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Last updated: September 21, 2020

Between care packages from loved ones, school textbooks, and e-commerce growth, higher education institutions have more student mail to process than ever before. One reported seeing four to five times the volume during the fall term than other times in the academic year. Another experienced an exponential increase in eight short years. During that time, the number of packages the campus mailroom processed skyrocketed from 80,000 to 195,000. That’s more than manual pen and paper methods can handle, creating logistical challenges that lead to inefficient chaos. To restore efficiency, save space, streamline workflow, and provide better customer service, both have remodeled their facilities with automated package lockers. However, many still lack the intelligent storage to do the same and remain unaware of how smart mail centers benefit university mailrooms. Therefore, this article will educate audiences on the topic through the series of questions found below. Watch a video that highlights how smart mail centers work.

How do smart mail centers benefit university mailrooms and students?

electronic parcel lockers mailroom shelving systemsFirst and foremost, smart mail centers allow university mailrooms to achieve better space utilization since they require less square footage than more traditional methods. To help you comprehend the concept, experts thought a real-life example would be most useful. But who would know best besides storage specialists? None other than the premier institution to integrate the systems on their school campus, of course.

Using fewer electronic parcel lockers, the university found it could significantly reduce the existing footprint and still manage to process the same 4,000 pieces of mail. How much of a decrease did they see? With the integration of 250 technologically savvy units, it used only 29 feet of linear wall space and 150 square feet. That’s far less than the 330 feet of linear wall space and 2,900 square feet necessary to accommodate the old 8,600 mailboxes. It allowed them the space to provide more revenue-generating services such as printing and passports.

Students can experience increased satisfaction during use since the smart mail centers allow everyone to have secure, convenient access 24/7 through a keypad that accepts an emailed pin. Requiring users to enter a unique five-digit code helps ensure an effective protective chain of custody day or night. Stored packages awaiting pick up late into the night or in the early hours of the next day remain undamaged and safe from theft and tampering.

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When ready to retrieve delivered mail, recipients simply swipe their school-issued ID card or enter the code provided in the email notification into the easy-to-use keypad. The door to the storage compartment holding your package then opens, allowing you to collect what’s inside. Essentially, picking up your mail becomes a simpler, more secure, and efficient process that you can do in minutes without memorizing a box number and its location or standing in line.

As a result, university mailrooms can close on time and avoid paying staff overtime or extending hours to accommodate students who need more convenient customer service. What’s more, the first institution to remodel their facility with the smart mail centers now have 96% of the mail they manage picked up within 24 hours. With support from the system’s audit-tracking technology, staff also has an accurate, real-time, and visual record of every transaction. It allows agents to know who handled packages and when, helping improve mail management and keep the department accountable from delivery, during storage, and right through pickup.

How do automated package lockers save space, add efficiency, and need less square footage?

automated package lockers school kiosk systemSmart mail centers have a compact, modular design that allows you to combine different-size storage compartments in one customized solution that fits your space and workflow needs. With flexible support from incorporated columns, experts can easily design configurations that utilize less square footage to save you premium space and improve operational efficiency. However, with 17” exterior column widths and interior depths up to 22.5”, standard kits have the essential capacity to store and organize any size package while integrated to the wall. Available compartment sizes to pick from include:

  • Extra-Small
  • Small
  • Medium
  • Large

Alternatively, university mailroom management could have experts install the automated package lockers outside in order to reserve valued indoor space for other productive activities. In either case, the intelligent storage provides secure space to place delivered mail and ensures conventional backroom counters and lobby floors remain free to use more cost-effectively. In addition, the shared mailbox systems can even feature see-thru doors that provide enhanced visibility and security during a bomb scare. If presented with this scenario, security could override access causing every door to open immediately to allow efficient inspection. 

How do electronic parcel lockers provide convenience and prevent extended operating hours?

smart mail centers universityElectronic parcel lockers allow students to access stored mail using many modern technology methods that make the process quick and convenient during the day or night. Available locker bank access options include:

  • Swiping their personal ID card
  • Entering the pin number provided through email notification
  • Using a pin code accessible through a downloadable mobile phone app
  • Scanning a QR bar code
  • Using a Bluetooth remote unlock feature found inside the mobile phone app

With so many automated ways to access the securely delivered packages, students can collect them when their schedule allows -- rather than remaining restricted to university mailrooms’ operating hours and rushing to leave class before closing time. Because the smart mail centers can facilitate a secure and efficient exchange, personnel can leave on time and avoid working extra hours.

Contact Us For Smart Mail Centers

Southwest Solutions Group provides design and installation services for smart mail centers designed to help university mailrooms improve efficiency, save space, streamline workflow, and provide better customer service. We will also provide you with a free consultation to determine your exact needs and specifications before the design process begins. To learn more or to speak with a specialist, call us at 1-800-803-1083 or send us a message today.

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