DISPATCHERS HAVE A VERY DEMANDING JOB

constellations constellations

Imagine that a dispatchers map resembles the night sky with it’s constellations and the stars in each representing service and delivery points

Take Cancer for example with each star connected to appear like a crab” It looks like a route map with 6 points on it but the potential route combinations to choose from total 720!

Or take Aquarius with 13 stars. The route options are astronomic! How can a human plan and manage that under pressure and consistently make the best decisions over the course of a day?

To make it even harder just add some typical constraints that deepen that complexity:
  1. Customer demand for narrow time windows.
  2. Continuous clients’ queries.
  3. New orders coming in throughout the day.
  4. Tail-lift and other specific requirements.
  5. Exact load types and many other order variants.

The Challenge is to avoid complexity - the solution is Maxoptra

We understand all the difficulties dispatchers have to overcome every day. We designed Maxoptra to enable fast and efficient decision-making, in real-time, within ever-changing operational environments. Easy to use, affordable and highly customisable, Maxoptra helps companies to do more business with the same resources at a lower operational cost.

Schedule your routes with ease

At the click of a button, Maxoptra will build optimal routes for you, instantly considering all the constraints involved, whilst automatically monitoring progress, so you don’t have to. All you need to do is define your resources and jobs and hit the "plan" button.

With Maxoptra, you simply connect your own constellation of customers, without fuss – no supernovas.

Click here to read more about why and how Maxoptra can help, or request more information.

Read Some of Our Recent Blogs

The B2C Pivot

March 2020,

Due to the recent COVID-19 outbreak, businesses are dealing with unprecedented and difficult times. With many finding themselves needing to re-focus their approach and business model; pivoting from B2B to B2C.

This is by no means an easy feat. However, it is something that we are seeing an increasing amount of our customers doing to maintain a customer base whilst many are isolating at home.

In fact, there are numerous benefits in making the B2C pivot.

Benefits

- Re-engage with the individuals who were previously business customers
- Generate a brand-new audience
- Build repeat customers who will want to come back once they are back up and running
- Keep business moving in a difficult climate
- Explore opportunities to expand when things are back to normal

We wanted to share some learnings from our current customers, to help other businesses out there make the B2C pivot.

Positioning

Your message
Now is a time when individuals need help and support from businesses.

So instead of focusing on your sales message, identify what it is about your business that can really help people right now.

Whatever that is, make sure it is clear within your messaging and drives the rest of your new B2C strategy.

Product offering
B2B businesses buy big.

Unfortunately, the average B2C consumer won’t be looking for bulk orders. Instead, their purchases are likely to be smaller and one-off.

Cater to B2C requirements by separating your orders out into smaller offerings. Instead of boxes offer packs or baskets.

Contracts
Similarly, B2C consumers are less likely to sign up for lengthy contracts.

Allow customers to make one-off purchases, or at least sign up to shorter-term contracts, such as weekly or monthly.

Promotions
Businesses need to move fast to get up and running in this current climate, and taking on a whole new audience is no easy feat.

Speed the process up by offering deals, discounts and promotions to engage the B2C audience. Not only will this help your business to get going, but it will also support the individuals who need a little support right now.

However, remember to drop the sales-talk and keep your focus on bringing benefits to the end-user.

Language
When speaking to businesses, a certain amount of formality is sometimes expected.

For B2C customers, however, your tone can often be more informal and conversational. Speak as they would speak, and address their everyday challenges as they would. Great examples of B2C tone of voice include Nike, Innocent and Dove.

undefined
undefined
undefined

Imagery
Similarly, address your brand imagery to reflect your end customer as an individual, and not an employee. Remove any photos of offices, warehouses, and places of work, and replace them with more familiar, personal settings.

Before:

undefined

undefined

After:

undefined

undefined

Marketing

Website
One of the most important elements of the B2C switch updating your website to reflect your new offering. Ensure that your new positioning, language and imagery is used throughout you website. And be upfront and honest. Let your visitors know about your situation and your change of strategy. The clearer you are, the easier it is for new customers to understand your new offering.

eCommerce capabilities

As mentioned previously, B2B customers are likely to spend more than B2C. Which means the latter are less likely to tolerating spending time on the checkout process.

Therefore, make sure your website eCommerce capabilities are as streamlined as possible, enabling customers to quickly and easily purchase directly from your website, without having to fill out documents, send out emails or make phone calls.

