Care package: Pitney Bowes software helps improve efficiency in college and university mail centers
In the e-tailing age, receiving, storing and delivering packages has never been more challenging — especially for mail centers serving large populations in confined spaces. In New York City, for example, the time-honored practice of doormen signing for residents' packages is ending. Doormen have no time to sign, no way to track, and nowhere to store the deluge of packages from e-tailers and internet auction sites. Office receptionists face similar challenges, especially as more workers have packages delivered to the workplace.
But perhaps nowhere is the package barrage more apparent than in college and university mail centers. Mail center managers, receiving managers and their staffs know that large numbers of incoming packages combined with antiquated receiving, notification and pickup procedures stymie operations and lead to student and parent dissatisfaction.
College and university students do a lot of online shopping — and not just for textbooks.. Mail centers struggle to keep up with the volume, along with the volume of care packages sent from home.
Antiquated receiving compounds package-management issues. Many colleges and universities use pen-and-paper processes to log inbound packages and track them through receipt by the student. This can be an error-prone, time consuming and unwieldy process. Traditional computer spreadsheets also in use are not much more effective.
Notification and pickup procedures are a yet another burden. Many university mail centers have no automated way to notify students that they've received packages. Manually emailing students or printing slips of paper to put in student mailboxes is a common practice — but often an ineffective one. Too often, packages sit in already-crowded mail centers longer than they have to. When students do arrive for pickup, mail center personnel often have no easy way to find their items. Phone calls and questions from students and parents querying package status magnify the challenges college and university mail centers face daily.
These situations cause significant dissatisfaction among students and parents, who often feel that it takes too long to be notified when a package arrives and too long to receive packages from the mail center. They also lead to long hours for mail center personnel and overtime costs for the colleges and universities that employ them.
Improve receiving in four steps
Colleges and universities can rid their mail centers of time-consuming, inefficient and cumbersome processes for receiving, tracking and transferring student packages by:
- Using simple portable tracking devices to read carrier package barcodes then log incoming packages.
- Assigning each package a storage location number for improved organization and faster retrieval.
- Implementing an automated email function to alert recipients that their packages have arrived in the mail center.
- Using digital signature collection when students pick up their packages, to confirm package receipt.
Pitney Bowes software helps automate mailroom operations
Pitney Bowes SendSuite® Tracking Online solution—the company's next-generation, cloud-based SaaS receiving and tracking offering—improves package receiving by providing a closed-loop package accountability process. The solution helps mail centers streamline increasingly unwieldy operations by providing a more efficient way to receive, track, log and organize packages. The solution can also automatically notify recipients when a package has been delivered and help staff more easily transfer packages to recipients.
SendSuite Tracking Online software automates package receipt and handling with portable barcode scanners, along with electronic signature capture and reporting functionalities. Mail center personnel scan each package as it arrives in the mailroom, using a handheld barcode scanner. This scan logs packages into the SendSuite Tracking system. The system automatically emails recipients that packages are waiting for them. The system can produce a barcode label for each package, to be used for parcel organization within the mailroom if required.
When students arrive for pickup, SendSuite Tracking Online helps mail center staff easily locate the appropriate packages. After giving students their packages, staff members collect digital signatures, confirming delivery of items to the student. If an item is not collected, SendSuite Tracking Online software users can easily send additional emails to recipients, using customized messages to remind them to collect their items.
As a result of using the SendSuite Tracking solution, colleges and universities often:
- Increase the productivity of their mail center staffs.
- Reduce overtime costs.
- Reduce overcrowding in package storage areas.
- Find it easier to retrieve packages.
- Improve student, parent and faculty satisfaction.
Want to ease receiving difficulties in your mailroom? Learn more about SendSuite Tracking Online solutions. You can also read about how Pitney Bowes software has improved efficiencies in mailrooms at the University of Manchester and the University of Connecticut.