The key to your lockers
Adám Bengyel, CEO and co-founder of FoxPost, shares three simple KPIs which reveal more about your last-mile business than you would think.
“The European logistics market is in a locker frenzy. In recent years all the big players have heavily invested in locker delivery and everyone is counting who has the most boxes out there.
Quantity of lockers tells you a lot about customer’s expanding needs, but does not show you the technological maturity of a particular player or the quality of their services.
As I see it, parcel logistics is much more about infrastructure and technology than just the number of lockers they have spread throughout a country. If we look at what all successful locker companies have in common, we will find that they have a range of skills and technology which go far beyond capacity. In my opinion there are three main KPIs that qualify their business performance. They may seem obvious on the surface, but let’s take a closer look.
Quantity: size matters but not in the way you think
Let’s be clear. I’m not claiming the number of lockers a company has doesn’t matter but it is important in a different way.
It is about how many locker units you intend to install – or in other words: how many compartments your units will include on average. Is it 10 or 100? The answer to this question instantly allows you to decide whether you should open a simple outdoor pickup point or an out-of-home parcel delivery service.
The entry point of launching a parcel locker service that attracts dedicated users for the long term is installing units with at least 60-70 compartments. This is the minimum scale your enterprise will be sustainable in terms of business and environment – meaning less miles, less fuel, less workforce and less pollution.
Operating a network with hundreds of units, but with an average of 10 lockers means a lot of miles with a constantly high demand for drivers and fuel consumption. And bad news is, that with the long-term rise of online shopping, parcel numbers won’t stop growing, while the problems of workforce retention and the price of fuel will remain.
Foxpost has close to 1,000 parcel lockers in Hungary, with an average of 120 compartments – our largest has 300 compartments. This enables us to keep our business both economically and environmentally sustainable.
Quality: it’s an ecosystem, not a chain of lockers
To determine whether your parcel locker network is truly a seamless, interconnected ecosystem you need to ask your customers. Do you offer them a pickup point to send parcels or a range of services they love which are embedded into their everyday life?
The real work is always to develop a smooth operation for dispatching parcels, with all the logistics, technology and user experience supporting it. Building a chain of lockers that actually works as a PO Box wall where one can pick up their package from is not what you call a high-quality locker service ecosystem.
A locker company that wants to be a trusted brand has to become a tech company and forget about the logic of the courier business. You want to build applications for your users that they can easily use, develop useful services such as label free returns (our customers are really fond of this!) and harness big data to deliver everything on time.
You want to build a customer service that is available round the clock or at least prime time. Location of your units is a key feature: don’t forget that the essence of your service is to be easily integrated into people’s lives so they shouldn’t have to go out of their way to find a parcel locker – they should be able to access them on their daily route to work, to school or to their local shops..
All these elements add to a positive customer experience; telling your users and the world that you care about service. Delivering quality is deciding to build an ecosystem instead of a loose network of randomly placed pickup points.
Consciousness: always integrated, always involved
Locker services are not meant to be simple postal transactions among customers or companies. Our business is deeply integrated into the e-commerce industry, becoming more and more an inevitable part of their supply chain. This is again something that firmly distinguishes us from other players of the market.
You cannot provide a decent locker experience for your customers, if you are not ready to connect to the online stores and marketplaces they are using. Of course, it takes a lot of effort to develop infrastructure, logistics and IT development, with the proper APIs, platforms and applications. At FoxPost we enable e-commerce companies to accelerate their delivery and satisfy their customers – who we also consider our customers.
Moving on from integration, a higher level of our engagement is involvement and responsibility. If you are working in last-mile delivery you cannot disassociate yourself from your community and environment. Taking care of your carbon footprint by monitoring your emissions, planning delivery routes wisely, using recyclable crates and pallets, reducing packing and all the efforts you do to create a sustainable operation is vital. I’d consider this the hardest KPI to judge your activity by as a locker company.
Having said that, I am well aware that these three high level KPIs can only evaluate your intent and approach to the parcel locker business. But they are something to start with. I invite all the players in the market to start a conversation about it.”
Find out more about FoxPost: https://postandparcel.info/directory/listing/foxpost/