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Higher Ed and Parcel Management Leaders Explore the Real-Life Impact of Smart Lockers on Campus: 4 Key Takeaways

On May 15, 2024, the inaugural Quadient Connects virtual event took place, featuring a variety of sessions focused on the solutions and offerings by Quadient. Among these were three insightful sessions centered around Parcel Pending by Quadient Parcel Lockers, hosted by Rob Zinsky, VP of Sales at Quadient.

The sessions covered topics such as Campus Hub, building a Corporate Campus with parcel lockers, and an engaging roundtable discussion with customers Michael J. Koziej, Director of Campus Mail Services at the University of Buffalo, and Frankie Ortiz, Assistant Director of Auxiliary Services at Valencia College.

The roundtable discussion highlighted real-life, unique use cases of the lockers at each institution, providing insights into their usage, the successes achieved, and the future of the lockers on their campuses. Below, we explore key points from the roundtable to understand the power of parcel lockers and how institutions have benefited from implementing them.

1. Colleges and universities have a range of package management needs

Universities that integrate parcel lockers vary in size, challenges, and specific needs. During our round table discussion, representatives from Valencia College and the University at Buffalo shared their requirements for package management and how they met these needs with parcel lockers.

Valencia College, a two-to-four-year institution offering over 100 degree and certificate programs, has seven campuses across Central Florida, serving 70,000 students and 5,000 employees. The primary goal was to simplify processes and enhance convenience for students by allowing access to items outside traditional campus hours. The main applications included distributing non-traditional mail, such as graduation caps and gowns, and items from the campus store and bookstore.

In contrast, the University at Buffalo, a Research 1 institution with nearly 8,000 on-campus residents and close to 35,000 students, operates across three campuses in Buffalo, New York. Their key need was to improve mail and package handling for on-campus students. The traditional mail service hours often left packages uncollected due to student schedules, prompting a need for a more flexible solution.

2. Parcel lockers help institutions deliver more for their students and staff

Both Valencia College and the University at Buffalo have seen remarkable outcomes with their parcel locker installations, despite differences in university size and student populations.

Valencia College, with 70,000 students, installed seven lockers totaling 529 locker boxes. While this might seem insufficient for the volume of items moving through, the results have proven otherwise. Valencia achieved a 94% student pickup rate within 24 hours. As Ortiz noted, “If you work your locker properly, you won’t have a problem ensuring there is space for the items to go in.”

The University at Buffalo operates nine mail houses within its student residence halls, handling approximately 150,000 packages annually. In their largest housing center, Ellicott, which accommodates 3,200 students and processes around 50,000 packages yearly, they managed to run 87% of packages through the lockers. Koziej highlighted, “Even in areas where we’re not strategic [with our package distribution], we’re still delivering 66% of packages into the parcel locker.”

3. Know your key metrics for success to maximize the ROI of your parcel management solution

Maximizing the full potential of new technology, like parcel lockers, is essential to attain a positive return on investment (ROI) while deploying it. ROI can be tangible, like cost savings and improved efficiency, or intangible, such as better resource allocation and overall institutional benefits. The key question to ask when preparing to invest is: what are the tangible and intangible benefits you expect to gain from this technology?

For the University at Buffalo, the competitive housing market poses a significant challenge, with off-campus housing options vying for students. Providing amenities like parcel lockers has become a crucial advantage, offering students safe and convenient package delivery. These lockers have not only helped retain students in on-campus housing but also enhanced overall student satisfaction. Moreover, the lockers have allowed the university to reallocate staff to other critical areas instead of focusing solely on package distribution. As Koziej noted, “This has been a return on investment in itself.”

At Valencia College, the financial benefits have been substantial. Ortiz highlighted that “We have saved around $500,000 in the first fiscal year on shipping alone” by placing items in the lockers instead of shipping them to students’ homes. Additionally, the lockers have provided significant time savings. With many students working non-traditional hours in hospitality roles, such as in the many theme parks across Orlando, they can now collect their packages whenever it’s convenient. “Our goal is to do what we need to do to have students prepared on the first day of class,” said Ortiz. “Students don’t have to work around our schedules because their time is important as well.”

Furthermore, the lockers have improved staffing efficiency. By eliminating the need for staff to handle book collections and other item distributions, Valencia College can now deploy employees to other high-value areas requiring assistance.

4. Parcel Pending by Quadient is an invaluable partner in package management

Parcel lockers offer a diverse range of opportunities and use cases across campus beyond traditional mail and package delivery. The exciting aspect of parcel lockers is the almost infinite possibilities they present for enhancing the campus experience.

At Valencia College, the future looks promising with plans to expand parcel locker use to include refrigerated lockers for the food pantry, as well as integrating them with their book provider to streamline backend processes further. For the University at Buffalo, the potential applications are limitless. “We could go well beyond the residential environment. Libraries can use them; the food pantry can use them to fight food insecurity,” Koziej said.

Reflecting on their experience with Parcel Pending by Quadient, Ortiz stated, “It’s been a great partnership, and that’s how I speak to anybody about Quadient and how they helped us with our parcel lockers.” Koziej echoed this sentiment: “The whole team at Quadient has been very, very helpful. We’re early adopters of this and we’ve really tried to make this something that others can use. The teamwork has been outstanding. We have an idea, and they’re willing to try it. Quadient’s partnership has been huge.”


Contact us today to learn more about how Parcel Pending by Quadient can help transform your university or college.