Facing an unprecedented number of unsorted packages, the University of Connecticut has begun looking into new ways to prevent delivery delays.
The number of packages received by the university for residential students has been increasing drastically in recent years, in large part due to the rise in online purchases, Assistant Director of Building Services Tracy, told The Daily Campus in an earlier article. As a result, there is a growing need to find long-term solutions beyond hiring more staff.
According to Cree, more than 100 student workers are involved in work related to the residential mailrooms.
In order to fix some immediate problems, plans have been made to modify existing mailrooms in the next few weeks. These alterations are intended to allow packages to be processed much more efficiently.
“Primarily, the changes will include installing additional shelving and rearranging the mailrooms to provide more access for our staff to view and retrieve packages,” executive director of Building Services Logan Trimble said.
In addition to these immediate changes that are to be put in place, UConn is also considering other ways to efficiently deal with the influx of packages and alter the current infrastructure to better reflect the needs of students.
“The student mailrooms in the residence halls were designed primarily for mail delivery rather than packages and were originally constructed for the convenience of residents,” Trimble said “But over the years, the standard ‘letter’ has been replaced by package deliveries and we are seeing a record number of UPS, FedEx and USPS packages.”
This realization has prompted a drastic paradigm shift in UConn’s approach to refining its mail system. The fundamental nature and efficiency of sorting packages at residence hall mailrooms has been called into question.
“We have been discussing the possibility of creating central locations for sorting, but also discussing distribution systems to get the packages delivered sooner,” Trimble said.
This type of system is already in place at other large public universities such as at SUNY Binghamton and the University of Vermont. While Binghamton still has multiple residential mailrooms, they also have a central warehouse where large packages are distributed. Similarly, UVM uses a central sorting center which then distributes packages to individual mailrooms.
The efficiency of the sorting process can be increased dramatically by instituting a central location, due to the reduction of downtime between different tasks. Worker responsibility is more focused on a single task by using this system.
“Packages will continue to increase and all of us will be looking for ways to improve delivery," Trimble said.
Fatir Qureshi is a staff writer at The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.