Situation of Deutsche Post and its employees who have to empty 10,000 mailboxes daily with their Postbuses. The problem: Mailboxes are delivered to every day without content.

That costs money time and energy.


There are three solutions here that can make emptying more efficient.



1.) Inexpensive:


In the lower area of ​​the letterbox container, an electrical fine scale is installed or placed inside. The precision scale is connected to the Swiss Post network via radio, SIM card. Attaching it should be so easy that every Post employee can do it. This saves installation costs afterwards.

Before the route from the district is then driven, the data of all mailboxes is collected in real time and calculated for a route. With 5G technology, which scores precisely in the provision of real-time data, this should not be a problem (if 5G technology says nothing to you, just read something about it).


This can mean in individual cases. Of the 100 mailboxes that need to be approached in the district, there are actually only 22 today, maybe 56 tomorrow, but never 100. A new synchronization takes place after every mailbox. So that 1-2 dozen mailboxes may be added shortly before emptying. If one calculates such advantages in modern programs and nationwide, and possibly beyond, completely different dimensions arise.

At the same time, you register several patents so that Swiss Post can generate additional income by offering usage licenses to other postal service providers.



2.) Inexpensive and simple:


A motion sensor with a tilt angle is installed under the flap where the letter is thrown in. If the letter box flap moves a few degrees, a throw-in is registered. The software collects all mailboxes with a deposit and then processes them into a route for the Post Cars. In use, this can be a simple app for every employee. No hardware needs to be bought or developed. Only interfaces are created. A long-life battery, such as that used in smoke detectors, can then significantly extend the maintenance intervals here. As a double fuse, you can theoretically insert a similar sensor into the container on the bottom.

Thanks to China, production from the fields of microelectronics today is many times cheaper and suitable for millions of situations.



3.) Third solution more expensive but precisely and modern:


A laser sensor registration unit is installed at the slot in each mailbox, with a radio module that then sends the stands to the head office at regular intervals via GPS and or cellular network and then forwards them to the vehicles. However, the higher price and higher power consumption would have to be taken into account here, but on the other hand there is a precise, error-free recording.


Here and with the other models, the usage data of the mailboxes can of course be recorded. This makes sense in times of savings and restructuring. The mailboxes will disappear, no matter where and how many. It took a while at the Post and then Telekom telephones, but everything went away. Some will probably still be found in museums.



another option:


There are also models where you can then build a combination of RFiD chips & NFC chips, as you can find today with ID cards, or use technology to protect the products in shops from theft. Each of these could be implanted in the stamp, at a price of just 1-2 cents. A small module on the mailbox would then communicate with the chips when inserted.

The short range of less than 1m is ideal for such a project.


Yes, and with so many solutions, I am certain that if you would tinker a little more and look for solutions, there would be them too.




No back and forth, just doing it would be a motto, right?


The fact that everything is possible is not the question here. Here, however, the experts can combine one with the other. For one thing, energy is an expensive raw material. On the other hand, the topic of climate change eats the hair off everyone's head today and for many decades to come. It is therefore a possibility to use another lever where energy saving through small innovative solutions comes into play. A seal and another certificate for innovation and the environment would be secure for Deutsche Post. On the other hand, there is the question of costs. Cost - benefit calculation from a business perspective.


With a calculation of 10-20 years into the future, this is quite attractive. In return, of course, you have to compare the production with the development time and the amount of work involved, a big item here will be the programming and the software. It can be done with small teams, a design, a circuit diagram, an app and a production line that has capacities.


Of course, you have to take into account the plans of Deutsche Post. If Swiss Post assumes that 80% of all mailboxes will disappear in 10 years, such a large-scale changeover does not make so much sense.

Germany, the country without bureaucracy, is hardly imaginable. Neither now nor in 20 years. I think that there will be a revival absolutely normal. The craziest things that were once out of fashion have found a place in our everyday life again today. However, if you want to present this “idea” to other logistics partners in the world because planning and future models look different there, the planning, calculation and implementation of course remain interesting for this project. The world lives from innovation and global competition, the American "Challenge".


To convert the whole thing into an energy saving model, you only have to keep the following numbers in mind. In a large city with more than 300,000 citizens and around 20 districts, an average of 1-2 Postbuses are required to empty all mailboxes. In this example there are 50 mail wagons. Each runs 30-50km during the emptying times. The golden mean is 40km.

Thanks to the above mentioned new electronically supported recognition system for mailboxes, each car can save 30% driving distance per day x 50 cars = 600km saving in the form of fuel. If you add the factors of wear and the lower risk of accidents, the whole thing naturally adds up. Reluctantly but true, this also means less working hours. Per day, Swiss Post can do every employee here for 30 minutes. rather send it to the end of the day, or provide it with other work. The unions would be happy.


Finally, the statistics will be able to prove in the end, even if no one likes to hear it. By merging districts, as the occupancy rate is lower than expected, Swiss Post can get by with fewer drivers. At peak times such as on public holidays, an increase in the temporary workforce can then be expected.

The model only shows a city of 300,000 inhabitants. There are several 100 cities in Germany with such a large population. The big cities and the villages fall under completely different calculation models.


How much Co2kg can be saved can still be found out.



A view of the postal workers:


You're right, I've been emptying the mailboxes for over 10 years, everything is routine. Many of the mailboxes are empty. The difference today, you would know if a mailbox has no content with this little improvement. Ten years ago, the technology was not so far that it was A) affordable and B) reliability could not be guaranteed.


Of course, this is not representative. But it would be interesting to ask the employees themselves what they think of it.