Palletised freight delivery system

Over the last few years, Pallet Network operators have invested heavily, both in terms of money and sheer hard work, to establish the necessary IT infrastructure to revolutionise the efficient movement of customer consignments through their networks.

However, increasing competitive price pressure, coupled with changing customer expectations, has provided a window of opportunity for new players, armed with the latest technology, to enter the market and win valued customers. As a result, customers today expect lower prices and accurate real time delivery and collection information.

Fortunately for established companies who have already invested already in IT infrastructure, these challenges can be met through the Maxoptra Plug-In.

The Challenges:

Over-reliance on fixed runs based upon postcodes and variable load sizes means that vehicles are not routed cost efficiently, affecting customer pricing and competitiveness.
Increasing customer demand for narrow time windows and other order complexities such as tail-lifts or load types make it impossible to work out the most efficient use of vehicles in real time.
Figuring out the most cost effective vehicle to make a collection is impossible without knowing where vehicles are or how much progress they have made with their schedules.
Answering customer queries on ETAs reactively can be a time consuming and expensive manual process reliant on numerous phone calls – and it still does not meet customers’ expectations of being proactively advised on when their consignment will arrive.

The Solution:

  1. Delivery orders are exported from the company’s database automatically
  2. The routes are produced by Maxoptra based upon customers’ windows, vehicle types, equipment requirements and are shown on the map. They are reviewed by the dispatcher and sent to the driver’s navigation device or smartphone.
  3. Drivers on route can continually update orders status and report on job status.
  4. Getting vehicle locations from tracking devices or smartphones.
  5. Customers are constantly informed about estimated time of arrival (ETA) through SMS or email messages.
  6. Driving manifests are sent to the wholesale distribution company’s system for further invoicing and reporting.
Gist logo - Route Planning software users

"The solution gives us a clear competitive advantage in more efficient scheduling and better utilization of our own and subcontractor’s vehicles through a multi nodal network enabling us to grow the business and increase our market share without a significant increase in assets or team indeed."
— Mike Flynn, Business Solutions Director for Gist

Business advantages:

Maxoptra was specifically designed to allow Pallet Network operators to drive operational efficiencies, allow rapid reaction to any changes in real time and improve customer service, thereby:
  • Reducing operating costs by up to 10% to enable new pricing competitiveness
  • Meeting customer expectations on real time delivery and collection notification, leading to increased satisfaction and business growth by:
    • Growing new opportunities and repeat business with existing customers
    • Increasing loyalty and retaining existing customers
    • Winning new customers

Improved customer service

Integrated with TomTom Telematics, Maxoptra’s delivery routing software constantly updates the delivery status of each order, the vehicle position and calculates the estimated time of arrival. Dispatchers and users thereby have better visibility into where product is in the staging and loading areas.

Faster reaction to new collections coming in

The system automatically assigns the most appropriate vehicle to each new order coming in during the day. Even when routes are already started, Maxoptra continues to monitor progress on each route, the current vehicle position, orders completed by each driver and the remaining driving hours. Maxoptra continually finds the best driver to meet the customer’s specified time window and provide a higher level of service.

Less fuel and drivers’ hours

An initial schedule is produced by Maxoptra to optimise fuel savings and reduce unnecessary driving hours. It doesn’t matter how many deliveries each individual postcode has because the system cost efficiently distributes all orders throughout the region amongst the drivers. Routes are sequenced to match customer’s time windows and to always be on time.

During the day when new orders come in, the system constantly improves the schedule to adjust delivery sequence, new pick-ups, weights and vehicle requirements into consideration.
Maxoptra route Optimisation & planning users

"Magenta offered the right blend of affordability, ease of implementation and use. The user interface allows our controllers to easily input jobs, calculate routes and timelines and change them, if needed, on a visual map display. Seeing the real time ETA of our shipments helps our customer service staff improve service with valid addresses a lot quicker, allocating routes efficiently and updating our customers with changes in schedules. I believe that Maxoptra is the only solution in today’s market that is ideal for SME, but growing, companies."
— John Burgess, Transportation Consultant of Champion Timber

Read Some of Our Recent Blogs

5 reasons why a delivery route planner is essential for businesses in 2021 and beyond

July 2021,

The past 18 months have been challenging for businesses in all industries.

