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Automating incoming mail: Heilbronn city council has mail processed using AI

The administration of the city of Heilbronn plans to speed up its incoming mail by means of intelligent automation. All submissions are to be digitised and land directly on the right desk with the help of semantha®.

Administrations have a problem 

600 external letters arrive at the Heilbronn city post office every day. Most enquiries demand a prompt response to their request. The mailings have to be sifted through and assigned to the right department. This takes time and the mountain of letters continues to grow every day. It is not unusual for it to take several days before the submissions land on the right desk of the 48 organisational units and can finally be processed.

Connection to the administration’s own cloud

The city of Heilbronn has recognised this problem and is continuously working on digitising and optimising its workflows. For a few weeks now, the city administration has been working on a solution in which incoming letters are scanned and stored on the internal cloud. The cloud used is a privacy-compliant Nextcloud instance, which is managed and administered by the city itself. The letters are then made readable by means of character recognition (OCR).

semantha® starts exactly at this point: The inbox folder of the cloud is scanned, semantha® reads not only the recipient’s address and subject but also the content of the document and understands it – regardless of the wording. The document is then moved to the inbox folder of the responsible department. What previously took up to several days can now be done in seconds. The departments have no additional technical effort. Thanks to the optimised workflow, the department only works in the folder designated for them on the cloud. A time saving of sometimes two working hours per day and that for each organisational unit.

Without much leading time, this solution could be realised and implemented in a two-day workshop with the city of Heilbronn. The corresponding workflows were defined and built.

“We are aware that people who contact the city would like to receive a timely response to their concerns. As it stands today, the delivery of incoming mail to the locations scattered throughout the city takes several days in the worst case. In addition to significantly shortening delivery times, we expect semantha® to save an enormous amount of time by categorising and pre-sorting incoming letters. Thanks to the various categories, letters can be assigned directly to the departments to be processed without manual pre-sorting. Further manual sorting in the organisational unit is no longer necessary. This not only speeds up the delivery process immensely. Through automation, we can free up resources in the organisational units for the completion of other tasks.”

Jörg Diebel, Personnel and Organisation Office of the City of Heilbronn

The connection of semantha® is also possible without any problems, for example to Microsoft SharePoint, Google Workspace, various other cloud solutions or document management systems (DMS). In principle, any software solution with an interface can be connected using our REST API. More information: for developers.

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