PSP: Solving the Parcel Problem for Multi-Tenant Buildings


It was 2013, and the package delivery problem was disrupting the US Multifamily industry.

I was the Senior Vice President of Strategic Business Services at AMLI, and every day I was receiving complaints from our property staff about package deliveries (often with a picture of their lobby overrun with boxes). Our multi-family properties were receiving hundreds of packages a day, yet these deliveries were rarely making their way to tenants in a timely fashion. Why? Parcel management at the time was chock full of outdated practices and inconveniences.

Let me walk you through it. The courier drops off a bundle of packages with the front desk. Management staff then sort the deliveries by hand, record the tracking number in a paper logbook, hunt down the contact info of the resident in question, and contact them to let them know they have a package waiting at reception.

So, let’s say that the contact info of the resident was up to date, and they actually picked up their phone or opened the email. Now what? The resident has to make it to reception (during opening hours but while they are not at work) and wait in line behind all sorts of customers. Don’t forget, there isn’t a specialised delivery employee; the front desk staff have to handle the packages in addition to leasing, customer service, marketing, collecting rent, reputation management – you get the picture.

Imagine it: it’s Saturday, the busiest leasing day, and an excited potential tenant is signing the final paperwork. Residents are beginning to queue behind the tenant, all looking impatient and frustrated. Why do you ask? The weekend is the only time of the week that they can get to the front desk during opening hours (which very handily clash with work and living schedules) to collect their deliveries. After waiting a week for the opportunity to pick up a delivery, the residents now have to wait for new renters to sign leases. Does that sound fun for the resident? No. Is that making a good impression on the potential customer? No.

There had to be a better way. The limited front desk storage was overflowing with resident packages waiting on a pickup. Staff were getting calls to “Wait for me!” from residents rushing home from work to try to make the front desk hours.

Back in 2013, my CEO tasked me to solve the ‘delivery problem’. One of our competitors had recently decided to no longer accept packages at all, so we were feeling the pressure to sort something out quickly.

After doing lots of research and interviewing many companies, I found Luxer One. We met often to discuss how we could fit package lockers into the properties. The plan was pretty much this: the courier would deliver packages into individual lockers in the lobby, then the resident would be sent a code to be able to pick up their order. Very secure, fairly convenient – but not efficient at all.

I saw so many problems with the lockers.

First of all, lockers would require tons of space (they have to be bigger than the parcels they hold), and we would need a lot of them if we were going to keep up with the hundreds of packages a day (which doubles during the holidays). Luxer advised that we’d need a smallish overflow room in addition to the huge locker system – even with that, there was no way we’d be able to keep up with Black Friday & Cyber Monday deliveries. It seemed like most of the ground floor would end up devoted to parcel management, and we really didn’t want our premium residential lobbies to be reminiscent of a high school gym locker room.

Over the next four months, we worked together to develop the idea for a package room. An oversized locker inspired us: by bypassing the bulky walls of lockers and just sorting deliveries into a secure room, we could easily adapt to changes in the number of parcels received by our tenants while keeping the front desk out of the picture. It’s a pretty simple idea, but years ahead of the current old-fashioned practices.

Here’s the Parcel SafePlace Room system: it’s fully automated, completely secure, and allows residents the freedom to collect deliveries 24 hours a day. The Parcel SafePlace Room is a secured area with video surveillance and a kiosk that controls entry. Couriers deliver to the room easily without the need to involve your staff. The resident is then sent a text message and an email with a one-time-use access code that allows them to enter the Parcel SafePlace Room at their convenience. When the resident picks up their parcel, the control kiosk captures a signature and a picture to show proof of pick up. For the tenant, the pickup process takes as little as 15 seconds.

Five years later, Parcel Room technology is tried, tested and perfected. I can now help you skip the bulky, expensive locker stage altogether and move onto the sleek and secure Parcel SafePlace.

Parcel SafePlace is the most technologically advanced & future-proof delivery management system for multi-tenant buildings.

Let’s continue this success story – get in touch with me to discuss a Parcel SafePlace solution for your multi-tenant, PBSA, BTR, or PRS building.

About the Author: Dustin Fjeld

Dustin Fjeld
As founder member of Fjeld Consulting, Dustin has helped save clients thousands across a range of BTR, PBSA, PRS and Co-living portfolios.

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