26. May 2020 | Press release

Test of Mercedes-Benz Vans, DPD Germany and what3words shows 15% efficiency gain using innovative addressing solution for parcel delivery

  • Having more precise information for predefined parking locations and specific delivery entrances saved time

  • 15% efficiency gain thanks to the integration of what3words into the MBUX of the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter delivery van

  • The use of what3words can be especially valuable for new drivers

Stuttgart, 25 May 2020 -  Two professional drivers from DPD Germany, two almost identical Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Vans and what3words teamed up for a special logistics efficiency test in Nagold, Germany. This test was not about acceleration, optimal cornering or engine performance. Instead it aimed to find out whether what3words integrated into the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter on-board navigation system can increase efficiency in parcel delivery. The test route covered the entire city, and involved around 50 deliveries. Impressively, the results showed an efficiency improvement of 15% for the driver using what3words, compared to the driver using a traditional street address-based navigation system. 


what3words is the simplest way to identify precise locations, anywhere in the world. It has divided the world into 3m squares, and given each square a simple and unique address made up of three dictionary words. This includes places where no regular street addresses exist, such as large industrial estates. In 2017, Mercedes-Benz was the world's first automotive manufacturer to integrate the ability to search for and navigate to what3words addresses with its on-board MBUX system.

"We are always looking for new ways and means of supporting our drivers in their tasks and increasing the efficiency of our processes," says Thomas Steverding, Senior Group Manager, OPS Process and Development at DPD Germany. "When we became aware of what3words we wanted to find out whether we could benefit from more precise localisation of the delivery targets using the 3 word address."

Mercedes-Benz Vans, DPD Germany and the UK-based start-up what3words carried out the test to find out how much efficiency can be gained by using built-in navigation to what3words addresses as featured in Mercedes-Benz Sprinter vehicles. The test also included the ability to remotely send what3words locations to the vehicle via push notifications, a feature that is currently under development.

Chris Sheldrick, Co-Founder and CEO of what3words explained that

"Street addresses for large sites like factories or exhibition halls rarely point to the delivery entrance, so drivers waste time looking for the right drop-off locations. This is frustrating for drivers and adds up to time and fuel inefficiencies for the company, as well as a poor experience for customers who might have late or missed deliveries. what3words’ precise addressing system helps logistics drivers who are unfamiliar with their delivery area to reduce time spent looking for exact delivery points and, with this particular test, it also gave them the exact parking spot closest to the delivery entrance as well, which is really crucial for last-mile deliveries that are completed on foot. "

The test

The test featured two identical Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, both equipped with MBUX. One had its navigation programmed experimentally using predefined what3words addresses for parking locations and delivery entrances. Both vans were loaded with 50 parcels and driven by professional delivery drivers from DPD Germany, who were not familiar with the area. Both drivers were using the same delivery order based on a real, historical route from DPD Germany. The route included inner city and industrial areas and the drop-off points on the route were a combination of 55% B2B customers and 45% B2C customers. The routes were driven under everyday conditions in the Nagold delivery area and started at the usual time. Both drivers adhered to traffic regulations at all times.

In logistics, parcel delivery routes consist of two elements; the driving route between locations, and the distance the driver takes on foot to hand parcels directly to the recipient – a considerable factor in the entire route. These two elements can be made more efficient by using predefined parking positions to guide the driver as close as possible to the final delivery spot.

what3words helps the driver by providing clear and accurate predefined stopping points for the delivery van, ensuring that the driver parks more strategically and reduces their walking distances. what3words integration into the MBUX system ensures that the driver does not need any additional navigation equipment and the data is seamlessly linked to the navigation.

The results

The test using what3words showed an efficiency gain of around 15%. The driver with what3words was able to end his route more than 30 minutes before his colleague, who used a navigation system with traditional addresses.

The test showed that 80% of the efficiency gain resulted from providing the what3words address for the optimal parking spot. This reduced driving time and time spent searching for the parking spot. The remaining 20% of the efficiency gain came from having a what3words address for the precise handover point, reducing drivers’ time on foot.

"The test has shown that the system is a big improvement especially for new drivers and those that have to work in an unfamiliar delivery area. It also removes a lot of stress from the driver and makes his job much easier. In times when the number of parcels is continuously increasing, there is a clear competitive advantage," says Steffen Raiber, Manager Industry Management CEP & Logistics at Mercedes-Benz Vans.

