By Paul R. Bergeron III — November 2015
Innovative NAA member firms offer solutions to package delivery management.
Property management companies continue to explore their own logistical solutions as well.
A report from NMHC in summer 2014 found that 88.5 percent of apartment communities are accepting packages on behalf of their residents; one in four have invested in package-tracking software; and 60 percent of high-rise properties are doing the same.
The report also showed that one in 10 were using storage lockers and the average package storage area is 77 square feet.
Lori Torres is President of Parcel Pending, which has installed locker systems in buildings ranging from 35 to 1,750 apartment homes.
She says its locker footprint is two feet deep and each tower is three feet wide and they have yet to have a client who didn’t have room for the installation.
“We’ve installed in common areas, amenity spaces, common corridors, parking garages and storage rooms that have been converted to package rooms,” Torres says. “We’ve also installed at buildings that have no management office onsite. Our lockers can be placed outside as long as they have a covered lid and they can accommodate dry cleaning.”
Parcel Pending completed a time-and-motion study and found that it takes one hour of staff time per 15 packages received.
Staff accepts the packages, carries them to the storage room, organizes them, and then one by one, issues the packages to the residents. This does not include time needed for staff to receive phone calls from residents who are asking if their package arrived.
It reports that the average time a package sits in a Parcel Pending locker is 15 hours. It says that the busiest locker pick-up time is 5 p.m., with 14 percent of all packages being picked-up in the 5 o’clock hour.
Package Concierge has installed locker systems in more than 200 communities, spanning 24 states, since it was founded in 2012. Nearly 30,000 residents have signed up. Its CEO Georgianna Oliver says her company’s approach is to let package carriers do their jobs, while she customizes options for apartment buildings based on size and type.
For garden-style, she says the majority of packages can be delivered to residents’ doors and owners should install locker space for non-delivered, overflow packages. For mid-rise, owners who don’t allow carriers to deliver to the door should consider lockers. For high-rise, a locker storage makes the most sense for those who don’t want carriers roaming their halls.
The Package-Delivery Apartment Life
Priscilla Umemoto, Property Manager, at Blanton Turner’s Alley 111 Apartments in Bellevue, Wash., says her newly constructed 260-unit community is half-full and receives 40 to 60 packages a day. She expects that to temporarily double during the holiday season, and to double yet again, once it’s fully occupied.
Her company installed an EGG locker from RealPage next to the residents’ mailboxes. A package overflow room is located directly behind the EGG and houses packages too large to fit in one of the three retrofitted EGG lockers. Umemoto says that nearly every resident receives packages.
Blanton Turner Marketing Director Reed Dunn says many of its residents work in nearby tech-company offices and are so busy that they live their lives by receiving ordinary items such as toothpaste and toilet paper via online deliveries.
Luxer One produces package lockers with an oversized locker option for extra-large packages, and recently announced a new product: Luxer Room, which uses the standard Luxer One touchscreen station to control the doorstrike of package rooms, the same way it would for lockers.
With it, communities can convert any room or closet into a controlled access area that residents can use whenever they get a delivery by inputting a temporary access code.
AMLI Residential is installing the Luxer Room system in 50 of its communities. Says AMLI CEO Steve Hallsey, “We’ve been able to attribute a 40 percent increase in phone calls answered, far more renewals, and a 25 percent jump in positive resident feedback directly to our investment.”
Entrata offers “Parcel Alert” software. Its research shows that apartment staff could be spending as much as 4 to 6 hours per day managing packages.The software reduces that to 1 to 2 hours.
Using a tablet, the apartment staff member scans the package’s bar code into a batch report, including the residents’ name and address. It notifies the resident that the package is ready to be picked up. It sends reminders to residents who fail to promptly pickup their package. Residents who pick up their package can use a digital signature—in other words, sign for it with their finger.
Since 2011, Entrata’s data shows the average package sits for 1.92 days. Since January 2013, use of the software has increased from approximately 5,000 apartment homes to nearly 35,000.
Yardi offers tablet-based package scanning and notification software through its Concierge platform, which can be incorporated into Rent Café. The system is designed to help onsite teams proactively manage package delivery and pick up. It posts alerts to residents and property managers on their respective Web dashboards.Onsite staff can call attention via the electronic notification to the location where the package is being held and to the type of package the resident received, such as a perishable item, flowers or other.
These alerts are sharable through email and provide tracking links used by carriers such as UPS or FedEx.
Esther Bonardi, Yardi Marketing Solutions, says use of this software has increased during the past year.
Straight to the Mailbox
Reliance on the United State Postal Service (USPS) and working with the USPS is another, traditional option.
Salsbury Industries manufactures mailboxes and lockers. It offers a variety of USPS approved resident package solutions for both indoor and outdoor applications.
Salsbury’s standard centralized mail delivery mailboxes—such as cluster box units and 4C horizontal mailboxes—includes fully integrated parcel lockers for package deliveries. Also available are stand-alone parcel lockers which offer residents a convenient way to receive packages onsite.
The Postal Solutions Companies (PSC) manages the physical delivery of daily mail and packages to student housing and some mixed-use communities for 67,000 residents per day.
PSC is the parent company for PackageLog, a software system offered to its delivery service clients as a complementary value-add. A customized version of the software is available for either student housing or conventional properties. PSC research shows that pen-and-paper methods to receive packages requires an average of six minutes per package.
“Our clients spend one minute or less,” says Craig Meddin, CEO, US Postal Solutions. “Our ScanCam feature lets communities just take a quick photo of the package label and the software does the rest.”