Package Delivery Systems - Maximizing Efficiency with Parcel Locker Networks

Business Solutions9 mins readThu, Feb 16, 2023
Large amount of packages to be delivered inside a courier van

The process of getting a package from one location to another can seem like a simple task. But when you look at the entire operation of a package delivery system, there is a lot more that goes into it than just putting something on a truck and driving it to its destination. 

There's no question that the logistics of package delivery can be complex and, at times, frustrating. But have you ever stopped to think about how it all works? From the moment a package is picked up until the time it's delivered to your door (or mailbox), there's a lot that goes on behind the scene.

How fast can a package get from point A to point B?

To analyze the productivity of a delivery system, it's critical to examine how it functions. Let's dive deeper and explore the inner workings that drive these systems. To ensure packages are delivered quickly and efficiently, there needs to be a well-organized system in place. Here is a breakdown of how most package delivery networks operate:

1. Parcel or package Pick-up

The first step in the process is for someone to pick up the package from its origin point and transport it to a sorting facility. The package delivery system begins with the pickup. Whether it's an individual or a business sending out shipments, they have to get the packages to the shipping company for delivery. This is accomplished by either dropping off their items at a local store or scheduling a pick-up from their home or office.

Over 2 billion parcels are delivered worldwide every day from 8 million pickup locations. A survey conducted in 2020 showed that 65% of people prefer to drop off their packages at a local store, while the remaining 35% opt for pick-up.

2. Package Bundling

Once at the sorting facility, packages of similar destination points are bundled together in order to make the delivery process more efficient. This is typically done by sorting packages into various categories based on their destination, size, and weight. The bundling process help reduce the number of deliveries and stops needed for each package, as well as reducing overall costs by eliminating unnecessary trips or transfers.

According to research conducted by the USPS, the average bundle of packages can contain up to 30 individual items. That's an impressive amount of efficiency! Additionally, when bundles are used for delivery, it has been estimated that each package is delivered up to 23% faster. 

3. Hauling

Once the packages have been bundled and sorted, they are loaded onto trucks or delivery vans for transport. These vehicles will typically travel to multiple destinations depending on the number of packages being delivered. This is one of the most important steps in the process as it ensures that packages are not sitting around in warehouses waiting to be shipped out.

Statistics on hauling for package delivery networks are quite impressive. For example, it is estimated that around 70% of all packages delivered in the US are hauled by truck or delivery van. Additionally, a single truck can typically haul up to 500 packages. This means that a large parcel delivery network could potentially transport up to millions of packages in a single day. This is a testament to the efficiency of package delivery systems and how important they are for logistics operations. 

4. Package Unbundling

When the packages arrive at their destination, they need to be sorted and unbundled so that they can be delivered to the right recipient. This is typically done at a distribution center or depot before being sent to the next step in the process.

Did you know that the average package delivery network can process up to 10,000 packages each hour? According to research conducted by Deloitte, the unbundling and sorting of parcels for delivery requires an estimated 40 million man-hours of labor annually. It is estimated that a single distribution center can handle up to 1 million packages each day.

5. Parcel Delivery

Now it's time for delivery! Depending on what type of package it is and who it's going to, there are multiple options for how it can get where it needs to go. Parcel locker networks offer one of these options, providing secure locations where users can pick up packages at their convenience. 

With package delivery consuming around 145 million gallons of fuel and costing businesses an annual $30 billion, the necessity to find a cost-effective yet eco-friendly way to deliver goods has become critically important. Shockingly, up to 1/3 of all global emissions are created by transportation and parcel delivery services alone - making it clear that we must optimize this sector while minimizing its environmental impact.

6. Returns and Refunds

The last step in the package delivery process is returns and refunds. This is a crucial part of the process as it allows customers to return items that they are not satisfied with, or receive refunds for items that have been damaged in transit. This helps maintain customer satisfaction and keeps businesses accountable for any issues that may arise during the delivery process. 

