On Jan. 12, Innovative Service Technology (IST) took over mail service at Georgia Regents University, employing sophisticated technologies to make the distribution process much more efficient.
“Before, we had a very manual process, where we identified a user and their mail stop, put it in Excel, and then we’d print that and tape it up somewhere,” said Trey French, Manager, Supply Chain Logistics. “So if you were new to the institution, we would get your mail, try to locate you, find your mail stop, and document it. We’d put that in Excel and print it out, and then when the staff got your mail again, they would go over and look until they would eventually learn it.”
Because of staff turnover and vacations, a considerable amount of time was spent reprograming staff, and the ongoing growth and constant relocations added to the difficulty.
Now, those hurdles are being cleared through technology.
“They have a voice guided system where they can say a name; it will research the database, and then the database will tell them where that mail goes,” French said. “So they can sort it without having to review it intently and then locate the box.”
According to Shawn Sweeny from IST, the technology shaves about 50 percent off the manual report process.
“My personal goal is to move receipt to same-day versus one-day,” he said.
Given the volume of mail the office moves, that’s an impressive goal. Last November, campus mail service delivered 30,756 pieces of metered mail, 122,550 pieces of U.S. mail, and 1,838 pieces of UPS and FedEx Ground.
In one recent two-week period, they received 900 light packages, where previous months would average 1,000. Because IST also supplies the manpower, they are able to add staff as needed. So far, they’ve operated with as little as five and as many as 10.
Once fully implemented, staff will scan barcodes at each stop to document that the stop was made and that it was made on time.
“The previous way, the truck route took two hours, and that’s what it took,” French said. “If Joe is back in two hours, we could only assume he hit every location and didn’t go to McDonalds to eat a McFlurry. IST improves accountability along the route.”
Sweeny said the database is about 80 percent completed. From there, the new processes will be phased in.
“We’re eating this elephant one bite at a time,” French said.