Welcome to My Parcel Box

Welcome to My Parcel Box, a project I have been itching to finish for some years now. It all started when I brought my first parcel postbox to market, called a Brizebox. There is no such thing as a perfect design, and everything can be improved upon, especially if it is the first iteration of a home parcel box. This is also true for Brizebox and boxes for delivery rapidly evolved. Originally, I had only conceived a wall mounted letter box with a door on the front of the unit. It wasn’t until someone in Australia asked me to produce delivery boxes with the option of a door on the rear, that this evolution started to take place. Then, our stock levels doubled as we had parcel drop boxes with doors on the front, and parcel drop boxes with doors on the rear. I overcame this problem by coming up with the idea of a switchable door, which could be on the front or rear, combined with a blank panel to plug the opposing hole. So obvious once I had come to think of it, but it wasn’t so obvious before that point. This is how the parcel postbox evolved; slowly, and over time.

Another idea which came to me quite early on was to have a parcel postbox with a flat roof, which could be built into a wall. I had no idea how popular this concept would become, and it was a real eye-opener to see how keen people were to customise their parcel drop boxes to uniquely suit their property. Now, many sales came from people wanting a Built-In boxes for parcels. However, the idea which surprised me the most was the Extra-Large home parcel box. My original thought for designing very large boxes for delivery was more as a publicity stunt, than anything else. I thought people would laugh at such large delivery boxes and would not want something that big outside their homes. I thought we may sell a few commercially to office buildings, but nothing more than that. I had so little faith in the concept that I didn’t even design a Built-In parcel postbox because I thought I’d be wasting my time. Imagine my surprise when, not only did these delivery boxes start selling, but one day someone rang me and asked for an Extra-Large, Built-In home parcel box. I made a few in the next production run, and we were off! 70% of sales now came in for the Extra-Large parcel drop boxes!

However, the Brizebox boxes for parcels were still not right and there were aspects of the design which were holding us back. There were three main problems which irked me.

The first problem was the way Brizebox was designed with a curved roof. Being a curved roof, it had to be welded in place, and this is a slow labour-intensive process. I wanted a parcel postbox which could easily be mass-produced, and this was never going to happen with so much welding. Additionally, welding is harmful, not only for the environment, but also for the operator. This had to change.

  • To avoid welding, we simply used pop-rivets instead. It did mean we could no longer use a curved roof, but we think our pitched roof looks great, and is a breath of fresh air.

This led onto the second problem, which is rust. delivery boxes are made of galvanised steel, but where the boxes for parcels are welded, the weld must be ground down to give a smooth finish, which removes the galvanised coating and exposes the mild steel underneath, which is vulnerable to corrosion. I was never happy to put my name to a home parcel box which may start to rust within a couple of years. I wanted delivery boxes which would last a long time, and one I could be proud of. This had to change too.

  • The rusting issue was easily resolved by doing away with galvanised steel and using Aluzinc instead. Aluzinc is the material used for metal roofs, such as on farm buildings and warehouses etc. The reason it is used in these environments is because it is non-corrosive, so it allows roofs to stay in good repair for a very
    long time, without rusting, no matter what the weather. If it’s good enough for industrial roofs, why not for boxes for delivery too?

The third problem was the success of the Extra-Large boxes for parcels. The problem was, the Extra-Large parcel postbox was too big and heavy for a single courier to carry by themselves, so it had to be loaded onto a pallet and delivered by a freight forwarder. This is expensive. It gets even more expensive the further away the customer is. This prevented expansion. The cost to ship a home parcel box from the UK to Europe was prohibitively expensive, so the European market was not available to us. This situation was amplified in the US. North America is a vast territory, ripe for the parcel postbox market, but its scale made it prohibitive for shipping Extra-Large delivery boxes around. If we wanted to grow, things had to change.

  • The solution was to design a modular system, which enabled us to split the parcel postbox in half. By splitting the boxes for parcels in two, this halved the size and weight of the Extra-Large parcel drop boxes, enabling them to be sent through the normal courier network, at a greatly reduced cost. Simple, but genius! The modular design led onto other clever ideas being hatched. One of these ideas was to flat pack the lower section of the home parcel box. By implementing flat packing, we were able to fit 50% more units into a container, as well as reducing warehouse costs. Two birds with one stone! Other strokes of genius were to have modular roofs i.e., the flat-roof, garden-roof and pitched-roof, and the addition of Pickup boxes and Cool boxes. The Pickup box and Cool box had not been done before, but all great innovations must start somewhere. We just planted the seed, to see whether it would grow.

Thank you for reading. More instalments coming along very soon!

Brian Willcox.

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