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How to live with UPS, FedEx, USPS, Amazon, and all the others!

What happened to the good ole’ days when just UPS, FedEx, and USPS came once per weekday (Monday - Friday) to deliver a small number of typically light packages to your leasing office? Life was so much simpler then and your leasing staff could focus on what they do best...lease apartments!


Now, there is not much doubt that apartment owners/managers/developers are right in the middle of the massive U.S. logistics supply chain. The bad news is that this is the first inning of a nine inning ballgame. Today e-commerce is just over 10% of total retail in America and the brick and mortar stores are now starting to deliver directly from the physical stores around your communities, adding to the volume, weight, size, and shape of packages coming in.



In addition, the number of carriers/drivers coming to your communities is exploding. The ‘gig’ demand economy has greatly increased the number of drivers you are likely to see in a 24-hour period. And, these drivers are now coming seven days per week.


Here are a few statistics that you might find interesting:


* E-commerce sales are growing at a mid-teens (~15%) clip each year.


* The current growth rate means that e-commerce will double in six years.


* Package delivery is expected to grow from 50 million to 100 million packages PER DAY by 2026.


* UPS and FedEx are both having to invest billions of dollars in their networks to meet this growing demand.


* May 2019 Amazon breaks ground on its new $1.5 billion dollar cargo hub in Cincinnati, OH for 100 Prime Air planes.


* In late 2017 Target Corporation buys Shipt, a grocery-delivery startup in Birmingham, AL for $550 million to deliver all types of goods directly from Target to the home.


* The ‘gig’ economy drivers are likely to show up at your communities many times in a single day as they often deliver in one-hour, and then have to come back again to deliver to another customer/resident in the same day.


* Here are just a few of the ‘gig’ economy companies coming to your communities: Grubhub, Saucey, Minibar, Shipt, Instacart, Sprig, Postmates, Doordash, Caviar, Roadie, Favor, Amazon Flex, Deliv, etc.


* You can expect larger players like Walmart, Home Depot, Lowes, and others to continue to develop their own ways of delivering directly to the home as well.


* Over 25% of all Americans plan on spending at least $100 during Amazon Prime Day this year.


* There are more than 280 companies in the U.S. that provide on-demand goods and services across 16 industries, up from 76 companies in six industries in 2014.


* Over 22 million Americans spend nearly $58 billion per year in the on-demand economy.


* An estimated one-third of the American workforce is engaged in contract or on-demand work.


* Traditional carriers include UPS, FedEx, USPS, Amazon (now a carrier), DHL, LaserShip, and others are all competing in new ways. UPS is now delivering on Saturdays and FedEx, USPS, and Amazon are delivering seven days per week. UPS is likely to follow suit by going to delivering on Sundays in the future.


So, as an apartment owner/manager/developer, what does all of this mean to you?


Put these statistics together with the demographic at many apartment communities and you will find yourself as an apartment owner/manager/developer firmly in the ‘last mile’ of the logistics supply chain. Package delivery drivers in big trucks and small cars are now part of your life at all times of the day and all the days of the week. This creates a great deal of complexity in your communities and can lead to new security risks if not handled properly.


The increase in package volume, weight, and size along with an increase in carrier deliveries continues to rise at apartment communities. This means that new methods are needed to solve the problem. These new methods need to be more advanced, smarter, less expensive, and much faster with higher utilization of the precious physical space available to handle packages.


The keys to solving the package delivery problem are speed and density. Advanced technology can authenticate carriers 24/7/365 at your outside gate, inside gate, and at the package room door. This makes sure that you have a higher level of security on your property and that your leasing staff is not spending their time managing carriers. The technology gets carriers on and off your property quicker, reducing the amount of time delivery trucks are blocking access to the community.


Advanced sensors are needed that measure the weight of packages, make positive and quick identification of packages coming and going in your package room. As package volume, weight, and size continues to increase, residents will want to find their packages in about 30 seconds. They do not care that hundreds of packages were delivered to your community that day. They are only interested in getting their package(s) quickly and going about their business. Advanced technology systems operate fast and are very powerful, keeping your leasing staff out of the package business and focused on leasing apartments.


Density in your precious package room space is super important. It is paramount to maximize the number of packages in your package room. This space has to accommodate the everyday growing volumes of packages coming in and accommodate PD, ‘Black Friday’, and ‘Cyber Monday’ (which all seems to last for four weeks during the holidays). Advanced technology allows you to put up to five times the packages in a given space and still allows your residents to find their packages in 30 seconds. This technology provides the best of both worlds...speed and density.


These systems are made up of sophisticated software (software is the key), advanced sensors (think weight), computer vision, machine learning, and artificial intelligence (AI). These technologies are becoming commonplace and are the building blocks toward solving complex and even more mundane problems going forward. We are already seeing these technologies being deployed in everyday life in such things as smartphones, automobiles, homes, offices, etc.


This advanced technology can provide your residents with new and exciting conveniences and a 24/7/365 level of customer service not available today. The technology can do simple tasks like identifying and checking in packages and authenticating carriers at all times of day and night. What you want as an apartment owner is to provide great service for your residents at the point of need (not tomorrow, but right now) and do this without having to involve your leasing staff - they need to lease apartments. Plus, they are only available approximately 30 percent of the week. People pick up packages 24/7/365.


New package management systems that use these advanced technologies are here now and you might want to consider using them to solve the package problem at your communities. The world is evolving very fast and yesterday’s solutions for handling packages are quickly becoming obsolete and overwhelmed with the growing volume.


Your residents want higher and higher levels of speed and convenience! Using modern technology to manage both the carriers and packages will keep your staff doing their most important job of leasing apartments and keep your residents happy!


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