How to Build a Parcel Management System into Student Accommodation
Author: Dustin Fjeld Posted:
Differentiating your PBSA development from the competition is the key to coming out on top. Students expect a wide range of amenities, some of which are more common than others such as social spaces and dedicated study areas. What students don’t see every day, though, is a comprehensive parcel management system.
Hundreds of packages are delivered by couriers to individual PBSA developments every week, and not all of these deliveries are completed successfully. Wouldn’t it set your student accommodation property apart from the rest by having a better system in place?
Building a parcel management system into student accommodation doesn’t have to be difficult, providing you get the right partners involved to help. We explain how to get everything set up to ensure the service is a success.
Find the Right Software
The current way of checking in parcels and deliveries is outdated. When receptionists and concierge staff should be helping students, they’re handling packages instead. Couriers have nowhere else to turn when delivering parcels, so they make a beeline for the front desk. That means the staff member there has to sign for packages, store them away and send notifications to students.
This is a very time-consuming process, and countless hours are wasted. It also creates a great deal of unnecessary paperwork that has to be sorted and filed, taking up more time and space.
While the receptionist and courier are organising the deliveries, it also means that any student who has approached the desk for help has to wait. Depending on the amount of parcels to go through, this could mean the student has to wait for a very long time.
Finding the right software for your parcel management system streamlines the delivery process. Instead of signing for each package, Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology — which is compatible with all smart mobile devices — captures the important data on the parcel label.
Simply take a picture to check the parcel in. An automated notification should then be sent to the package owner, letting them know their delivery is waiting to be picked up.
If the student is in lectures, seminars, out having fun or has gone back home for a short stay, they might not be able to collect their parcel immediately and it could get pushed to the back of their minds. Your tech should be programmed to send regular reminders to ensure this doesn’t happen.
With the right software in place, couriers take up less of your staff’s time, and you don’t have to constantly send reminders to the students. In turn, this means your receptionists’ time can be put to much better use handling student enquiries.
Make Sure You Have Enough Space
The more deliveries you take in, the harder your parcel management system has to work. Software is a great way to keep track of packages and cut down on time-consuming tasks, but do you have anywhere to store parcels?
Having a large amount of packages piled up around the front desk creates a lot of problems, namely:
A cluttered/disorganised work area
Health & Safety hazards (tripping or stacks falling)
Potential for damages
Potential for theft
Leaves an unprofessional impression on students, especially ones who are searching for new accommodation
One of the most valuable commodities in parcel management is space. If you can’t safely and securely keep packages at reception, the solution is a dedicated parcel room.
A parcel room gives you, your staff, couriers and the students somewhere to leave deliveries until they’re ready to be picked up. Everyone can be rest assured that parcels are safe and secure.
Security measures need to be in place to guarantee this, though, so make sure your parcel room provider has thought about:
How students will gain access to the room
Notification methods (eg. text or email)
Proof of pick-up (eg. a signature)
Listen to the Users & Review the Data
Having a parcel management system in place should help students, staff and couriers alike with deliveries, but the only way to determine its success is by reviewing its use regularly.
Let’s say you ask some of the students what their thoughts are of the system. If they tell you that they often forget they have a package at reception, push notifications should become a bigger part of the service.
If you notice your staff are more productive, review how much time they’re saving by using parcel management software instead of manually tracking packages. You can then use this information to determine whether renewing the service is a good use of funds.
Decisions made in PBSA should be data driven. When building a successful system, you want to ensure it stays that way while also finding new methods to continue improving the service.
Building a parcel management system is step one, but monitoring its use should be the next ongoing step. Make sure to work with a parcel room provider who is eager to learn more about how the service is being used. This way, you know they’ll work in tandem with you to continually make the service better for all.
Installing a Parcel Management System That Works
A system is only worthwhile if it provides value. It has to save time that can be put to better use and provide additional layers of security to keep deliveries safe.
At Parcel SafePlace, our services are designed with end users in mind. We have created a parcel management system that worked for staff, students and couriers.
To see how Parcel SafePlace can help your team stay on top of deliveries, get in touch to see if you qualify for a free two-month trial of PSP Lite. With the data gathered in the two month period, you can then see how our service really does make handling deliveries easier for all.