MALVERN, Pa., Aug. 18, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- In the e-mail age, what's the purpose of a brick-and-mortar university mail center?
This question has inspired a major transformation of what used to be the traditional mail center at Loyola University Maryland. Managed by Ricoh Americas Corporation, the new Ricoh Higher Education Student Mail Services is a study in information mobility, the ability for individuals to access just the right information at the right time, just when they need it.
With U.S. Mail volume down substantially at Loyola, students no longer check their mailboxes with any frequency. One student, in fact, didn't discover a Valentine card last year until April. Situations like this created additional work for mail center employees at the end of the year, having to empty out all the mailboxes that weren't checked throughout the year. Meanwhile, package volume has soared 30 percent in the same time period due to the adoption of online shopping and textbook rentals. Package pickup, however, has increasingly required streamlining to reduce half-hour or more waits during peak times (September and January). Because of a space crunch, the University was running out of secure space to store packages.
Loyola has addressed these challenges – underused mailboxes, insufficient package space, security issues and unacceptable waiting times – by adopting the Ricoh Campus Mail Solution: a combination of Ricoh University Kiosk, a kiosk-based self-service electronic workflow; and a High Density Mail System enabling the use of space-saving barcoded mail slots. The overhaul has eliminated the stacks of traditional mailboxes for Loyola University Maryland's 4,000 undergraduate students. It has created proper storage for packages, and has returned 10,000 square feet of valuable space to the university to use as it pleases.
Entirely new workflow
When a package or piece of mail arrives at the mail center, students receive a notification email. They then visit the mail center at their convenience and swipe their student ID card at a self-service kiosk located near the mail center window. That action sends an electronic alert to mail center workers along with the location and physical characteristics of the students' packages and mail. A worker retrieves the items, which are presented to the student as they reach the front desk. Wait time is projected to fall from 30 minutes to one minute or less based on Ricoh's experience at other university mail centers.
Student mail is no longer stored in mailboxes. Instead, it is sorted into a high-density rolling racking system. Mail workers use small scanners, worn on their fingers, to scan barcodes on each slot as they deposit a mail piece. The barcode triggers an email alert to the student, who stops by the mail center to pick it up. Mail center supervisors can electronically track customer waits in real-time.
"Through our partnership with Ricoh, we've identified a valuable opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to pursuing innovative strategies to improve the college experience for students at Loyola," said Jennifer Wood, Loyola's director of campus services. "Loyola students will benefit from an exponentially more efficient system for mail and packages, and our campus community will also benefit from additional seating for dining installed after the mail center renovation frees up much-needed space in Loyola's College Center."
As part of the transformation, Ricoh recommended the university provide a menu of commercial shipping services and mailing and packaging supplies, which bring new untapped revenue streams to Loyola, made affordable through Ricoh's global volume discounts. To further enhance the student experience at Loyola, Ricoh is also installing a photo printing kiosk, and a shredding kiosk to help protect student's personal information.
"At Loyola, as with all of our clients, we make information work for people rather than make people work to obtain information," said Tom Brown, Vice President, Government and Higher Education, Ricoh Americas Corporation. "This philosophy is never truer than in the new world of education, where electronic and paper-based information live together and frequently need to be captured, transformed and managed."
For details on Ricoh's full line of products, services and solutions, please visit www.ricoh-usa.com.
| About Ricoh |
Ricoh is a global technology company specializing in office imaging equipment, production print solutions, document management systems and IT services. Headquartered in Tokyo, Ricoh Group operates in about 200 countries and regions. In the financial year ending March 2014, Ricoh Group had worldwide sales of 2,236 billion yen (approx. 21.7 billion USD).
The majority of the company's revenue comes from products, solutions and services that improve the interaction between people and information. Ricoh also produces award-winning digital cameras and specialized industrial products. It is known for the quality of its technology, the exceptional standard of its customer service and sustainability initiatives.
Under its corporate tagline, imagine. change. Ricoh helps companies transform the way they work and harness the collective imagination of their employees.
For further information, please visit www.ricoh.com/about/.
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