Package Management Solution: Defining Your Strategy

October 16, 2023
4 minutes

As building technology consultants, it’s no secret we spend a lot of time in apartment buildings.

Whether performing project site walks or completing a building technology assessment or survey, we are in and out of MDUs constantly. And no matter the size, location or type of property, there’s one thing all these buildings have in common: big brown boxes, of all shapes and sizes, are delivered throughout the day.

Although this is a relatively recent phenomenon, we shouldn’t expect that it’s going to slow down anytime soon, if ever!

Online sales and at-home delivery accelerated during COVID-19 and has since become a societal norm deeply rooted in convenience.

  • Retail e-commerce sales in the U.S. and worldwide are forecasted to grow by nearly 53% between 2023 and 2027 (Source)
  • Grocery Delivery revenue growth is expected to increase by 22.2% in 2024 (Source)
  • Cold Chain Logistics (temperature-controlled supply chain, including medication that requires refrigeration) is projected to double from $202 billion in 2020 to $410 billion in 2023 (Source)

So, what does this mean? Boxes. Boxes. More boxes.

Defining a Package Management Solution

There’s no such thing as a one-size fits all package management solution. It needs to be customized to align with the property vision and daily operations. Getting this right is important, because it can dramatically improve the building flow with operational efficiencies for staff and enhancements to the resident experience.

Although further consultation is required to develop a solution that checks all your boxes (pun intended), we thought we’d share some important considerations when integrating a new solution.

Package Type & Volume

  • How many packages do you receive daily?
  • Do you receive oversized packages and where are they kept?
  • What are the space constraints?
  • What is the average climate at your property (extreme cold or extreme heat could cause issues with the lockers)?
  • Are you looking to accept packages that need to be refrigerated (i.e. food, flowers or medicine)?

Types of Solutions

A number of different package management solutions are available, but these are the most common:

  1. Package Lockers: Package lockers (e.g., Amazon Hub or Luxer One) are modular access-controlled cabinets that exist inside a common area in a building. These systems usually include an adjacent access-controlled closet for oversized packages.
  2. Package Rooms: Access-controlled rooms within a common area to store resident packages. This solution relies on a resident honor system, as packages are not stored inside individual lockers.
    1. Sophisticated Package Room Solution: To ensure the correct package is being received by the correct resident, there are systems available that track package by weight/laser. These solutions protect residents from packages ending up in the wrong hands.
  3. Off-Site Third-Party Solutions: Off-site package management solutions (e.g., Fetch) exist to streamline the delivery process for multifamily apartment communities. The building must register their parcel delivery account with the vendor for residents to schedule drop-offs.
  4. Concierge Service: A front desk concierge service accepts and logs packages into the PMS (e.g., Active Building).

Infrastructure Questions

A packaged management solution is only as useful as the building’s ability to accommodate it. The final (and most important) part of picking a solution comes down to infrastructure and what’s possible given the building’s operational intent.

Some considerations include:

  • Solution Cost & Maintenance: No surprise, there is a cost to stand up and maintain any solution. From paying a concierge salary, to the OPEX associated with the property management team’s effort interfacing with all vendors. All solutions require capital expenditure.
  • Space: Find a solution that works within the building’s square footage.
  • Power: Kiosks and lockers require electrical power for solution start-up.
  • Internet: Kiosks and lockers need the internet to operate the solution.
  • CCTV: Regarding the liability of the packages, many of the systems require proprietary CCTV to cover their solution. Additionally, we suggest additional CCTV coverage in the room, as well as the pathway leading to the room.

Boxes are coming. More and more everyday. It’s time to get your package management solution dialed-in.

Your team deserves it. And your residents demand it.

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