Throughout its 400-year history, Finland’s national postal operator, Posti Group, has delivered goods to people. The goods transported have changed a lot over the years, but not the responsibility that goes with it. With three million households and companies receiving deliveries every weekday, Posti is one of the leading delivery and fulfillment companies in Finland, Sweden, and the Baltics.
As consumers and businesses are demanding speed, fluency, and convenience, Posti has needed to rethink the way it serves them. For instance, the company continuously works to develop its service network and digital solutions, as well as its sorting centers. The main sorting centre is located in Vantaa, near Helsinki, where average 140.000 shipments are handled each day.
One of Posti’s main focuses has always been to improve safety and efficiency within their sorting operations. There are generally two separate sorting processes: One for standard size items and one for odd size and long parcels. Posti identified reducing forklift traffic as a way to improve both the efficiency of their operations and the safety of their employees.
K.Hartwall has been delivering roll cages and foldable cages to Posti for many years and they knew their new tugger train, the LiftLiner, could offer the opportunity to alleviate forklift traffic congestion and to improve the working conditions of the Posti employees. After a few discussions and after having received a sample from the team, Posti decided to test the LiftLiner tugger trains and daughter carts, to see for themselves, if it would be a more efficient way to move goods within their sorting center.
The LiftLiner did not disappoint. It immediately reduced forklift traffic with its four loading bays on one train, which removed 2-3 forklift movements. This allowed the entire internal logistics process to be streamlined, meaning less congestion and less accidents. And the potential for even better results exists, because up to eight (8) loading bays can be installed on a train. This is a major upside and benefit especially during peak seasons and rush hours, times which presented the greatest challenges.
It’s simple math. The LiftLiner can replace up to six forklift trucks, meaning significant reduction of overall operating costs at the sorting center. But Posti quickly realized it has other advantages, too. The compact size and agility – 9,6 m in total for a 6-cart train – makes it easy and safe to maneuver even in a crowded production environment. The possibility to load and unload from either side minimizes need for walking and improves flexibility. Finally, the ergonomic (un)loading, handling and moving of the cages improves working conditions while unloading the parcels from the cages on daughter carts happens also from a much more ergonomic height.
As safety is of very high importance to Posti, the test period also included risk assessment where things like impact of the train movements to environment and other traffic, technical handling of the train and the carts, and ergonomics of the whole operation were estimated. The decision to implement the LiftLiner solution was made when it became clear, that all safety concerns were addressed and the effect on safety and ergonomics was found only positive.
“With the LiftLiner®, we were able to improve our general safety by reducing unnecessary forklift traffic in our terminal, and at the same time, improve the efficiency of moving parcels internally. This is especially critical in our operations during peak hours and high seasons”, says Janne Mattila, Head of Sorting at Posti.
“Our workers gave excellent feedback. They praised the improved ergonomics when handling parcels and how easy it was to use the LiftLiner®”, Mattila continues.
For Posti it is critical to find new ways to improve efficiency of production processes since the parcel volumes are increasing year on year, and customer demands for faster and more accurate delivery times are growing.
Looking ahead, Mattila continues, “Benefits of the train concept are obvious, so we are looking for new ways and processes where we could utilize the LiftLiner®. Further automatization for the LiftLiner® and other processes is definitively another path we want to study more, to meet the customer demands for the future”.
“K.Hartwall and Posti have a long history of co-operation with the load carrier products and we are happy that Posti has chosen K.Hartwall to further develop our partnership for other internal logistics solutions like the LiftLiner®”, says Mikko Rissanen, Key Account Manager of K.Hartwall.