Most companies don’t receive as much “snail mail” as they used to, but parcel shipping remains on the up and up. In fact, there were 65 million packages shipped in 2016 alone, a jump almost 50% from 2014. It’s new territory for many companies trying to receive, sort, and distribute the influx of bulkier mail, and mailroom management techniques have no choice but to keep pace.
Traditionally, carriers like FedEx and UPS ask for the signature of the receiving party. It’s become a standard practice to reduce their own liability by providing an additional form of delivery proof.
But as we’re continuing to discover, not all signatures are created equal, especially in the corporate mailroom. Though the burden may be relieved from the carrier itself, companies must take additional precautions to ensure each package reaches the rightful owner and remove liability from their own employees.
When someone orders an item to be delivered, the agreement is between the buyer and the retailer. But signing for someone else’s packages adds a bit of a gray level to the shipping and delivery experience, especially if there is something outwardly wrong with the package.
Let’s say that the recipient opens the package to find the item damaged. Or worse, a package is lost or stolen after it’s been signed for. Who assumes the liability?
The package has passed through an additional channel (i.e. your mailroom), and once the package is signed for, regardless of who signs for it, the package sender may have no other responsibility to the recipient.
Delivery signatures can be helpful tools when issues arise with package delivery. In some cases, it may be easy to track down who signed for the package and where the recipient can find it.
But for large mailrooms that have hundreds or thousands of packages circulating every week, organization and communication must work in tandem to reduce your liability and increase your accountability.
Granted, many mail carriers send the recipients delivery confirmations via email once a package has been delivered. These delivery confirmations include the time and day the package was delivered, who signed for it, and little else.
If the package ends up in your company’s mailroom, the delivery carrier has no control or knowledge over where the package will be picked up and how the recipient can access it.
In addition, the growing problem of final mile delivery is ushering in a new wave of delivery complications for corporate mailrooms.
The final mile accounts for more than half of all shipping and handling costs, despite playing a small role in the shipping process. Companies are motivated to find new final mile delivery solutions to reduce this costly process, but may end up with other costly problems if it's not handled properly.
FedEx, UPS, and other top delivery players are struggling to keep up with the demand. They’re handing off the last leg of deliveries to local, non-professional couriers that may not have the data capture technology that can collect signatures or send delivery notifications to its users.
Better mailroom management needs to include more than signatures and delivery confirmations, especially as crowdsourced final mile delivery increases. Your team’s accountability is already high, and they need to feel confident when accepting and storing packages on behalf of the company and its employees.
The higher influx of packages has left mailrooms with massive numbers of packages to sort, log, track, and store every day. It’s a time-consuming, tedious task that allows no room for error, especially if you want to relinquish your team from liability.
To deliver the best experience, you’re not only concerned with the name on each package, but also the condition in which it arrived, where you plan to store it, and how you can guarantee you’re releasing the package to its rightful owner.
Consider the following best practices that can help you improve and streamline your package handling and organization:
Busy mailrooms typically have no time for photography, but taking pictures of a package’s condition can remove much of the liability from your team. Recipients will know the damage came from some other part of the delivery process and won’t hold you accountable.
Or, if something did cause the damage in your mailroom after the photo was taken, you can take the necessary measures to prevent such incidents in the future.
Though some carriers may send delivery notifications, they’re not always reliable. It’s good practice to send your own so that recipients know exactly where they can pick up their package.
Once a package enters your mailroom, packages may take additional journeys through your facility until reaching the owner. Much like delivery carrier software tracks a parcel’s move from facility to facility, you should also embrace this level of tracking so that no package goes unnoticed.
Do you require signatures when employees pick up their packages, or does an ID check suffice?
Regardless of how you hand over the goods, you need to ensure you’re giving the right package to the right person. Requesting to see delivery confirmation, signing for the package’s release, or verifying that someone is authorized to pick up a package on someone’s behalf can significantly reduce your liability. You can also capture a picture of a photo ID to take the transparency to the next level - especially if it's a friend or colleague picking up somebody else's package.
Notifii Track combines each of the four best practices into a simple, streamlined solution. You can instantly log packages in and out, send notifications to the owner, and take photos of the package when it arrives - all in just seconds per package.