When students head back to school, all eyes are on dorm rooms and class schedules. But sooner than you think, students will begin shifting their focus to the campus mailroom as they eagerly await everything from textbooks to dorm room decor to much-appreciated care packages from home.
Old-school mailroom practices aren’t as effective or efficient as they used to be, and students, staff, and parents alike will appreciate efforts to streamline the process.
Hopefully, you’ve at least graduated from manual sorting and writing package notifications by hand in favor of mailroom package tracking software. Many schools are also moving their mailrooms from basements to more visible areas of the campus and giving them a complete aesthetic makeover.
But even if a major overhaul isn’t on your agenda just yet, here’s a quick tip sheet on what you can do to start upgrading the mailroom experience:
DO Research How Campus Mailrooms are Changing
Campus mailrooms today look and function very differently than they did a decade or more ago. On larger campuses, many mailrooms are getting rid of individual mailboxes since many students only receive packages.
Take some time to see what’s new in mailroom trends and see how you can better serve your students. In some cases, you may be able to use the space and materials you already have to make some positive changes.
DON’T Forget to Plan Ahead for Peak Delivery Periods
The week of move-in and the first week of classes often see a larger influx of packages than other times. Students are more likely to order large items to be delivered rather than try to haul them in their car. Some schools even rent a large truck for a few weeks to help students get items back to their dorms.
DO Designate Enough Space for Packages
Though postcards and letters are on the decline, campus mailroom package numbers are increasing 15% each year, and that number may grow as grocery delivery and delivery-by-drone becomes more widely available. Mailrooms should prioritize space for packages over small pieces of mail and designate space for oversized parcels so they’re safely stored and not in the way.
DON’T Forget to Outsource
Most mailrooms are seen as an internal service, but that doesn’t mean that all functions need to be kept in-house. Some campus mailrooms outsource the operation entirely. Others may fill part-time positions with student workers to keep costs low and provide real on-the-job experience.
DO Look for Ways to Improve Efficiency
There’s always room for improvement, even if you’ve recently given your campus mailroom an overhaul. As package delivery on campus increases, mailrooms are facing an increase in pick-ups, package handling, notifying recipients, and the other myriad of related tasks.
Many campuses are cutting down on mailbox space to have more pickup windows available. Some campuses are shifting to smart lockers that can be opened with a student ID for package retrieval and cut down on time spent waiting in line. Or, you may want to implement web based package tracking software that can automate notifications and take the guesswork out of package retrieval.
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DON’T Become Complacent with What’s Already in Place
It’s not easy to look around your mailroom and look past what’s already there. But keep in mind you aren’t stuck with the way things currently are.
Many mailrooms begin their upgrades by looking at what they currently have and maximizing it, then consider what’s missing that will make the biggest difference. This can also help prevent you spending more than you need to or opting for solutions that otherwise aren’t a good fit.
DO Consider Ways to Leverage Technology
Mailroom technology has come a long way in the past decade, making for easier work for campus workers and a better experience for students.
To be clear, technology isn’t a replacement for the human element, and mailrooms will likely never be solely ran by computers. However, they can supplement and streamline the entire department while improving the experience and saving money in the process.
DON’T Make Major System Changes Mid-Semester
Changing your mailroom technology or pick-up procedures in the middle of the year can be disastrous — to you AND the students you serve. Because you’re still having to handle daily operations, you may feel the pressure of a compressed timeline, especially if you’re trying to implement more than one thing.
Instead, use the academic year for planning and make major changes over the summer. This will give you more time to test your new processes and refine them before students will need to use them.
DO Use Mailroom Package Tracking Software
Mailroom package tracking software is one of the most common pieces of campus technology for good reason. Using the software, mailroom workers can slash the time it takes to log packages from minutes to seconds per parcel. And when each package is logged, recipients get an automatic notification to come pick it up, helping you distribute packages faster and free up valuable storage space for the next day’s load.
Notifii’s web-based packaging tracking software is simplifying the campus mailroom — schedule a free demo to see how it can improve every aspect of your package handling!