By providing customers with an easy way to return items, businesses can ensure that they have the right products in stock and avoid overstocking their warehouse. Additionally, it is estimated that returns cost around $7 billion each year - highlighting the importance of streamlining the process to reduce costs.

A Journey with Limitations

Despite the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of package delivery networks, there are some drawbacks to consider. Firstly, it can be difficult for customers to track their packages in real time as the delivery process is often complex and involves multiple parties. Additionally, delivery times can vary depending on the size and weight of a package, as well as the distance it needs to travel. This can lead to delays and disruptions, which can be costly for businesses and inconvenient for customers. 

Furthermore, package delivery services are not always reliable. In some cases, packages may get lost or stolen in transit, which can lead to dissatisfied customers and additional costs for businesses. Finally, weather conditions can also disrupt delivery schedules, potentially leading to further delays. Bad weather is estimated to have cost businesses around $4 billion due to disruptions in delivery times and according to recent research by Parcel Monitor, an estimated 8-9% of packages sent via parcel networks were not delivered on time in 2020. Additionally, U.S. Postal Service data suggests that up to 6 million packages were lost or stolen in transit in the same year.

Is there a better way?

Parcel locker networks are becoming increasingly popular as a way to improve the efficiency of package delivery systems. Parcel lockers provide a secure, automated location for customers to pick up their packages at their convenience. This eliminates the need for manual hand-off and allows businesses to reduce costs associated with manual labor, fuel consumption, and CO2 emissions. Additionally, businesses can save money on the cost of managing customer service inquiries and returns as customers can access parcel locker networks without involving personnel.

Parcel locker networks are being implemented by businesses in a variety of ways. Firstly, they can be installed at convenient locations such as retail stores or office buildings. Customers simply enter their tracking number into the system to retrieve their package. Additionally, businesses can install parcel locker networks in delivery trucks or vans and offer customers the option of having packages delivered directly to them. This reduces the need for manual hand-off, as well as reduces costs associated with transportation.

Research by Parcel Monitor suggests that over 50% of US retailers have already implemented parcel locker networks to manage their package deliveries. Additionally, a recent survey by Pitney Bowes found that 90% of customers rate convenience as the most important factor for package delivery and 71% of respondents said they would use parcel lockers if given the choice. This shows that businesses can improve customer satisfaction by offering them access to convenient and secure parcel locker networks. 

The steps for setting up a parcel locker-based delivery system

Implementing a parcel locker network involves several steps. Firstly, businesses must identify suitable locations for installing the lockers. This could be in high-traffic areas such as malls or offices, or at designated delivery points such as retail stores or petrol stations. The lockers should also be accessible 24/7 to cater to customers with varying schedules.

Once the suitable locations have been identified, businesses must then find a parcel locker provider that can offer customized services according to their needs. This includes finding the right type of lockers (e.g. secure, solar-powered, etc.), their capacity (how many packages they can hold), and the delivery methods they support (e.g. express, same-day), as well as defining what size and quantity of lockers are required for optimal delivery efficiency. 

Once these steps are complete, businesses need to integrate their existing systems with those of the parcel locker company. This requires IT teams to configure software and hardware settings, as well as provide training for employees that will be using the system. 

Finally, businesses should consider implementing a customer service system that is integrated with the parcel locker network. This will allow customers to contact customer service representatives for assistance in retrieving their packages or arranging for a return if needed. Read more about how APLs are transforming the courier industry here: "Revolutionizing the Courier Industry with Arka’s Automated Parcel Lockers".

To review

Parcel locker networks are an excellent way for businesses to improve their package delivery process and increase customer satisfaction. They provide customers with convenient access to their packages and help reduce costs associated with manual labor, fuel consumption, and CO2 emissions. Businesses must carefully consider the needs of their customers before implementing a parcel locker network in order to ensure that their delivery process is efficient and secure. 

By providing customers with reliable and secure package delivery, businesses can remain competitive in an increasingly digital world. Package delivery systems that utilize parcel lockers are an important aspect of this process, as they offer convenience to customers while also helping businesses save time and money. Parcel locker networks provide a great solution for businesses looking to improve their package delivery process!