TRUCKSTOPS DEPLOYED FOR IRISH DELIVERIESSeptember 10th, 2018
CORMAR CARPET CO. IMPROVE DELIVERY PERFORMANCE AND RELIABILITY IN IRELAND
- Scheduling Irish carpet deliveries as efficiently as possible
- Achieving the same scheduling efficiencies north and south of the Irish border
- Detecting addresses in Northern Ireland and the Republic automatically
- Improving delivery performance and reliability to all Irish customers
Cormar Carpet Company, Britain’s leading independent carpet manufacturer, distributes its products throughout mainland Britain and Ireland from its manufacturing base in Lancashire. The company delivers daily to more than three thousand carpet retailers, working in association with its logistics partners, and has steadily enhanced its logistics capability to save cost, improve customer service, shorten delivery times and streamline order handling.
A key element throughout this process has been the use of CACI’s Truckstops routing and scheduling optimisation system, which generates efficient multi-depot delivery plans on a daily basis for the whole operation. The company has continued to rely on Truckstops as it has evolved from a multiple-site trunking / crossdocking arrangement to a more streamlined distribution centre solution now involving a brand new distribution centre in Hemel Hempstead.
However, Cormar’s Irish logistics operation presented a special challenge. Deliveries on both sides of the Irish border are handled with small fleet of vehicles from a depot in Belfast Operated by Cormar’s logistic partners. But although UK postcodes have been available in Northern Ireland for many years for geocoding delivery addresses (pinpointing their location automatically on a map), no similar codes existed for the Irish Republic.
Since geocoding with postcodes is a standard building block for nearly all routing and scheduling systems, this meant Cormar’s operations south of the border were denied the efficiency gains that fully automated scheduling could provide.
Once again, Truckstops came to the rescue. When, in 2015, the Irish government introduced Eircodes, its first-ever official postcode system. Truckstops was quickly updated with a version that could use Eircodes to geocode delivery addresses.
Not only that, but Truckstops also took account of the fact that not all Irish addresses would be allocated Eircodes immediately. With addresses where no Eircode has yet been “claimed”, Truckstops automatically finds the location from the address itself by looking it up in the HERE online map database.
If there are ever any queries about uncoded addresses, once they have been resolved, Truckstops learns from experience, becoming even more accurate over time.
Cormar Carpet Company was quick to take advantage of this new capability, making use of Truckstops’ Eircode support soon after it was introduced.
In some respects, the seven-character Eircodes are more precise than their UK equivalents. While most UK postcodes apply to clusters of neighbouring addresses, each Eircode is unique to a single address – even to individual flats with apartment blocks. This makes the system particularly well-suited to pinpoint-accurate geocoding.
The first three characters of each Eircode make up a “routing key”, containing details of the post town applying to the address, while the final four digits represent a “unique identifier” for each property. A typical code looks like A65 F4E2.
Whilst Truckstops now uses Eircodes whenever possible to geocode addresses in the Irish Republic, it continues to geocode addresses in Northern Ireland from their existing UK postcodes, and differentiates intelligently between the two types of address.
- Truckstops’ ability to schedule Irish deliveries in the same way as mainland deliveries
- Much less manual intervention required to geocode addresses in the Irish Republic
- Progressive improvement in scheduling accuracy over time
- More reliable and predictable deliveries to all Cormar’s Irish outlets
“We can now approach delivery scheduling in Ireland in exactly the same way as scheduling in mainland Britain,” says Cormar’s distribution manager Gary Mitchell.
The benefits include Truckstops’ ability to schedule centrally, over a dispersed network like Cormar’s, and to respect time windows and other constraints at each delivery location.
Other features include the ability to restrict calls to specific vehicle types or drivers with special skills, to plan deliveries and collections on the same journey, to create schedules that extend over more than a day, and to plan journeys that start from remote locations.
Cormar’s orders are fed automatically from the company’s warehouse management system to Truckstops, then the optimised routes are passed to its transport management software for implementation and analysis.
In the latest phase of Cormar’s progressive improvement campaign, it is rolling out a new state-of-the art ePOD system with intelligent delivery management applications to its vehicle fleet. This will allow Truckstops schedules to be sent directly to each driver’s mobile device and relay valuable information back to Cormar to keep customers up to date with their deliveries.
“Truckstops was one of the first components we put in place when we embarked on our ‘perfect delivery’ project over eight years ago,” says Gary Mitchell, “and our choice has been fully vindicated. It remains central to our distribution planning all these years later.”
To find out more about Truckstops route planning solutions call us now on +44 (0)20 8568 7000 or email email@example.com