Sud Ouest – Regional daily newspaper delivery

The challenge

  • Optimising newspaper home delivery rounds with a high density of calls on specific streets over a large area
  • Delivering additional newspapers that were previously sent by post
  • Taking on regional home delivery of national newspapers
  • Avoiding undue disruption to existing delivery rounds
  • Preserving existing relationships between deliverers and customers

Streetservicer has helped to show up mistakes that were not evident before.

Bordeaux-based Sud Ouest, one of France’s leading regional daily newspaper groups, arranges early morning home delivery of its publications to 120,000 customers across a large area stretching from La Rochelle in the north down to the border with Spain.

Deliveries are carried out by selfemployed teams of “porteurs”, usually using mopeds in urban areas and cars in more rural areas. On average they make 180 deliveries a day each, and some make up to 300. All newspapers must arrive by 7.30 am.MAPMECHANICS' STREETSERVICER enhances efficiency and flexibility for Sud Ouest

The company wanted to take over some deliveries that were previously made by post, ensuring earlier delivery and saving cost. At the same time, as part of a nationwide political initiative to introduce more environmentally-friendly newspaper distribution, Sud Ouest was required to take responsibility for delivering certain national newspapers in its area.

Automated scheduling of journeys seemed the natural solution, so initially Sud Ouest tried Truckstops, which it had found invaluable in scheduling store and kiosk deliveries.

However, the company was keen to avoid disrupting established delivery rounds unduly, or overriding long-standing relationships between porteurs and their customers, and realised it needed a more keenly-targeted solution. Logistics manager Philippe Sender explains: “Truckstops always attempts to produce the most efficient routes possible, but in this application it would have involved too much change from our existing practice.”

Nevertheless, the company wanted to continue using Geoconcept, the geographic information system that it was successfully running in conjunction with Truckstops, as well as HERE (formerly NAVTEQ) street-level map data, its mapping of choice.

The solution

  • Streetservicer specialised optimisation solution
  • Used in conjunction with Geoconcept geographic information system
  • Taking advantage of HERE digital street map database

Our routes are more efficient now.

Mapmechanics supplied Sud Ouest with Streetservicer, the specialised optimisation system for scheduling the movements of people who make multiple calls on the same roads or streets, whether driving or on foot. It is It is designed to integrate with Geoconcept, and is fully compatible with HERE data. For the latest version Mapmechanics has taken special account of the requirements of Sud Ouest and other users with similar operations.

Streetservicer includes a feature called a “preferential penalty”, which enables users to stipulate that a specific staff member should continue to serve customers in a given area, even if the objective result might seem less than optimal.

It also allows users to produce routes where the priority is either the time taken or the distance covered (or a mixture of the two). And it takes full account of the minimum and maximum work load that each person or vehicle can take on – the quantity of goods they can carry, vehicle capacity, distance travelled and time available.

Initially Sud Ouest deployed Streetservicer to handle around 30,000 deliveries in the Bordeaux area, which is covered by 130 porteurs. The company has been able to add a number of new routes to accommodate almost 2,000 new customers; yet only about 20 per cent of the existing routes have been altered. Now the system is being rolled out in other areas.

The benefits

  • Delivery rounds are now planned automatically and efficiently
  • Previously hidden anomalies such as unnecessary excess travel are revealed
  • It is much quicker to produce delivery schedules
  • Existing relationships between deliverers and customers are mostly left intact

If you alter one route, the changes could affect all the others. With Streetservicer, we can prevent this from becoming a problem.

“Our routes are more efficient now,” says Christine Duquesne, business analyst at Sud Ouest, “and Streetservicer has helped to show up mistakes that were not evident before. In one case, for instance, it revealed that a porteur was travelling 10km further than was necessary.”

She says Streetservicer helps the company to avoid the “domino effect” that can arise with more conventional scheduling systems. “If you alter one route, the changes could affect all the others. With Streetservicer, we can prevent this from becoming a problem.”

Christine Duquesne says Streetservicer has also reduced the amount of time it takes to plan the routes, and makes it easier for the company to negotiate with the porteurs to implement the new routes. The optimisation process will be repeated periodically as delivery patterns change, so the time-saving will apply on every occasion.

“Mapmechanics spent a lot of time ensuring that Streetservicer produced the right result for us,” says Philippe Sender. “Now we are sure it is exactly what we want.”

He says other regional newspaper groups are looking for new systems for home deliveries, “and they will certainly be interested in Streetservicer.”