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Mailbox 4.0

Renz Mailbox

A smart package station made by Renz GmbH aims to improve delivery service. And thyssenkrupp is the perfect partner for materials.

Text: Johannes Arnold, Photos: Wolfram Scheible

The requirements for mailboxes seem manageable at first glance. They should look impressive, withstand all types of weather, last as long as possible, and offer plenty of space for packages. But customer requirements are becoming increasingly complex and have changed fundamentally in recent years.

“Fewer and fewer traditional letters are ending up in our mailboxes these days,” says Armin Renz, who runs the third-generation family business of the same name. But e-commerce is on the rise. Whether clothing, technology, books, or even food, everything is ordered online. But before reaching their recipients, most packages are left with neighbors or at remote package stations. Retrieving them is troublesome and time-consuming.

myRENZbox-App
You’ve got mail: When the courier places a package in the myRENZbox, the recipient receives a notification via text message or the app.

Receiving and returning packages, made easy

Erwin Renz Metallwarenfabrik gave a lot of thought to this digitization issue, and in 2015 the company unveiled a next-generation mailbox that solved the problem: the ‘myRENZbox.’ This intelligent package box for single- or multi-family houses and company headquarters is connected to the Internet. As a result, package delivery companies can access the box and leave the package right at the recipient’s home or place of business.

A message is sent to the recipient immediately via e-mail, text message, or the myRENZbox app. They can then pick up their package at any time, using a PIN code, transponder, or Bluetooth connection to the app. And if they aren’t satisfied with the contents, they can send the package back via the myRENZbox – a clear gain in time and convenience. That’s why Renz has already won two awards for its innovation: the 2017 Smarthome Award and the 2017 Digital Leader Award.

Package delivery made easy
Package delivery made easy (from left): Made possible by a successful collaboration between Armin Renz, Achim Peuster, Raimund Grüttner, and Bernd Tremmel.

Trust through exchange

A system such as myRENZbox offers enormous potential, including for thyssenkrupp. After all, the steel for the doors and housing comes from Eichen and the pieces are finished in Mannheim. “We offer uncompromising product quality,” says Raimund Grüttner, purchasing manager at Renz. He has been at the company for more than three decades, during which time thyssenkrupp has produced the steel for these products and formed them individually for Renz at the Group’s Service Center. The long-standing relationship of trust, which is well past celebrating its silver anniversary, is ultimately the result of close communication between three partners working together.

“The constant communication is extremely important,” says Achim Peuster, who is responsible for the primary material in thyssenkrupp’s Business Unit Industry. That’s because the large quantities of steel from the plant in Eichen have to be assembled flawlessly and delivered at the right time to Renz’s production facilities. “Otherwise, the machines stand still,” says Grüttner.

Our Steel Service Center cuts the material to size and delivers it promptly to the customer.

Bernd Tremmel, thyssenkrupp Materials Processing Europe, Mannheim, Germany
Renz Mailbox
At Renz, the orders are completed to the customer’s specifications. This front combines a bell and mailbox system.

This is where the team from thyssenkrupp Materials Processing Europe in Mannheim plays a decisive role. Branch manager Bernd Tremmel: “Our job as a Service Center is to take the steel delivered from the plant, cut it to size, and deliver it promptly to the customer.” The focus is on parameters such as tolerances for thickness and width, but a flawless surface coating is also important. For example, Renz has settled on thin sheet coated with Galfan to ensure that the mailboxes and package boxes remain highly durable in the long term.

Armin Renz is confident that the need for networked, 24/7 accessible boxes like the myRENZbox will become far greater. “We have a job ahead of us in the next few years!” The well-coordinated team at thyssenkrupp and Renz is ready for it.

The ‘myRENZbox’ for companies

Renz has integrated the delivery processes of DHL and ParcelLock (Hermes, DPD, GLS) into the software of the package box. As a result, it can be used for both receiving and sending packages. That makes the myRENZbox interesting not only for individuals, but for companies, too. In the commercial sector, it is currently being used successfully in connection with pickup processes for ordered products, mail distribution to employees, and intralogistics.

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