Prior to COVID, Canada Post was delivering 1 million parcels a day from mid-November to Christmas. Package volumes were expected to rise between 17 and 28 percent each year from 2017 to 2021 in the Snaile network. That’s a lot of packages.
Then COVID hit and package volumes went through the roof. In May 2020, Snaile reports that package deliveries increased 57 percent due to COVID.
In a high-rise building those packages take up lots of room, cause clutter and cost lots of money to receive, store and notify residents so they can retrieve them. Some packages include food perishables – pre-made meals and groceries – and medication which may require refrigeration.
The situation is worse in non-concierge buildings. There is a greater likelihood packages fail to get delivered or go missing. They become enticing targets for thieves. Packages sitting in public areas and hallways can be an eyesore, safety hazard and fire code violation, and easily disappear.
Surging package volumes and more multi-unit residential buildings have created a perfect storm.
Why Package Deliveries are Increasing
Millennials, the largest group in the workforce, are the most accepting of package deliveries.
The transition to increased package deliveries is likely to continue for some time as millennials become more established and increase their disposable income.
High-rise and condominium communities were never designed to accommodate this level of package delivery volumes.
The Problem in High-Rise Communities
In communities with a concierge delivery services have somewhere to drop off packages. Studies show it takes up to ten minutes per parcel for a concierge to receive, log and store packages, notify the resident, then retrieve from storage and record as picked up. This time commitment distracts from their main duties leaving less time to focus on security and monitoring of amenities or common areas.
Communities without a concierge mean residents have greater difficulty receiving packages. Security is compromised when delivery services buzz suites until someone grants them unrestricted building access.
Once access is granted packages can be left unattended in a lobby without notification to the intended recipient.
Carriers may resort to leaving a notice on mailboxes requiring residents to re-arrange delivery or pick up from another location. Sticker notifications left for residents frequently fall off or disappear.
Communities choose to handle package deliveries in one of three ways.
Some communities choose to separate themselves from delivery of packages by refusing all deliveries. While this may address certain community concerns it fails to accommodate the interests of residents.
Upgrade Package Receiving and Handling Procedures
Communities with a concierge that accepts packages are obligated to store them and inform residents of their arrival. Uncontrollable factors include volume of packages received and length of time held. The longer it takes residents to retrieve packages the more problems arise as space gets filled up and stored packages are harder to retrieve.
Technology solutions, such as those offered by BuildingLink Canada and UpperBee Software, speed up package handling while more quickly and easily informing residents of their arrival so they can be retrieved sooner.
Upgrade the Parcel Room
One solution reflecting the needs of communities and individuals is to establish secure smart lockers, such as offered by Snaile Canada, where packages can be delivered and retrieved without involving concierge/security. Residents are informed electronically when a package arrives for them and provided with contactless retrieval instructions. Concierge staff and building management, once relieved of the responsibility to accept, store and retrieve packages for residents, and inform when packages have arrived, are better able to focus on the duties for which they are hired.
Toronto Condo News thanks Snaile, Canada’s Parcel Locker Company, for their assistance with this article and permission to use charts from their October 2020 presentation. Contact Snaile at www.snailelockers.com to learn about their smart parcel locker solution.