on Jan 16th, 2009 in Ideas Worth Exploring | 14 comments
A recent presentation by Deutsche Post describes the German delivery and logistics company’s efforts to transform its retail network. One particularly interesting innovation is self-service Packstations. Like the U.S. Postal Service’s APCs (Automated Postal Centers), these kiosks allow customers to ship packages. However, Packstations also provide 24-hour access for parcel pickup. Customers can register to receive their packages at any packstation in the country. When the package arrives, the recipient receives an e-mail or text message. Rather than rushing to the post office before it closes, customers can use their card and pin number to retrieve it at any time. This convenience is particularly helpful for people who have no way to get to a post office when it is open.

Deutsche Post already has 1,500 Packstations in Germany and is planning to add 1,000 more. What do you think about Packstations? Would you use one?

Should the U.S. Postal Service look into providing 24-hour parcel pickup? If so, how? What about combining APCs with parcel pickup?


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This is a cool idea. The Postal Service should explore extending such services to their competitors too. In other words, UPS and FedEx could drop parcels (that couldn't be delivered on the first attempt) at these "Pakstations" and their customers can pick them up 24/7. The Postal Service could charge UPS and FedEx a small fee for storage. It's a win-win-win situation for FedEx/Ups; their customers; and the Postal Service. This is a classic case of coopetition for the benefits of all.

"This convenience is particularly helpful for people who have no way to get to a post office when it is open." You right i definitely agree,thank you this entry. Keep up the good work.

by: missy

My husband is a realtor who often works from home. We find it exceedingly annoying when the carrier does not bother to ring the doorbell, but simply leaves a notice. And my husband is usually home! A Packstation might be a great alternative. That way we could at least get our package the same day. But I wonder how it works if you have to sign for an insured parcel...

I have the SAME PROBLEM!!! My carrier refuses to deliver my packages-I've even offered to walk out to get them from him if he just lets me know he's here! When I complain-I usually don't get ANY mail for days! I just want him to DO HIS JOB!!!!!!

Also, if you suspect your carrier is delaying your mail, that is a crime. You can contact uspsoig at www.uspsoig.gov and file a complaint.

Let the Postmaster know that the carrier is not ringing your bell, or you may want to speak with the carrier directly the next time you see him/her. Problem solved.

I wish it were that easy...I've spoken with my carrier, his supervisor, the P.O. manager, & filed numerous complaints...nothing is ever done. I've started using UPS as they will deliver & not damage my items. It's a shame really-the USPS used to be a well run organization.

I would just be happy if there were more APCs in more convenient locations.

What I don't think people at USPS get is that the very existence of UPS and FedEx is due to USPS's institutional failure. If you don't realize the writing on the wall, you will be driven into the ground. As older generations either die off or, those willing, adopt electronic alternatives to sending things through the mail; USPS will become ever more irrelevant.

Off the top of my head, the only thing that I can think of that I absolutely have to get in the mail is other government notifications, i.e., tax bills, registration, etc. (which is also due to the abject failure of the degenerate geezers running this country that have absolutely no clue how the world has changed). If USPS does not pick up the strides that they have made over the last couple years, to adopt new technologies, it will be relegated to stuffing mailboxes with junk-mail; which is all I get.

Wow! 24-Hour Parcel Service was really great. It's also save time. Very informative. I learned and I enjoyed reading your post. Thanks for sharing.


I would love to see the USPS deploy a similar service here in the US. I live in a rough neighborhood, on a major access street, and as a result have had packages stolen off my front porch when a UPS or FedEx delivery person just tosses them by the front door, in plain sight.

Having the option (even for a slight fee) of having my packages delivered to a 24-hour self service location would be amazing.

I would absolutely use this, and would be more likely to choose USPS as the shipper if this were an option.

Packstation is a service run by DHL Parcel Germany, a business unit of Deutsche Post's Mail division, in Germany. It provides automated booths for self-service collection of parcels and oversize letters as well as self-service dispatch of parcels 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Packstation started as a pilot project in 2001 and was quickly expanded. By 2007 there were already 900 Packstation automats in Germany. Only ordinary parcels and letters delivered by Deutsche Post can be delivered to Packstation automats. Further, Deutsche Post allows its subsidiary DHL Express Germany to insert a limited number of express parcels.

Estonian Post is nearing the final stage of the introduction of automated parcel terminals after it announced this week that invitations for bids has been sent to three suppliers. The new machines are expected to appear in Estonia, followed by Latvia and Lithuania.

Would created to much cut backs ~