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Reclaim Precious Square Footage Through Off-site Package Management

Reclaim Precious Square Footage Through Off-site Package Management
From parking to patios, storage to poolside seating, space is finite at multifamily properties. Because square footage is directly linked to revenue at apartment communities, it is critical to leverage each inch of real estate and maximize the return on investment (ROI). Every apartment community has unique spaces throughout its design that are ripe with revenue potential. Often, those spaces were designed with a specific purpose in mind but have long since ceased to deliver value to residents or ROI to operators. Some of the most common culprits in multifamily are package rooms and package locker facilities. In recent years, and particularly since the start of the pandemic, property managers have witnessed the shortcomings of those package solutions. E-commerce trends have created package volume levels that have outpaced the capabilities of package rooms and lockers, forcing operators to find additional space for package storage. We’ve even heard horror stories about property teams converting fitness centers, apartment units and leasing offices into overflow package rooms just to manage the escalating package volume, displacing leasing teams, impacting potential revenue and simply detracting from the community’s appeal in the process. But what if, rather than dedicating additional space to package storage, property managers could reduce the square footage required for package management to zero?  With a third-party package management solution that stores resident deliveries off-site, that’s the reality. When packages are received and stored off-site and delivered directly to residents, package lockers become obsolete and package rooms become unnecessary. Instead of scrambling to find addit......
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Is Your Package Solution Causing Problems?

Is Your Package Solution Causing Problems?
Package management had become a growing concern for apartment communities, even before “safer at home” and “quarantine” became a part of our everyday life. But the pandemic triggered an irreversible trend for consumers, who now rely on e-commerce for even their most basic needs. As the pandemic took shape, responsive property management companies quickly identified the potential issue of the increase in e-commerce trends and took steps to accommodate their residents’ expanding package needs through various means. But operators are now beginning to realize that the package solution they chose may have been a step in the wrong direction. The Common Solutions  Property managers have several options when it comes to managing residents’ packages.  Many multifamily communities discontinued package services altogether when the delivery volume exceeded manageable levels. Staffing and space limitations made it unfeasible for on-site teams to continue to receive, store and distribute packages on behalf of residents. This left residents without a method to pick up their packages. Other properties met their package challenges by throwing a full-time, dedicated employee at the problem. In these cases, an additional associate is added to the on-site team and made solely responsible for receiving, sorting and organizing packages, notifying residents of package arrivals and facilitating package distribution.  Rather than handle packages at all, some properties began allowing carriers to leave packages at resident doorsteps.  Many management companies opted to repurpose existing square footage into designated, restricted-access package rooms where packages could be left by carriers for resident pick-up. Like doorstep deliveries, this elimin......
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Happy Staff, Happy Life: Lift the Burden of Package Management from On-Site Teams

Happy Staff, Happy Life: Lift the Burden of Package Management from On-Site Teams
The leasing office phone rings and the leasing associate already knows who it is. Karen in Apt. 204, who is anxiously awaiting a package, and this is her third call of the morning to see whether the delivery truck has arrived. She is growing more impatient by the minute and imposing that frustration on the leasing team. Promises have been made to contact Karen as soon as the package arrives, which only leaves the office team beholden to the resident, and subject to her rapidly escalating impatience. In her fourth phone call to the office, Karen shares her suspicion that the leasing agent is just lazy and disorganized, and failed to notify her of the arrival of her package – which most surely has been delivered by now. In her fifth phone call, Karen claims that she has received a delivery confirmation, and contends that the office team’s inability to locate her package can only mean that the package was either lost by an incompetent staff member or stolen by an unscrupulous associate. It’s not even noon, yet. Welcome to the world of package management for on-site associates in the apartment industry. Karen’s story is an all-too-common occurrence for office teams, and she is only one resident. The stress, culpability, and even abuse that associates are subjected to while simply attempting to accommodate residents’ package needs is substantial. Package management already accounts for a considerable portion of their workday, and the volume is only increasing. It’s not the job they signed up for, and......
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Multifamily Package Volume Approaching Breaking Point

What are we supposed to do with all of these packages? It’s a sentiment that has echoed through leasing offices across the country since the emergence of Covid-19.  Package volume at multifamily communities has skyrocketed in recent months. In an effort to avoid public spaces including brick-and-mortar retailers, renters are increasingly turning to e-commerce for almost all of their shopping needs. As a result, online orders are piling up at apartment buildings, and finding storage space has become a constant and often unfeasible task for property managers.  To understand what unprecedented package volume has meant at the property level, Fetch conducted a study of its internal data to gain a better understanding of the actual impact facing multifamily. Here are the findings:  From June of 2019 to June 2020, package volume per unit at multifamily communities increased by 59%. In May, renters at those properties averaged more than 10 package deliveries per apartment home, surpassing online holiday shopping levels from 2019. The average for July and August 2020 has been hovering around the 10 packages mark as well, at 9.53 and 9.83 packages, respectively. Volume, Oversized Packages Push Storage Limitations It only takes one couch or king-sized mattress to clog a package room. While the percentage of all packages that qualify as oversized – those measuring more than 4 cubic feet – remained consistent during the first six months of the pandemic, the overall volume increase means that oversized package volume has gone up at a similar rate.  Oversized packages make up on......
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What is computer vision and how does it help with handling packages?

As the increase in package volume, weight, and size along with an increase in carrier deliveries continues to rise at apartment communities, 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 world is now turning to computer vision to solve many of its problems — traffic, autonomous driving, manufacturing, law enforcement, military applications, helping people with disabilities/differences, organizing photos, customer service, etc.     Work on computer vision began in the late 1960s in universities that were developing artificial intelligence (AI). The goal was to mimic the human visual system. The last 50-plus years have brought about many advancements in computer vision, due in part to the increasing power of microprocessors, database storage/retrieval, and advanced software development.   Computer vision is an interdisciplinary field that deals with how computers can be made to gain a high-level understanding from digital images or videos. As a scientific discipline, computer vision is concerned with the theory behind artificial systems that extract information from images.   Why do you care and how can computer vision help with packages/carriers coming to your communities?   The keys to solving the package problem are speed and density. Computer vision systems 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 t......
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Paradigm's 3-Part Plan to Tackling the Online Shopping Frenzy

Paradigm's 3-Part Plan to Tackling the Online Shopping Frenzy
As you can probably imagine, online shopping has seen dramatic increases in recent years. Americans spent $37.8 billion during the 2013 Christmas holiday¹, with Cyber Monday surpassing Black Friday purchases at a grand total of $1.7 billion². And throughout the year, retailers entice consumers to purchase online during “exclusive sales” and “holiday specials.” Based on 2013 holiday shipping from FedEx alone³, an estimated 154 million parcels were sent to multi-housing residences⁴, and in many cases into leasing offices—resulting in hours of recording, sorting, and delivering for on-site staff. According to a study by Property Solutions, the average property with 550 units receiving about 25 packages a day is spending around 2.5 hours in handling time from start to finish. That includes recording and sorting the packages, sending out manual notifications, and hand delivering each package after days of the mail sitting in the mail room, if the property is fortunate enough to have a separate mail room. Taryn Silva, Marketing Manager at Paradigm Management Company, reported that some properties can receive up to 150 packages in any given day, resulting in upwards of 4 hours in labor-time; and those numbers double during holidays. Can you imagine 300 in one day? In special cases, they would even bring in additional staff members just to deliver packages to residents. Another property had separate binders for each of their 10 buildings to record incoming packages. The mail carrier had to write down all package information, including tracking numbers. And without a bulk emailing system, the site staff sent out individual emails to notify resi......
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