Adeyemo: How SmartParcel Locker Is Revolutionising Logistics Space in Nigeria

This Week In Tech by Nosa Alekhuogie

This Week In Tech by Nosa Alekhuogie


In this interview, the Chief Executive Officer of SmartParcel Locker, Benjamin Adeyemo, talks about how he is transforming logistics with Automated SmartLockers and advanced technology. Nosa Alekhuogie presents the excerpts:

What motivated you to develop the Smart Parcel Locker Solution?

A major motivation for us is the issue of acknowledgement. Several multi-tenanted offices and gated estates have one or two receptionists who receive letters and packages for different recipients. Often, these receptionists genuinely forget to pass it on; other times, people are ‘funny’ as persons have received packages marked ‘urgent’ months later. Others have lost packages because someone ‘helped’ them collect from the courier company. Deliveries of parcels to homes and customer locations have raised many privacy and security issues across Nigeria and even globally. We innocently give our phone numbers and house address to unknown delivery agents.

We also acknowledge that time is precious; people often have to wait for long hours for pick up of sensitive packages like passports, debit cards, etc. The issues of mail fraud are also germane. It is criminal in developed countries to open packages meant for other people. Furthermore, the issues of the poor addressing system come to mind as people often use gate and roof colours to describe their address. Lastly, the timing of deliveries has become an issue. As much as we complain about dispatch riders placing several phone calls and not showing up at agreed times, customers are sometimes guilty of delaying these riders, who often have other deliveries to make.

Should delivery agents, parcel originators, or recipients suffer all from the challenges above and continue to have altercations? How best should these challenges of the logistics space be mitigated and reduced? SmartParcel innovated a solution that secures senders, agents, and recipients. The invention includes deploying multiple compartments and PIN/QR Code-enabled digital SmartLockers for drop-off and pick-up of packages. These SmartLockers are deployed at strategic locations, easily accessible, and easy to use. The maximum time spent per transaction is 25 seconds. Our robust solution helps you find the nearest digital locker to your current or selected location without physical contact with anyone, hence making contactless delivery possible, making cash-less logistics a reality, replacing the traditional addressing system, preserving our environment, and reducing carbon footprints from return trips of dispatch riders.

How does your smart parcel locker system differ from others?

We have built and deployed our digital lockers while taking a cue from existing digital lockers accessed by mini keys. Anyone with the right keys can access the digital lockers, and this is a major security breach. Additionally, no software infrastructural support exists to manage existing traditional locker boxes; they have always been manually operated using papers, security guards, and keys. Our SmartLockers are technology-driven; hence access to the locker is digital. Also, our technology is one hundred per cent indigenously built for Nigeria and Africa by Nigerians. Every process is automated for one hundred per cent usability, confidentiality, and security while each deployed locker is protected through smart sensors while giving every consumer flexible delivery options, including locker and locker-less. Our SmartLocker also provides digital acknowledgement to both sender and recipient instantaneously each time a transaction is completed. Lastly, our SmartLockers are equipped with panoramic cameras that enhance physical safety aside from the basic layer of safety that our location partners provide.

Interestingly, our SmartLockers are open to franchise as the success of the process depends on the ubiquity of the SmartLockers. Hence, it is open to investors to ‘own’ progress, and returns are monitored via a digital dashboard. Thus, it is possible to consistently utilise a ‘SmartLocker’ owned by an individual or organisation while we manage the technology platform. All our networks of SmartLockers are interconnected through our robust backend, and challenges are easily resolved from our command and control centre.

Can you provide an overview of the technology behind your automated pick-up and delivery system?

The technology behind our automated pick-up and delivery system is designed to meet the demands of the modern logistics business. We have integrated various elements such as pricing algorithms, dataset management, transaction logging, e-payment systems, and electronic notification services, including emails, SMS, and voice calls. Additionally, advanced plugins like Artificial Intelligence and Decision Support Systems (DSS) have been incorporated to enhance the overall logistics experience. Our customer-friendly and digitalised SmartParcel Solution operates on a Service-Oriented Architecture and consists of four layers of technology.

The first layer is the Locker App, which allows users to easily access lockers, schedule self-storage or pick-up by a third party later. This feature serves our business-to-consumer (B2C) customers efficiently.

The second layer is our mobile app, available as ‘smartparcelng’ on iOS and Android. With this app, customers can view all available SmartLockers, select the most suitable one for their needs, schedule self-storage or pick-up, and even drop off items for delivery to recipients or pre-scheduled SmartLockers.

The third layer is our web portal,, which offers the same features as the mobile app and provides a convenient interface for users who prefer web-based access. Lastly, we have our chatbot, affectionately known as ‘Smith’. Sith grants users access to our network of SmartLockers and enables verified individuals to join our network of courier agents. Overall, our technology infrastructure ensures seamless interaction between customers and our SmartLockers, simplifying the pick-up and delivery process.

 How does your company ensure the security and privacy of packages during the pick-up and delivery process?

