From catchment planning to continental expansion, data specialist helps join the dots
Digital map data assembled, prepared and formatted by MapMechanics is playing a key role in the continuing expansion of Tesco.com, Britain’s biggest grocery home shopping retail business.
Having originally supplied map data to Tesco for strategic analysis and planning, MapMechanics is now also the supplier of the mapping used in the daily scheduling of Tesco.com’s fleet of home delivery vehicles.
In the latest development by the retailer, MapMechanics has also provided mapping to support the expansion of Tesco.com’s home delivery service into continental European markets such as the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
MapMechanics is a leading UK-based specialist supplier of digital mapping and business and demographic data, which it not only sources, but also formats to suit the specific needs of customers and their software.
For some years Tesco analysts have used map data from MapMechanics to help define store delivery catchment areas. They have also used data from MapMechanics to help them understand where the uptake of the company’s home delivery service was likely to be highest.
Data products supplied by MapMechanics for these activities include ITIS road speed data (latterly renamed INRIX data) for modelling catchments, and postcode sector boundary data for analysing the propensity of consumers to use the internet for online shopping.
In a separate initiative, road speed data supplied by MapMechanics has been in continuous use by Tesco.com’s transport planners in connection with the routing and scheduling system it employed for its delivery fleet in the past.
Latterly Tesco.com has introduced a new, more advanced routing and scheduling system, Oracle Real-Time Scheduler, to plan home deliveries by its fleet of over 2,000 vans; and in the light of its established relationship with MapMechanics, the retailer again turned to the company to supply appropriate digital map data for both the UK and Ireland.
To work with the Oracle software, MapMechanics has supplied Tesco with NAVTEQ Premium vector street-level map data, which includes essential routing information such as one-way streets, banned turns and address ranges. It has also supplied Andes raster mapping, which is derived from the NAVTEQ data and provides a visually pleasing version of the data for display and presentational purposes.
Tesco.com generally delivers to homes from 8am right through to 11pm from Monday to Friday, as well as up to 10pm at weekends, so it is vital for the company to be able to route its vehicles to take account of changing traffic speeds and flows at different times of day and at weekends.
MapMechanics has therefore also supplied Tesco.com with NAVTEQ Traffic Patterns, a data set that contains average traffic speed on individual road segments, calculated from past traffic flow measurements and differentiated by time of day and day of the week. In addition, during the Olympics, Mapmechanics provided a specifically tailored road network to help maintain a good service for online customers.
According to Ben Dito Smith, the Location Strategy and Analysis Manager for Tesco.com : “Efficient, timely delivery is a fundamental feature of our home shopping proposition, so it is essential for us to use the most appropriate software and data available for our delivery planning system.”
He adds: “We have found that MapMechanics is very well equipped to provide exactly the mapping and demographic data we need. The MapMechanics team are responsive and helpful when it comes to advising on the best products for our requirements, and good at supplying the data in an appropriate format.”
David Cockrell, MapMechanics’
He says this wide-ranging knowledge can be particularly useful when people in different departments of the same company ask questions about mapping or digital data, which has happened from time to time at Tesco, or approach MapMechanics with new requirements.
“We can quickly join the dots together, and suggest seamless approaches to problem solving.”
Tesco.com delivers to consumers’ homes from larger retail stores and from a small number of specially designed dotcom stores. The home shopping business on its own now turns over more than £2 billion.