Dukes Bailiffs – Call and route planning and optimisation

The challenge

  • Reducing the time spent on planning bailiffs’ journeys
  • Scheduling journeys more efficiently to reduce mileage and fuel consumption
  • Allocating calls to the most logical journeys, wherever they appear on a map
  • Ensuring that bailiffs do not omit “out of area” calls
  • Increasing the number of calls a bailiff can make in a day

In the past it sometimes took the planning manager all day to work out journeys for all the bailiffs. Now the job takes just an hour.

Dukes Bailiffs, a long-established company based in Stone, Staffordshire, concentrates mainly on council tax and business rent work, and has to plan daily journeys for its team of bailiffs, who drive to multiple call points using a fleet of
small vans.

In the past, a planning manager used to allocate journeys to the bailiffs manually on the basis of postcodes, working from an atlas. Paperwork was assembled for each of them, but it was left to individual bailiffs to work out their route and call sequence –a time-consuming and imprecise approach.Dukes Bailiffs transforms efficiency with planning solution

Inefficiencies could also arise with this old method, since on some occasions the planner might not spot calls that would have fitted into a given journey because they were out of sight on the next or previous page of the atlas.

Managing director Colin Naylor was convinced that a more methodical approach to scheduling would get the planning job done more quickly and efficiently, reducing journey times and saving fuel, while at the same time enabling the bailiffs to make more visits per day.

A further requirement was to tackle the problem of neglected “out of area” calls. These are visits that a bailiff might omit if they do not fit readily into the route he has in mind.

“We knew there had to be a better way to handle the planning,” Colin Naylor says, “so we researched the market for a suitable system.”

The solution

  • A solution suite from MAPMECHANICS assembled specifically for the bailiff business
  • The Geoconcept geographic information system
  • MAPMECHANICS’ TRUCKSTOPS routing and scheduling optimisation engine
  • Digital map data

This gives us evidence that a bailiff actually visited a given location and is invaluable in helping to resolve disputes.

The company settled on a solution from MAPMECHANICS, which has been created from a range of standard products specifically to meet the needs of the bailiff business.

At the core of the solution is the Geoconcept geographic information system, which allows the planning manager to assemble visits into logical rounds interactively by “lassooing“ them (drawing a freehand shape around them) with a mouse on a screen map.

The system automatically identifies all the calls within the area, which can be allocated to the most appropriate bailiff.

TRUCKSTOPS, then comes into play. Its routing engine enables the system to plan efficient journeys that make best use of each bailiff’s time, whilst keeping travel to a minimum.

The system is seen as an ideal complement to the Crystal Ball mobile phone-based tracking system already used by Dukes. “This gives us evidence that a bailiff actually visited a given location,” Colin Naylor says, “and is invaluable in helping to resolve disputes.”

The bailiffs also have satnav on their phones, and can use this to follow the routes worked out by the MAPMECHANICS system.

The benefits

  • Bailiffs can now handle 30 to 40 per cent more work per day
  • The rate of successful collection per bailiff has been increased
  • Journey mileage and travel time have been reduced significantly
  • Planning has been reduced from a day-long task to a job of around an hour
  • Missed “out of area” calls are virtually a thing of the past

The Mapmechanics system has enabled Dukes to improve its rate of successful collection per bailiff, and that has a direct impact on our efficiency and profitability.

The MAPMECHANICS solution has enabled Dukes’ bailiffs to take on 30 to 40 per cent more work than before, and has also enabled the company to reduce journey planning time radically and cut down fuel bills significantly.

“Now the bailiffs no longer need to plan their own journeys,” says Colin Naylor. “We can provide them with ready-made routes, which can save them at least an hour a day.” He adds: “In the past it sometimes took the planning manager all day to work out journeys for all the bailiffs. Now the job takes just an hour.”

The solution has also virtually removed the problem of neglected out of area calls. “These form part of our contractual obligations to customers, and the Mapmechanics system helps us meet those commitments swiftly and efficiently.”

He says the bailiffs recognise that the new system actually works in their favour. “It’s important to check that they really did follow the proposed route. Everyone understands how the system works and what is expected.”

Colin Naylor sums up: “The Mapmechanics system has enabled Dukes to improve its rate of successful collection per bailiff, and that has a direct impact on our efficiency and profitability.”