And whilst we are returning to some normality, 2021 hasn’t quite been the recovery year that many of us were hoping for. 

With more consumers than ever opting to shop online, businesses need to ensure that their delivery operations and offering are the best they possibly can be. 

The key to achieving this is implementing a delivery route planner. To enable businesses to get the most out of their deliveries with route optimisation. And bringing endless benefits.

Here are just 5 of them:

Streamlines processes

Over the past 18 months, many businesses have been dealing with a reduced workforce. Whilst also navigating a surge in online buying. 

Regular process reviews are important for any business. But given the above changes, businesses need to ensure their processes are as streamlined and working as efficiently as possible.

This frees up resource and improves efficiency in the short term. And also ensures the future-proofing of a business in the long term.

By embracing new technology, such as route optimisation, brands can get a head start in streamlining their delivery and route planning. Producing efficiency and reliable routes, fast. 

Manage unforeseen changes or issues with ease

With a delivery route planner, such as MaxOptra, businesses can ensure the ongoing efficiency of their deliveries by managing unforeseen changes and issues. Before they become a problem.

Changes to delivery time slots can easily be handled. Even after vehicles have left the depot.

And with MaxOptra, our drag and drop technology enables businesses to make changes to routes even when they’re live. Allowing users to assess the impact of changes, and work directly with the customer to make informed decisions. 

 

Convenient and accurate delivery slots

Consumer expectation is ever-increasing. Customers no longer want to wait around all day for their delivery. They want accurate and convenient time slots that suit them.

Systems such as MaxOptra dynamically routes and schedules deliveries, resource, and loads. To ensure that businesses don’t over-promise on delivery times that they can’t deliver on.

What’s more, by producing a schedule that automatically optimises fuel savings, unnecessary driving hours are saved. Making the route even more efficient.

And by allocating the best driver to meet specific customers’ time windows, businesses and customers can rest assured that their delivery will make it on time. 

 

Better customer communication 

Today, communication is essential to customer satisfaction. 

It is no longer a ‘nice to have’. Instead, it is essential.

A delivery route planner, such as MaxOptra, will proactively end out advance email and SMS eta notifications to ensure customers are kept in the loop.

And to offer even more reassurance to both the business and customer, the MaxOptra driver app allows drivers to log proof of delivery signatures, photos, and comments based on the delivery.

Gain feedback

95% of consumers read reviews before making a purchasing decision.

This means that brands and businesses need to make feedback, ratings, and reviews a priority in 2021 and beyond.

The best route optimisation platforms, such as MaxOptra, will offer a ‘rate by delivery’ functionality. Which provides customers with an outlet to offer feedback directly to the business, before turning to public review sites.

This gives the business the opportunity to address any concerns or complaints as early as possible. Or follow up positive feedback by asking for a review.

The future of eCommerce in 2021 and beyond

June 2021,

The eCommerce industry has witnessed a significant shake up over the past 18 months.

Consumer shopping habits have changed dramatically. With many opting to shop online instead of via high street stores. 

At MaxOptra, we have seen a particular increase in activity within the food and beverage, furniture, and DIY/building supplies/gardening industries. And have been working hard to support businesses in these industries to plan for the rest of the year.

If you are an eCommerce business looking ahead, then here are some of the eCommerce trends that we are predicting for the rest of 2021 and beyond. 

eCommerce will continue to rise

Many non-essential shops had to close during lockdown. Resulting in online sales soaring. In fact, online sales accounted for 53.7% of all UK retail spending. And by June 2020 50.7% of retail sales were online. By February 2021, this had increased to 82.25%

But now that we are getting back to some normality, will eCommerce be so popular? Apparently so. Despite the opening of highstreet and bricks and mortar stores, 42% of consumers are vowing to shop more online even after shops reopen.

Better delivery is now a necessity 

With an increase in buyers shopping online, it’s no surprise that there’s an increased demand for home delivery. With 82% of consumers choosing online delivery as their favourite channel to receive their purchases.

However, with this demand comes an increase in expectations from consumers. With 86% claiming that delivery tracking is important. And 46% valuing fast delivery more since the pandemic.

