Procedure for Handling Inward Mail and Outward Mail:
The term “Mail” in the common parlance refers to written communication.
It may be either received or sent out. A mail received is known as inward mail and a communication sent out is called as outward mail. As stated already, every business organization receives as well as sends a large number of mail every day.
George R. Terry rightly remarked that “it is doubtful that a modern office could exist without mail”. The reason is obvious that every business house has to maintain close contact with the outside world. It should correspond to its customers, its own branches, departments, and various other institutions, government etc., the business firm grows; the volume of transactions will also grow.
1. Receiving the Mail: Generally mails are received once or twice a day as delivered by the postman, when the volume of correspondence is large, a post box or post bag is hired in the post office, and an office peon is sent to collect the mail from the post office. Sometimes letters are received through the messengers of the offices. In the emerging scenario private courier services rendering very speed post service to the office.
2. Sorting the Mail: After the mail has been received in the mailing department, it should be sorted out before it is opened. It is easier to sort out sealed envelopes than different sized pieces of paper. Private letters of the employees may be sorted out at first than comparing to the business letters.
Business Letters should be sorted out into three groups:
a. Registered and unregistered letters or mail;
b. Sealed and unsealed envelopes; and
c. Confidential and urgent letters, private or personal, secret, and other official letters.
Sorting of letters means grouping of letters on definite order. Sorted mail makes the delivery of letters convenient and quick.
3. Opening the Mail: Letters may be opened by hand or by letter opening machines. A paper knife is mostly used in offices to split open envelopes etc. If the number of letters is very large, a letter opening machine may be used with advantage. In small organisation letters are opened by the officer or head clerk. The following guidelines may be followed for opening the mail.
a. The sorting and Opening of the mail should start atleast half an hour to one hour before the opening time of the office.
b. The office manager should see to it that the work in the office start immediately after the opening of the mail, otherwise the time and money spent on an early opening of the mail would be wasted.
c. The staff is incharge for opening the mail should be fully conversant with the method of sorting and opening the mail. If possible, a mailing manual should be used in this regard.
d. After an envelope has been opened, it is necessary to remove the content from it. Empty envelopes should be fastened by a pin or clip or stapler.
4. Scrutiny of Contents: After the removal of the contents, it must be scrutinised to find out for whom and for which department, they are meant for. The sorting of letters has been done on a departmental basis at this stage. Before sending the mail to the concerned departments, the enclosures to the letters should be checked, compared and verified with the covering letter to find out whether they are in order or not. Occasionally, the enclosures may be a cheque, bank drafts, postal order or a valuable document. If any discrepancy or omission is found while scrutinising then the matter should be immediately brought to the notice of the mailroom supervisor. Letters in which certain previous references are given may be sent to the filing department from where the letters and the relevant files may be sent to the concerned department.
5. Stamping the Mail: After proper scrutiny is done, the date stamping of letter must be done. Sometimes the date and time of receipt would be stamped on the letter. For stamping of letters, a stamp is prepared which contains the serial number, the date of receipt and time of receipt if necessary. A references stamp is attached if the letters relate to numbers of departments. A design of specially design stamp is given below.
6. Recording the Mail: After the stamping work, letters received are recorded in inward mail register or letters received book. Before recording of letters in the register, the contents are scrutinized properly so as to ensure the department to which it belongs. The inward mail register contains 1. Serial number 2. Date of receipt 3. Senders name and address 4. Nature of contents 5. Subject of the letter in brief 6. Remarks and initials of the officer with date.
7. Distributing the Mail: This is the last step in the inward mailing routine. In this stage letters are handed over to the concerned departments. The letters are distributed through messengers or sometimes with the help of mechanical devices like conveyor-belt or pneumatic tube.
8. Follow up Action: Follow up action is very important because it is concerned with keeping track of mail. This stage makes an enquiry whether the letter is replied or not.