When students arrived on campus at the start of the fall 2018 semester and began flocking to the mail room, they found that a new system had been put in place for package distribution. This board applauds the University for crafting a more efficient system for distributing mail, one that saves students — and those who work in the mailroom — both time and energy.

The new electronic system was implemented by Swiss Post Solutions, a document managing and outsourcing company based in Bern, Switzerland. The system has streamlined the mailroom process by implementing an electronic self-serve kiosk that allows students to check if their packages have been processed and are ready for pick up. Previously, students had to hand over their ID cards to a mailroom employee to have them manually check to see if packages were ready, resulting in long wait times for those whose packages had actually arrived and unnecessary waits for those whose packages had yet to be processed. Now students have access to this information with a simple swipe of their ID cards.

The kiosk also allows students to check to see if a package has arrived and then decide not to pick it up, something that was previously not possible as a mailroom employee would be in possession of the student’s ID. Though students could request to get their IDs back, this would result in a hassle for both the student and the employee and take up time. 

Instead of having employees collect student IDs in small batches to determine if they have any packages, the new kiosk speeds up this process by electronically notifying mailroom staff of the location and number of packages a student has. As soon as students swipe and select ‘pick up now’ at the kiosk, this information is displayed on a monitor for mailroom staff. The kiosk allows the process to be continuous, instantaneously notifying mailroom staff and saving them the time they would have spent searching the status of student’s packages. 

With these new changes, students should, however, be conscious of the mailroom’s adjustment period while the staff gets accustomed to working with the new system and equipment. At least once during the first weeks of school, the kiosk was down, removing this crucial new step from the mailroom process. Even with this mild inconvenience, students were able to get their packages quickly. Instead of swiping at the kiosk outside the mailroom, students handed over their IDs, and the status of their packages was checked on the computer in the mailroom. With the rest of the process staying the same, the average wait time was still tremendously expedited from the prior system. The kiosk was repaired and was up and running in no time and the mailroom process resumed as normal. Even when the mailroom ran into such difficulties, they were handled swiftly and efficiently and the wait times were still a great improvement from prior years.

In addition to hiring Swiss Post Solutions, the mail room had also extended their hours for September in order to deal with the high volume of packages received at the start of the school year. The mailroom was open until 7 p.m. as opposed to 5 p.m., and also remained open Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., giving students who had not adjusted to their new schedules ample time to pick up their packages. In addition to the extended hours of operation, in order to accommodate package volume, the mail center has seven temporary employees that are scheduled to work through the first week of October, as reported by the Justice on Sept 4.  

All in all, updates to the mailroom were much needed, and this board commends the University’s efforts to save students much time and unnecessary stress.