Robert Lee Distribution Streamlines Routing, Scheduling and Delivery Management with Truckstops and TranSend ePODFebruary 3rd, 2018
- Moving from regionally planned distribution to more efficient centralised distribution
- Automating delivery planning and execution from day to day
- Managing deliveries in real time Replacing paper records with flexible, centralised electronic proof of delivery (ePOD)
- Checking route compliance and comparing actual performance against the plan
Robert Lee Distribution is the UK’s largest independent distributor of bathroom, kitchen and plumbing products. The company distributes around 40,000 line items to retailers and merchants from a network of four national depots, using a fleet of more than 50 vehicles.
Historically customers were allocated to specific depots, but the company was keen to balance deliveries more efficiently across the entire fleet, and to automate delivery planning and execution from day to day.
Real-time delivery management
Robert Lee Distribution also wanted to manage deliveries in real time, replacing paper records with a more flexible, centralised ePOD system, and to be able to check route compliance and compare actual delivery performance against the plan.
The company decided to introduce a comprehensive centralised scheduling and delivery management solution featuring products from two suppliers – CACI and TranSend.
The package includes Truckstops dynamic vehicle routing and scheduling from CACI, and tracking, electronic proof of delivery (ePOD) and route compliance from TranSend.
The latest version of Truckstops can output data directly to a growing range of specific telematics and tracking systems, including TranSend, and these two companies have worked together successfully on previous applications.
Truckstops is designed to optimise delivery schedules each day for the whole fleet, taking account of delivery priorities, constraints and time windows as necessary, while TranSend is designed to manage all aspects of the delivery process, from driver log-on to customer delivery and collection and return to the depot.
Using an “Output to TranSend” button within Truckstops, the company passes the schedules directly to the TranSend system.
TranSend has been configured precisely to Robert Lee requirements for data capture and exception reporting. Drivers have been equipped with Zebra TC55 handheld terminals, and the Truckstops schedule is sent to these terminals each day. Drivers then use them to navigate to delivery points, capture signatures and note exceptions. The data is sent back to base wirelessly in real time for analysis, invoicing and archiving.
Using Truckstops has enabled Robert Lee to centralise its distribution across all national depots, providing a better-integrated and more efficient delivery service.
Capturing data from the field with the TranSend system means the information can be sent back to base wirelessly in real time for analysis, invoicing and archiving.
The ability to track all consignments means pre-delivery text alerts can be sent to each customer automatically when the vehicle is a pre-set distance away. Meanwhile, delays or other issues are captured back at base as they occur, allowing staff to alert customers or take other appropriate action.
The record of actual routes, timings and drivers’ hours can be compared after the event with the Truckstops schedule, and parameters can be amended over time to improve the efficiency of the operation further.
Robert Lee plans to use Truckstops later in a strategic planning role, refining its delivery network and operations to reflect past experience and future requirements as closely as possible.
According to Robert Lee Distribution operations director, Colin O’Reilly: “CACI and TranSend were selected following intense negotiation. Both companies met Robert Lee Distribution requirements, and have come up with an integrated package that promises to optimise use of our existing delivery fleet and provide customers with a more efficient and proactive service.”
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