University mailrooms have evolved over time, just as mail has
One of the busiest departments within a university or college campus used to be the post room; when mail was hand-delivered and then painstakingly distributed manually into individual mailboxes. As communication became electronic, the volume of mail decreased, and making time to collect from campus mailboxes became less routine. However, this doesn’t mean that mail services have been at a loss for work since the decline in physical mail delivered on-campus has been more than matched by the increase in parcels.
Now, many university and college mail services find their time overwhelmingly taken up by parcel management. Accepting deliveries from multiple couriers, manually recording the items in a book or electronic system, finding places to store packages safely. Then when it comes to distribution; attempting contact with the student, sometimes multiple times, to notify them of their delivery, collecting from ‘safe place’, checking the ID of the student and then manually recording the collection of the item.
And with the volume of packages sent to campus mailrooms, it is no surprise that some percentage of them are lost or damaged. But unfortunately, even if they arrived that way, the blame or complaint is usually aimed towards the campus staff.
In order to manage parcel distribution, on-campus mail rooms set up specific hours when packages can be collected. But those hours are set to accommodate the campus employee, not the student, who may be in class, or studying, during the available time. On large campuses, students may live a long way from the mailroom, requiring effective planning to fit a package pick-up into their day. Or, they may be balancing a workload that includes a part-time job, making their schedule even more difficult to juggle. If they do manage to get there during working hours, they may be confronted with a queue of students trying to collect their own packages, all in a hurry, all aggravated at having to wait, and a more recent issue – unable to maintain social distancing.
Quadient Parcel Lockers are electronic locker systems that securely store parcels and other items. Recipients are sent an email informing them they have a parcel; when they collect, they enter the PIN or scan the barcode in their notification email to open the locker. The system supports 24/7 collection for the convenience of parcel recipients and pick-up tracking for staff.
A great example is The University of Northampton who futureproofed campus mail operations when they installed Quadient smart lockers within four student accommodation sites. Now their students can collect parcels at times that suit them, and in the meantime, their items are stored securely. Staff have full traceability of deliveries, all thanks to a smooth, automated process. Additionally, the lockers are modular so if demand increases, they can easily add to their existing configuration fully supporting the future of the on-campus mailroom.