Cedarville University installs smart lockers for package pickup

Cedarville University in Ohio has replaced student mailboxes on campus with automated, smart lockers to speed package pickups and reduce COVID exposure. Every time a student receives a letter or parcel, the university’s new TZ Smart Locker system sends the student an email or text that forwards them to an assigned Smart Locker where their parcel has been placed.

University campuses have been known to be flooded with parcels, with flat mail – or letters – dwindling in comparison. The rise of online shopping coupled with an internet-born student population is forcing post offices on campus to look for inventive service models.

According to a report by In-Plant Impressions, Cedarville’s search for a smart locker solution began almost two years ago with the goal of finding a storage system that could both send push notifications when packages are ready for collection and use student ID Locker access. With the arrival of COVID last year, installing the Smart Locker was an even higher priority.

“With 1,200 packages coming in every day, finding those packages can be a challenge,” said Tammy Slone, director of retail services at Cedarville University. “The students waited in line for 30 minutes to collect things.”

“When COVID hit, social distancing and the lines that are part of the postal service suddenly became a stark problem,” added Slone.

In September, Cedarville University signed a contract with TZ SMArt Lockers. By December, 392 smart lockers and 220 smart mailboxes were installed and working.

Cedarville students now scan their campus card or enter their PIN code on a kiosk screen in the student center post office to retrieve their packages. The intelligent lockers store the assigned student mail for 48 hours. Thereafter, any unclaimed post is returned to the internal mail store. As of this month, the lockers will also have an optional mobile app to open the lockers.

At least some of the inspiration for the Cedarville installation came from a visit to the East Tennessee State University mail center, as well as from numerous other campus visits that ran a recent mailroom operation.

According to a familiar formula in these reinvented mailrooms, Cedarville students stopped assigning mailboxes. Instead, all student mail is now assigned to a smart locker when it arrives on campus. After the letter or parcel has been picked up, each locker is made available for the mail of the next student.

TZ specializes in Smart Campus Delivery solutions shaped by the company’s TZ SMArt locking technology. The company’s university-specific offers are designed as a complete hardware and software solution that automates the delivery of student parcels.

The TZ SMArt lockers can be activated for access 24/7 and implemented across campus for delivery, exchange and storage applications inside or outside of dormitories, libraries, bookstores, rental warehouses and food service centers.

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