What3words delivers 15% efficiency boost for DPD in trial

What3words has proved its ability to improve efficiency for couriers in a trial conducted with Mercedes-Benz and DPD.

Two drivers from DPD took to the roads in Germany, one using what3words and the other using traditional street address-based navigation.

Both vans were loaded with 50 packages and both drivers were using the same delivery order based on a real, historical route from DPD.

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.

What3words 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. "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 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, said: "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. "

 To watch a video of the test in action, visit

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