more often. Registered letters and money orders are delivered as and when they
come. Telegr+ms and Speed Post letters and parcels are delivered by special
messengers without delay. Some organisations hire post box or post bag at the
nearest post office. In such a case, the mail is wllected from the post office by an
employee of the mailing department at regular intervals. This is done to avoid
delay in delivery of mail by postmen and also to maintain secrecy of mail. h i al
from local organisations are also hand-delivered by messengers to avoid postal
delay, particularly when the message is urgent. An employee of the mailing
dephrtment is assigned the duty of receiving mail delivered by messengers and
sign receipts or the peon book in acknowledgement.
2) Opening the mail : The morning mail is frequently the heaviest. The work of
opening the mail and sorting them for distribution to concerned departments
should start earlier than normal opening time so that these may receive prompt
attention of the dealing staff. Before opening the envelopes, a preliminary sorting
R c r o r 6 ~ u l
~ . ~ S e l r b a of the envelopes and covers is done to segregate urgent mail f o ordinary ones.
Envelopes may be opened by hand or with the help of m c i e .
3) ScmtCny ofthe mail : The contents of the envelopes have to be scrutinised
camfully to ascertain theit nature, number of enclosures and idcntity of the
department concerned.Enclosures should be checked with the covering letter to
verify their correctness. In case of money enclosures like cheques, drafts, postal
orders etc., the amount indicated therein should be checked with the covering
letter. If there is any discrepancy, it should be noted on the letter and initialled
by the handling clerk. Ramittances received by money order, registered post or
'msured post should be e d t d in a separate register kept for the purpose.
4) Ihte-shmpimg of mail : It is a common practice to stamp on each piece of
inward mail with the date and time of receipt. 'Ibis is important for avoiding any
future dispute regarding date and time of receipt of the mail. A serial number is
a s printed on each piece of mail for the purpose of reference.
Date-stamping may be cbone by hand or mechanically. Rubber stamps provided
with mechanism for changing the date are used for manual date-stamping.
Specially made metal stamps, having devices for stamping date, time and serial
number are also used. Mechanical devices like 'Date and Time Recorder' or
'Time Recording' machines may be used where the volume of mail is large. It
saves time and leaves no room and error.
Specially destgned rubber stamps are used where other particulars, besides date,
time and serial number, are to be printed. One cuch stamp includes date and
time of receipt as well a$ nature of action taken. Look at Figure 7.1 and
F i e 7.1 : Specimen Rubber Stamp F i p r c 7.2 : Specimen Ruhhrr ' 61'6' L~JJ
for Date-Stamping Date-Stempine
Marco\ & ('ompany lnd
hled.. ... .
5 ) Rec,&g Inward M d : Some record of the mail received each day has to be
kept as evidence of mail actually recelved and action taken on them. Different
methods are used for thls purpose. One such method is to record all mail
received each day in a register known as 'hward Mail Register' or 'letters
Received Book'. The mail is recorded chronologically and senally along with the
name of the sender, nature, ,subject matter, department to which referred and
action taken. However, this method is time-wasting and expensive and is
becoming less wmmom. A proforma of such a register is given below in
Figure j.3 : Specimen Ruling d Letter Received Book
LETTERS RECEIVED BOOK
Ref. Nature of Particulars I To whom Date Initial
/referred to replied
Mar. 5 7R/c A.B.Co Letter Cashier
Another method used is less cumbersome and time-wasting. A Mail Room List
is prepared on each batch of mail delivered t o a particular department on a
particular day. Separate lists are prepared for each department and these are sent
to the departments along with the mail. Carbon copies of the lists, duly
acknowledged by the receiving department, are filled in the mail room for future
reference. A proforma Mail Room List is given below in Figure 7.4.
Figure 7.4 :Specimen of Mail Room Ust
MAIL ROOM LIST
Letters for ............... Department
Day ............ Date ....... Time...........
Name o f Sender Addms Remarks, if any
In some offices, only letters are recorded or listed and other types of mail lihe
Orders, Challans, Statements etc., are sent to the dealing departments where they
are recorded qnd dealt with. Telegrams and messages are treated as mail and
recorded or sent to the dealing departments for action.
6) Sorting and distribution of mail : After date-stamping and recording, the
inward mail has to be sorted out. To ensure correct sorting and distribution, the
work should be assigned to an employee who is thoroughly acquainted with the
organisation. To facilitate sorting separate trays, baskets or pigeon holes are used
for each department or individual officer. Where the volume of the mail is large,
hand or electrically operated Mail Sorter machines may be used. The sorted mail
are sent to the respective departments by meqsengers.
