HelloFresh increase deliveries fourfold with just 50% more vans

HelloFresh van with distinctive green lighting

Switching to Truckstops, a smart vehicle routing and scheduling solution from UK company Mapmechanics, is helping rapidly-expanding HelloFresh to keep down the prices of its increasingly popular home-delivered “cook from scratch” meal kits.

HelloFresh transport manager Elliot Jenkins says Truckstops has helped the company increase the scale of its in-house deliveries fourfold, even though it has only needed to put 50 per cent more vans on the road.

HelloFresh is the fast-growing online company that assembles all the main ingredients for a range of healthy and appetising meals, and delivers its recipe boxes to consumers across the country – along with instructions that walk customers methodically through the preparation and cooking process.

Truckstops is a user-friendly but powerful vehicle routing and scheduling system used by businesses large and small across the world. It is especially capable in planning efficient delivery journeys for businesses like HelloFresh, which differ from day to day and may include new customers who have never been visited before.

Having started by using carriers for its deliveries, HelloFresh is gradually building up its own delivery van fleet, and already uses this to deliver in London and the South West from a depot at Staines, Middlesex.

Shoppers are asked to place their weekly orders by midnight on Wednesday of the preceding week. The aim is then to group the orders into efficient delivery rounds, ensuring that van drivers can reach the maximum number of homes whilst travelling the minimum distance and spending the least time.

Initially the company used a basic online routing and scheduling system to handle this route planning, but Elliot says it wasn’t really ideal. “There was no user support, and the system wasn’t scaleable, so it couldn’t grow with us.”

Then the company discovered Truckstops. “I can honestly say Truckstops has transformed our scheduling process,” he says. “In the first week alone, we experienced a 40 per cent reduction in fuel costs.”

Truckstops evaluates the full list of deliveries for each day and the available vans, dividing calls into cost-efficient routes that meet all operating and legal requirements. Users can see the proposed routes displayed on a screen map, and can even move calls interactively to different routes if required.

Truckstops outputs paper route sheets for each van and a manifest (list of calls), helping warehouse staff to load the boxes in the correct delivery order. In addition, Truckstops outputs call details in a spreadsheet form, and HelloFresh uses this to generate address labels for the boxes – helping to ensure that the labels always match the schedule.

Truckstops even helps drivers find their way to each call point. Prior to every shift, schedules are downloaded to the M-Nav in-cab computer in each van. This device, part of the Navman Wireless tracking system used by the company, presents deliveries to drivers in sequential order.

“We’ve found the Truckstops team at Mapmechanics incredibly supportive,” says Elliot. “They didn’t just supply the system, they also worked with us to make sure it does what we want of it.” He says the team is continuing to develop new refinements that will keep the HelloFresh operation ahead of the game. “Why invest in other software when you can achieve the same result with the solutions you have already?”

HelloFresh is now preparing to roll out Truckstops on its operations in the Netherlands, where it hopes to make savings similar to those it has experienced in the UK.

HelloFresh was founded in 2011, and is now active in seven countries. Lately the company has aroused new interest by striking a deal in which celebrity chef Jamie Oliver is adding some of his recipes to the mix. HelloFresh is making a donation to Jamie Oliver’s Food Foundation each time one of his recipes is selected.