Independent brands increasing in popularity

There has also been a trend of consumers choosing to shop at more independent stores, with 57% stating they are willing to shop with new brands for the first time.

This of course comes with its own challenges for independent brands, as they manage the surge in interests. And have to adapt their processes to meet consumer demand. 

New technology is more essential than ever

It’s clear the eCommerce landscape is changing rapidly. So perhaps it’s unsurprising that 29% of businesses are planning to invest in technology over the next year. With 13% viewing technology as the best possible opportunity for business growth. 

One example of this technology is MaxOptra, our innovative route optimisation platform which can help brands to address and make the most of all of the above trends. 

MaxOptra can help businesses achieve the following:

Improve fixed route

For smaller businesses, now is the time to ensure their routes are as efficient and streamlined as possible. Due to the fluctuating sales and uncertainty in demand that many businesses are currently dealing with, managing delays or inefficient routes is the last thing a business would want to be dealing with right now.

Routes can degrade over time, but by using dynamic route optimisation software you can be confident that you are getting the very most out of your fixed route network: managing priority customers and any route changes that have come about.

Upgrade to dynamic, optimised routes

Or for growing and expanding businesses, now could be a great opportunity to upgrade from fixed routes to dynamic optimised routes

Dynamic, optimised routes help businesses to save time and resources by automating multi-drop quotes in seconds. All of which take account of traffic, vehicle information, route restrictions, and driving times.

Improve customer communication

Despite getting back to some kind of normality, many businesses are still going through a stressful time. The last thing they need is the additional worry of late deliveries or a lack of communication.

Brands can keep their customers informed with advance and on-the-day email and SMS communications, such as predicted delivery times, and real-time updates on where their order is.

Track vehicles and performance

Any business who is going to the effort of ensuring their end customer is happy will want to track success metrics. 

Part of tracking these metrics is understanding what happens once your vehicles have left the depot. You can either link systems such as MaxOptra to your current in-vehicle telematics, or use our Driver App to monitor what’s going on in real time.

MaxOptra helps to supply water to homes and offices in the hottest European countries

June 2021,

At MaxOptra we are proud to be supporting one of the largest water delivery companies in Europe, with over 100 vehicles and 30 distribution centres.

This business supplies refrigerators, water fountains, water filtration and spring water within Europe. They are strongly focused on customer experience and social responsibility, being involved in dozens of projects to support their customers and their community.

One of these initiatives was to improve customer experience as well as their own processes by streamlining their routing and scheduling.

 

How MaxOptra are helping

MaxOptra was chosen amongst multiple solutions to have been able to support the business with this initiative. And thanks to one of MaxOptra’s European partners, Optimize, the project was able to be managed and fully supported locally. 

Since then, MaxOptra has been part of everyday life for the business. 

With the use of MaxOptra’s sophisticated open API, the business’ data can speak in real time with MaxOptra. And once information is imported, thousands of orders are allocated and automatically planned to 30 distribution centres across Europe to create a fool-proof delivery plan.

The fleet of 100+ vehicles are then able to load in the most efficient way possible, and drivers then receive their manifests via their mobile devices. Automatically taking into consideration time restraints and delivery windows.

During the delivery process, the business use MaxOptra to track their drivers via GPS technology through mobile devices. As a result, the ETA calculated for each order is highly accurate. Enabling the business to send out delivery notifications to keep customers up to date at every step of the delivery. 

Once the delivery is made, track and trace analysis is available through MaxOptra, so the business can review driver and route performance.

Sanjay Gandhi, MaxOptra MD comments:

“At MaxOptra we are experienced in supporting international businesses in a wide variety of industries. As well as offering innovative route optimisation and best-in-class support, we also specialise in improving our users’ customer experience offering.

This business came to us for support with their end-to-end delivery operation, with a focus on customer service. So the project was clearly a great fit for us.

We are delighted that this established business is experiencing so many benefits thanks to MaxOptra, and that our system is now firmly part of their day-to-day operations”

 

The future 

With the help of MaxOptra, the business has been able to streamline their processes and offer excellent customer service. Helping them to become one of the biggest water delivery companies in Europe.

By using the MaxOptra system, the business will be able to scale as and when required. With the reassurance that they can rely on their routing and scheduling processes.