Check Your Progress B
I) What do you mean by date-stamping of mail?
2) Enumerate the routine stages of handling inward mail.
i) .............................: .............................. ii) ............................................................
iii) ............................................................ iv) ............................................................
v) ............................................................ vi ) ............................................................
7.5 STAGEStIN HANDLING OUTWARD MAIL
Handling outward mail is a much more complex affair than handling inward mail. 1 :
requires a thorough understanding of postal regulations and rates. timings of postal
clearance, postal facilities available for despatch of mail etc. Equally important is the
setting up of well-planned system and routine for efficient and economical handling
of outward mail.
7.5.1 Stages in Making Oufward Mail Ready for Despatch
Outward mail handled by the mailing department originate from different functional
departments. Before the outgoing mail reach the mail room for handling, they have
to pass through three preliminary stages which are performed departmentally. These
are : (1) Production of the outgoing letters (2) Signature on the letters and
(3) Referencing. Let us discuss them briefly
~ecawb-4 Production : It means drafting of outgoing letters or their dictation to stenographers.
~dlSmvicu After drafting or dictation, the letters are transcribed and typed in proper form. At
the same time, addresses of tGe recipientstsof letters are also typeh or printed on
the respective envelopes.
Signature : After. typing, the outgbiog letters have to be signed by someone
authorised to do so. Important letters are signed by heads of departments or
Referencing : It means putting a reference number on the letter. The reference
number consistsof letters and numbers which serve as a code or clue for identifying
and locating the letter in futwe.
7.5.2 Stages in Despatch of Outward Mail
'Despatching' literally means 'sending off the mail', i.e., putting the mail in course of
tnhsrnission to its destination by post or through messenger. Several routine steps
have to be taken for collecting the outward mail from the departments, folding and
inserting them in envelopes, sealing and stamping the envelopes, recording the
outward mail and final despatch of the mail by post or m h g e r . Let us now discuss
each step in detail.
1) Cdlectiaa of Outward Mail : The first step is to collect the mail from different
functional departments. A planned schedule of collecting outward mail should be
'established to avoid ovet-loading of mail at any point of time and consequent
delay in handling. An internal messenger service may be maintained to collect
the mail from the d e p m e n t s 3 or 4 times a day according to a fixed time -
schedule. The time schedule is so arranged as to correspond with the postal
2) Fdding and Inserting : 'Usually outgoing letters are received from the
departments along with the respective addressed envelopes. The letters and theii
enclosures have to be folded and inserted into the envelopes.
Before folding, the enclosures of each letter are checked Carefully'Gith the letter.
Each letter and its enclosures are then placed one inside the other and properly
folded. Minimum number of folds are used to suit the size of the envelopes.
Where a large number of letters have to be folded, hand or electrically operated
'Folding' machine can be used to save time and labour. Window envelopes may
be used to avoid insertion in wrong envelope.
3) Sealing and Stamping : The next stage is to seal the envelopes and covers with
gum or adhesive. Where sealing is done by hand, special methods are used to
save time and labour. Envelopes of the same size are laid flat with their flaps
overlapping each other. In such position, gum or adhesive can be applied to the
end of a number of flaps at a time. Registered and Insured covers or articles sent
by 'Book Post' have to be sealed as per Postal Rules. Where the volume of mail
is Iarge, hand or electrically operated 'sealing' machines or 'Envelope Sealers'
may be used to save time and labour.
Before stamping, the zealed envelopes are sorted out into two groups: those to
be sent by post and t h w to be despatched by messengers. Mail to be sent by
post are also sorted into different categories : ordinary mail, registered mail,
speed post mail, book-post articles etc. 'Ilk facilitates calculation of value of
stamps to be used. ?he articles in each category are then weighed carefully to
determine the value of stamps to be used as per postal regulation: 'Stamping',
i.e., affixing of postag? stamps on envelops and covers may be done by hand or
with the help of machines.
4) Recording in Post Book : Maintenanceof a written record of mail despatched is.
essential for two reasons : keeping a record of mail actually despatched and
keeping an account of postage expenses. Outward mail sent out through
messengers are entered in the Peon Book, which is signed by the addressee in
acknowledgement of receipt. Mail sent by post are recorded in some offices'in a
register @own as 'Outward Mail Register' or 'Despatch Register', which records
the partinilars o mail despatched each day in detail. However, this method is
being discarded in modern offices as being ~ ~ m b e r s o m e expensive. A
proforma of such a register is given below in Figure 7.5.
