Pet Food Distribution Case Study
Natures Menu needed a system to quickly and easily schedule delivery jobs, track and trace to plan vehicle capacities, routes and expected delivery times, enabling immediately response to customer queries.
Commenting in May 2015, Chris Warden, Operations Manager said:
“Maxoptra allows us to plan rapidly and, when we need to, we can update plans very quickly. Manually that would be impossible to do within our time scales.
What I really like is your willingness to really listen to our challenges, respond promptly with a proposal and then come back with a solution. It’s great that we can discuss our ideas and be able to influence your development schedule. I don’t think many other organisations would be that accommodating.
From a business development perspective Maxoptra has been ideal. Infinitely scalable and reliable, it keeps pace with the way our business is going and continually adds value to what we do, particularly in how we want to deliver customer service.
Despite our size, with Maxoptra we are on track to provide a service comparable to that of industry leaders such as DPD. We can punch above our weight. I am really excited about what is possible.”
Craig Taylor, Managing Director:
“Magenta played a key role in the total end-to-end processes and IT transformation that Natures Menu undertook in 2013, providing the foundation to scale the business, build on the high levels of customer service enjoyed by our customers while at the same time reducing mileage and fuel consumption for the business.”
About Natures Menu
Natures Menu has been in the pet food business for over 30 years and is the leading supplier of natural and raw dog and cat foods. 2013 was a pivotal year for this Norfolk based business seeing them win 2 ‘Product of the Year’ awards at PATS 2013, the Pet Industry Award’s ‘Manufacturer of the Year 2013’ and hitting its one millionth order in October!
As market demand for their products has increased, Natures Menu have undertaken an IT refresh and transformation project to ensure that their infrastructure could continue to support the business as it grew, providing operational efficiencies and maintaining the high quality of service that they are renowned for. The existing computerized scheduling system they had in place could not deal with the increasing number of orders and the complexity of the delivery jobs needed, so it was decided to look for a replacement.
In 2013 the company had a fleet of 25 dual compartment temperature controlled delivery vans delivering customer orders from four depots across the UK. With a rapidly expanding customer base maintaining a high level of customer service and delivery were key objectives.
They had no way of tracking deliveries which meant that the customer services team had to spend a significant amount of time trying to contact drivers in order to update the customers on any delays or issues rather than being pro-active in their approach. Having immediate access to delivery information data such as expected time of delivery and any delays was seen as crucial to success in the market as well as providing a competitive advantage.
To do this Natures Menu needed a system that was able to quickly and easily schedule delivery jobs, with track and trace functionality, so that they could plan vehicle capacities, routes and expected delivery times, enabling them to immediately respond to customer queries.
After a rigorous selection process Natures Menu shortlisted 3 vendors, including Maxoptra, a recommendation from Independent Tracking as part of a total solution which included fitting TomTom telematics to all their delivery vehicles. Magenta Technology’s Maxoptra system was chosen because of:
- Quality of the system and the team that provided the solution
- Simplicity of use
- Real time, dynamic scheduling and routing of orders
- Dynamic Track and Trace to provide real time accurate delivery times for improved customer service
- Depth of understanding of the logistics business and programming
- Ability to seamlessly integrate with drivers TomTom devices, the company website and CRM systems
Since Maxoptra was implemented in January 2013, Nature Menu has grown significantly from 25 to 37 vehicles and expect to have 40-45 by the end of 2015.
Having an easy to use, intuitive system providing immediate availability of planned vs actual delivery data has been a huge benefit to Natures Menu in their daily communications with customers — enabling them to advise of any changes to the expected delivery times by using Maxoptra to dynamically recalculate ETA’s from the real time TomTom vehicle location information as the day progresses. The scheduling team can now see at a glance the real-time status of orders and management can now make improvements to driver’s performance based on the intelligent reporting functionality the system offers.
The outcome is that scheduling staff are able to quickly and easily plan, schedule and route jobs, streamlining business processes and allowing ad hoc orders to be taken throughout the day.
By integrating Maxoptra into the business, Natures Menu has seen the following benefits:
- Reduction of 3 hours and associated operational costs per person per day in back office administration and time spent on contacting drivers / customers.
- Considerably reduced mileage and fuel consumption through sophisticated scheduling plus improved driver performance and discipline.
- Proactive customer service through tracking of their orders and updating of specific delivery times leading to improved customer satisfaction.
- Increasing the number of orders the company can manage through enabling later cut-off times for same day orders and handling of later ad hoc orders.
- Improved business efficiency through having detailed operational and management reporting in place and greater insight into day-to-day performance