Old parcel notification cards
The Student Post Room was coming under increasing pressure as the popularity of online shopping has grown and students are receiving increasing numbers of parcels. The existing system involved the post room assistants hand writing cards for every parcel they received. These cards were then sent to the students via the internal mail. Students needed to bring this card with them in order to collect their parcel as it detailed the storage location but frequently the cards were forgotten or lost. Increasingly parcels were not collected and were taking up valuable space in the post room but there was no robust system to remind students to collect their parcels.
The processes and systems needed to be reviewed to create:
- A more student focused service
- A more efficient system for post room assistants
- Increased storage capacity for parcels
Research was undertaken to look at what commercial solutions might be available which could help to address all these issues. Eventually it was decided that a bespoke in-house system would best meet our needs. A Post Room Administrator, developed a system which could fully meet the needs of the post room and provide increased flexibility for future development.
The new system was piloted in October 2015. The post room assistants were directly involved in providing feedback during the pilot and this was incorporated into the new system.
Post Room Administrator, scanning a parcel into ScAnDis.
The Outcome: A streamlined, student focussed system
ScAnDis went live in November 2015. It integrates with the University's student records system and allows the post room assistants to allocate each parcel to a student. An email is automatically sent to the student to inform them they have a parcel and they can then come and collect this using just their Warwick ID card. This link to their ID card allows multiple parcels to be collected easily, without the need for multiple written cards which they previously had to present. The system automatically sends reminders if parcels have not been collected within 7 days or within 14 days, at which point they are then returned to sender.
- In the 11 months from November 2015 the post room have processed 30,058 parcels using ScAnDis.
- The average time a student parcel is stored in the post room is now less than 4 days.
- 39% of parcels are collected within 24 hours, which was previously impossible. 55% are collected within 48 hours and 89% within 7 days. This trend has continued to improve.
- There have even been examples of students collecting parcels within 20 minutes of receiving the parcel notification email, this was previously impossible.
- As a result of reducing parcel collection times there is increased storage capacity in the existing post room. This has benefited the University because it has not had to invest in addtional storage capacity for the post room.
In May/June 2016 the new system faced it's greatest test with the largest number of parcels ever being received. The system performed extremely well and allowed the post room assistants to continue to provide an excellent service to Warwick students.
Besides fundamentally improving the service for students the project has had a number of other benefits. Designing the system in-house meant that it was tailored specifically to the situation at Warwick and was also a significant saving over a commercial product. The post room assistants were directly involved in the pilot giving them an ownership of the process, and ScAnDis has allowed them to develop new skills and add variety to their roles.