As thoughts turn towards a return to work in a post-COVID-19 lockdown world, one of the key concerns is elevators. Elevators are confined spaces in which social distancing is difficult. This means their capacity must be limited, which, in turn, means staggered arrivals and departures for staff returning to work.
But what about the delivery firms that must use these elevators? How will carriers and couriers be able to efficiently deliver to different floors within office towers without readily available elevators?
Carrier companies feeling the strain
Efficient delivery is more important than ever — a fact that is stretching the infrastructure of carrier companies to its limits, as these firms deal with unprecedented surges in business-to-consumer (B2C) eCommerce. According to Statistics Canada, B2C eCommerce sales hit a record $3.9 billion in May 2020, a 2.3 per cent increase from April and a staggering 99.3 per cent increase from February.
This evokes a familiar scenario. A carrier enters an office building with a trolley full of parcel and packet deliveries and then has to wait in the lobby before being able to access the elevators. On each floor, this process is repeated, slowing down the deliveries even further and putting carrier companies under even greater strain.
Carriers simply cannot cope with this strain, and so we are seeing deliveries dumped at the security desk in the lobby, just as we have seen in multi-residential blocks across Canada in recent years. This was already an issue before COVID-19, with surveys suggesting that it takes 10 minutes on average per parcel to accept, log and store the delivery and then notify the recipient. With increased demand, backlogs of parcels are causing theft issues and fire code violations in residential blocks across Canada.
We can also expect to see this situation in office blocks as ‘return to work’ gathers pace — but with an added caveat. Office buildings are also generating a high number of outbound parcels, further complicating the issue.
Statistics from Snaile, Canada’s Parcel Locker Company, Canadian commercial office towers generate around 40 parcel transactions each day for every 500 employees. This number, of course, varies widely depending on the type of business tenants who operate in the towers. This number is expected to rise as employees return to the office and begin sending personal deliveries to their place of work in order to avoid the growing problem of parcel theft from residential porches.
Making life easier and safer for carriers and customers
Before COVID-19 struck, office towers were already trending towards limitation on access for non-staff members in a bid to increase security. In a post-COVID-19 world, this trend is likely to accelerate as the risk of spreading the coronavirus is factored in. This makes it very likely that parcel and packet deliveries will continue to build up and overwhelm concierge and security staff members. These staff members are already finding themselves under unprecedented pressure because of additional duties such as COVID-19 screening.
One solution is to install automated parcel lockers at the lobby level. These lockers would not only accept deliveries from all Canadian carriers but also outbound transactions for these carriers. With this central repository in place, there would be no need for carriers to access floors beyond the lobby, while the office tenants would enjoy increased efficiency and reduced disruption, thanks to a contactless delivery management system.
With this system, the experience of both the parcel carriers and the senders/recipients would be greatly enhanced.
Winner of the 2016 Postal Technology Awards and runner up in the 2017 Pitney Bowes sponsored Innovation of the Year awards by World Post & Parcel, Canadian company Snaile (pronounced Snail.ee) manufactures & distributes Postal Internet of Things (“IoT”) devices, multi-unit automated parcel lockers & last mile single-unit residential parcel boxes that modernization traditional first and last mile parcel delivery.