Sunday, February 13, 2011

What LSU's Actions tells Us About Retail Postal Services.

The Baton Rouge Advocate reported that LSU is replacing a Postal Service run retail station for students on campus with one run by Ricoh, USA.    The switch will occur in the fall of 2011.  The switch is required because the campus Post Office is one of those being closed by the Postal Service.

In addition to the student mail center that is located in the LSU Student Union,   LSU has its own university mail service for non-personal mail and parcel services.  The LSU mail service also provides printing services for university clients.

The Postal Service's Post Office at LSU is one of a number of campus based Post Offices that the Postal Service is interested in closing.    Campus based post offices are not found on all campuses as many colleges and universities have their own internal mail services that provide mailboxes for students and may operate contract stations for the Postal Service as well.  For example, Macalester College, St. Thomas University, and the College of St. Catherines all operate contract stations for their college community that are also open to the public and can be found by searching for Post Offices in zip codes 55105. These campuses also have mailboxes for students that are run as a separate operation as per Postal Service contract station rules.   In many instances, mail services for students and the universities also handle copying and printing needs of campus based customers.

The following excerpts from the story 

The move will cost students more and require students living on campus to purchase mailboxes, but also should solve long-term mailing services problems on campus, said Jason Tolliver, LSU director of auxiliary services. ... The end result should be better quality in a consolidated, one-stop shop for mailing, copying, binding and graphic design services on the bottom floor of the LSU Student Union, he said.

“It’s a challenge for us, because we’re changing the way we do business,” Tolliver said. “But the service has not been what it should be. You can stand over there 20 to 30 minutes waiting in lines because of understaffing.

Although Ricoh may not be a household name, Tolliver said, the company offered to invest more in LSU and provide additional services like luggage carts, wireless “hotspot” printers and online “doorbell” notifications to let people know when they have new mail.

Ricoh will pay LSU about $133,000 in annual rent, he said, and invest $350,000 in renovations for the space, in addition to more than $200,000 in new equipment and software.

The switch to Ricoh USA illustrates the impact of change and suggests that it may have been possible for the Postal Service to continue to operate campus based Post Offices if they were able to
  1. charge market rates for campus mailboxes; 
  2. integrate delivery information with e-mail and text messages to provide box holders with information about when new mail arrives; 
  3. legally provide on-site printing services that print documents that are then delivered to a post office box as a service to students on campus; 
  4. find the cash necessary to invest in equipment and information systems necessary to provide both print services and the links between delivery and e-mail and/or text messages; and 
  5. expand into other mail-related back office activities that it currently cannot provide under Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act restrictions that a private sector firms like Ricoh USA, the UPS Store, and Pitney Bowes can provide.

1 comment:

Parcel Tracking said...


Postal service cannot justify keeping offices that only serve a handful of customers, people will still get mail, package and stamp-buying services through rural delivery. Thanks a lot.