What is a franking machine and how does it work?

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What is a franking machine and how does it work?

Franking machines have been around for more than a century. The first franking machine was created in 1884 by Norwegian inventor, Engle Frankmussler. Back then, it was called the “Postage Stamp Affixing Machine”.

Franking machine technology has evolved considerably since then and modern units can perform more complex tasks. But despite the functionality that the latest units provide, many businesses remain unaware of the value of franking machines.

To find out more about how franking machines can help to improve your  business’ branding click here.

At DPS, we have also noticed a rise in the number of businesses being fined by Royal Mail for allocating the wrong postage to their mail, most recently the largest we’ve seen was £5,000 – something that can easily be managed with the right franking machine.

Our guide to franking machines will explain how a franking machine works, the key reasons for having a franking machine, and how it can help your business.

But firstly... just what is a franking machine?

Franking machine guide question #1: What is a franking machine?

A franking machine is a metering device used to streamline the process of postage. Instead of having to travel to a post office, queue and weigh your mail, you can affix postage using a franking machine and drop your mail off at your local post box.

Franking machine guide question #2: How does a franking machine work?

Franking machines work by weighing your post to automatically calculate the correct postage. Upon calculating the postage, a franking mark is applied to the mail item. This is called the franking process.

Franking machines use the latest rates from Royal Mail. Modern units can download the latest rates via the Internet, whilst older machines will receive the updated rates on a rate card or chip which can be installed to the machine. This ensures that franking machines always calculate the correct amount of postage.

Have other questions about franking machines and need answers? Check out our  blog.

Franking machine guide question #3: What are the differences between modern and older franking machine models?

The main difference? Functionality. Newer models provide automatic functions that streamline the franking process, helping to reduce time spent and increase productivity.

For example, modern machines can:

  • Automatically seal letters once they have been franked
  • Connect to the business’ local area network (LAN) or Wi-Fi network
  • Stack and organise metered or franked mail (more advanced systems can clear mail away from the franking machine using a power stacker)
  • Utilise Mailmark barcode technology (Royal Mail’s latest franking mark)
  • Apply labels to post as required
  • Use software to set up cost centres, reporting and mail analytics
  • Apply password protection to prevent unauthorised usage

These are just some of the functions that more modern franking machines can provide. If you want to improve your business’ franking function, you need a digital machine - it's the future! 

Franking machine guide question #4: What are the benefits of using a franking machine?

Franking machines improve mail efficiency; and they also help businesses to manage costs. Using software, cost centres can be set up on digital franking machines, allowing businesses to better track their spend, and report on usage. Mailmark-enabled franking machines, for example, offer powerful precision reporting tools.

Also, as franking machines automatically calculate postage using the latest rates, they help businesses to avoid postage surcharges that occur as a result of the incorrect postage being applied to an item.

Finally, franking machines allow businesses to choose from a variety of mail sizes: letters, large letters, small parcels, small parcels (deep), and medium parcels. This gives businesses the flexibility they need to frank different mail items.

Franking machine guide question #5: How can DPS help?

At DPS, we provide a variety of franking machines, from low-volume to high-volume, Mailmark-enabled machines.

With over 40 years’ combined experience in the franking machine industry, we have the knowledge and experience to help you acquire the best postal solutions for your business. 

We consider ourselves a partner, not just a supplier, and will work to help you get the most out of your franking machines.

To find out if you're getting the most out of your franking machine, download our eBook below. 

How much is your franked mail really costing you? A checklist for ensuring you're getting the best value from your franking machine.

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