Meegroeien met de wereld om ons heen

Mail in the Netherlands: keeping up the pace

Faster, more flexible sorting

PostNL is the first postal company in the world to work with the SMX: the sorting machine extra. This new generation of sorting machines helps us and our customers. Because it enables new ways of processing and receiving mail, even digitally.

What is happening in the world around us?

Klant aan de knoppen

Customer in control

More than ever, customers – both companies and consumers – are influencing our service.


Volume reduction

Fewer mail items are being sent. We expect that mail volumes in the Dutch market will decline by an average of 7 percent to 9 percent per year from 2015 to 2017.



Our life and work are becoming more digitised, as does the way we do business.

Growing with the world around us

Mail has formed the basis of our company for more than two hundred years. But we are changing and updating the way in which we process mail for our customers. The new generation of sorting machines enables innovative services. 

For example, the machines can read barcodes on every mail item, which means we can offer Track & Check: customers are able to track their letter. For another new service, MyMail, we notify receivers there is mail waiting for them. The customer can then decide how, where and when they receive their mail. 

This is how we offer our customers control. By keeping pace with the world around us and with the wishes of our customers, we will continue to be the designated partner for all mail and parcel solutions.

“Our communications have digitised immensely, which means that mail volumes are declining. With all these digital options, sending a letter is, more than ever, a conscious choice. This means the mail we do process, is becoming more important. So it’s not strange customers want more control over their mail. That is exactly what the SMX enables us to offer. And to create the optimum user experience, we use our state-of-the-art IT backbone and all the opportunities offered by the internet.” Resi Becker, Vice director Production

New technologies

PostNL is the first mail company in the world to use the SMX, and is thus able to utilise all the opportunities offered by this new technology. This results in huge improvements to our sorting processes and to our achievement. 

SMX can sort various formats together, at speeds of up to 33,000 items per hour; a speed that only the newest generation of sorting machines can manage. And with the arrival of the sorting machine coding (SMC) in 2016, we will be able to sort all mail by machine: unprecedented. This enables us to use a special coding line: each address is given a unique code, that is printed on the postal items. It will make the preparation of mail rounds much easier and more efficient. 

This is how we are making our logistics mail process even simpler, smarter and faster. And how we are able to offer innovative services, including Track & Check for letters. And our customers benefit from this, too.

Facts & figures: SMX

Eventually we will have 16 SMXs, spread across our six mail sorting centres.

The SMX can label, print and process up to 33,000 mail items per hour.

If the SMX does not immediately recognise an address, this is decoded real-time via video coding in Manilla.

Logistics are in our blood

Mail volumes are declining. We want to have a good postal network and be a financially healthy company. That is why we are always looking for ways to adapt our organisation and make it smaller, cheaper, more flexible. And thus more future-proof. 

The SMX plays an important role in this. The machine makes so much of our work better, faster and more efficient, it has a huge impact on how we design our processes. This is a complex puzzle that will never be finished. But luckily logistics are in our blood. Many professionals are involved every day in raising our logistics efficiency and quality to a higher level, achieving cost savings and connecting senders and receivers in a smart and affordable way.

SMX makes us...


The machine literally takes the work out of our hands and runs at an unprecedented pace, so we need fewer machines for sorting mail.

More efficient

The advanced technology means that we can do more work automatically and we make fewer errors.


We need less machines and create more space for preparatory work in the sorting centres. We can close preparation locations and we need less people to do the work.

More flexible

Having fewer locations reduces the time and money needed for linehaul. This means we can continue sorting until later in the evening.

Saving costs

At the end of 2015 we announced an additional 200 million euros in cost savings. The wealth of opportunities offered by the SMX will play an important role in this.

Attention to customers and employees

We deliver mail five days a week, throughout the country. And we aim for the highest quality, every day. That way we can outperform the competition. We cannot simply shut down our networks if we want to put a new machine into operation. Our customers should not be inconvenienced because of the changes our company is going through. 

That is why we are organising the arrival of every SMX with the greatest care and attention. We spend a lot of time testing, building and using the SMX step by step, and keep the old machinery intact until the new process is fully operational. We train our own people as specialists, so we can get the best out of them and our investments. And for those made redundant, we provide good support and assistance in making the move to a new future, inside or outside PostNL.