We have implemented several measures to ensure the security and privacy of packages throughout the pick-up and delivery process. Firstly, all our SmartLockers are insured against fire and theft. Secondly, our ecosystem includes “Location Partners” such as malls, banks, gated estates, hospitals, and airports. These partners provide secure, well-lit spaces that are easily accessible to the public. In return, they earn a percentage of revenue from transactions originating at their locations. Thirdly, our SmartLockers can only be accessed digitally through a randomly generated one-time password from our secure backend infrastructure. These passwords are alphanumeric and offer a 99.9 per cent level of security. We have also invested in cloud-based infrastructure, hosting our solution on Amazon, ensuring a 99.99 per cent uptime for service delivery.

To protect customer information from malicious purposes, we have a robust data protection policy in place. Additionally, our courier agents undergo comprehensive training and certification, ensuring the confidentiality and professionalism of every package handled. Each digital locker is equipped with built-in sensors and notifiers to detect theft, and we have alarm systems and location trackers enabled and responsive. As a customer, you can monitor your parcel in real time until it is delivered to you or a selected or nearest digital locker.

How have you integrated your machine with existing logistics networks and systems?

As the premier SmartLocker service provider in Nigeria, we have actively pursued partnerships with various organisations to integrate our machine with existing logistics networks and systems. We have made our APIs publicly available on a sandbox, allowing courier companies, e-commerce platforms, and social commerce platforms to seamlessly integrate and provide delivery options for their users. Through collaborations with these partners, we have connected our network of SmartLockers, making them easily accessible to individuals and corporate entities.

Additionally, we have established partnerships with organisations in both the public and private sectors. The Nigeria Office for Developing Indigenous Telecoms Sector (NODITS) of the Nigerian Communications Commission has been supportive of SmartParcel as a technology startup revolutionising the logistics space with our 5G-enabled SmartLockers. Furthermore, we have initiated a relationship with the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) to endorse our indigenously built technology, promote adoption among government ministries, departments, and agencies, and export the technology and infrastructure to other African countries. We are also partnering with the Lagos state government under the Frandis Forum to enable individuals and corporate entities to acquire SmartLockers as an investment.

One of our key private sector partners is Sterling Bank. We collaborate with Sterling Bank on two major deliverables: providing real estate for our SmartLockers as ‘Location Partners’ to ensure accessibility for customers and financing third-party investors interested in SmartLockers as an investment. Furthermore, we maintain an ongoing relationship with NASD OTC, which manages the franchise investor process, and work with logistics firms on our platform.

Are there any specific industries or sectors where your automated pick-up and delivery system is particularly well-suited?

Our automated pick-up and delivery system is particularly well-suited for e-commerce and social commerce platforms. E-commerce platforms, which are well-structured, can easily integrate our SmartLockers through API integration, providing their customers convenient access to our network of SmartLockers. The social commerce sector, consisting of young, industrious Nigerians selling on platforms like WhatsApp, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok without physical stores, can benefit from our SmartLockers. Our solution enables a meeting point for e-commerce and social commerce, offering an efficient, cashless, and contactless delivery system that provides digital proof of delivery. In addition to e-commerce and social commerce, our SmartLocker solution is also ideal for decongesting banking halls. Debit cards and other documents can be delivered to customers without the need to join long queues in banking halls. The phenomenal growth of fintechs in Nigeria, many of which have limited office spaces due to regulations, presents a need for distributed delivery of debit cards and other documents to customers, which our SmartLocker solution addresses effectively.

It is important to note that by aggregating packages into different compartments of our SmartLockers, we create efficiency for courier companies, reducing the need for multiple trips to the same location for pick-up (first mile). Additionally, our SmartLockers allow consolidated deliveries to various recipients at one location (last mile), reducing return trips.

How have you approached the challenge of scalability to accommodate a large volume of packages and users?

To address the challenge of scalability, our SmartLockers are designed with up to fifty compartments. These compartments come in four varied sizes, catering to a wide range of package dimensions. The small compartment measures 10cm x 35cm and can accommodate items such as laptops, phones, a box of pizza, and envelopes. The medium compartment, measuring 20cm x 35cm, is suitable for clothes, shoes, and a pack of 60cl Nestle Water (20pcs). The large compartment, measuring 30cm x 35cm, can fit items like a carton of noodles and electric kettles. Lastly, the extra-large compartment, measuring 55cm x 55cm, can accommodate larger items such as printers, scanners, and microwaves. To ensure efficient scalability, we have a growth equation that determines the number of digital lockers for production and deployment per geographical location. Additionally, our franchise model allows for rapid scaling as we do not intend to own all 25,000 digital lockers that will be spread across Nigeria.

How do you plan to adapt and evolve your technology to keep pace with changing customer needs and expectations?

At SmartParcel, we are committed to adapting and evolving our technology to meet changing customer needs and expectations. We actively listen to our customers and engage with them to understand pain points, update existing solutions, and expand our capacity. Our team includes a robust research and development think tank comprising business advisors who stay abreast of evolving and emerging technologies, including business growth models. We are a team of technology enthusiasts and lifelong learners, ensuring we are constantly up-to-date through journals, webinars, and conferences. This enables us to provide Nigeria and Nigerians with much-needed change and new models that seamlessly support the dynamics of customer behaviours.

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