The true cost of package management
Package volumes in 2020 have already exceeded the holiday season rush of 2019 - with an expected increase of another 70% increase come mid-October. How much is your business spending on package management?
See how much you could save
What is Package Management?
Package management or last-mile package tracking is the coordination and monitoring of inbound packages entering a community, facility, or business. While in the early 2000s, package volumes were fairly manageable, the rise of e-commerce and same-day delivery services have inspired innovations in the space.
Pen & Paper Tracking
Logging down by hand tracking numbers, recipients names, the carrier that it came from. The downside? Losing time, money, and lots of recipients coming in too
When to Use It
- Less than 10 packages per week
- Fewer than 50 Units/Employees
- Low up front cost
Hands off systems that allow your residents to pick up packages themselves. While convenient, these require the cost of real estate in addition to hardware.
When to Use It
- Between 50-100 packages per week
- Ample available real estate
- High budget
Cloud-based package management software saves the user time by decreasing the time spent logging packages down to seconds while eliminating high set up costs
When to Use It
- 10+ packages per week
- 1 or more on-site managers
- Low budget & fast set up needed
Pen & Paper tracking (or good old fashioned excel)
Most commonly found in multifamily housing and student housing properties, pen & paper package management is alive and well. This is often started as a band-aid solution once the all-terrifying "is my package here yet?" inquiries start flooding in, or on the day a package is lost. While it's a simple enough system to start, it is plagued with inefficiencies.
On average it takes 6 minutes to log in to a package manually - this includes accepting the package from the carrier, writing down all the information, and contacting the recipient. The real time-waster is when a resident comes to pick up their package - is your log legible enough to find the package again? Did you note a shelf number or even a general location as to where you stored it? This process can take up to 10 minutes and when you have more than 10 packages come in a week it starts adding up. While it seems like this is the lowest cost solution, quite often it can be the most expensive. PetSmart, a long-time Notifii Track Customer noted that by steering away from this system, they saved $31,000 a year in labor costs. That's impressive.
Set it, forget it, but pay for it
Package locker systems are incredibly popular with medium-sized communities with some staff and additional real estate/storage space they are willing to share with residents. It's a great system to be completely removed from traditional package management. In theory, the carrier knows how to add packages into the lockers, can easily access them, and BOOM your resident is notified and can come to pick up the package. There are a few complications here, as well.
First is the starting cost, you need to pay for the real estate given to the lockers and pay for the lockers themselves, and either your facility management team takes on the cost of each shipment OR your employees/residents do. Bummer. Package locker systems are great for communities that plan on them when building the community itself, otherwise, it can easily turn into an expensive system that doesn't quite get the whole job done. One resident leaving their package in a locker for a few days can lead to package overflow and suddenly you are manually processing each package once again. One carrier could not get into the package room? Well, they'll come back the next day and you've got unhappy employees on your hands. This also requires you to try to train your carriers to follow the system required by your package locker vendor. Leaving up signs, trying to talk to them, etc... when this extra step to slow down their route isn't beneficial to the carriers themselves.
Find package information instantly by searching for a name, tracking number, or unit number, and watch your data be curated into organized reports such as pending packages, monthly totals, and much more. These systems are designed to be quick, easy, and affordable. No real estate to sacrifice, no painstaking hours of writing or typing - just a photo from your smartphone, and your employee or resident is instantly notified that their package is ready. Cloud-based solutions work well for both high volumes of packages or moderate volumes as well. Notifii Track, for instance, has a high degree of customization allowing the user to control the flow of traffic to your lobby or storage area.
For instance, in an effort to social distance their mailroom, NYU, another long time Notifii Track user, used the option to stagger notifications of package arrival. So while technically the packages arrived at 11 am, the NYU team was able to control the flow of traffic and let their students know they couldn't pick it up until 2 pm when the mailroom would have a higher capacity for students with new social distancing guidelines. Training is often quick and easy, especially since there is such a straightforward approach to the product that requires no additional effort from the carrier. They just do as they normally do. Cloud-based solutions can bring down the time you spend on package management 75% from pen and paper and often cost significantly less than a locker-based system.
What to look for in a solution
When planning out your inbound package tracking solution, consider what the needs of your community, facility, or business are. How many people are ordering packages in? Do you have the available space to accommodate package lockers? And most importantly, at this point in the world, where a package can be ordered at 9 AM and make it to its intended recipient by 2 PM, are your employees and residents considering this service an amenity or benefit? Or is last-mile delivery tracking a necessity.