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Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Opinion

UH Delivery Services is inefficient and needs to change


The University’s delivery system needs to make some changes. | Juana Garcia/ The Cougar

The University of Houston Delivery Services system is truly flawed.

All mail received by the University first arrives at the central sorting facility at 4211 Elgin Street, where it’s cataloged and sorted based on the recipient’s address. From there, it’s delivered to its respective location, where it gets cataloged and sorted again, this time based on the recipients themselves.

This is a clear example of excess motion, a form of waste in which an item is moved beyond the point where motion would add value.

After all of this, recipients may only pick up their mail during the designated pick-up times, which are during most students’ class times.

All letters and packages sent to UH are addressed to their recipient’s specific location. A letter sent to Moody Towers would be addressed to 4401 Cougar Village Drive, not 4211 Elgin. Therefore, delivery services like USPS and FedEx are theoretically capable of sorting the packages themselves.

In fact, it’s likely they already do this before lumping all UH’s mail together. This means they’re entirely capable of making deliveries directly to the intended locations, where they can be sorted and cataloged more efficiently and expediently.

This seemingly needless excess of labor and processing has been affecting students.

Psychology sophomore Michael Arcé said the service is “slow” and “sluggish,” specifically noting an experience when his package was delayed by nearly a week.

“(The postal workers) do their best, but it’s just an inefficient system,” Arcé said.

The unnecessary delays in this system could easily lead to disastrous results. A student ordering lab equipment or physical textbooks they need for class would be at a major disadvantage if they couldn’t receive their materials on time, and it would be entirely out of their hands.

A division of labor would fix this problem. As mentioned previously, direct deliveries to each piece of mail’s final location would cut down on processing time significantly, allowing for recipients to pick up their packages on the same day they arrive on campus.

Of course, there are a couple of reasons to not implement this system.

Most obviously, it would be a significant waste of time to mailpersons because of the campus’s winding roads and numerous residence halls. Safety is possibly a concern, as a dangerous package received at the central sorting facility poses less of a threat to students than one received at a residence hall.

Other campuses like the University of Texas at Austin, however, have been making the system proposed here work, so evidence suggests it’s entirely capable of functioning effectively.

Anybody arguing against the ethics of downsizing postal services on campus and laying off employees has failed to understand that each resident hall would require an increased workload in order to obtain the desired efficiency of this plan. Employees could simply be relocated elsewhere on campus.

Changes need to be made to the postal system on campus. A package received Friday might not be available to its recipient until Monday due to excessive processing and inconvenient pickup hours. These are not qualities a department that claims to strive to provide “the most efficient and effective mail service” should be willing to allow.

Opinion writer Kyle Dishongh is a finance junior and can be reached at [email protected]


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