Regenda Homes is a housing association managing over 13,000 properties in the North West. Redwing, one of its subsidiaries, has been established for over 50 years, helping people to buy, rent, sell and manage the places they love. It offers private rented properties, leasehold and apartment block management and shared ownership and sales, managing over 2,000 homes and retirement properties across the North West.
Their latest development is the stunning Plaza 1821 in Liverpool – their first private rent new build, made up of 105 apartments overlooking the waterfront and the city centre.
When Plaza 1821 was completed and residents had begun occupying the apartments, the original intention for managing incoming parcels into the building was to provide a door to door service, receiving parcels from the courier and delivering them to the residents’ doors. However, Covid-19 brought some challenges which led to a re-think, and this led to them looking for an automated solution which would provide a safe contact-free service for residents whilst also preventing an overflow of parcels in the lobby area.
The Need for a Change
For the first few months, staff members were signing for deliveries, filling in a paper slip which was then put through the resident’s door, and were then struggling to find somewhere to store the items. Residents were required to hand in the delivery slip to the concierge in the lobby to collect their parcel. This posed a few challenges: firstly, limited space in the lobby meant that there was not enough storage space for the amount of parcels they were receiving. Secondly, there was no secure place for the parcels to be stored which risked parcels being misplaced and data protection concerns. Thirdly, residents were having to come into contact with members of staff and other residents – something which the staff at Plaza 1821 wanted to avoid due to the pandemic. Finally, the residents were limited to collecting their parcels during the concierge hours which meant there were periods of time where they were left unable to retrieve items, and it wasn’t unusual to see people queuing at the front desk whilst the concierge was locating various parcels or was busy with other duties.
It was clear that the Plaza needed a solution which would offer residents greater flexibility, save space, and provide safe storage.
Identifying a Solution
After being approached by the Regenda Group, Kern’s sales team worked hard to find a suitable solution that would fit in the available space, match the aesthetic of the lobby, and provide secure storage. The specification from Regenda and Redwing changed a few times and by the end of the consultation process they decided two locker units would be needed rather than the original plan of just one.
The two units were installed in the ground floor lounge area in August 2020 and were designed to complement the colour and high end finish of the building. Kayleigh, Property Manager at Redwing, says “the lockers fitted neatly into our design”. They are in an accessible location where they are “in plain sight whilst still blending in”.
In the four months since installation the benefits have already been clear to see, both for staff and residents. Kayleigh says “without the lockers we would have been falling over parcels and I don’t think we would have been able to keep them secure.” The lockers have been heavily relied on by residents and are proving to be a secure, user friendly, reliable solution.
Members of staff sign for the deliveries and insert them into a locker, ready to be collected at the residents’ convenience. They simply scan the barcode which they receive via email once the parcel has been deposited, the relevant locker automatically opens, and the resident takes their item. The sophisticated Kern software allowed for bespoke features such as a personalised display screen with the Plaza 1821 logo. Another feature which is particularly favoured by staff is the ability to personalise the emails which are sent to residents once parcels have been deposited. “I like that you have the option to put your own messages on the emails, which we are going to start using next year for seasonal messages”, says Kayleigh.
After experiencing a few technical glitches with the software, the staff at the Plaza were impressed by the level of support received by Kern. “Kern are always very responsive” says Kayleigh. She confirms that the lockers themselves are user friendly whilst the administrative process of inputting and managing resident data is simple. Feedback from residents is positive too, with a particular appreciation for the fact they can now retrieve their items any time, day or night – they are no longer limited to concierge hours nor are they having to spend more than a couple of minutes to do so.
Staff are also impressed that the automated solution has drastically reduced their paper usage now that they no longer have to complete delivery slips, as well as a much reduced risk of data protection breaches.
The feedback received regarding Kern’s service during installation and beyond has been very positive. A member of Kern staff visited the site after installation and provided training on the software, and adapted the user manual with the Plaza 1821 logo which the concierge keeps in the lobby should residents need any support. “The service was bespoke for what we needed and Kern always get back to me really quickly”, confirms Kayleigh.
Currently, the lockers are mostly emptied by the end of every day as residents have been at home more often than usual, so they have not experienced the units being full so far. However, Kayleigh is expecting the flow of parcels to increase to full capacity over the coming weeks in the lead up to Christmas, and residents are sure to continue seeing the benefits in the long term.
“I can’t fault the service from Kern.”
For advice on how Kern Smart Lockers can enhance your service, contact us on 0845 680 60 60 or email firstname.lastname@example.org