The new year is officially in full swing, and along with the fresh calendars comes the need to take a fresh look at your mail center. If you’re lucky, you have the budget to ask yourself what new equipment or technology you can leverage to bring your facility to the next level. If you have little to no budget, you may be wondering what you can do differently to optimize what you already have. Because of the range of situations, this article is going to take an approach like Goldilocks did, in that we’ll discuss a few different scenarios and you can judge which one fits you “just right.”

Expansive Thinking

  • Is your mail center experiencing the year-over-year 25% growth in package deliveries?
  • Do you have students or clients with the expectation of near 24/7 service?
  • Have you encountered the security risks associated with unattended packages?
  • Something to consider: 12% of all packages fail to be delivered on the first attempt.

Then intelligent lockers could be a great fit for you. The use cases for temporary storage solutions are ever increasing for verticals across the board, from higher education and hospitality to government and major retailers. Organizations running agile workspace environments as well as traditional office buildings are benefiting from intelligent locker systems that provide a secure and reliable place to store packages, assets, valuables, and personal belongings.

Space usage is optimized as lockers are temporarily assigned on a first-come, first-served basis and automatic email/text notifications are sent to recipients alerting them of a delivery as soon as the package arrives. They can then pick up their item at their earliest convenience, completing the tidy and timely workflow process. And it’s not just the mail centers and consumers that benefit. Carriers save money from better consolidation and vastly improved delivery success rates.

If you’re willing to wait a few years, the return on investment is all but assured and better deals are arising with the increase of vendors competing in the same space.

Moderate Thinking

  • Are you receiving less white mail and having a hard time making good use of your mailboxes (this would not be surprising, as white mail volumes have gone down almost 30% since 2007)?
  • Were you given some budget to invest in sound, money-saving technology?
  • Do you have the freedom to make changes to the mail center environment and process?

Then you might want to consider selling your mailboxes and switching to virtual mailboxes. It’s a comparatively low-cost investment and you can actually make money by selling your old mailbox banks. Eliminate the hassles of managing broken mailboxes, reassigning combinations, and replacing lost keys with a file folder system that flexes with your student, faculty, or employee population. You can streamline your inbound mail process without starting from scratch — receive as usual but sort into individual file folders that can be consolidated or expanded as needed and scan the barcode on the folder. Recipients receive an email/text notification, pick up, and sign for their mail at the pick-up window in the mail center as normal.

Need help convincing your decisionmakers? Most software licenses are now based on a subscription model, so it becomes an operational expense as opposed to a capital expense, which can make a convincing argument for thrifty financial department heads.

Creative/Resourceful Thinking

  • Are you expected you to make improvements with the resources you have?
  • Do you have wait lines out the door during holidays and beginning of semester?
  • Are you trying to figure out what to do with the old Android phones or tablets you have lying around?
  • Would you consider having your employees use their smart devices in the workplace? After all, North American adoption rates of enterprise BYOD policies were at 36% at the start of 2017 and project to rise to almost 50% in early 2018.

Put your mobile devices back to work by integrating them into new or current workflow processes. For example, universities can take a Surface Pro and, with the small purchase of kiosk software, transform it into a line-busting self-service kiosk. Students can check for and pick up available mail and packages without coming up to the window by scanning their ID badge. A pick ticket is immediately sent for mail center staff to pull the item, creating a fast and seamless pick-up process.

Another possibility is to take your Android smartphones and turn them into package scanning devices. If you already have package tracking software, contact your vendor and ask them if they are Android compatible. If so, the cost of a few licenses will be minimal in comparison to buying new hardware.

Regardless of where you stand and what you have to work with, there’s always something you can do to help your company improve processes and keep costs down. You’ll feel good making a difference and your boss is sure to notice your forward thinking.

Bruce E. Little is SCLogic’s Vice President of Emerging Markets. Founded in 1996, SCLogic is a leading provider of the innovative facilities workflow platform, Intra Enterprise, that leverages the latest scanning, printing, mobile computing, and wireless technologies. The company has thousands of enterprise, government, and university users around the world. SCLogic is headquartered in Annapolis, MD with offices in New Jersey, Texas, Florida, and California.