The number of orders placed online keeps growing. The challenge: more orders mean more deliveries and mean more vehicles on the roads. Frequently on board of the vans as well: a lot of air – unused loading space that is driven around our cities every day. That is the reason why the Future Transportation unit at Mercedes-Benz Vans is – among other topics – handling the question how to use cargo space best. The key to optimizing storage space management is called Cargo Space Engineering.
All Good Things Come in Threes
A typical cargo space has shelves on both sides, with space to walk in-between. The solution for making better use of cargo space in vans: turning two into three! The central walkway is replaced by a third set of shelves. But how do you access the packages then?
Removable Shelving for the Vito
The smart, automated "Slider" shelving system is loaded manually at the warehouse. The consignments are sorted in advance using an algorithm, and assigned to a particular shelf compartment. Driverless transportation systems bring the shelves to the vehicle and load them directly. A Vito can be fully loaded in less than ten minutes. The benefits? Not only does the system save time, it also significantly reduces the amount of physical effort required. The individual shelves automatically slide out of the storage compartment to be unloaded. The system is particularly useful for standardized package sizes, which are used for transporting food, for example.
We had this idea and within the space of just three months we built a prototype. This makes us the first company to develop a holistic storage space management system for delivery vehicles
Conveyor Belt for the Sprinter
The removable shelves work for the Vito but not for the much taller Sprinter. This prompted the Cargo Space Engineering team to come up with another idea: The Sprinter's shelves are fixed, but the trick is the conveyors that transport the packages for removal. The delivery driver receives the correct package through a separating wall behind the driver's cab that opens automatically. The driver saves time because he or she no longer needs to walk around the vehicle and is not exposed to the dangers of traffic. Besides, an upward opening door allows the supplier to embark and disembark faster.