Automating the Mailroom at Liberty University

Liberty University, located in Lynchburg, Virginia, has experienced significant expansion in the last few years. This rapid growth in campus size, student body, and faculty came with new challenges that needed to be addressed. In this case, one challenge was overflowing in the mail room at Liberty. The population increase at this prestigious university made sorting inbound mail to staff and students a labor-intensive and costly process.

In 2012, Liberty University turned to OPEX® Corporation and the Mail Matrix®, an intelligent mixed mail sorter, to automate the sorting of their inbound mail. The LU mail center staff experienced immediate benefits.

Historically, sorting mail accounted for approximately 126 hours of staff overtime at the start of each semester dealing with a myriad of issues related to students returning to campus. After the Mail Matrix had been installed, the overtime budget was no longer necessary. Additionally, the university is saving about $120,000 each year by reducing the need for additional full-time staff members.

According to Assistant VP, Bob Boyer, “The Mail Matrix improved staff productivity immediately Automating the Mailroom at because they no longer look up names in lists.” This manual activity had been a hindrance to efficiency especially when a new staff member was added. Mail Matrix provides more complete data that demonstrates the value of the mail center to the university. “It has allowed for benchmarking of mail volumes and productivity metrics that were previously unavailable,” said Boyer.

“..the overtime budget was no longer necessary. Additionally, the university is saving about $120,000 each year by reducing the need for additional full-time staff members.”
- Bob Boyer, Assistant VP
Liberty University Postal Services

The Mail Matrix has also kept pace with Liberty’s exponential growth. Since its installation in 2012, the university has gone from 3000 employees to about 8500, and the on-campus student population has grown to 16,000. Along with this explosive growth, mail volume has increased. So much so, Liberty has received its own unique zip code, prompting Bob and his staff to re-evaluate how mailbox destinations are assigned.

Automating the Mailroom at Liberty University “Each student is given a unique MSC code that stays with them throughout their tenure at the university. This helps us identify where a student is physically located on campus,” said Bob. The MSC  code system has improved their overall process, resulting in a higher quality of sorting on the Mail Matrix. “Each envelope is labeled with the MSC code to ensure accurate delivery, and the date of delivery provides accurate data for evaluating “return to sender” mail.

The university found that for many of today’s students, the daily routine of checking their physical mailbox was not a priority. This meant that mail accumulated in their mailbox until the box was full. Boyer said, “We field a lot of questions from senders about returned mail - mail that has been delivered to a mailbox but never picked up. We needed a way to notify students when mail was in their box.” The mail center had long since implemented an email notification solution for packages, so Bob asked the Analytics and Decision Support (ADS) group, the IT team responsible for streamlining the database updatesto the mail center, if a similar solution could be applied to mail.

What emerged was a system whereby students receive an email notification that “they’ve got mail!” The solution was made possible by using the statistical reporting capabilities of the Mail Matrix. Each day, a “Per Recipient” report, stating who on campus has received mail, is sent to ADS. This data is merged with the student’s email address, and an automated email notifies the student that mail is awaiting pickup in their campus mailbox.

Liberty University is poised for future growth, as is their mail center. With the new notification system in place and the ability to add expansion modules to Mail Matrix, Bob Boyer and his team are equipped to handle the additional volume of mail that will be generated by increases in student population for the foreseeable future.

Congratulations Liberty. Go Flames!