The appointment of Martha (Penny) Guyer as manager of mail services marks the first step in the implementation of recommendations by MIT's Reengineering Mail Team that will bring greater order to the handling of some 20 million annual pieces of mail.
Ms. Guyer, whose appointment was announced by Victoria Sirianni, director of Physical Plant, will join MIT on March 1. Most recently she has been manager of campus mail services at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN, an institution just slightly smaller than MIT. She has worked in the mail and distribution field for a number of years, including a stint as national distribution manager for the American Red Cross.
"We were looking for someone with extensive experience in mail automation who would understand the university environment," said David Lambert, captain of the reengineering mail team. "With Penny we think we have found someone who will lead us toward more automated handling and better services."
Ms. Guyer will lead the formation of a mail services group within Physical Plant that will be responsible for all mail processing, including shipping and receiving, express services and international mail. The new group will emphasize team effort and flexibility as new procedures and equipment are phased in over the next year.
Since only about 10 percent of the Institute staff now has desktop delivery from the central service, a decentralized system will be formalized into a network of 35-40 Distributed Mail Centers (DMCs), where departmental staff will pick up their mail.
Responsibility for mail distribution will be shared between the central mail service and the departments, according to the Mail Team's recommendations. The central mail service staff will sort and deliver mail twice daily to the DMCs, decreasing the time between sorting and delivery. Customers with large volumes of mail can continue to have it delivered to their areas.
Two or three of the DMCs will be located in existing Graphic Arts copy centers where the staff can answer general inquiries and provide documentation on postal rates and regulations.
Over a period of time, the DMCs will begin processing MIT's outgoing mail in order to be able to respond quickly to changing regulations and to take advantage of discounts in postal rates for volume and presorting. Advantages of this recommendation also include minimizing wasted postage by ensuring that letters and packages have only the correct amount, and eventually eliminating nearly 150 postage meters and countless individually maintained stamp operations around the Institute.
The Mail team also recommended a study of the feasibility of installing automatic, high-speed barcoding and presorting equipment and increasing use of newer distribution methods such as electronic mail to increase efficiency and savings.
The new procedures and services will be introduced gradually, Mr. Lambert said, accompanied by community education to make the transition as smooth as possible. As changes are made, announcements-including the ongoing series of Mail Tips-will be carried in Tech Talk and can also be found in TechInfo. The Mail Team welcomes comments and questions from the community at x3-7247 or e-mail
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on February 8, 1995.