An entire organization run by just two full-time and four student employees, Mail Services is responsible for processing thousands of pieces of mail daily, and serving nearly 100 departments on campus.
On a daily basis, Mail Services processes an average of 912 pieces of incoming mail, 69 parcels, and collects around 1,223 pieces of outgoing mail. In 2017, the organization received and delivered 15,687 packages to Centre Square apartments, received approximately 255,000 incoming pieces of USPS mail, and processed about 318,000 pieces that were sent out from the university.
Mail Services can successfully handle large numbers due to systems they have developed. Mail Services Lead Jim Robison says that the campus is divided up into three different routes for deliveries and pickups.
"We have roughly 91 mail stops on campus, or 91 delivery points," Robison said. "Dividing the campus into three different routes allows Mail Services to deliver and pick up mail for the entire campus in about an hour."
Student employees work from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m or from 11:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
"We have two students that come in each shift to help with the different operations that we have, and they help us do all the receiving, processing, and deliveries. Mail Services handles all packages that come in for Centre Square apartments, including FedEx, UPS, and DHL packages. Every day around 12:30 p.m., packages are delivered to Centre Square. We all work together to accomplish our projects," Robison said.
Jon Benning, a Mail Services sorter, helps process the letters and packages that are sent to the university and Centre Square apartments, and ensures shipments get to the right place.
"In a way, it kind of feels like Christmas every day because we get so many packages in. We don't open them, of course, but it's just something new every day," Benning said.
The unique mail system was put in place when BYU-Idaho was still Ricks College, designed before Robison began working in Mail Services in 1999.
"Through inspired leadership, the mail system here on campus was set up decades ago by Briscoe Roberts working with the US Postal Service, and it has been able to expand to meet the needs of a growing university. As a university, we were assigned a unique zip code of 83460 which separates our mail from the city of Rexburg," Robison said.
Mail Services works with the USPS to maintain a list of 4-digit mail stop codes, each corresponding to a different department on campus.
"Just like your home is assigned a plus four zip that takes the mail right to your door, each 4-digit mail stop code allows us to quickly identify and sort mail to department locations," Robison said. "The first two numbers of the mail stop code are numbers assigned to a building, and the second two numbers are a department identifier."
This system enables an expedited sorting process, and is one that can easily be built upon as new buildings and departments may be added. Employees are encouraged to use their unique 4-digit mail stop code.
Properly-addressed mail that includes these unique department identifiers expedites the sorting process immensely, and helps Mail Services employees get mail to the right place that much faster.
Just as the organization strives for efficiency, it is also designed to save on cost. Departments sending out bulk mailings can check with Mail Services to see if they can qualify for discounted rates. Mailings of 200 or more pieces can potentially qualify for the nonprofit mailing rates, which can return savings of approximately 40 percent from First-Class postage. Mail Services is able to provide additional mailing list services. These services include the ability to check for change of addresses before a mailing is sent out. This service greatly reduces the amount of returned mail, and qualifies mail for deeper postage discounts.
Valuable help is available for departments that are working on large mailings. Print and Copy Services can assist with the design of the mail piece, and Mail Services is available to provide help and recommendations on all postage-related issues.
"We're always trying to better understand department needs so we can provide improved services to the campus," Robison said. "We want to simplify all mail processes for departments so that they can focus on the other important areas of their operations. There are many solutions available, and we are here to help find ways to reduce costs. We're here to help them."