To watch a video of the test in action, visit: https://youtu.be/3vmpPCTyRYk


* The figures are provided in accordance with the German regulation 'PKW-EnVKV' and apply to the German market only. Further information on official fuel consumption figures and the official specific CO₂ emissions of new passenger cars can be found in the EU guide 'Information on the fuel consumption, CO₂ emissions and energy consumption of new cars', which is available free of charge at all sales dealerships, from DAT Deutsche Automobil Treuhand GmbH and at www.dat.de.


Mercedes-Benz AG at a glance

Mercedes-Benz AG is responsible for the global business of Mercedes-Benz Cars and Mercedes-Benz Vans with over 173,000 employees worldwide. Ola Källenius is Chairman of the Board of Management of Mercedes-Benz AG. The company focuses on the development, production and sales of passenger cars, vans and services. Furthermore, the company aspires to be leading in the fields of connectivity, automated driving and alternative drives with its forward-looking innovations. The product portfolio comprises the Mercedes-Benz brand with the sub-brands Mercedes-AMG, Mercedes-Maybach and Mercedes me - as well as the smart brand, and the EQ product and technology brand for electric mobility. Mercedes-Benz AG is one of the largest manufacturers of premium passenger cars. In 2019 it sold nearly 2.4 million cars and more than 438,000 vans. In its two business divisions, Mercedes-Benz AG is continually expanding its worldwide production network with over 40 production sites on four continents, while aligning itself to meet the requirements of electric mobility. At the same time, the company is developing its global battery production network on three continents. Sustainable actions play a decisive role in both business divisions. To the company, sustainability means creating value for all stakeholders on a lasting basis: customers, employees, investors, business partners and the society as a whole. The basis for this is the sustainable business strategy of Daimler in which the company takes responsibility for the economic, ecological and social effects of its business activities and looks at the entire value chain.

About DPD Germany

DPD Germany is part of DPDgroup, the second-largest international parcel delivery network in Europe. Throughout Germany DPD has 78 depots and 7,000 Pickup parcelshops. A workforce of 9,500 and 11,000 delivery drivers are in daily operation on behalf of the company’s customers. Every year the No. 2 on the German parcels market ships around 375 million parcels – providing carbon-neutral transport operations at no additional cost to the customer. With a number of initiatives for sustainable parcel delivery DPD is demonstrating, particularly in city centres, how parcel shipping can be made environmentally friendly and emission-free at the local level.
Through innovative technology, local knowledge and dedicated customer care, DPD provides the best possible experience for both shippers and shoppers. DPD’s industry-leading Predict service is setting a new standard for keeping customers closely in touch with their delivery, with real time tracking of their delivery, a one-hour delivery window and a range of options for redirecting parcels. In recognition of this innovation DPD Germany received several awards like the Digital Transformation Award or the UX Design Award.
As part of DPDgroup, DPD Germany has access to over 46,000 local Pickup points worldwide, and delivers to 230 countries worldwide. DPDgroup’s 77,000 delivery experts work together to deliver more than 5.3 million parcels each day. The sole shareholder in DPD is GeoPost, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Le Groupe La Poste. GeoPost posted sales of €7.8 billion in the year 2019.

About what3words

Find your 3 word address here.
Co-founded in London in 2013 by Chris Sheldrick, what3words is the simplest way to talk about location. The system covers the entire world, never needs updating, and works offline. A 3 word address is a human-friendly way to share very precise locations with other people, or to input them into platforms and machines such as autonomous cars or e-commerce checkouts. It is optimised for voice input and contains built-in error prevention to immediately identify and correct input mistakes.
The free what3words app, available for iOS and Android, and the online map enable people to find, share and navigate to 3 word addresses in 40 languages to date. Millions of what3words addresses are in use around the world, with thousands of businesses using them to save money, be more efficient and provide a better customer experience. what3words is integrated into apps, platforms and websites, with just a few lines of code. Products are available for free or for a nominal fee for qualifying NGOs. Its partners include Mercedes-Benz, Ford, Domino’s Pizza, Lonely Planet, Airbnb and Cabify.
what3words has a team of over 100 people, across offices in London UK, San-Francisco USA, Johannesburg ZA and Ulaanbaatar Mongolia. The company has raised over £45 million in capital from investors such as Intel, Aramex, Deutsche Bahn, SAIC and the Sony Investment Fund.

Test of Mercedes-Benz Vans, DPD Germany and what3words

For more information

DPD Germany press contact

Peter Rey