Figure 7.5 : Specimen Ruling of Outward Mnil Register
Name & Address
Subject Enclo. Sender Post Remark
A better method of keeping record of outwrad mail is the 'Post Book' or 'Stamp
BO&. ~t is much more simple and inexpensive. The Post Book mves as a
record of outward mail as well as a means of controfig postage expenses. It
keeps a check on'the stamps in hand and Stamps actually used each day. When
maintained on the imprest system it reduces chances of misuse or pilferage of
stamps. A proforma of the Post Book is &en below in Figure 7.6.
Fig 7.6 : Specimen Ruling of Post Book
Date No. in hand Name Address used Remarks
R . P.
Mar. 5 7 -50 Ksnpvr 0-50
5) Posting and Delivery : This is the posting stage in the handling of outward mail.
Mail addressed to local addressees, particularly when they are urgent, are
delivered to the addressees by messenger. These are entered in a Peon ~ o o and
the addressee has to sign the book before taking delivery of the mail. Ordinary
mail sent by post are delivered to the nearest Post Office and dropped in the
appropriate post box.
Distribution of despatch work throughout the day also facilitates the work of
both the mailing department and the post office concerned. Special category of
mail, like Registered, Express delivery and Speed Post Letters and parcels have
to be sent separately to the post office within the prescribed time for posting.
Check Your Progress c
Which of the following Statements are True and which are False?
i) Despatching means sending out letters by post.
ii) Franking machine may be used for affixing postage stamps.
iii) sent by Post as well as by messenger are recorded in the post ~ ~ k .
iv) The Mailing D e ~ a m e nis not concerned with the reference of outgoing
2 ) Fill up the blanks in the following statements :
i, .......... envelopes are used to ensure that letters are not inserted in wong
ii) Book serves as a ........ of outward mail and as a check over ............
iii) outward mail sent out by .......... need no postage stamps.
iv) Letters sent by ............... Post have to be delivered at the post office
Rear& M.intc- and
M.U Services 7.6 EQUIPMENT FOR M[IAIL HANDLING
Mail room equipments for handling mail consists of simple inexpensive items like
sorting trays, pigeon hole, paper knife, weighing scale, staplers and gum. Where the
volume of work is large, costly mailing machines like Letter-opener, Folding and
Inserting machines, Envelope Sealers and Franking machine may be used. In any
organisation, equipment and machines provided for mail handling depend on factors
like volume of work, number of mail room staff, nature of mail and the system and
routines established. Some impdrtant types of mailing machines used in modem
offices are :
1) Letter-opening machine
3) Folding machine
4) Inserting machine
5) Mailing machine (Folding, $serting and Sealing in one operation)
6) &nvelope Sealer
7) Addrhing Machine or Addressograph
8) Stamp-affixing machine
9) Franking machine
The function, working and advantages of some of these machines are discussed
761 Letter-opening Machine
Opening envelopes by hand is a laborious, time-wasting and expensive process.
Letter-opening machine can turi~ the work much faster and saves labour and
with a large volume of inward mail.
expense. It can be profitably used in large offices
Letter-opening machines may be hand-operated or electrically operated. Both are of
the 'guillotine' type. The machine has a revolving knife-edge which cuts off a thin
strip from the top end of the envelope. It can be adjusted to accommodate any size of
envelope. The electrical variety can automatically feed, open and stack the envelopes
at high speed. Envelopes can be opened at the rate of 75 to 500 per minute.
The advantages of using this machine are :
1) It saves time and labour leading to saving in labour cost.
2) Sorting and distribution of inward mail is speeded up. This helps the
departmental staff to deal wth the mail promptly.
3) It relieves monotony of the staff and enhances their morale and efficiency.
However, this type of machine shbuld be used provided (a) the volume of work is
large enough to justify its cost, (h) regular power supply is available, and (c) repairs
can be arranged quickly when necessary.
762 Folding Machine
Folding machines are used to speed up the work and to save time, labour and
expense. It may be hand-operated or electrically operated. The machlne can fold
papers in one, two or three parallkl folds or even in cross folds, according to the size
of the envelope. It can be adjusted to fold papers in different numbers and sizes of
operated machihes can automatically feed the papers ~ n t o
jolds. EIL.ctr~callv thc
mach~ne and fold them In the desrrcd manner at the rate of 10.001) t o 1i.000 \!I( i b l \
The advantages of using fold~ng alc
1) It can fold papers :it high s p e ~ d
rr\ulf~np prest saving of tlmt', labo~i
In ;la.! : # ) \ I .