Marketing channels
SEO and PPC are the realm of the B2B marketer. However, to address a B2C audience, businesses need to get creative with the channels they use.

Begin by understanding which channels your audience spend their time on, particularly social media channels such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Start engaging with your audience on these channels by setting up profiles, posting news, updates, and useful content, where possible.

Also consider paid advertisements to get up and running, as building a community on social media can take a while.

COVID-19 has brought about a sense of community, many of which can be found through Facebook groups and hashtags. Tap into these and offer the services that individuals need at such a difficult time.

Previous customers
Don’t forget your previous, B2B customers. This audience is aware of your brand, and may form your key B2C audience.

Many of them may still be checking their emails, so let them know about your new offering as soon as you can. After all, just because they aren’t within a business or an office, doesn’t mean they don’t want your services

Some things don’t change
Yes, B2B and B2C marketing are different, but they share some similarities. This means there are elements of your B2B strategy that you can easily transfer to B2C.

Some include:
- Nurturing email campaigns
- Replenishment emails
- PPC and SEO
- Deals, promotions and discounts

Customer service

Regular updates
B2C buyers are spending their own money, which means they are personally invested in anything they buy. Add to this that B2C is used to and actually expect regular communication post-purchase.

Businesses can keep their new customers regularly updated on order and delivery process through automated email and SMS updates.

Multiple channels
Many B2B businesses traditionally focus on telephone and email as their main communication channel with customers.

As previously mentioned, B2C buyers spend a lot of their free time on social media, so tap into these channels to offer customer service through Twitter or Facebook chat, for example.

Distribution

New customer locations
Another consideration for businesses making the B2C pivot is the addition of new customer locations. These could bring new territories for drivers, which are outisde of their normal routes.

If businesses are using a route optimisation platform, such as MaxOptra, it is important for drivers to follow the optimised routes given to them to ensure deliveries are as smooth and streamlined as possible.

Increasing demand
In these difficult times, if a business has an increase in demand, that’s great news! However, this can put extra strain on their drivers. Again, route optimisation can help drivers during these busy times; streamlining routes and removing the burden of additional planning and navigation for the drivers.

Dynamic routes
For businesses using route optimisation, the most pressing change that businesses are facing during the pivot is moving from fixed routes to dynamic routes, which means that daily optimisation is required.

Previously, many B2B businesses would have fixed customers on fixed ‘run numbers’, making routes very static.

B2B distribution, on the other hand, is a very different type of operation where their orders will be very sporadic and there will be a changing customer base.

MaxOptra support group

At MaxOptra we know that many businesses are going through a difficult period. Some are experiencing uncertainty, whilst others are struggling to cope with the demand.

If either applies to you, we want to help.

The MaxOptra team are lending a helping hand to struggling businesses by offering the MaxOptra system, plus support and consultancy services, free of charge, no strings attached.

We hope this will relieve the burden of planning, or offer businesses a way to pivot from B2B to B2C, as many of our customers are currently doing.

Get in touch with us for more information.

MaxOptra case study: Bobtail Fruit

March 2020,

The history of Bobtail Fruit

Bobtail Fruit is an established, family-run business, dating back to the 1950s. They have a fascinating history, with their current Director, Mark, leaving school early and starting Bobtail Fruit on a single fruit stall in London.

This was clearly a success, as soon the stalls were expanding all across London, including London Bridge, Waterloo, Temple and Southwark.

undefined

The quality of produce that Bobtail Fruit offered didn’t go unnoticed, and in the 90’s Mark was asked if he offered fruit deliveries. At the time, fruit delivery was unheard of, but this didn’t stop Bobtail Fruit.

A keen businessman, Mark began providing the very first fruit delivery offering in the UK, and soon established a warehouse in Waterloo.

Gradually, the success of their delivery offering started overtaking their stalls. Leading to Bobtail Fruit focusing their business purely on deliveries.

Today, Bobtail Fruit have changed and expanded their business to move with the times. They offer fruit and milk deliveries to 205 businesses throughout London, many of whom have multiple offices, and have been the preferred delivery company of Apple, HSBC, Spotify, and Cabinet Office.

They pride themselves on high-quality produce and fantastic customer service; hand-delivering orders directly to the office, no matter how many flights of stairs, and even laying produce out in kitchens, putting milk in the fridge, and removing old fruit.

