Smart lockers to facilitate futuristic courier business

Passenger transportation and courier company Knutsford Express is looking to transform its courier business with the introduction of smart locker services.

Courier Manager Shawna Kaye Robinson and Marketing Manager Garcia Reid made the disclosure recently in a Jamaica Observer Business Forum.

“We’re moving into smart lockers which would suit persons in rural areas. These are lockers that we’ll put at central points,” said Robinson.

Smart locker systems are secure storage and distribution systems with a type of computer and sensor network built in.

Reid explained that “In the similar way that you would find an ATM in a mall we are looking to have our smart lockers located in those high-traffic areas.”

The company plans to have at least two of the smart lockers operational by the end of December 2021 with an additional three or four to be rolled out by the end of March 2022. The first two lockers will be at the New Kingston location and Pier One in Montego Bay. The courier manager said the lockers will be placed at the larger stations in the initial phase to limit the amount of customers waiting in line. At the same time, the Knutsford Express managers explained that the long-term plan is to have at least one smart locker at each of the company’s 18 locations across the island in addition to others which will be stationed at partnering locations.

“We have Norman Manley [International Airport] coming on soon for courier services. We’re looking towards the St Thomas, Bull Bay, Harbour View and downtown persons to come to that location. It might be a little tricky for some persons to come to the airport location so we have smart lockers that we place at central points for persons to come and collect their items,” Robinson noted.

KNutsford Express will add the Norman Manley International Airport as one of its courier service depots. (File photo)

She stressed that the smart locker will be a 24-hour service, highlighting that “the smart lockers are there for persons who say at 10 pm when the offices are closed you have the option to go to the smart locker to collect your package.”

Any customer will be able to use the smart locker without a specific subscription.

Aside from the implantation of the smart locker system, Knutsford Express is intensifying its digital push to reduce the amount of customers walking into its stations by adding new services like Courier runner and Courier+. Courier runner is a pick up and drop off service directed to persons who are doing bulk items while Courier+ which also comes with an express service allows customers to start their courier process online thereby reducing in line hassle.

In addition, Knutsford Express has implemented a live tracking feature which will allow clients to follow the movement of their goods at every step of the courier process.

“We’ve seen long line in offices and we want to avoid our customers getting frustrated with that kind of wait time, people have things to do and sending or receiving a package should not take you the entire day,” Reid argued.

As it relates to international shipment, the courier manager disclosed that “We are mainly focusing on the export which is up and running. We started it going live in August, so we’re fully on board with the export part of it. The reason for moving towards the international shipment is because we have a lot of customers that want to send things overseas and the options that they have are limited.”

On the import side, Robinson noted, that, “We are moving pass the starting process of the import part of it. So we’re still doing a little backend work to ensure that everything is streamlined properly before we rollout to our customers.”