December 20, 2021

Parcel Lockers or Package Room – Which Solution is Right for You?

Parcel Lockers or Package Room – Which Solution is Right for You?

The managers of residential properties have been facing a growing problem: parcel management. As e-commerce has grown, exacerbated by the pandemic, building managers have effectively become parcel managers. At larger properties, the team could handle over 100 parcels a day.

Increasingly, two solutions stand out to ease the burden for property managers: smart parcel lockers and smart parcel rooms. Each solution features coded access, allowing access to both delivery people and residents. However, each system has its pros and cons. Below we’ve detailed the main differences between the two solutions.

Security

Residential smart locker systems were created to solve the problem of packages building up in lobbies and reception areas, as well as the problem of parcels going missing. Security has been a growing problem for delivery companies as well as residents.

If a property uses smart lockers, a parcel can only be accessed by the delivery person at the time the parcel is delivered, then by the resident, who is sent a code to open the locker. It is therefore completely hidden from view and safe until it is collected.

Parcel rooms also require a code to access the room for both delivery and pickup; however, the rooms do not offer individual package storage compartments. All parcels are stored in the same space, which allows both delivery personnel and recipients access to all parcels. This could create a security risk, both in terms of parcel theft and access to sensitive or personal data.

Organisation

Parcel rooms also require building management teams to implement a system to organise parcels – such as allocating a space for each apartment or placing parcels in alphabetical order. It is left up to each delivery person to follow the proscribed system. A parcel room can quickly become chaotic if not managed properly, which is why parcel rooms are most effective for smaller properties.

Parcel lockers provide simple, individual access to packages. The individual locker will open when a resident enters their access code or scans a barcode at the kiosk. Since lockers come in modular systems, a property manager has the flexibility to select how many lockers are needed based on the number of residents and packages received at the property.

Cost

In some cases, buildings don’t have space for lockers or have a constrained budget. While installing lockers has saved property managers as much as 24 hours per week, lockers do come with installation costs and software maintenance fees.

A parcel room can be created from an existing room of any size, providing a place that a package could be delivered. It gives greater protection than leaving a parcel unattended in an open reception area and delivery people can access the room themselves.

It’s worth mentioning that materials used within a parcel room are usually up to the property manager to select and fit. The cost of a parcel room setup includes the touchscreens and doorstrike connection to the room. In contrast, smart parcel lockers offer a complete solution.

Time

Both solutions will save property managers’ time considerably. They will also save residents’ time – rather than waiting to speak to someone to get their parcel, they can access either a locker or a room 24/7.

While both solutions also save delivery people’s time, as they can generate a code to enter a room or use a locker instantly, delivering parcels to each separate locker could take longer than placing all parcels in a room. However, this would add time to a building manager’s day; a pile of parcels in a room will need sorting, somehow.

A smart locker system gives responsibility to the courier to place the right package in the right compartment, saving valuable time for building managers. However, generating a code is extremely quick and efficient for both the courier and the recipient.

Location

Most parcel lockers (including those by Parcel Pending by Quadient), are made from reinforced steel, which makes them resistant to heat, cold temperatures, wind and rain. They can be placed anywhere there is electricity and an internet connection. The screens can be optimised for visibility in sunlight, and awnings for outdoor lockers provide additional protection from rain and humidity.

The options provided for both parcel lockers and rooms create a wealth of choice for property managers. In some cases, a hybrid solution might be suitable; lockers for general packages and a parcel room for oversized deliveries such as furniture or a bike.

Fire Safety

Both parcel lockers and parcel rooms will solve one fire safety issue: the problem of piles of parcels building up in reception areas or areas through which residents have access.

However, parcel lockers have an additional fire safety feature: each locker is a self-contained steel compartment. Each parcel will be isolated inside, which adds a greater level of protection compared to an open shelf holding parcels piled high.

The Right Solution for Your Building

The key point to remember, however, is that each building will suit a different solution. The space allotment and design of the overall property needs to be considered, as well as the amount of flexibility you require. Parcel Pending by Quadient takes a consultative approach, taking the time to understand the property, the operational considerations and the needs of both residents and property managers.

Want to learn more? Request a free consultation and one of our team can advise you on the best solution for your property.