How Technology Can Fix the Package Delivery Problem
Have package deliveries to your apartment community gotten out of control? Have you considered letting technology help handle the glut? Multifamily housing leaders have said that some automated and digitally-enabled package systems are helping their communities manage hundreds of daily packages they receive during peak periods throughout the year.
Rick Haughey, Vice President, Industry Technology Initiatives at the National Multifamily Housing Council, acknowledged the industry is showing growing interest in automated delivery systems or enhancements by digital technology. “There is so much more room for growth and more packages coming,” he said. “If you double the existing amounts, it poses a real problem for our communities.”
Package Growth Remains Hot Topic Among Property Management Companies
Handling increased shipments of packages from growth in online shopping has been intensely debated in the apartment industry in last two years. NMHC has studied the impact of package delivery in the apartment industry by conducting surveys that polled apartment managers and residents. According to recent NMHC/Kingsley Associates research, a typical apartment community can receive as many as 100 packages a week and double that during the holidays. The majority of management offices accept packages for residents, and 72 percent of residents want a package storage/holding area.
All this, plus projections that total retail sales for online transactions maintain upward growth in the percent of overall sales and are seemingly on pace with a Forrester Research study that projects they will be 10.3 percent of all retail sales by 2017.
So what’s the multifamily industry to do about it? While some property management companies discuss limiting the number of packages residents can receive without charge, other apartment communities are considering package locker systems like The Egg from RealPage.
Properties finding value in automated, digitally enhanced systems
Digitally-enhanced package systems provide residents access to their items around-the-clock. They are typically located in areas convenient to residents that don’t also consume precious leasing office space; and they ultimately remove the cumbersome task of manually accepting, tracking and distributing packages in the leasing office.
Some view automated or digitally enhanced systems as a way to not only cut labor costs associated with handling packages but also best meet resident expectations.
The Egg® smart locker package delivery system integrates with the apartment’s community portal, ActiveBuilding. Jennifer Torigoe, Industry Principle for RealPage Resident Services, says that a number of installations have been made across the country and are generating positive feedback from both the residents and staff.
Blanton Turner, a Seattle-based property management and development consulting firm, installed The Egg at Nordheim Court near the University of Washington in a pilot program to test whether a package locker system would improve managing incoming parcels.
“The Egg is a win-win,” said Nordheim Court manager Alison Darcy. “Mail carriers deliver directly to the Egg without having to depend on onsite leasing staff for help, and our residents have the convenience of picking up their packages 24 hours a day.”
Big Value in Package Delivery Software System
Going back to the NMHC survey, package delivery software is gaining more traction in the industry (23 percent of respondents say they use it) but there’s yet to be a consensus for a solution. In fact, only 8 percent of respondents said they currently have a package locker system.
The latest discussion on such systems has been a popular topic on the Property Management Insider LinkedIn group discussion. As apartments find common ground where management and residents are happy with the package delivery process, where do you stand?