flaschenpost, Germany's leading delivery service for weekly groceries, is taking a significant step toward sustainable and efficient delivery logistics. By the end of 2023, charging infrastructure is to be built at all 33 warehouse locations to charge and manage a total of 1,000 electric vehicles. For the conception and implementation of the expansion as well as the automated charging of the vehicles, flaschenpost relies on the fleet and energy management of IO-Dynamics.
The interview with Stephan Zech, Head of Fleet Management at flaschenpost, provides more insight into this:
Why were you looking for a charging management solution? What was the initial situation?
As part of the project planning, we looked at solutions from various providers. However, the conventional providers were not innovative enough for flaschenpost's complex requirements. With 3,000 vehicles, we move around ten million orders a year to our customers within 120 minutes.
With such a dynamic delivery promise, every single process step has to be exactly right. A changeover of the vehicle fleet during ongoing business operations involved numerous requirements. Flexible vehicle deployment planning and individual vehicle information, such as charging data or GPS, had to be taken into account. Likewise, of course, power consumption and different power availabilities at a total of 33 locations, in order to achieve maximum efficiency with a minimum number of charging points.
Which people were involved in the flaschenpost project team?
For a project of this magnitude, we set up an interdisciplinary project team. On the one hand, this consists of experts from the Logistics Operations Management area for topics relating to the fleet, controlling, analytics & processes, and also project and funding management. On the other hand, experts from the Expansion division for infrastructural issues. Almost all departments were or are involved in this exciting project at some point during the course of the project.
What were your biggest challenges in the electrification process?
The idea of electrifying our fleet at some point has been with us ever since the technical requirements were created by the manufacturers. We have been testing electric delivery for years, but for a long time there was no suitable solution for us on the market. Identifying suitable partners in a very volatile market environment was the biggest challenge for us.
The fundamental development of site-specific concepts and the determination of individual power availabilities also meant intensive months for all those involved at 33 warehouse locations; after all, implementation had to take place in addition to day-to-day business. Unforeseeable developments during the course of the project, above all the considerable delivery problems experienced by the manufacturers, made matters even more difficult.
How did the cooperation between IO-Dynamics and flaschenpost work out?
After a comprehensive market analysis, we quickly came across IO-Dynamics' service. The solution covered our complex requirements and even offered additional possibilities. We initially decided on a test run at one of our locations. During the six-month pilot project, the IO-Dynamics solution was convincing and the advantages were confirmed. The joint pilot project developed into a trusting and cooperative partnership. We feel very well looked after and regular status meetings with the company founders ensure the success of the project and the further roll-out.
What advantages has the charging and energy management software from IO-Dynamics brought you in terms of CO₂ emissions, costs and other aspects?
Through the charging and energy management software, we create an optimal balance between the number of vehicles and charging points. Monitoring the utilization and usage of the charging points is maximally transparent and enables quick adjustments. At the same time, we are able to reduce electricity volumes and adjust them as individually as needed. This allows us to make additional CO₂ savings. In addition, with so many different users, we benefit from the ability to check that RFID authorization is correct. And if individual charging points fail, we can always rely on remote support.
What was your experience without an intelligent charging solution and what changed for you after the introduction of intelligent load management?
Intelligent load management provides us with full transparency about the charging and usage behavior of the infrastructure. The monitoring enables early intervention in the event of deviations and a sometimes significant reduction in peak loads. Overall, this enables us to act in a very energy-efficient and thus climate-conscious manner.
Without intelligent load management, we lack clear dashboards in particular, as well as functionalities and development opportunities that are important to us. Demand-responsive charging is not possible, so our basic requirements cannot be adequately covered.
How do customers and other stakeholders perceive your electric fleet and how do you integrate it into your corporate communications?
The topic of sustainability not only has a high socio-political relevance, it is also an important part of flaschenpost's corporate culture. The business model is based on the reusable principle, and flaschenpost's specially developed route planning always calculates the most efficient delivery routes. Six out of ten individual trips to the supermarket are bundled into one flaschenpost tour. The successive conversion of the delivery fleet to electric mobility is the next logical step.
With our innovative logistics solutions and our self-developed intelligent route planning, we have established a firm standing in last-mile logistics within a very short time. Our concept sounds simple at first, but the strength lies in the fact that we have tailored our logistics and IT processes optimally to our requirements right from the start. By sourcing goods directly, we save time, distances and therefore CO₂ along the supply chain.
Starting from the solution of a complex challenge, the delivery of heavy beverage crates, we can expand our range without having to fundamentally change our processes. The addition of food to the range, for example, was very easy to integrate into the existing structures. The variety of the product range combined with the speed of delivery and the ease of ordering via app or online are the points that our customers appreciate about the flaschenpost service. The delivery of the entire week's shopping within 120 minutes to the doorstep offers a convenient, easy-to-plan alternative to the stationary supermarket and thus a great time saving in everyday life.
In addition to delivery by electric vehicles, our customers have the option of choosing a so-called "green delivery window", in which several orders are combined within a defined closer radius and only delivered when the tour is actually at capacity. In this way, we can offer our customers choices and actively involve them in our climate protection efforts.
What are your ambitions in terms of electrification?
We never want to buy a diesel again. So we will continue to work on successively replacing our delivery fleet in the coming years. To this end, we are already in close contact with various vehicle manufacturers. One thing is certain: we will not rest until the last diesel van has been replaced by an electric vehicle.
We would like to express our sincere thanks to flaschenpost for the successful cooperation and look forward to taking the next steps of electrification together. Discover more about flaschenposts electrification.