Autumn may only just be getting started, but soon enough, holiday gifting will be on everyone’s minds. That means one thing for property managers: package delivery commotion. The 2019 season will be shorter than years past, and that means more boxes per day to deal with in mailrooms, hallways and lobbies around the world. If you want to get ahead of the madness needs to begin now.
Due to tremendous growth in e-commerce, the demand for package management solutions for deliveries has grown, as well. UPS alone estimated it delivered 800 million packages between Thanksgiving and Christmas in 2018, with property managers reporting an average of 80 packages per day. Things are not slowing down any time soon, either. Package Concierge, a provider of self-service package locker systems, experienced an 18% increase in transactions year over year for the 2018 holiday season and expectations for this year look to follow suit.
Preparing for holiday package management can easily feel overwhelming for even the most seasoned property management staff, but with a little bit of planning and making use of the available technology to thwart this added commotion, it doesn’t have to be. Here are our top tips for holiday season package management success:
Supplement Your Staffing: Thanksgiving falls on one of the latest days possible this year, which means there are fewer shipping days for this year’s holiday season. Americans shopping habits aren’t slowing down any time soon, so be prepared to manage more deliveries in a shorter amount of time by ensuring enough staff and/or automated solutions are on hand to manage it all. Hiring extra seasonal employees is an easy place to start and automated lockers and package rooms can fill in the gaps. At Package Concierge, we processed more than three million transactions during the season (half a million in just one week in December) last year. By reducing the handling time needed by your staff and providing 24/7 access, automated lockers leave more time for holiday cheer.
Make it Secure: Carriers are staffing up for the holidays, too, which means new faces may be added on your route. Tighten up security for delivery personnel and all the added packages by reviewing your building entry procedures and access points for package drop-off and pick-up. Determine if seasonal staff, automated locks, extra security cameras and/or entry codes need to be adjusted or added to ensure residents and packages remain safe, addressing any deficiencies ahead of the seasonal rush.
Clearly Communicate: Whether the property office will have extended holiday hours or be closed for entire portions of the holiday season, make sure both your residents and delivery personnel are well informed ahead of time–especially since this short season will be extremely busy. This is also the time to outline your property’s rules for shipment processes, package pickup procedures, guest check-ins and any policies related to number of guests, holiday parties, decorations, etc. Property residents should have all of this information available to them in the easiest way possible, whether that’s through an app, text alerts or good old-fashioned flyers around the property. Sharing parking and drop-off procedures with your delivery carriers ahead of the rush will also help them gain access to your property quickly and efficiently.
Plan for Parking: The increase in family and friends as well as delivery vehicles during this busy time may place a strain on parking for your residents and delivery trucks. Make sure visitor parking policies and locations are clearly communicated to residents, and that proper signage is in place. Consider temporarily designating delivery drop-off locations that are close and have direct access to proper entrances while also providing enough space for package carts without blocking traffic.
Update Your Trade Service List: Ensure you have a current list of trades people, their holiday hours and extended ‘emergency’ hours with all the proper contact names so you can quickly assist the resident if a pipe bursts during their large holiday party. Also consider sending your residents a list what constitutes an ‘emergency’; spoiler alert, a broken dishwasher should mean the party guests get to pitch in!
Increase Trash/Recycle Bins: All those added deliveries also means a lot more boxes and packaging. Consider adding temporary recycle bins near your package delivery area for residents to easily dispose of their unwanted packaging. If possible, increase your trash/recycling pick-up times to accommodate added holiday party and shipping waste.
Keep it Clean: More packages being delivered means more hands and more germs in you building. Adding extra building cleanings will not only ensure it has a seasonal sparkle but will also help keep everyone from your residents to your staff healthy. Have cleaning crews pay extra special attention to high-traffic common areas, sanitizing doors and handles from the front lobby entrance to the mail and package room. Alert your cleaning crew of the increased schedule now to ensure your property receives top priority.
There is no way around it, there is going to be a bit of a strain on buildings during this busy time of year. But anticipation can go a long way towards alleviation. Getting a building ready for the holiday season can save a lot of time, anguish and money. Maybe more importantly, the technology and processes that you build for this annual uptick in package delivery could likely prepare you for a future where e-commerce is predicted to grow from five to twenty of the country’s consumer spend.