Efficient Fleet Management – Monitoring Posti’s Maxi Distribution Trolleys with Kaltiot Smart Tracker

Asset tracking for mail delivery carts

Posti wanted to reach the full benefit from the new maxi distribution etrolleys. Kaltiot Smart Tracker enables the monitoring of the trolleys’ utilization rate and location by using Posti’s own smart devices. Fleet management is cost-effective when the trolleys are operated efficiently and their availability rate in different locations stays up-to-date.  

In 2015, the Finnish postal service Posti introduced the new maxi distribution trolley: a larger and heavier motor-assisted trolley, that is meant for delivering newspapers and mail in the city centers. Posti has more than 400 maxi trolleys at its various locations in Finland and they are in common use for the mail deliverers in both morning and daytime shifts. In case of need, the trolleys can also be transferred from one site to another.  

Posti wanted to use the maxi distribution trolleys efficiently. Compared to the preceding, lighter trolley model, the new power-assisted maxi trolley meant also increasing costs. As a result, they had to be utilized in a cost-effective way. In order to enhance and optimize the usage of the trolleys, it was important to gain information on their utilization rate, location and itinerary.  

What is maxi distribution trolley? 

Maxi distribution trolley or “maxi trolley” is an electric, emission free cart for last mile delivery in densely populated urban areas, where the sidewalk is the only distribution channel for delivering light items such as newspapers. Maxi trolley can carry a load of 120 kilograms and the battery lasts up to 10-20 kilometers depending on its size. The trolley’s maximum speed is six kilometers per hour. It has an engine power of less than one kilowatt.

In addition, maxi trolley can be connected to a ride-on board, allowing it to be driven on sidewalks, crosswalks and footpaths. Even when run from the ride-on board, maxi trolley is not regarded as a vehicle due to its low speed and small engine. In turn, it is a light electric walking replacement device that does not require registration, insurance or a driver’s license.

Kaltiot’s solution monitors location and utilization rate  

Kaltiot developed a solution for monitoring and tracking the maxi distribution trolleyThe solution consisted of the following:

  • The mail distributors’ work phones. The solution utilized the already existing work phones at Posti, known as Posti Mobile or PoMo.
  • Kaltiot Smart Tracker application installed on PoMos. The application downloads the sensor data to the server.
  • Logger sensorThe battery-optimized Smart Tracker BLE beacons were named and attached on the side of the trolleys. The sensor stores data and it does not always require a PoMo phone to be nearby. 
  • Kaltiot IoT Cloud. A cloud based platform where you can see the trolley’s utilization and location reports. 

Each maxi distribution trolley is equipped with a battery-operated, BLE (bluetooth low energy) beacons. The Kaltiot Smart Tracker application in the PoMo phone downloads the sensor data into the cloud interface. It gathers and stores the device ID, location and the timestamps, that show the trolley’s itinerary and utilization rate. Furthermore, the data is streamed to Posti’s own back-end systems, from where Posti can integrate it with their other reporting. The application runs independently in the background and does not require actions from the user.

The first pilot with Kaltiot monitoring was introduced in 2017 in Lauttasaari, Helsinki.

The carts are tracked with Kaltiot asset tracking

The solution by Kaltiot provided numerous benefits for the postal services. Posti was able to benefit from the previously made investment in PoMo phones, and the application was easy to install by using Posti Device Management. In addition, the solution had the following advantages: 

  • Quick installationThe battery-operated BLE beacon is simple to stick to any asset. 
  • Does not require integration with maxi distribution trolleys
  • Cost-effectiveness.
  • Ability to combine generated data with other reports.
  • Functionality in demanding outdoor conditionssuch as the Finnish winter weather

Efficient fleet management through monitoring   

At the moment, Kaltiot Smart Tracker device can be found in every maxi trolley at Posti all over Finland and the co-operation with postal services will continue and expand. 

With Kaltiot solution, maxi distribution trolleys are used efficiently and unused trolleys can be relocated to offices with trolley shortages. As Posti receives information about the trolleys’ whereabouts and how much they move, the asset management can be implemented cost-effectively. Now the trolleys are identified by designated ID numbers, as each tracking device has a unique code. For instance, the number indicates the year when the trolley was taken into use and helps to plan for future replacement investments. The same device number is used both in Posti’s asset management system and in Kaltiot’s systems.

Posti’s Senior Asset Manager, Kari Tuomola, is satisfied with the monitoring of maxi distribution trolleys. He commented on the collaboration with Kaltiot as follows:

“With Kaltiot’s solution, we have finally reached visibility for the usage of Posti’s distribution trolleys. We have significantly increased the usage rate of our assets and all unused equipment can be allocated to new users. This feature did not exist before.”

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