New post office system increases efficiency

Michaela Lumpert, Campus Carrier Deputy News Editor

i paid extra for express shipping and they waited like 2 extra days to give it to me
Senior Simone Berry and junior Tanayja Warren use the new computer system to efficiently check out packages. Photo by Caroline Jennings | Campus Carrier

This summer, the Berry post office transitioned into a new system of checking in packages and distributing them to students and faculty after outgrowing their last one.

Before their new system, the post office was working with a system that Tammi Freeman, manager of the post office, created with the help of BITS and some of their students. This system worked well until Freeman began to notice a gradual increase in the volume of packages each year.

“Last fiscal year, we checked in 67,282 packages,” Freeman said.

Because of this increase, a new system was needed. In March, Freeman began researching a new system that would replace the old and create a more efficient system for the office. Eventually she found the company SCLogic, and started looking into their system by traveling around to nearby schools that were currently using their product.

“I wanted to initially talk to someone who actually used the product before I talked to a sales person, so I could get a feel for the product,” Freeman said. “I was very impressed by what I saw,.”

After some consideration, Freeman decided it was time to switch.

“I gave them a very detailed list of system requirements that we needed [the new system] to do,” Freeman said.

She had to make sure that this system would support Berry’s growing post office traffic. Because of budget reasons, the project had been put on hold until the chief information officer realized that the need to switch was becoming more and more apparent every day.

“We began to have new error messages every single day, different than ones from the previous day,” Freeman said. “There was a lot of down time and having to call the help desk to get someone to find the link that was broken. And when there’s down time, we’re delayed in getting packages checked in for the Berry community.”

The contract for the new system was signed in May, and the transition began. From May to August, all the work was behind the scenes, working specifically with the new program. On Monday August 6, the program went live. About two weeks before school started, SCLogic sent a worker to train some of the post office staff in the new program.

A lot of the new perks of the system are behind the scenes in the computer and in the process of checking in packages. With the old system, packages got checked in at one station and the process of checking them in took longer because the student worker had to answer and check a lot of individual questions and field boxes. With the new system, there are only three steps to checking in a package. First, the student worker scans the tracking barcode. They then type in the name of the package recipient in a search box. Once they have found the name of the recipient in the system, they click submit, and a label is printed to go on the package.

Another perk of the system is the new process of sending notification emails.

“With the old system, there was literally 2 pages of instructions that you had to follow, step-by-step. Now you can basically highlight the packages you want to send an email for, change the status and hit update,” Freeman said. It reduces the time it takes for a package to be processed in the mail room and the notification email sent to the recipient.

The new system was also very easy to teach to student workers. Freeman explained that students learned the new system quickly and were comfortable using the system.

Junior Tanayja Warren, who works in the post office, enjoys the simplicity of the system.

“It’s so much simpler, we don’t have to worry about anything,” Warren said.

The major change for students and faculty is how they pick up their packages.

“We used to have to look for the email and find that long package ID, and now it’s as simple as students handing us their ID, swiping it and scanning their package,” senior Simone Berry said. She works in the post office and enjoys the ease of the new system.

So far, there have only been a few bugs with the system. Freeman said that the problems they are having aren’t too serious, and with some work with the company SCLogic, the problems should soon be fixed.

But overall, the new system is working smoothly. In the first two weeks of school, 7,612 packages were checked in and distributed to the Berry community.

“[The new system] has greatly increased our productivity,” Freeman said. “I can’t tell you how happy I am.”

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