Along with a computer upgrade to Windows 7, Mail Services installed new technology in January that speeds up the processing of incoming and outgoing packages and mail.
“Additional to the package tracking system we’ve had, we now have a second system. You’ll be emailed for all packages now instead of getting the yellow slips. The two systems help us process things faster,” said Deanne Schroeder, manager of Mail Services. “Hopefully, this will end the confusion created by having two different package notifications and [promote] a greener environment.”
The postage meter mailing machine processes all of the college’s first class mail faster, as well as flat and outgoing packages.
“You may have noticed when we take your package we drop it into a bin behind the counter. We put it in a tub and put postage on the package. The postage slip comes out of the machine,” Schroeder said.
When new regulations come about and technology is changing, every post office has to change along with it.
Before 2001, employees at Mail Services had to manually log packages, get signatures and keep paper records. Since then, the Smart Track package tracking system has made all of this simpler.
“Since 2001, we have been able to provide arrival and delivery dates, times, tracking numbers, individual or department’s name and signatures within a short period of time,” Schroeder said. “Signatures (student, staff and department) are captured through the handheld devices, and then downloaded into our database for easy research access.”
Additional to this, the large amount of incoming packages made it important to install faster processing machines. According to Schroeder, the post office had its peak last week at the beginning of spring semester. Last Monday alone, employees received and distributed 797 packages.
“Last week was a double whammy because of Valentine’s Day. We had care packages plus all of the books coming in,” Schroeder said.
Social media has also had an impact on the way she runs the post office.
“Students will get notifications straight from the vendor, and they’ll know we have their package before we do,” she said. “I try to work with them and check email and tracking numbers.”
The employees of the post office, funded by Linfield, pick up the United States Postal Service (USPS) mail daily—that includes mail, packages and magazines. United Postal Service (UPS) and FedEx deliver here to the school.
“We have mail service on Saturday. We have a crew that goes to pick up the mail on Saturdays, and then they distribute it in the unit boxes,” Schroeder said. “The end of Saturday USPS service will probably just make Monday mail traffic heavier.”
Schroeder hopes that students will notice that packages are being processed faster for them.
Kelsey Sutton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo by Kelsey Sutton