Mail & Ship
The shipping conundrum for campus mail centres
By Stephanie Benedetto, Manager, Product Marketing, Shipping and Receiving Solutions, Pitney Bowes
Do you remember what your campus mail centre looked like when you were in college? If it seemed like it was overflowing with piles of boxes stacked up on shelves, in corners and on table tops, you’re not the only one.
College and university campuses can span up to hundreds, if not thousands, of acres, with student body populations that run the gamut from under 5,000 to north of 30,000. And, that’s not even including the hundreds to thousands of staff and faculty members that can be found at any given school.
Meanwhile, your typical campus mail centre is something of a glorified basement. They aren’t usually given dedicated buildings or wings to occupy; there’s a limited amount of space where the school’s mailing and shipping professionals have to make do with what they have.
And, in a busy campus environment, that can be a serious productivity problem.
Peak Shipping in the School Year Cramps Campus Mail Centres
University and college mail centres are already fielding scores of incoming mail and packages for students, staff and faculty on a daily basis, anyway. And the bigger the campus, the more parcels there are to sort and process. But, there a few stretches of the year that are particularly burdensome: move-in, midterms, Halloween, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, finals and the end of the semester, to name a few. These are peak shipping times in the school calendar, where the volume of both incoming and outgoing packages explodes.
Mail centres that aren’t fully staffed or equipped with the proper processing software can be quickly overrun with piles of letter mail and parcels to sift through during these peak times. Being able to process packages and send delivery notifications to on-campus recipients is already a time-consuming endeavour. If you’re using older and slower manual methods of logging in these parcels and notifying students they have a package, then that gap of time between receiving the package at the mail center and handing it off to the student grows even wider.
Breaking the Cycle
This creates two problems. For one, it frustrates the students, teachers and administrators who are expecting timely deliveries of their packages, but not receiving them when they expected because their campus mail centre is taking too long to process them. The other issue is that the slower the mail centre moves to sort and log those parcels, and notify their recipients to come pick them up, the bigger their backlog becomes. Space in campus mail centres is already a limited luxury; the bigger that backlog becomes, the more packages you have taking up surface area on shelves or floors, making it that much harder to not just process but physically retrieve those packages when it’s time to hand them off.
This kind of negative feedback loop, where bigger backlogs and slower processing exacerbate each other, can be broken by investing in more intuitive, digital solutions that expedite parcel processing and send out timely delivery notifications to on-campus recipients. The faster a package is catalogued, the faster a student or faculty member can pick it up, freeing some extra time and space in the mail centre.
Pitney Bowes SendSuite Tracking Online provides just the solution that campus mail centres need for faster package processing and delivery notifications, so that students, staff and faculty are getting their parcels when they expect to, and mail centres aren’t bogged down in ever-growing package backlogs.
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