University chooses new mail center partner
Swiss Post Solutions has replaced Xerox as Brandeis’ mail center partner following complaints by students and faculty of lost packages and slow service. SPS assumed control of mail center operations on June 1, after a four-week period during which company representatives oversaw the transition.
The change was spearheaded by Gino Galutera, the University’s Managing Director of Campus Card and Auxiliary Services. Since assuming the position in October 2017, Galutera has managed the University’s partnerships with third parties like Sodexo and Ricoh.
The problems with the Xerox-operated mail center were apparent from his arrival, Galutera explained in an interview with the Justice. Galutera had his college diplomas shipped to Brandeis from his previous job in Charleston, S.C., but was told that the mail center had lost them.
After looking into other complaints of lost packages and noting the generally “negative perceptions of efficiency” in the Xerox-led mail center, Galutera determined that Xerox was “more used to snail mail” than handling packages. He decided to sever the University’s contract with Xerox and “cut our losses.”
Two partners were considered as possible replacements for Xerox: Ricoh, which currently supplies most of the University’s printers, and SPS, which had not partnered with Brandeis previously. The decision came down to the strengths of the two candidates. “We felt that Ricoh was more specialized for copying,” Galutera said. He said he was impressed by SPS’s use of technology to automate processes that would have been done manually by other partners. Still, the decision to employ SPS was a gamble, he said, because “SPS didn’t have a huge higher- education footprint.”
Among SPS’s changes is the introduction of a kiosk next to the mail center entrance where visitors can swipe their IDs to check if they have packages ready for pick-up. Under Xerox, the only way to check for packages was by waiting in line to have a mail center employee consult their system.
The desire to change mail center partners was also spurred by the changing online marketplace, Galutera explained. Whereas students and faculty might have driven to a Target or Walmart for supplies in the past, most now order items on Amazon or eBay and expect to pick them up in 2-3 days. The rising dependence on online shopping has accentuated the need for fast and reliable delivery, with programs such as Blue Apron shipping perishable food items and students increasingly relying on the mail center for medicines that may require refrigeration.
After deciding on SPS, the University replaced six of its eight mail center staff with SPS employees. The two employees who were retained, Angela Palmarozzo and Anthony Sanders, were selected because of their familiarity with students and faculty. “We wanted to maintain those relationships,” Galutera said.
Otherwise, the new mail center is designed to be a “start from scratch”: the six new SPS employees wear uniforms, new shelving units were purchased, and old, unused equipment was discarded. The waiting room received a makeover and now features flower bouquets and paintings. The aesthetic overhaul was an effort to “signify there was a change,” according to Galutera.
To accommodate the high volume of packages in the first weeks of the year, the mail center has hired seven temporary employees. The temporary employees will be on duty through the first week of October. The mail center will also be open until 7 p.m. — two hours later than the rest of the year — through September 7.
The University copy center, which had also been run by Xerox, will now be operated by Ricoh.