The strategy behind Norway Posts’ fleet composition

This article refers to an interview in Parcel and Postal Technology International, between Last Mile Experts and Norway Post.

As a way of finding the right tool for the right job, Norway Post defined a fairly simple strategy, says Gunnar Indeberg, SVP – Operational Development – Mail Division at Posten Norge AS.

Gunnar Inderberg, leder verdikjedeutvikling

“We separated routes into city centre, suburban and rural. All had different characteristics with regard to number of stops, distance travelled, weight/volume carried, etc.”

Gunnar Indeberg

In an interview with Last Mile Experts published in Parcel and Post Technology International, he explains more.

Based on this analysis, it became easier to see what kind of vehicle fits where. Postal delivery in city centres is generally characterized by a medium number of stops but with multiple delivery points (due to blocks of flats), fairly low kilometres travelled and poor parking availability. Suburban areas have more stops (more single houses) and a medium range of kilometres travelled per route. Rural routes have relatively few stops, but a large number of kilometres travelled.

Typical street in suburban residential area

What Posten saw was that by replacing more traditional vans in city centres and suburban areas with other alternatives, it could improve productivity. In rural areas, traditional vans remained ideally suited.

Let’s look at more detail here. Many delivery agents were making 300+ stops per route, which took a lot of time with a car (drive up to the mailboxes, brake, park, pick the mail, get out of the car, walk to the mailbox) but with smaller/lighter vehicles without doors and the goods easier accessible, they could pick the goods and access the mailbox faster.

Posten saw time savings of up to 15% here.

Gunnar Indeberg

Read our blogpost and Transport or Delivery to find our why!

While implementing MLEVs is a daunting task for any postal operator, it promises a significant increase in productivity and flexibility for those willing and/or able to put in the efforts required.

Read more about what makes a really good vehicle for last-mile here.

When implemented correctly, MLEVs can help postal services meet environmental targets and boost employee satisfaction at the same time.

Arild Brudeli, Head of Innovation Paxster AS

From the interview in Parcel and Postal Technology International, these are 10 commandments for successful EV implementation:

  • Environmental and economic targets may be achieved simultaneously if implementation is right.
  • Don’t limit yourself to a 1:1 swap with current routes/vehicles. Adjust routes to make them suitable.
  • Look at creative ways of extending the range – for example, use fast chargers in the lunch break
  • Remember that most manufacturers’ declared capabilities will be optimistic, especially on very hot or cold days (when the battery is least effective or under most pressure – or when the heating or air conditioning is on full blast).
  • At first, drivers will suffer from ‘range anxiety’ and may return without completing a route for fear of running out of juice. Let them run the full route. If properly planned and operated, they’ll succeed; if not, replan the route and/or train the driver
  • Create competition among staff to get the most out of the EVs; range is heavily impacted by driving behavior. Electric vehicles are often lighter than the vehicles they replace, with different handling, so staff engagement is important
  • You need to have a good (local) servicing infrastructure in place for maintenance of electric vehicles
  • You need to have pre-planned and installed suitable and diverse charging facilities. They can be costly to install and should be part of the total cost of ownership evaluation
  • EVs make less noise, so drivers should be even more careful when driving, especially in residential areas. Some EVs have artificial engine noise to deal with this issue
  • Once drivers pass the initial skepticism toward EVs they become a preferred choice as EVs are often easier and more convenient to drive. Also, it’s important for customers, the media and the general public from a corporate social responsibility viewpoint