With a vast majority of messages being sent electronically, the brick and mortar mailrooms on college campuses have seen a drop in paper letters. Still, care packages from home stuffed with cookies, socks and the like, continue to flood university mailrooms.
This is the case at Loyola University Maryland, where mailroom staff have decided to rethink the process of package pick up, using the student ID to streamline the process. U.S. Mail volume is down substantially at Loyola, yet package volume has risen 30% over the same time period – driven largely by online shopping and textbook rentals.
This spike in package delivery has led to underused mailboxes, insufficient package space, security issues and unacceptable wait times for customers. To address the issue, Loyola selected the Ricoh Campus Mail Solution – a combination of Ricoh University Kiosks, self-service stations, and a High Density Mail System that enables the use of barcoded mail slots.
The new system eliminated the numerous stacks of traditional mailboxes used by Loyola’s 4,000 undergraduate students. Moreover, the system has created proper storage for packages and has freed 10,000 square feet of valuable space that can now be reallocated as the university sees fit.
When a package or piece of mail arrives at the mail center, students first receive a notification email. Then, the student visits the mail center at their convenience and swipes their student ID card at a self-service kiosk located near the mail center window.
After swiping their student ID, an electronic alert is sent to mail center employees along with the location and physical characteristics of the student’s package and mail. A worker then retrieves the items with just enough time to hand it to the student as they reach the front desk.
With the new system, Loyola expects wait times to fall from as much as 30 minutes to just one minute or less, an estimate that is based on Ricoh’s experience at other university mail centers. Mail center supervisors can also electronically track customer waits in real-time.
As for storage, student mail is no longer stored in traditional mailboxes. Instead, packages will be sorted into a high-density rolling racking system. Mail workers use small scanners, worn on their fingers, to scan barcodes on each slot as they deposit a mail piece. This barcode is what triggers an email alert to the student.
As an added utility at Loyola, Ricoh is also installing a photo printing kiosk and a shredding kiosk to help protect student’s personal information.