University of South Alabama replaces campus post office with 21st-century mail hub

Obsolete mailboxes exchanged for high-density mail system, automatic email alerts and modern lobby

Aug 17, 2015, 09:30 ET from Ricoh Corporation

MALVERN, Pa., Aug. 17, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- A student walks a mile across campus to the university post office.

"Did I get a package?" she asks the mail clerk.

"I don't know, let me check," the clerk says, disappearing for a minute. "Sorry, not yet." The student returns to her residence hall, having wasted an hour. She makes the same trek the next day.

Good news: this scenario is over at the University of South Alabama (USA) with today's opening of a modernized mail facility providing students with a more efficient way to get mail and packages. The new facility named "USA Mail Hub" – designed, staffed and operated by Ricoh – offers a fully transformed experience on both sides of the counter: now when mail or packages arrive, students will immediately receive an email notification, making treks across campus more fruitful.

The notification is triggered when mailroom workers use a ring-like optical device on their finger to scan the barcode on the student's mail slot while filing letters in high-density rolling racks. The racks ultimately consolidate mail storage, freeing up space for the school to use as a sleek lobby.

When a package arrives, students receive a similar alert. The item is placed in a storage rack according to a precise new inventory system until the student arrives, shows his ID and picks it up.

"As with so many universities, our old post office was designed for a bygone time," said Michael A. Mitchell, Ph.D., Vice President of Student Affairs, University of South Alabama. "The new USA Mail Hub is a mail center for the 21st century and will provide a radically improved experience for our students. Ricoh's deep expertise in education, information management and workstyle innovation shined through as their team carefully assessed how we could better serve our students."

How mail has changed 
Why don't students just drop by the post office every day as they did for decades? Email has reduced paper mail volume to a trickle, rendering traditional mailboxes obsolete. And though package volume – including books, clothes and electronics – has soared, it's still not an everyday thing for most students. Going forward, the university will be able to quantify these changes since letters and packages will be automatically counted.

Replacing mailboxes with the high-density mail system has freed extra space for a new copy/printing/binding center and retail packaging center offering boxes, envelopes, tape, labels and bubble wrap. Students will now have the ability to ship any package anywhere using any major commercial shipping service. Clerks will use special software to shop for the quickest delivery and best rates.

"The USA Mail Hub is an exemplar of information mobility," said Tom Brown, Vice President, Government and Higher Education, Ricoh Americas Corporation. "The people, workflow and technology support the way students live, tangibly improving their campus experience."

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| 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 2015, Ricoh Group had worldwide sales of 2,231 billion yen (approx. 18.5 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.

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Ricoh Americas Corporation 
(973) 882-2023

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Brodeur Partners 
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SOURCE Ricoh Corporation