University mailrooms aren’t immune to the problems created by the onslaught of online purchase deliveries: things break, get lost in cardboard mountains, and sometimes disappear completely. Parcel lockers are becoming more popular for precisely these problems. Is the school mailroom choked by brown cubes? It might be time to consider parcel lockers to store and organize packages.

Online shopping has revolutionized the way we purchase. Almost 80 percent of American consumers have reported shopping online. Likewise, while college students (and their parents) report predominantly shopping in-store for dorm and school supplies, the body of American students is still shelling out $6.1 billion in school-related online purchases.

Looking for university campus improvement ideas? Consider parcel lockers. Here are five reasons why they improve security, convenience, and mailroom efficiency.

1. Centralized Delivery Reduces Liability.

Porch pirates, thieves who snatch packages once they’ve been delivered, have been experiencing a golden age with Amazon delivery. One insurance company found that 26 million people had packages stolen from them in 2018, which is one in eight people in the United States.

Package theft represents an enormous liability for universities and many smaller e-commerce companies. If we translated this statistic to a large campus with 15,000 students, that means campus security might expect to deal with just under 2,000 package thefts each year, or about six packages stolen daily.

Thieves take advantage of deliveries inaccessible but difficult to observe locations such as alleys, hallways, and mail rooms. Conversely, centralized postage lockers reduce liability by providing a secure environment for delivery. Smart parcel lockers, such as those deployed by Amazon, require a special pin code. Cameras sense when a locker is opened and the package retrieved. If there are any questions, these records can be checked.

2. Increase Package Pickup Flexibility.

Few people have the time to stalk a package via tracking, then rush to the mailroom to retrieve it. Unlike waiting around at home, a campus represents a professional environment where staff doesn’t have time to sit around. However, mailrooms get crowded and a pile of packages can overwhelm them.

Parcel lockers can exist outside the confinements of the mailroom, keeping the traffic flow of that environment uncluttered. Likewise, since they’re secure, parcel lockers can store packages until it is convenient for the receiver to pick it up – whether that’s after hours or another day entirely.

3. Streamline Status Inquiries.

Package tracking is a mixed blessing. On one hand, it’s great to be able to look up where a parcel was last scanned in the event that something is late or has gone missing. On the other hand, anyone who has ever neurotically tracked a high-dollar delivery across the country knows how aggravating it can be when the delivery status doesn’t get updated for a few days.

Parcel lockers streamline status inquiries because there fewer unknowns exist in the delivery route. Delivery services know exactly how long it will take to get a package from the distribution center to the locker. Most can even provide a delivery time within a few hours because each delivery person follows a similar schedule every day. Together, these reduce the number of physical status inquiries made to a mailroom, post office or delivery service.

4. Leverage Analytics for Trackability and Accountability.

The average department doesn’t keep track of how many letters and parcels are sent to its staff and students each day. However, this valuable information becomes significantly more accessible with parcel lockers. Such analytics allow universities to:

  • Develop more efficient package management strategies.
  • Apply predictive analytics to reduce operational costs.
  • Integrate tracking with other university mail systems.
  • Monitor carrier performance.
  • Understand the shipping habits of specific departments or individuals.
  • Send back packages which don’t get picked up.

5. Reclaim Labor Hours and Resources.

Parcel lockers help universities cut down on the amount of time and energy it takes to oversee package delivery management on campus. It’s much easier to hire one or two employees to assist people in a parcel locker room than it is to task security with keeping track of fifty packages scattered about campus. Likewise, deliveries are faster and more efficient because carriers do not need find their way through a maze of offices or hallways.

Additionally, since secure parcel lockers can be accessed 24/7 by users, it might not even be necessary to have an attendant stationed at all. A locker which can only be opened with pin codes is its own security guard.

Go Beyond the Security Basics with DME

Parcel lockers solve a lot of problems. They keep the mailroom clutter-free, reduce the amount of time and energy delivery takes, and prevent packages from growing legs and walking off. As such, they’re a revolutionary university campus tool that is gaining traction across the country.

Creating a secure environment is our specialty. DME goes beyond the obvious to implement innovative and thoughtful security strategies for educational institutions. Start a conversation with an expert today to begin planning a bespoke security strategy for your campus.