How Intelligent Lockers Solutions are Transforming Colleges
6 Min Read
Written by: Parcel Pending
Over the course of the past few years, colleges and universities across the country have experienced a major influx in daily student package deliveries. A recent report from Parcel Pending by Quadient and Spaces 4 Learning revealed that nearly half of universities receive at least 100 packages per day, and almost 20% of universities receive more than 500 packages per day1.
As a result, many campus mail services centers are often overflowing with student packages, and staff wind up spending countless hours accepting, signing for, sorting, and routing packages and other deliveries for students. In fact, the same survey revealed that nearly half of universities believe mailroom space/storage is their biggest challenge right now.
The good news for higher education institutions? There is a smart technology solution available to help solve the package problem. It’s called an electronic locker system. Here are a few of the key smart indoor or outdoor parcel locker features and how they can transform your college or university’s mail services operations and improve your student housing management.
How Intelligent Lockers Work for Colleges & Universities
A smart locker system is specifically designed to streamline the process of on-campus mail delivery and package management by assuming all customer-facing responsibilities for mail and package delivery, notification, and retrieval. Here’s how the delivery process works:
- Incoming packages arrive via courier at a central receiving area on-campus.
- Mail operations staff sort and code the packages for electronic lockers according to their final on-campus destination.
- An employee delivers the packages to the appropriate locations on-campus and places them into a secure storage locker.
- The student receives a delivery notification via text, email, or app with a passcode they can use to access the package(s), enabling them to retrieve their delivery privately and safely at any time.
- The student arrives at the locker bank (at their convenience) and enters their unique access code on their phone or at the locker kiosk, opening the locker and allowing them to retrieve their package.
Intelligent lockers, like those offered by Parcel Pending by Quadient, help to simplify the parcel delivery process for university staff, students, and couriers alike. A smart locker system can keep student packages safe and secure, as well as allow students 24/7 locker access to retrieve their packages at their convenience.
How an Electronic Locker System Saves Valuable Staff Time
Campus mail services operations were originally designed to process the majority of their parcel volume (70%) as mail and the remaining 30% as packages. However, the boom in online shopping means this is no longer the case. In fact, many campus mail services centers – which can lack adequate space for packages – are overflowing with deliveries on a daily basis and can make it difficult for mailroom managers to keep up. This ongoing student package delivery influx can cause mail services staff to spend countless hours accepting and sorting packages and deliveries as well as facilitating pick-up.
“Incoming parcel volumes are at record highs, and students have elevated expectations around how quickly they receive their packages,” says Amanda Taylor, public relations advisor at FedEx, about the increase in delivery volume. “Decision-makers are not setting themselves up for success if they don’t assess their end-to-end process and embrace technology so campus mailrooms are equipped to address evolving needs.”
Parcel Pending by Quadient’s university electronic locker system helps to streamline the process of on-campus mail delivery and package management by assuming all of the customer-facing responsibilities for mail and package delivery, notification, and retrieval. In fact, up to 80% of packages can be delivered directly to parcel lockers, freeing up university staff to focus on other tasks.
This technology helps to significantly reduce the amount of labor and time required to manage and deliver packages. In fact, Parcel Pending by Quadient’s intelligent locker and kiosk solution can reduce the labor resources required for package management by as much as a third.
How Smart Lockers Reduce Lost or Stolen Packages
Parcel Pending by Quadient smart lockers also help to eliminate stolen packages and missed deliveries, as each package for delivery and pickup is electronically-logged for full chain-of-custody tracking.
With electronic parcel lockers, a package recipient doesn’t need to worry about package theft, misplacement, or damage. Each package/delivery is safely and securely placed in the parcel locker by campus mail services staff or by the carrier (who requires special access to do so). Most importantly, students and staff are notified immediately when their package is delivered, and the delivery stays safely in the parcel locker until they are ready to retrieve it.
Electronic Lockers Elevate the Student Experience
A Parcel Pending by Quadient smart locker system makes it quick, easy, and convenient for students to retrieve their packages at their convenience. Students and their loved ones no longer need to obsessively track and confirm successful parcel delivery. They can now rest assured that their packages and online orders will be delivered and remain safe and secure in the locker until they are retrieved.
Likewise, university mail services no longer need to worry about students rushing to the mail services center before it closes to try and retrieve their packages. This helps to provide a premium, modern campus experience for students while reducing staff time spent managing packages.
Built to Protect Packages
Parcel Pending by Quadient lockers are theft-proof to protect student packages and keep them safe and secure until package pickup occurs. They also minimize the likelihood of a misdelivered or lost package. Additionally, these sturdy, steel lockers are built to withstand even the harshest of weather conditions, such as rain, wind, or snow.
Lockers Integrate with Existing University Mailroom Software
Smart university lockers can also easily integrate with Parcel Pending by Quadient’s proprietary tracking software, WTS, or with other existing university mail tracking systems. This allows us to provide 24/7 customer support and ensure a seamless package management experience for university students, faculty, and staff.
Intelligent Lockers: Your Hub for All Campus Deliveries
In addition to using lockers as a mail center solution for package deliveries, locker systems can also be re-deployed to support existing delivery processes on-campus. This can help higher education institutions provide a safe, modern campus experience and minimize human-to-human contact, keeping students, faculty, and staff safe.
“Since the start of the pandemic, we’ve seen clients use our lockers for completely different reasons then than what they initially purchased their systems for,” says Mark Bailey, Account Executive at Parcel Pending by Quadient, “… [sometimes for] literally anything and everything except student packages.”
Colleges and universities can utilize smart lockers for a number of deliveries, including student mail, personal belongings or electronics, library books, textbooks, move-in materials, and more.
Intelligent locker solutions can be installed wherever a college or university needs to process deliveries, as well as connect to an existing asset tracking software where student and staff information is already registered. This means universities do not need to create a new communication process for students and staff. Instead, there is one simple process for each drop-off and package pickup regardless of which department is using the lockers.
By leveraging new or existing asset tracking software like Parcel Pending by Quadient’s WTS, higher education institutions can support interdepartmental deliveries using one database system. Whether it’s the mail center, library, bookstore, or campus IT, each department can tap into the software to access chain-of-custody for any of their deliveries.
This can also make implementing lockers quick, easy, and cost-effective, as funds can be pooled from various departments to reduce the overall investment cost.
Smart lockers have shifted from a nice-to-have amenity to a must-have necessity. Institutions using intelligent locker solutions are positively transforming the way that their college and university mail services operate. With online shopping poised for continued growth, it is vital that colleges and universities invest in tech-forward solutions like electronic lockers to solve their package management needs.
Parcel Pending by Quadient is offering a number of flexible commitment terms that can help you bridge budget gaps attributed to COVID-related disruptions in campus operations. Let us take care of your deliveries so you can take care of your students, faculty, and staff. Learn more about our university parcel management solutions here.
- Spaces 4 Learning & Parcel Pending by Quadient. (2020). Campus Operations During the Pandemic [Report]. Retrieved from: https://spaces4learning.com/Whitepapers/2020/12/Campus-Operations-During-the-Pandemic.aspx