While outbound mail processes may be what come to mind when considering corporate mail centers, in reality, these facilities can process large amounts of inbound communications daily as well. Depending on the size of the enterprise in question, these inbound mail pieces can range from dozens to even hundreds of inbound letters and packages per day. Traditionally, mail center personnel could keep up with high volumes of inbound communications because they knew where each recipient could be found. But for several reasons, including a rising percentage of mobile workers, these traditional workflows have become broken.
Substantial increases in the number of inbound packages, and a marked decrease in letter volumes, has caused delivery issues to become more prevalent within collegiate mail centers as well.
Whatever they may be, the day-to-day habits of students and employees in 2017 have made traditional mail delivery workflows less tenable, and have created a need for creative solutions that will deliver inbound communications safely, securely, and consistently to their end recipients.
One solution that has emerged as an effective way to plug the gaps between inbound communications, and their newly mobile or package-focused recipients are Intelligent Lockers. But while this technology has emerged as an effective strategy in recent years, it is still a novel one. As such, we wanted to walk through three frequently asked questions we are hearing on the subject.
1) What are Intelligent Lockers?
Intelligent Lockers are what they sound like – a locker, just like you had back in school, which securely stores letters, parcels, or packages until their intended recipient can come and get them. What differentiates an Intelligent Locker from the traditional version, is that Intelligent Lockers are not individually assigned. Intelligent Lockers come equipped with a resettable lock that is opened by a numerical code, which is reset each time the locker is used. When an employee or student receives a package, a mail center associate will place the package in an Intelligent Locker, and email or text the one-time-use access code to the recipient. Once the package is claimed, that Locker is ready for use again. This helps to keep the package secure, while saving mail center personnel a substantial amount of time on manual delivery. For an enterprise without assigned desks, or with many mobile employees – distributing communications in this manner can streamline day-to-day mail operations.
2) Who is Using Them?
Intelligent Lockers are useful in any number of settings – more specifically, anywhere mail workflows need to be modernized.
In the university setting, institutions have observed an uptick in package deliveries in the last 5-10 years. This trend has been brought on by several influences, with a pair of predominant ones being free Amazon Prime memberships for all college students, and the proliferation of mail-order text book rental services. To help alleviate the logistical pain points that this increase in packages and decrease in letters is causing, many universities have implemented Intelligent Locker systems. This way, packages don’t pile up in back rooms of university mail centers, and obsolescing mailboxes can be removed, and replaced with Intelligent Lockers which adhere to the trends that apply to the people using them.
In a corporate setting, mobile employees without an assigned workspace have created issues for mail delivery personnel. While smartphones and constant connectivity they provide has created more flexibility for employees, it has created an issue for those charged with delivering physical communications to them. Intelligent Lockers cut through this issue, and provide mail center personnel an efficient, reliable, and secure way to disseminate physical communications to employees who may often work remotely, or in different areas of a corporate campus, and thus, are difficult to find and deliver a package to.
3) What are the benefits?
There are a myriad of workspace management benefits to Intelligent Lockers. You may find that your mail center personnel can streamline their workflows after implementing such a technology. Whether it’s on-the-go mobile workers that need a secure place to store their belongings, or a set of employees without assigned desks that still need a way to receive inbound communications – Intelligent Lockers can help alleviate these pain points. Constant connectivity has fundamentally changed the nature of how we work, spurring the need for other work-related processes, like mail distribution, to change in order to provide the effective support that traditional workflows no longer may be able to. With Intelligent Lockers, everyone in your office – whether that is an employee from another site in for the day, or an overworked mail center struggling to track down employees who do not have an assigned workspace – can have a safe, easily accessible place to store their belongings, or pick up their mail, while easing the strain on your mail center personnel at the same time.
It has been said that the only constant in life is change, and in the context of inbound mail workflows, that statement certainly rings true. Whether in a business or collegiate setting, new and creative strategies for distributing inbound mail have become a necessity. But thankfully for the managers of these mail centers, and other stakeholders like the recipients of packages – creative ways forward like Intelligent Lockers have emerged as viable strategies to do so.