Reynolds predicts half-million pound savings from streamlining deliveries with Truckstops

Challenge

Mapmechanics-Reynolds-box-van-lineupReynolds, one of the UK’s leading national suppliers of fresh fruit, vegetables, cheese and dairy products to the foodservice market, delivers produce nationwide to hotels, restaurants, pubs, bars, educational and healthcare establishments and workplace caterers. Customers include Hyatt Hotels and the Carluccios and Pizza Express restaurant chains.

It operates from a state-of-the-art 140,000 sq ft national distribution facility at Waltham Cross, Hertfordshire, and through a network of five regional distribution bases and two outbases. Its mixed distribution fleet is made up of 250 temperature-controlled vehicles.

Most delivery routes tend to remain broadly the same from week to week, but new customers are recruited constantly, and historically, when existing routes had no more capacity, more routes were simply added. Paul Duggan, a consultant and planner, says: “In such a complex operation, it can become impossible to see where savings might be possible.”

Martin Ward, Reynolds’ head of transport, explains: “In our early days, customer service had to be our number one priority.” However, he says that after four years of growth at 10 to 15 per cent, the company realised that sophisticated software could make the operation much more efficient.

Any new system needed the ability to plan multi-drop deliveries at widely differing frequencies (daily, every two or three days, weekly and so on), and to allow for Saturday deliveries.

Solution

The company’s response was to start modelling varying delivery scenarios with CACI’s Truckstops, one of the world’s most widely-used routing and scheduling applications. This is equally suitable for optimising fixed routes and planning routes that vary from day to day. It has inbuilt capability to take account of variations in delivery frequency, and also respects mandatory time windows at specific delivery points.

Truckstops appealed to us because it is straightforward to use and has a user-friendly interface,” Martin Ward says, “yet it is remarkably powerful, and provides a solid modelling platform. It also has an appealing mapping capability. We realised this would help us to explain to our staff how the savings would work, and to sell the benefits to our sales team.”

He says a key step in the early days was to get the data input into Truckstops right. “Initially this took time, but our IT department has now developed a custom data export routine, which allows order details to be transferred rapidly to Truckstops from our order processing system.”

Truckstops appealed to us because it is straight forward to use, yet it is remarkably powerful, and provides a solid modelling platform

The Truckstops review has gone hand in hand with other operational changes. In particular, some customers have agreed to place orders for next-day delivery earlier in the evening, allowing more efficient scheduling and an earlier morning departure by delivery vehicles.

Benefits

Truckstops is expected to save us half a million pounds a year, and is now contributing significantly to the success of our business

By introducing Truckstops, Reynolds estimates that it will eventually be able to save up to half a million pounds a year. These gains arise from a range of measures – notably changing the delivery sequence and vehicle size, and reducing the number of routes. In the London area, for example, Truckstops quickly identified the possibility of reducing the number of routes from 16 to 11, partly through the introduction of 12-tonne or 14-tonne vehicles to replace 7.5-tonners. In East Anglia, Truckstops revealed an opportunity to reduce the number of routes from five to four.

Using Truckstops, Reynolds has also been able to identify the benefits of adding small outbases, which the company calls “popup depots”. The first two are at Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk and Gillingham, Kent.

Martin Ward points out that the company has avoided reductions in staffing or fleet size. “We’re using the savings to take on more deliveries as the company grows.”

Truckstops has also helped the company to switch deliveries temporarily between bases to offset short-term capacity constraints.

Martin Ward says Reynolds will probably add two more Truckstops licences as the remodelling programme is extended across the country. “Truckstops is now contributing significantly to the success of our business.”