Deutsche Post introduces unique parcel service
Logistics Management October 1, 2002
Parcel carriers that serve the business-to-consumer market have always been bedeviled by the difficulties of making those deliveries. Package recipients often aren't home during normal delivery hours, which means carriers must make costly return trips or leave the package unattended, which can lead to loss or damage. In some cases, they have to arrange for recipients to go to the carrier's terminal to pick up a package, which can be inconvenient and disruptive.
Deutsche Post World Net, the German postal and logistics company, says its new "Packstation" program is the solution to those problems. Packstation is a self-service kiosk equipped with lock boxes that is available around the clock.
Here's how it works: Customers must register for Packstation service and receive a customer card and a personal identification code. For each scheduled shipment, registrants may choose either home delivery or delivery to a convenient Packstation location. When a package is available at a Packstation location, Deutsche Post notifies the customer by e-mail or cellular phone text message. Customers can then use their cards and identification numbers to pick up packages from the lock box at their convenience. They also can place returned items in the boxes for the carrier to pick up.
Packstation units are placed at high-traffic locations, such as gas stations and restaurants, in major population and business centers. Deutsche Post also plans to place them in large office buildings in the future.
The program was originally rolled out in Mainz and Dortmund, Germany. To date, more than 24,000 customers have registered in those two cities. This month, 50 of the kiosks open for business in Frankfurt, and a trial also is under way in Amsterdam. The biggest users so far, say Deutsche Post officials, have been mail-order shippers like Amazon.com, Yves Rocher and Quelle.