Editorial: Mail Services shows impressive recovery
Published: Monday, September 23, 2013
Updated: Monday, September 23, 2013 02:09
It is very common for a huge volume of textbooks, supplies and other goods to cycle through Tufts University’s Mail Services at the beginning of the year. While the service sometimes becomes backed up and fails to notify students of packages that have already been delivered, more often than not, the system functions without a hitch, with several thousand packages flowing in monthly.
Given a three percent growth in the volume of packages delivered to campus so far this semester, as well as an expanding online ordering market through services like Amazon, a buildup of packages in the past month was expected. Mail Services should be applauded for their recent efforts in confronting this difficulty and should continue to take steps to address the inevitable situation.
Mail Services recently picked up a new shift of student workers to handle the backlog during the beginning of the semester. In addition, the department has been opening its doors earlier and earlier, as well as having limited pickup on Sundays to help confront mountains of mail.
The department should not only retain the help of these students, but also increase the number of employees and students that are working there if this issue persists. All extra pairs of hands will help alleviate the bottlenecking of packages and allow employees to take a second look for misplaced or mislabeled packages. In the future, Mail Services should operate for limited hours on Sundays whenever there is a large influx of mail, such as during the beginning of the semester or around the holidays. A new system of inventory management might also be a step in the right direction in terms of increasing the speed at which packages are processed and organized. Additionally, although Mail Services does offer limited van service, another van and longer hours of operation would likely cut down on the accumulation of packages.
Students can also help the situation by refraining from visiting Mail Services until they’ve received the email notification that their package has arrived. Mail Services deals with a variety of mail carriers — such as FedEx, UPS and USPS — that often have their own package tracking and notification systems. Students will periodically receive an email from the carrier or vendor saying that their package has been delivered. However, since it hasn’t yet been scanned into the Mail Services system, the student is unable to access the package. When students come searching for unprocessed packages, they add more work for the employees and potentially hold up the line for others.
Mail Services should be commended for the steps they have taken to deal with their backlog problems this year. However, this is just a start for them. Hopefully, with student cooperation and a more flexible schedule, next-day delivery can soon really mean next-day delivery.