Senel Sowerby, Head of Parcel Management Solutions and Production Marketing, from Quadient discusses the evolving mail delivery landscape and the positive steps that can be taken to help facilitate incoming parcel management
We are a nation of online shoppers and that shopping behaviour is having an impact on the mail delivery landscape. As more shopping migrates online, so the volume of delivery parcels goes up. This is the case at residential and business properties, where post rooms and concierges are often tasked with the unenviable job of getting parcels to their intended recipients. It’s a situation which is unlikely to abate. In fact, it was reported last year that one in every five consumer pounds spent with UK retailers is now spent online. That equates to a lot of parcels.
What’s more, whereas mail deliveries used to be at set times during the day, parcels can now arrive at any time, potentially upsetting working patterns in managed buildings. In the face of this, many facilities departments are having to reconsider their processes and procedures to handle changing demands on time and resources.
Where’s my parcel?
A common challenge with incoming parcel management is tracking down building occupants. They simply often aren’t around when deliveries are made, which means that on-site staff are left with looking after packages until they can track down addressees and make final deliveries.
It’s an issue that’s compounded by seasonal peaks and with shopping ‘events’ such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday encouraging even more online retail traffic, post rooms and receptions regularly brace themselves for a delivery rush.
Indeed, tempting sale offers on electronic and other high-value goods can mean that deliveries contain valuable items. This can be a worrying security issue for property staff left holding parcels.
It’s a common situation. Getting hold of building occupants isn’t easy, so property staff may spend many unproductive hours making contact and multiple delivery attempts.
What’s more, if the tracking method in use isn’t robust, parcels can go missing or get mislaid. Perhaps they’re signed-for by someone else who can’t then be tracked down. It’s frustrating for staff and building occupants who feel let down by inefficient, manual processes that haven’t adapted to the changing demands placed on them.
While ecommerce and delivery services are exploring new technologies such as drones and autonomous vehicles to overcome delivery issues, the final delivery ‘leg’ for managed properties can still be a problem.
Manual tracking and delivery processes don’t scale, and it is hard to safeguard against human error. Often, records of deliveries are paper-based, addressees are contacted by phone or in-person, and collection or delivery is made face-to-face.
It simply isn’t possible to throw more human resource at the issue, or to increase the amount of storage space for uncollected items. Anyway, that doesn’t make things any more convenient for building occupants who may simply be unable to collect or take delivery during staffed hours.
Convenience, scalability and security
For many multi-occupancy managed premises, a more robust solution lies in digital tracking of parcels and secure lockers which can store items ready to be collected 24/7. This approach protects staff, who are no longer required to secure valuable items, and ensures the correct person takes delivery every time.
Items are scanned on delivery, recipients identified, and the parcels placed into secure lockers. Emails notify addressees of their delivery and provide them with unique PIN/barcodes. When they are ready to collect the item, their code gives them access to the locker, thereby protecting building management and shoppers from the risk of theft or items being mislaid or incorrectly delivered.
Such an approach helps address the issues the changing shape of delivered mail presents for managed properties and their staff. It enables an increasing volume of incoming parcels to be handled smoothly and effectively, securely facilitating parcel getting to recipient without recourse to more storage space or an increase in staffing. As online shopping continues on its upward trend, digital inbound parcel management with secure locker storage offers a convenient solution for staff and occupants in managed buildings.