More precise delivery time windows can now be offered to customers, and the planning and interaction can be handled on a national basis. The company has also improved efficiency by maximising the number of deliveries each vehicle can make per trip.
“Since introducing TruckStops routing and scheduling we’ve become increasingly confident about predicting delivery times,” says Deliver2Home director Paul Tyson. “Our recently-introduced three-hour delivery time window is really working well, and the accuracy is down to TruckStops.”
As orders are entered into the Nightfreight’
Data from the TruckStops routing and scheduling optimisation system now indicates initial fleet availability. Then on the afternoon before each set of deliveries, the data is fed to TruckStops to do the actual scheduling. TruckStops allocates the deliveries to individual vehicles, spreading the load across the fleet for maximum efficiency.
Then planners fine-tune the proposed routes manually – a capability specially built into the TruckStops system. This is necessary to ensure there is enough capacity for next-day deliveries, which are still an unknown quantity when the virtual rounds are being created.
Finally the data is passed back to the Nightfreight system, and consumers are automatically sent a text or email to inform them of the expected delivery time window.
Paul Tyson points out that Nightfreight was one of the first home delivery companies to offer a choice of am or pm deliveries and consumer text alerting. “In the past we offered deliveries between 7am and 1pm, or between 12.30pm and 6pm,” he explains. “Since introducing TruckStops, we have become confident enough to tell consumers to expect us between 9.30 and 12.30.”
He adds: “Actually TruckStops gives us even more precise estimates than that, but you always have to allow for delays. We add an hour before the expected delivery and two hours after.”
Moreover, he says TruckStops is producing increasingly accurate delivery schedules over time. This is because it can be set up to reflect actual delivery times for different products and types of environment.
“As part of our telematics system, our drivers have handheld terminals for recording drop details and capturing proof of delivery, and we also use these to measure dwell times on site for various consignment types.
“This means we no longer have to rely on average delivery time estimates – we can plan true delivery times. We might for instance allocate 14 minutes for delivering a sofa, and so on.”
He points out that TruckStops will also respect delivery restrictions captured from Nightfreight’
The company runs its home delivery operation from 25 of its 50-odd branches – an unusually extensive network for this type of business, and one that helps reduce unforeseen delays by keeping travel times down. In addition, Nightfreight can bring further depots into the network to cover peaks or changes in delivery patterns.
Delivery vehicles are mostly 7.5-tonne MAN rigid trucks with tail-lifts.
Nightfreight is unrivalled in the combination of services it brings to business customers. Offering four main delivery “channels”
The company was established in 1984, and its culture is driven by personal service values and imaginative, technology-led solutions. Nightfreight is widely recognised as the market leader in providing flexible solutions across the full spectrum of B2C and B2B consignment deliveries. Its wide-ranging client portfolio extends from SMEs to top household brands including B&Q, House of Fraser, John Lewis, Wickes and Wilkinson.
# # #
MapMechanics has been providing innovative solutions in logistics planning, sales and marketing, digital mapping and geographic analysis for over twenty years.
MapMechanics develops, supplies and supports TruckStops, one of the world’s best-established routing and scheduling solutions, and its portfolio includes a wide range of optimisation solutions. Examples include specialist systems for optimising transport of full or part loads, for servicing a high density of calls on the same streets and for optimising use of pallet networks. Latest developments in routing and scheduling solutions from MapMechanics can be found at www.TruckStopsRouting.com
MapMechanics is also the UK distributor of the GeoConcept geographic information system, which is used in a diverse range of fields such as depot planning, marketing, healthcare, transport and logistics, site selection and territory allocation.
MapMechanics also offers a comprehensive service of implementation support and training.