Sigfox and Heliot, its Austrian operator, enable better decision making, increased visibility and reduced losses of valuable postal assets.
Sigfox, the global 0G network and cloud provider for industrial data, has partnered with Austrian Post, the leading logistics and postal service provider in Austria, to help the company gain full visibility of roller containers across its 2,000 sites and also customer sites.
Austrian Post has set a target to track its entire roller container inventory by 2021.
For more than two years, the Austrian Post searched for a commercially acceptable solution to track and determine the status of its roller containers, since understanding their whereabouts could lead to a significant reduction in losses.
The organization uses two container types for letters and parcels, each worth a few hundred euros. Buffering only one roller container more than necessary in its 2,000 sites, has a drastic impact on the investment in roller containers.
The main issues Austrian Post faced during its search were the cost of trackers, typically at €100 – €200 each, and the lack of existing network infrastructure. Alternative solutions required the postal firm to set up a supplementary communications infrastructure on-site, however, due to complex installation and with many of the roller containers located at customer sites, this was not a viable option.
Austrian Post was introduced to Sigfox by DHL, a company that already benefits from tracking technology. Across 35 DHL parcel centers throughout Germany and adjacent countries, over 250,000 roll cages are fitted with Sigfox smart trackers, from Alps Alpine, providing exact information about location and movement.
The Austrian Post implementation started with 500 roller containers, growing to 5,000 trackers by end of November and 30,000 by the end of 2020. The remaining roller containers will be fitted with trackers in 2021.
The ramp-up coincides with the high season for postal services from September to January, when roller containers are in demand. Through proactive management of its inventory, Austrian Post will be in a position to optimize roller container usage at a critical part of the year.
Sigfox’s Austrian network operator Heliot has been working closely with Austrian Post. Heliot contracted the Sigfox solution, in collaboration with Alps Alpine, providing low-energy and low-cost trackers connected to the Sigfox global 0G network. Heliot owns and operates the Sigfox 0G network in Austria, with a target of nearing full coverage by the end of 2023.
A significant benefit for Austrian Post is in the fact that the network coverage reaches well beyond Austrian borders, as many of the roller containers travel to Germany, the Czech Republic and other European countries. Supported by the Sigfox network, Austrian Post will be able to track roller containers on an international basis.
“Tracking our assets will make a profound difference to our business,” said Mathias Flandorfer, Manager Strategic Projects Supply Chain & IT at Austrian Post, “and the Sigfox 0G network coupled with the low-energy tracker with a long battery life meets our business requirements perfectly.
“As we fit more roller containers with the new tracking technology, simultaneously the Sigfox network will expand towards full coverage across Austria. This is an exciting prospect as potential future use cases are really endless: e.g. fleet optimization, understanding if post boxes contain mail for collection and lots of other innovative IoT use cases which help us in increasing efficiency and quality.”
“Asset tracking in Supply Chain & Logistics is a key strength and focus for Sigfox,” added Glen Robinson, Senior Vice President Global Sales & Marketing at Sigfox. “We have recognized a significant challenge many industries face in creating visibility across widely dispersed and often fragmented supply chains. With visibility comes understanding, optimization, and competitive advantage.
“Sigfox, Heliot, and Alps Alpine are delighted to be able to partner with Austrian Post, who joins our other Postal customers like DHL in Germany, An Post in Ireland, Posti in Finland and others who are using Sigfox low power tracking solutions on the world’s first and largest 0G network. Our technology is purpose-built for IoT, connecting autonomous objects that have no access to IT support. We are very confident that our partnership with Austrian Post will enable them to capture operational data, at the lowest total cost of data production, that will enable them to optimize their supply chain and logistics.”