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5 Tips to Spring into Package Management Success

It’s no secret that in 2020, people were shipping more than ever before. At the height of stay-at-home orders from March to May last year, Package Concierge® processed nearly 7 million package transactions. In 2020, our weekly average topped 600,000 transactions, which was higher than the average weekly package volume during the 2019 holiday shopping season, and our 2020 holiday season average went even higher than that.

As we headed into the new year, we were curious to see how this package chaos would affect residents; so in December, we surveyed more than 2,000 renters to learn exactly that. It’s no big surprise that with people spending more time at home, amenities matter. We found that one in five renters from our Multifamily Resident Survey considered package management solutions one of the most important amenities.

Now that spring is around the corner and we are making progress toward a new normal, it seems fitting to plant some seeds about other things we learned, and share some tips on getting the most out of your package management solution

1. Declutter and Discover. The realities of 2020 proved that multifamily properties spent a lot of their time handling packages. Many apartment communities made do by stashing and storing packages in every nook and cranny they could find to help maintain social distancing. Take the time to Spring clean your temporary storage solutions and look to find more permanent solutions for your package management.

Repurposing sections of the entryway or breezeways, reclaiming space from unused vending machines, or taking over little used common spaces are all locations properties have adapted to automated package locker solutions. For locations that have limited indoor space, outdoor locker solutions can also be utilized. With finishes that range from sleek industrial to fashion colors, or branded with customized graphics, smart package lockers become a design element while also providing secure 24/7 access to packages.

2. Grow with the Times. The world is in a period of accelerated technology change. From telemedicine to Zoom calls for business meetings and family birthdays, technology has become an even bigger part of each of our lives. McKinsey calls it the Fourth Industrial Revolution with “game-changing digital technologies to evolve from cool new things to productivity drives.” A McKinsey survey found that “companies are three times likelier than they were before the crisis to conduct at least 80 percent of their customer interactions digitally.”

With everyone from Boomers to Gen Zers using technology to conduct their daily business, they expect things in other parts of their lives to be automated, too; and that includes their package management solution. It’s time to get away from the pencil and paper package logbooks and evolve your amenities to a self-serve automated solution. What could be easier for a resident than scanning a barcode from their mobile phone, so the locker door pops open for them to retrieve their package?!

3. Know the Turf. No two properties have exactly the same package management requirements. Last year confirmed it— automated smart locker systems and access-controlled package room solutions can’t be one-size-fits-all.

Analyze the types of packages your residents currently receive. People are ordering everything from televisions to kayaks to toilet paper. In Colorado, it might be skis. In Florida, beach chairs and umbrellas. In Minnesota, sleeping bag suits. While in smaller towns, rugs and sofas, and in cities, it could be bicycles. Understanding this package size mix allows you to choose a comprehensive automated package solution that can handle packages of all shapes and sizes.

Use data to configure the optimal automated package management solution. Work with your staff and the companies who make deliveries to your property to assess the number and types of packages delivered, as well as the hours and frequency of pickup and delivery. After the year we just had, your staff and the carriers will know exactly where the obstacles in the process may be.

4. What’s the Buzz? Effective package management is a team sport. Be the best “last mile” partner ever. Talk to the delivery carriers who come to your building, including UPS, FedEx, USPS, as well as local deliverers. Listen as they tell you what they like and don’t like about the various package management solutions on their routes. Do they have advice for you and your specific property? Talk to your staff. Where are their pain points? What have they learned in the last year about package management in your facility?

Choose an automated solution that provides integrated hardware and cloud-based software. Involve your staff in solution selection to ensure that the system you chose gives your staff the reporting and tracking options they need. Building staff members tell us that using a mobile app to reset pins, push notifications, and monitor package delivery saves time and allows them to be more responsive to residents and is a “must have” feature.

After a year like no other, every building’s package management systems have been pushed to the limits. What aspects of last mile delivery are your residents, staff, or delivery partners asking for, or complaining about? Are there enough trolleys and carts to move packages to resident floors? Is the dock scheduling working for delivery vans? How about temporary parking for small truck deliveries? What do residents want that they don’t have? Don’t be afraid to ask, but most importantly, act on the information you receive back.

5. A Walk in the Park. If we have learned one thing this past year, it is that well-planned automated package management systems catch on fast and are popular with residents, from GenZ to Baby Boomers. Frequent and simple communication is key to ongoing success. Start posting informational signage that describes the responsibilities of each group—residents, staff, and delivery personnel—and how each can contribute to the success of a process that affects everyone. Spell out clearly a process for problem identification and resolution. Share success stories and tips. Ask for suggestions.

And don’t forget about new residents. Just because your automated package solution has been in place and you are familiar with it, doesn’t mean your new residents know exactly what to do. Be sure to include a flier with their leasing package that tells them the processes you want them to follow, how they get registered, and where to go for FAQs.

Don’t get stuck in the weeds this Spring! Let us help you cut away your old package management process and replace it with a solution that has strong roots and will be able to continue to grow with your needs.

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