2) Papers at$ f.jlded neat!! dnd uc curtrtt.1~.\\hlch ensures )mooth . I > > i s (\f !!I.
1 : I
papers urto the envelopes
3) It relleves morotonv ot ih, : i f f . . thcm happy and contended and cnh:rnccc
4 s in the case of letter-opening machine, the advantages of using a folding machme
a n be realised only if there is adequate volume of folding operation to justify its cost.
Besides regular power supply and quick repairs service is essential for electrical
7.6.3 Addressing Machine
Addressing machine or Addressograph machine is used to save time and labour.
Besides printing names and addresses on envelopes'etc., the machine can also be put
to various other uses. Machines fitted with special 'Form feed', 'Listing' and other
attachments are now-$-days used for all types of form-filling, listing and billing work.
It can be used to prepare lists of customers, wage or pay-roll sheets, invoices and
Addressing machines happen to be a developed version of duplicating machine. The
only difference is that, it is designed to duplicate a number of separate names and
addresses once or twice instead of duplicating the same many times. The machine
may be hand-operated or electrically operated. In both types, the machine prints
names and addresses of customers or other data from 'masters' fed into the machine.
Names and addresses are cut on fibre stencils or embossed on metal plates which
serve as 'masters'. The stencils or plates are arranged in a particular order, indexed
and preserved for repeated use. When fitted with special devices, the machine can
automatically select the masters ip the desired order or sequence and feed them into
the printer. The electrically operated machine can print addresses at the rate of 800
to 1000 per hour.
T.he advantages of addressing machines may be outlined as follows :
1) It effects great saving in time, labour and cost.
2) It eliinates'chances of error in printing addresses and saves time and labour for
checking and rechecking required under manual typing of addresses.
3) The work turned out is neat and flawless, which enhances the prestige and
goodwill of the concern.
4) The work can be standardised which helps in measuring staff output.
The disadvantages of addressing machines are :
I) The cost of installing the machine is high which car1 not be afforded by small
2) If the addresses of customers change frequently, preparation of new stencils or
plates may take time which may hold up work.
3) It requires trained staff to operate. In case of temporary absence of the operator,
it may be difficult to obtain a substitute.
7.6.4 Franking Machine
Stamp-affixing machines are suitable where the volume of stamping is large. -l'hese
machines can accommodate specially made rolls of stamps availat?lc i ~ o m post .
office. When a lever is pressed, a stamp gets automatically detached irom 1i.c roll,
moistened and affixed on the envelope. The major drawback of the niachi:~~that, it
cl take up stamps of only one denomination at a time.
Where stanips of different denomination< h:tve 11) iac affixed or1 a large rlumber of
envelopes, Postal frank in^ machines pri)vc Iriorc ir\c.ful and economical. Inrraluced
after the Intcr~iati~,nalPostal Convc~~ti~)rl o 1;/22. franking machines are
internationally recognised. I r a u k i i ~ ~ ar,tt
tc~achincs licensed by Post Offices In ailj
all countries The user has t o i . 1 1 ~rhi. tr~i~cl~ineget it registered at the Post Offi'
on fulfilling the required torm:ir~tith and payment o f necessary licensing fees. 'l'hc
Post Office allots a registered number to the user. Payment has to be made in
advance to the Post Officc for an agreed total value of postage to be used. The Post
Office sets the agreed \.;~iur (In the meter of thc machine and seals it. When the
machine is used t o frartk ictccr\, th? ,tlutbc ~ stamps uscd gets automalically recorded
on a dial. Wl!c:r~[hi. total :Irnc,Li.. ..)r viiluc of postage sei <.inthe meter is reached, the
and meter gets automati&lIy l6qked and nowfurther postage can be franked. The m a m e
Mdlservkes has to be taken back to the ,Post Office for resetting of the meter for postage on
further payment. Franking machine prints an indicia or design on a postage stamp
and a date of cancellation mark. The indicia of the postage stamp indicates the value
of the postage franked and the country of origin. l'he date of cancellation mark
indicates the registration number of the user, the post office of registration and
cancellation date. Specimen o indicias printed by the Franking machine are shown
below in Figures 7.7 and 7.8.
Figmre 7.7 :Speeiawo I.dW Figure 7.8 :Specimen Indicia
Advantages :The following are the m i advantages of using a Franking machine:
1) It speeds up the work leading +osavlng of time, labour and cost.
2) Necessity of keepiag large stocks of postage stamps of differenttdenominationsis
eliminated. Loss due to pilferage and misuse of postage stamps is avoided.
