Providers on campus mailroom challenges

Industry leaders on mailroom operational challenges and how to address them

What do you see as today’s biggest challenge in operating a campus mailroom? Is there anything colleges tend to do that makes the problem worse?

“One of the biggest problems for campus mailrooms is lack of space! You can hire more workers and buy more software, but it’s practically impossible to get more space.  If students aren’t notified promptly, then packages tend to sit on the shelves longer, further compounding the space problem.” —Syta Saephan, co-founder, Notifi

“In addition to the growing tidal wave of parcels, college and university mail and shipping centers face unique challenges, including student privacy, escalating student and faculty demands—and don’t forget urgent care packages from home.

“Leveraging new technologies to automate antiquated and labor-intensive manual processes can improve customer service by streamlining receiving, notification, tracking and pickup, which help drive increased student and faculty satisfaction.” —Daniel Burris, manager, external communications, Global SMB Solutions, Pitney Bowes

“Incoming parcel volumes are at record highs, and students have elevated expectations around how quickly they receive their packages. These variables are driving mailroom operations to become more efficient while also striving to deliver the excellent student experience that Universities must provide to remain competitive.

“Making quick fixes when campus mailrooms are not meeting student needs can be problematic. As the parcel stream continues to grow, the system is being strained.

“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.” —Amanda Taylor, public relations advisor, FedEx

“Free shipping, subscription boxes and convenient mobile shopping means increasingly busy campus mailrooms face an ever-growing volume of packages to process.

“Traditional mailrooms are designed to handle envelopes, which have virtually disappeared. Limited hours of operation and individual package notifications result in delayed deliveries and long wait times for pickup.” —Ramesh Ratan, CEO, Bell and Howell

“The biggest challenge in running a campus mailroom operation is handling skyrocketing packages in facilities designed for flatmail. Package volume is up more than 35 percent, while total mail is down 20 percent. The major misstep some mailrooms make is failing to adapt.

“Technologies must be in place to intelligently receive, store and distribute packages.” —Elisa Esposito, senior manager, higher education, channel marketing, Ricoh USA

“Running a campus mailroom can be challenging due to the sheer volume of mail and packages received daily. By opening a UPS Store, universities receive our mail management expertise, along with a software system we can customize to meet their needs.

“Trying to manage mail services in-house can be overwhelming for university staff who would rather focus on what they do best—educating students. We can increase efficiencies and provide cost savings for the university.” —Les Jackson, franchisee, The UPS Store

“Once-efficient designs, policies and processes are ill-equipped to accommodate the transformation in the postal industry, as the demand for transactional and social mail has declined rapidly through e-substitution and package volumes have grown exponentially as internet shopping has become an integral part of our lives.

“Accordingly, campus mailrooms have no choice but to reinvent themselves and embrace new technologies such as automated parcel lockers and alternative delivery and management solutions that can provide cost effective and convenient distribution of mail and packaged goods to the campus community.” —John Wilson, co-founder, TZ Limited

“Campus environments require 24/7 mail/copy center access to meet the needs of full- and part-time students, faculty and staff.

“Campus mail centers must deploy innovative, flexible technology delivery solutions—including shared mailboxes, intelligent lockers, digital mail programs, and online copy request systems—to effectively service the community. Campus populations are fluid with each semester bringing a new group of mail recipients.

“Continually updating student, faculty and staff lists is a mission critical component to the efficient operation of mail delivery activities.” —Sally S. Pfabe, senior director, proposal management, BrightKey, Inc.

Read the full story on campus mailroom management.


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