Challenges

Bobtail Fruit’s delivery offering has dramatically grown in popularity over the past few years, meaning their current delivery processes became a challenge.

Bobtail Fruit used an internal system for managing orders and helping to plan deliveries, however, this was largely paper-based. Additionally, they were reliant on their drivers to organise postcodes and boxes for delivery, as well as their local knowledge of the London area to establish the best route.

This soon became a complicated process, and one that placed a lot of pressure on the already busy drivers.

Additionally, Bobtail Fruit were struggling to keep their customers satisfied and communicated with effectively. The process of updating customers with the whereabouts of their delivery was complicated and at times frustrating. Often with their Business Development Manager, Joseph, having to spend time attempting to contact drivers and customers, involving a lengthy back and forth process.

Bobtail Fruit had previously used vehicle tracking to monitor their deliveries. However, this did not address the challenges of managing data and orders and communicating with their customers. So the improvements proved to be limited.

Bobtail Fruit and MaxOptra

Bobtail Fruit had been looking at similar providers similar to MaxOptra for a while, however, they could not find a solution to fit their budget and requirements. It was actually another MaxOptra customer who recommended the MaxOptra system to them.

This timing was perfect, as Bobtail Fruit were running a Christmas charity project, which involved delivering Christmas presents to the homeless. The logistics of running this project had fast become complicated, so Bobtail Fruit got in touch with MaxOptra for help.

For this project, Bobtail Fruit trialled the MaxOptra system, and as this was for charity, they received significant support in getting the project set up and running quickly. Joseph was managing the project and went out with the driver to ensure smooth running, and to test the system. He reported:

“Whilst I was out with the driver and realising the capability of the MaxOptra system, I thought ‘wow!’. At first, we found it difficult to trust that the MaxOptra routes as there was little human intervention. But we soon realised these routes were by far the most efficient and quickly learned to trust the MaxOptra system.”

After getting a flavour for the MaxOptra system, Bobtail Fruit soon decided to move ahead with integrating MaxOptra into their day-to-day operations.

The benefits of MaxOptra

After just a few weeks of making small changes to their operations, Bobtail Fruit are already seeing big benefits, for example:

Cost savings
Thanks to MaxOptra, Bobtail Fruit have been able to take on more orders, at little additional cost. This is due to their streamlined delivery routes and processes; allowing them to expand their business even further, without additional processes, employees and delivery runs.

Order changes and amends
Previously, any last-minute changes would involve extensive additional paperwork. Now, Bobtail Fruit can easily move orders around and have the option of increased flexibility in their deliveries.

Allocating difficult deliveries
Previously, if Bobtail Fruit received an order and were unsure about which route to put it in, it would be added to a ‘fallout sheet’. More often than not they would have to spend hours trying to fit the delivery in correctly, or it would end up with the wrong driver. This often resulted in deliveries being hours late.

Now, the process is straightforward. Whatever the order, it is automatically added to the best delivery route, resulting in no additional paperwork, more efficient routes, and on-time deliveries.

Customer communication
If a customer contacts Bobtail Fruit enquiring where their order is, Joseph can simply check the system to identify where in the route the delivery is, and how long it is likely to take. This has cut down on calls to drivers, and results in much happier customers.

Integrations
Bobtail Fruit are also in the process of implementing a new ERP, so integration capability was a key consideration. MaxOptra has proven to have ideal integration capabilities, making their processes even more streamlined.

Competitive advantage
Lastly, MaxOptra has given Bobtail Fruit a significant competitive advantage. They can now offer flexible delivery times, on-time delivery, and communicate with customers effectively. Something that many of their competitors fail to achieve.

The future for Bobtail Fruit

Bobtail Fruit can now look to the future and are planning to start promoting and expanding their business even more, now that they feel confident they can take on more customers and more orders.

Previously, expanding the business was daunting, with any additional orders making operations chaotic. Now that their process is automated, they can see a bright future for the business.

Bobtail Fruit have always faced significant competition, but have always known that they offer the best produce, boxes, and baskets. They are now proud that they can also offer the best delivery and service as well.

And, after ordering a Bobtail Fruit box at MaxOptra, we have to agree!

undefined

The MaxOptra team enjoying their Bobtail Fruit