The Parcel Delivery Challenge

The Parcel Delivery Challenge

Bren Standell, Commercial Director for Parcel Locker Solutions, Quadient

In recent years, there has been a significant increase in the volume and frequency by which parcels and packages enter residential buildings including apartment blocks and other managed properties. This can mainly be attributed to the convenience and ease of online shopping, which is regularly coupled with other benefits like free and next-day delivery.

According to one report for the financial year of 2018-2019, total parcel volumes in the UK increased by roughly 10% year-on-year, reaching a total of 2.6 billion items in the UK. In addition, the current global situation has led to an increase in the number of people doing their shopping online. People are likely to continue to heavily favour this approach where possible, to further reduce any unnecessary contact in their lives.

In an ideal world, all parcels would be delivered to residential buildings in an efficient and rapid manner. This would prevent property management staff from spending time managing incoming parcels, while residents would be able to go about their day without having to wait for deliveries.

In reality, this is not the case. In unmanned residential buildings couriers may be unable to gain the necessary access, leading to missed deliveries or parcels being left in unsecured locations. Where access is possible, parcels can build up in unattended reception areas causing obstructions and security issues. Where apartment blocks do have concierges or other on-site staff, they may find themselves burdened with the responsibility of both securing parcels and tracking down residents to make final deliveries. These are manual approaches to an issue that has arisen in the digital age.

So acute is this issue that Citizens Advice in the UK found it takes roughly two hours for people who have had a problem receiving a parcel to get a resolution. As a result of this, property management companies are looking for ways to conveniently handle the rising number of parcels being delivered, without having to dedicate more staff time or storage space to more parcels.

Technology provides a better experience

The apartment industry is moving away from manual forms of package handling, such as notices on doors and phone calls alerting residents to the fact they have a package to collect, in favour of electronic notifications. Over three-quarters (77%) of buildings now have “a dedicated space for package storage, however landlords and property management companies have realised that creating package storage space does not resolve security issues and still find onsite staff spending large amounts of time dealing with parcels and packages. Because of this landlords and property management companies are turning to smart parcel locker technology as a way to automate what is currently a manual process, reducing risk and time spent managing parcels whilst providing residents with a much more flexible, secure and convenient solution.”

Such a solution removes the need for alternative – less satisfactory – delivery options (such as returning the parcel to depot, leaving it with a neighbour or depositing it in a subjectively ‘safe’ place). For staff in managed residential properties, it alleviates the responsibility of storing parcels and trying to track down recipients. For the customer, getting hold of their delivery is stress-free and there’s no more guesswork about where their parcel is.

As shoppers make an ever-greater proportion of their purchases online, it’s important to them to know that receiving their parcels will be simple and convenient and, for now at least, that they don’t necessarily have to come into direct contact with anyone to receive them. In this way, well-managed deliveries become a selling point to prospective new tenants of apartment blocks and a reason to stay for existing ones.

Parcel Pending

Addressing these issues and needs, Quadient has developed Parcel Pending Intelligent Parcel Lockers, which have been designed specifically for the real estate sector. Parcel Pending by Quadient simplifies the daily management of incoming parcels through easy-to-use, automated, secure, and contact-free lockers which provide:

  • Improved operational efficiency. Package deliveries are made directly to the parcel locker by carriers, enabling property staff to focus on higher-value tasks, saving time and reducing operational costs.
  • Secure parcel storage. Constructed from steel, the lockers keep packages off the floor and safe from being lost or stolen. Packages are retrieved by residents using a one-time-use PIN or barcode provided to them via email, SMS or in-app mobile notifications.
  • Increased resident satisfaction. Lockers can be accessed 24/7 for convenient self-service pick-up or returns by residents. Parcel lockers reduce human-to-human contact and they meet accessibility requirements for all residents.

The popularity of intelligent parcel lockers has continued to grow in recent times, with their reduced contact nature currently being a key characteristic. It is also likely that we’ll start to see lockers being used to help facilitate the exchanging of parcels internally, enabling residents to further adhere to social distancing measures, as well as to observe reduced contact processes.

In the long-term, this simple and secure solution to the issues caused by inbound parcel management to residential buildings could become a selling point to potential new tenants, and a reason to stay for existing ones.


The Parcel Delivery Challenge