Network efficiency

Running an efficient network is a business necessity and helps reduce our environmental impact. Optimising our collecting, sorting and delivering capacity becomes even more important during periods of volatility. In 2022 we focused on the flexibility of our e-commerce network to adapt to changing volumes, working to optimise planning to ensure suitable work packages and avoid over- or under-capacity in our network. Minimising overcapacity helps reduce the number of routes we operate, thereby cutting the number of kilometres we drive, reducing our missions.

We work continually to optimise our networks, for example by increasing the number of parcels delivered at the first attempt. Another way is by working with customers to reduce air in parcels. The smaller the parcel, the more we can fit in our vehicles, which improves transport efficiency and sustainability.

Continuous development, testing and implementation of options for customers result in incremental but important gains in optimising network efficiency. Examples include:

  • Optimised collection planning for e-commerce customers

  • Ship-from-store concepts for fashion customers

  • Expansion of delivery options, such as parcel lockers and delivery preferences for consumers

  • Making smart use of the strength of different networks to service our customers efficiently

Understanding CO2 data per parcel

As we work towards our goal of providing emission-free last-mile delivery in the Benelux by 2030, we are replacing all our petrol and diesel vehicles for emission-free or low-emission vehicles. Suzanne Debrichy, programme manager sustainable e-commerce, explains how this helps our customers. "Our customers want to know exactly how sustainable our delivery is, preferably at the level of each parcel. This provides them with important insights and allows them to offer sustainable choices to consumers." But providing these insights means collecting an array of relevant information, which can be challenging. "We first needed to develop a method that allows us to see where we deliver with emission-free or low emission vehicles," says Suzanne, "even at a level of individual parcels. We had to collect data about number plate registration and all of the routes we operate, which is a lot of work. Next, our IT colleagues needed to adjust the software that enables webshops to show consumers if a delivery is ‘green’ when they place an order. We will also incorporate these green delivery routes into our own PostNL app and e-mail notifications. Ideally, we will be able to advise customers which delivery option is the most sustainable."