Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Night Operations in Paris

The Wall Street Journal Europe works with a daughter company of "La Poste", the French Post, for sending copies via international mail to subscribers who live in far away areas, most of the time rural areas where our hand delivery companies can not operate cost-effectively. So it is perfectly possible that a subscriber in the far North of Sweden receives a newspaper copy that was printed in Belgium, transported to Paris, and forwarded to a far away area in Sweden via the International French Postal Services.

The cell responsible for the international press service for La Poste is embedded in a STP warehouse (STP stands for Société de Traitment de Presse). La Poste has 5 gigantic STP warehouses around Paris. More than 1,8 million pieces of mail are processed in these facilities every night (not all of them going outside France). To be able to follow part of the stream of outgoing mail, all blue boxes (see picture) carry an invisible RFID chip. Thanks to the chip La Poste can measure exactly which boxes left the STP centers at what time, on which trucks they were loaded or unloaded, and at what time and at which location they were returned again after having gone through the postal cycle. (It speaks for itself that such a RFID chip would revolutionize the way fathers stand in their households. From the day all household materials carry a RFID chip there will be no escape anymore from what has been perceived as typical female or motherly tasks. The excuse we don't know where to find 'the stuff at home' will cease to exist:-)