How was your Christmas, from a parcel point of view? Did residents in your block receive their parcel deliveries, or did problems emerge?
By Jon Hammond, Head of Real Estate, Parcel Locker Solution Sales, Quadient UK & Ireland
It’s getting harder to get parcels to people. Delays, missed deliveries and – worse – increasing parcel theft are causing havoc in residential blocks, problems that were compounded for many over the Christmas period.
As the number of deliveries over the last few years has grown hugely, not every property manager has established a parcel system that works. The answer is to automate the process in a secure, infallible way.
Starting with parcel delays, the Royal Mail strikes have been widely reported, taking place in the run up to Christmas. This has had a knock-on effect on other carriers, who may have struggled under the weight of increased demand for their services.
One result is missed deliveries. If parcels don’t arrive when they are expected to, it is harder for a resident to be at home or for a property manager to ensure there is somewhere to store a parcel. A survey by logistics company Doddle in December found that 13% of people missed a delivery and 9% had a parcel left in an unexpected location.
But arguably the biggest challenge is parcel theft. The number of reported parcel thefts almost quadrupled in the UK between 2019 and 2022. We found this out when we made a Freedom of Information request to police forces up and down the UK. The average reported value of a stolen parcel is £115.07 and as Citizens Advice estimates 5.5 million are stolen each year, that’s £630m worth of deliveries.
In the City of London, the average value recorded of a stolen parcel is £1,125 – almost ten times the national average. The Metropolitan Police now have a dedicated webpage giving advice on how to prevent parcel theft.
This is clearly a significant problem that will affect resident satisfaction severely. If a resident is concerned that their deliveries could be stolen, their overall experience of a residential block will be poor.
Our Freedom of Information request showed that most parcels are stolen between 9am and 5pm by so called ‘porch pirates’ who swoop in when a resident is at work. The most common age for victims is 22-34 years old – currently the demographic most likely to live in a Build to Rent block.
There is a clear need for property managers to do as much as possible to ensure parcels get to the right place. People are now back in the office more than in the last two years, but e-tail still has its grips on the retail environment. Parcels will need to be delivered, but there is less chance someone will be at home to receive it.
One solution is self-service, automatic parcel lockers. A delivery person can leave a parcel in a secure locker, using an automatically generated code, where it is safely stored until the intended recipient comes to collect it themselves.
Security can be ramped up even further, as the delivery company and user can track when items have been deposited and collected. The lockers can even capture images of the person collecting the item if required.
As well as providing reassurance to residents that their parcel will be safe, a property manager will benefit from the time saved. The management team won’t have to sort parcels themselves or manage piles of parcels left in corridors. Crucially, they won’t be subject to complaints from residents about a lack of security for parcels in a block.
In an unmanned block, self-service parcel lockers provide a much-needed place for parcels to be delivered into and held securely. There is rarely an alternative, secure option as even a post room can often be accessed by anyone in the building. Theft is likely to be more common in an unmanned block, where anyone could walk in and grab a pile of parcels left in the lobby area.
Parcel theft and loss is a growing problem across the residential industry, and it is time to sort it before it further affects resident retention. By investing in the right solution now, sorting parcels will become a predictable, manageable cost and – importantly – a weight off everyone’s minds.