Cleveron is an Estonian-based technology company that creates hardware and software for innovative last mile solutions – parcel lockers and parcel robots. Among their clients are the world’s biggest retailer Walmart, fashion retailer Inditex (Zara), FoxPost, DHL, DPD, Speedy. Cleveron has a wide product portfolio, having suitable lockers for small companies who like to upgrade their business; for logistics companies to build their own parcel locker network; and for retailers, who are handing over goods which are bought from the online store.

Cleveron has a unique experience in the last mile field thanks to its background – the company has created their first parcel locker already in 2007, as they were the logistics department of the online furniture store On24. From this department, the logistics company SmartPost was born, which went on to build Estonia’s first parcel locker network in 2009. SmartPost was the first to build a nation-wide network, after that several logistics companies followed. Today, Estonians are sometimes jokingly called the parcel locker nation – in 2020, more than 9 million parcels were delivered (Estonia has only 1.3 million people), and over 70% of all the parcels were delivered via parcel lockers.

In 2010, Cleveron sold the SmartPost brand and the locker network to Finnish Post (Itella) and focused on creating robotic solutions, which are often trailblazers in the last mile field. The solutions save time and money for both the consumer and the company: parcel lockers or robots are efficient storage spaces, act as a self-service so the customers do not need help from the store staff, are quick to fill, easy to use and simple to manage.

Cleveron also has its own online food store, operating in Viljandi, Estonia, to test the online store concept and their grocery solutions, like the grocery robot Cleveron 501. The company also has Cleveron Academy, a higher education program for robotic software developers, who are actively involved with the R&D department that is working on their autonomous robot courier.

Easy Engineering: What are the main areas of activity of the company?

CLEVERON: Cleveron’s products are solutions to hand over things. Their use is not limited to logistics or retail. We offer solutions to huge retailers who have large parcel volumes (Cleveron 402); logistics companies (Cleveron 302, 351), car dealerships and libraries (Cleveron 301), grocery stores (Cleveron 501), small PUDO points and kiosks (Cleveron 405). The units are just a system to hand over something – parcels ordered online, sent from one parcel locker to another, books that can be received after the library closes; car dealerships use it as a 24/7 key storage – you can take your car to servicing, leave your keys in the locker and afterwards you can collect the car when it is done.

Cleveron also creates its own software to operate and manage the solutions, we also offer installation and remote support.

E.E: What’s the news for 2021 about new products?

CLEVERON: In March 2021 we are introducing our smallest parcel robot, Cleveron 405, which is meant for small convenient stores, PUDO points and kiosks. It can hold up to 170 parcels per square meter, so it is a convenient solution for a store, that needs to hand over parcels but is running low on storage space. It is efficient because it has the same smart storage system that our larger robots use – parcel is measured when it is inserted and then stored on trays accordingly to its height. There are no fixed shelves, only movable trays. This provides efficiency since the entire space inside the machine is used. The pickup is the same as in our other products – customer can scan their order code on their mobile phone and receives their parcel within seconds.

E.E: What are the ranges of products?

CLEVERON: Cleveron’s products can be divide into three categories: parcel lockers (indoor and outdoor); parcel robots (from 100 to 3600 parcels) and a grocery robot for food items. Some parcel robots can be installed inside the wall, and are modular, meaning that they can be built bigger after installation.

E.E: At what stage is the market where you are currently active?

CLEVERON: We are active all over the world, in more than 30 countries, and the markets are in different stages. Some markets have a very well-developed last mile logistics, but it has grown so much that it needs more effective solutions to be sustainable. And there are also markets that are only starting to use parcel lockers as the handover point.

E.E: What can you tell us about market trends?

CLEVERON: COVID-19 has definitely brought the e-commerce boom, which brings more revenue through online orders but also create challenges – how to organize the delivery in a way which would be sustainable in the longer perspective. New delivery methods are prevailing, like curbside pickup, micro fulfilment centres are being created. No one knows what will happen, if the virus has retreated and life goes back to normal – will consumers continue ordering goods online or not? Since people prefer convenience, we think that e-commerce growth is here to stay and companies need to find suitable solutions to cater to the needs of the customers. Stores need pickup points for people, who like to go to the stores; parcel lockers as the most affordable handover solutions will be everywhere. Locker networks will be courier agnostic and the next boom would be personal parcel lockers like Cleveron 201, which can hold both food and books.

E.E: What are the most innovative products marketed?

CLEVERON: Parcel robots, which are a step up from parcel lockers and can be easily integrated to the handover process. But in the near future, autonomous delivery robots and vehicles. They are environmentally friendly, allow flexibility in delivery, are not impacted by employee shortages. Small autonomous vehicles are already delivering goods and parts in the warehouses; soon they will be in the store parking lots, and after that, on the streets. We are already testing our Cleveron 701 in Viljandi.

E.E: What estimations do you have for 2021?

CLEVERON: The main focus will be establishing a sustainable omnichannel delivery model which includes not just one, but different delivery options. Companies must really understand their customer base, what do they like and how they like things delivered. It will not be just one solution, like only home delivery, but a mix of several options.

E-commerce’s growth will slow down, but it will still grow. People are used to the comfort of online shopping and will continue to do that even after the physical shops open. This means that the parcel volumes will stay high and companies need to automate as much as possible to cut costs. From automated warehouses to automated handover.

Companies will move closer to the customers with the help of parcel lockers and robots. When you have a very good online store, you don’t real store. You only need independent delivery units and put them up next to office buildings, apartment buildings, in residential areas. You don’t need to have a physical store; you only need a place to hand over your orders and a locker is more reasonable than long delivery routes with missed deliveries.

Parcel lockers will become a available for all companies, not just big retailers or logistics operators. SMEs will discover the advantages of their own parcel locker. It gives any company an opportunity to expand your business or services 24/7 and be there for your clients in the moment when they need it the most, not just when you are open. One of my favorite examples is a client of ours that offers spare parts to tractors. When a farmer’s tractor breaks, it is usually during a job that is really important and needs to be finished. The farmer can order a spare part and when he arrives after the service is closed, he can pick up the vital part from the parcel locker, go back home, fix the tractor and it will be ready to go the next morning.