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Smart Lockers Require Smart Logistics

By Sean Horner,

VP Operations, Technical Transportation

Technical Transportation, Inc

Smart lockers, which can be opened by electronic code or mobile phones, are poised to make big waves in North America in the coming years.

Likely located in a wide range of venues, from universities and large corporate campuses to retail establishments, these lockers will give users the ability to either store items or have items delivered to them — similar to Amazon’s locker system but on a larger scale. One application for smart lockers is the delivery of retail orders, which was forecasted to break through the $1 trillion threshold in the 2019 holiday shopping season according to a report from eMarketer.

But for venues and manufacturers, deploying these large, heavy and expensive lockers can be a challenging and costly task if not handled by an expert team. With a rollout or installation of this technology, you need to consider multiple logistics phases for each install, including:

  • Site Survey – Each location will have its own unique characteristics and challenges, so you must conduct a site survey beforehand to determine your course of action
  • Customized Logistics Plan – You’ll then need to develop a customized logistics plan for each location based on the site survey, including the number of people needed for installation / setup, the best time of day to deliver and install the equipment, and any unique tools and skill sets that might be needed
  • Warehousing – To minimize logistics costs it may also be prudent to set up temporary warehousing for the lockers in the targeted rollout regions
  • Transparent Transportation – You’ll want a transportation provider that is an expert in dealing with large, expensive technology like the smart lockers. Someone who knows how to safely and expertly pack and ship your product so it arrives safely on schedule. They should also give you the ability to track each shipment electronically and in real-time
  • White-Glove Delivery – You’re delivery partner should be highly skilled and knowledgeable in the white-glove delivery of your product. They should have the people and tools on staff to make the delivery effortless
  • Hardware Setup – You’ll need someone at every delivery to set up the locker hardware, including fastening and securing it to the walls or the ground, depending on results from your site survey
  • Software Installation – You’ll also need an expert on hand to install the locker’s software and ensure that each unit opens, closes and locks properly, and that it’s ultimately ready for the end-user

Manufacturers could take these tasks on themselves, however, it will likely be more efficient and cost-effective to engage with a logistics partner that already has the knowledge base, skill sets and processes in place to handle the entire process seamlessly. An ideal partner should also serve as a single-source logistics provider for all the moving parts and take the management burden off of you.

Have Questions?

If you have questions about logistics for smart lockers, then contact us today and we can give you more insight.

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