3) Ccmtrol of expenses on postage becomes easier and postage accounting becones
4) Franked m i can be more quickly dealt with at the Post Ofc.
5) Advertising slogans or special instructions can be printed on the envelopes
without extra cost or labour.
Dbdvanfages :The d&dvantag& of Franking machine are :
1) The value of postage that can be franked is limited in range, which sometimes
2) The need for frequent adjustment of levers to select different values of postage
slows down speed of franking and results in wastage of time.
3) Chances of overstamping and under-stamping cannot be eliminated altogether.
4) Where no Post Book is used, there is scope of misuse of tne machine for franking
private mail of the staff.
5) It does not totally elidinate the need for a Post Book.
zG= i-tv D I.
1) What is meant by 'Franking' of an envelope?
2) Your central &ding department h a d e s 200 pieces of outward mail daily.
Name thr& mpchines that you consider essential for such mrk.
... .....-................. ii). ..........................
. L r n US S U M UP
Written communication or correspondence of any type received or sent out through
the post oKce or messengers is known as 'Mail'. Mail may be classified as :
(a) lnward mail, (b) Outward mail, and (c) Interdepartmental mail. Prompt and
efficient handling of mail is vital for efficient and economical performance of business.
operations add effective fGctioning of management. Mail service refers to the
organisational set-up established for handling mail. Effective and economical mail
service is essential for the eKcient functioning of the organisation.
Mail service may be organised : (1) by centralising mail handling work in a central
mailing department, or (2) by performing the work departmentally, i.e.,
decentralising the work. Both the arrangements have advantages and disadvantages.
But for a large organisation with a large volume of daily mail, centralisation is
desirable. It ensures greater efficiency and accuracy, better supervision and
coordination, better control over postage,quicker handling of inward mail, saving of
clerical labour and economical use of office machines. Departmental mail service
lacks specialisation and efficiency in performance, lacks proper supervision, involves
duplication of work and makes use of machines uneconomical.
For efficient handling of both inward and outward mail, a planned system and
definite inward mail are : opening of the mail, scrutiny, date-stamping, recording,
sorting and distribution. Before outward mail can be handled for despatch it passes
through three preliminary stages : production of the mail, signature and referencing.
Routine stages involved in despatching outward mail are : collection of the mail,
folding and inserting, sea!in~and stamping, recording, and posting and delivery of
Use of proper equipments and machines ensure speed and accuracy in performance
o mail handling work. Some simple equipments are essential for mailing work even
in small organisations and in departmental arrangement. Costly equipments and
mailing machines can be properly and economically utilised only in large
organisations with large volume of mail and centralised mail service. Some important
types o machines used in the mail room are : Letter-openers, Mail sorters, Folding
machines, Inserting machines, Envelope Sealers, .Addressingmachines and Franking
78 KEY WORDS
Centralisation : Physical concentration of mail handling work in a central mailing
Decentralisation : Performance of mail handling work within each department by the
Despatching : Putting the outward mail in course of transmission to its destination
through the post office or messengers.
Franking : The act of printing indicias of postage stamp and date of cancellation
mark on envelopes with the help of Franking machine.
Mail Service : Organisational set-up established for handling mail.
Post Book : A book used for maintaining record of outward mail and account of
postage stamps used.
Referencing : Assigning a code number or symbol on each letter to facilitate future
&coda Maintenance and
e 7.9 ANSWERS TO CHECK YOUR PROGRESS
A) 3 i) False ii) True iii) True v) False v) True vi) False
B) 2 1)Receiving ii)Opening iii)Scrutiny iv)Date-Stamping
v) Recording vi) Sortifig & Distribution
C) 1 i) False ii) Tnte iii) False iv) True
2 i) Window ii) Record Postage iii) Messenger iv) Regibtered
D) 2 i) Folding machine ii) Addressing machine iii) Franking machine
7.10 TERMINAL QUESTIONS
1) Discuss the nature and importance of mail service.
2) What do you understand by 'centralised' mail service? What are its advantages
3) Outline the routine stages for handling inward mail.
4) Draw up a routine stages for handling outward mail and name the equipments
used in this connection.
5) What is a 'Franking' machine? Briefly explain its working and advantages.
6) Write explanatory notes on:
a) Departmental Mail Service
b) Inward Mail Register
c) Stamp-a-g Machine
d) Post Book
Note :These questions and exercises wl help you to understand the unit
better. Try to write answers for them. But do not send your answers to
the University. These are for your practice only.