Overcoming shipping challenges at campus mail centers

Improving the speed and efficiency of campus mail centers often comes down to how well managers are responding to their particular business challenges.

Wed Jan 04 17:26:00 EST 2017

University and college campus mail centers, at first glance, seem simply like extensions of their school, just like any other department, albeit not an academically-focused one. The truth is, these mail centers are less like a university department and more like their own small business. After all, they act independently of the school; cater to a wide and diverse group of customers; are judged by their ability to interact with those consumers; rely on qualified staff members and sound protocols to drive productivity; and, have to contend with any number of logistical challenges, from resource shortages to inventory difficulties.

In that sense, improving the speed and efficiency of how campus mail centers operate often comes down to a matter of management, and how well those managers are responding to their particular business challenges. To that end, here are a couple such challenges, unique to campus mail centers, that must be top of mind for managers.

Timely Delivery

It probably goes without saying that when a student, teacher or staff member has either ordered a package or is sending one out, they expect it to be delivered on time. Granted, that’s true of anyone, in any occupation, that may be sending or expecting a package. But, timely delivery can be especially critical for students, who need to receive text books they may have ordered online for the semester; care packages that parents have sent for midterms and finals; and, especially important, medication, inhalers and other health-sensitive shipments.

It’s just as critical for staff and faculty. Whether it’s lecture materials, office supplies or new equipment, administrators and professors have plenty of reason to issue purchase orders throughout the school year, and an inability to receive their items on time can cripple classroom or department productivity.

Manual Processing

Compounding the problem of timely package delivery is the problem of manual processing. All too often, we see campus mail centers continue to employ outdated, manual processes for logging in packages, sorting them into inventory and sending delivery notifications, by either text or email, to the recipients. Having to do this by hand for each and every parcel that comes in can feel tedious at best and cripplingly slow at worst.

Colleges and universities boast staff and student populations in the thousands. Even a slow time of year can make the act of cataloging packages and notifying their recipients a time-consuming affair; when you consider peak times of the calendar, like move-in/move-out, holidays or exams, mail centers can be quickly overrun with hundreds of packages per day. Having to manage that backlog by hand, one at a time, grinds productivity to a halt, and makes it increasingly unlikely that a student or teacher expecting a package on a given day will actually get it then.

All of these pain points, and more, are exactly why campus mail centers must make serious decisions on investing into automated package processing systems, that can expedite cataloging and delivery notification. This thereby increases productivity in the mail center and reduces the amount of time between when a package is ordered (or sent) and received on campus.

Pitney Bowes SendSuite Tracking Online provides campus mail centers with efficient automated package processing, producing round-the-clock, error-free notification and delivery for students, staff and faculty. See for yourself with a 30-day free trial.