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

MaxOptra is supporting Covid-19 testing and waste management programmes across the world

January 2021,

Over the past year we have talked a lot about how we aim to support our customers, both old and new, to navigate challenges brought about by Covid-19.

We have helped businesses such as Charles Stamper, Holt Farm, and Sambrook’s Brewery to pivot from B2B to B2C/D2C. Enabling them to continue their businesses, streamline their processes, save considerable hours, and discover an entirely new customer base in the process. 

This is alongside our Covid-19 support group, which we have been running over the past year. Supporting businesses (whether they are our customers or not) with logistics advice and suggestions to help them through this difficult time.

 

Covid-19 testing and waste management in South America

More recently, we have taken on a waste management company in South America, specialising in water treatment, distribution, and waste management.

The businesses wanted to make the most of their services in a difficult economy, whilst also making a positive difference to the Covid-19 support efforts. 

Therefore, the business decided to launch a Covid-19 waste collection service for hospitals -  moving waste (such as from Covid-19 testing) on a regular basis, roughly twice a week per hospital, with a fleet of 10 vehicles.

Not only is this highly beneficial to the Covid-19 efforts, but also meant that the business could pivot their own services to keep their business running. 

 

How MaxOptra have supported the programme

At MaxOptra, we have been supporting this business and enabling them to achieve this change in offering. Thanks to our industry-leading dynamic route optimisation solution, this business is now able to plan critical pick up and deliveries to support Covid-19 testing and waste management South America.

Without MaxOptra, achieving this would be nearly impossible. The route planning and scheduling alone would likely have taken additional hours or days, meaning the business could not be as reactive nor as organised in their new offering as they are able to be.

 

Our customers

Despite current obstacles, it is always great to see our customers, such as this business,  change their business model and offering to suit the current climate. And at MaxOptra we are continuously proud to support this and help wherever possible.

 

Need some support?

Whether you are a UK or international business, and are looking to improve your logistics offering, or even pivot your business model, then get in touch. Our helpful team of experts are always happy to help.



MaxOptra’s predictions for delivery and logistics in 2021 - by MaxOptra MD, Sanjay Gandhi

December 2020,

It’s safe to say that the world is a very different place not only compared to a year ago. But just a few months ago.

When it comes to trends in delivery and logistics, it’s not surprising that many have been heavily influenced by Covid-19. From supply chains and route planning, to store closures and customer demand. 

We’ve learned a lot in 2020. But what does that mean for 2021? What learnings can we apply to make the most of this much-anticipated new year?

Read on to hear my thoughts and predictions for delivery and logistics in 2021.

 

Increase in eCommerce boom

Covid-19 has accelerated the already vast expansion of eCommerce

Customers were enthusiastic online shoppers prior to lockdown, but retailers including John Lewis and Curry’s PC World chains reported a near doubling of online sales since the quarantine began.

And that doesn’t come as a surprise. 

After all, eCommerce provides customers with access to a wide variety of products from the convenience and safety of their homes. As well as supporting businesses to continue their operation despite contact restrictions and measures.

undefinedSource: OECD.org

We are all aware that even when physical stores are open, it’s to a very different environment. Most economists now agree that, even in the recovery phase, retail spend will be significantly depressed. Where growth does pick up, much will flow through digital channels and e-commerce adoption will continue to accelerate.

By continuing to strengthen your ecommerce offering, you can future proof your business for the ‘new norm’ that many retailers will be experiencing into the near future.

 

More demand for delivery options

The rise in eCommerce is not the only change to retail behaviour. Google’s searches for delivery options almost doubled in some countries just before lockdown restrictions were officially put in place. Showing that shopper behaviour is not necessarily tied to government restrictions. Instead, many are practicing caution independent of advice.

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Source: OECD.org

The obvious suggestion from these findings is that businesses need to invest in their delivery operations.

In 2020 it’s surprising how many businesses still run a paperless operation. Not only does this way of working increase the likelihood for mistakes and procedural errors. It is also a headache for businesses to manage and maintain.

Investment in technology, streamlined processes, and dynamic route optimisation will become increasingly essential for businesses who want to meet customer expectations and offer a delivery service that is relevant to today’s challenges.



Agile strategy and planning

One of the most important pieces of advice for businesses in 2021 is to become agile.

The phrase “new normal” has been used a lot in 2020. The ironic thing about this being that any sense of normal is not likely to exist in the very near future.

We have seen lockdowns. Curfews. And now tiered restrictions. With some cities and businesses finding themselves put under lockdown-level restrictions almost as soon as they have reopened. 

This means that advice, processes, and procedures will be remaining fluid for the foreseeable. And businesses need to mirror this approach as much as possible.

To ride this wave, businesses must remain nimble and agile, embrace new technologies and automation, and have contingency plans in place by practicing situational planning for a wide range of eventualities. 

 

Investment in technology

I have mentioned this multiple times, but investment in technology is going to be an essential requirement for businesses in 2021.

The challenges that many will face, such as decreased workforce, increased demand, and ever-changing restrictions, will soon become too much for laborious and clumsy manual processes.

Technology within logistics has developed at a rapid rate; increasing efficiency, saving costs and resource, and improving customer retention. The advances made are ideal to deal with the challenges that so many businesses are facing. 

Therefore, businesses who do not begin the process of technological investment and implementation early, will fast be falling behind in 2021.

 

Improved customer experience

Keeping your customers happy during periods of uncertainty should be a top priority for any business. After all, with Covid-19 restrictions, customers are understandably concerned as to whether their delivery is going to be affected.

Therefore, keeping customers in the loop as to where their delivery is and when it will arrive is a further improvement that businesses should look to make to benefit their offering, as well as keeping customers engaged in 2021.

Customer notifications, such as email and SMS, are a simple but proven way to achieve this. And they have advanced at a rapid rate. Gone are the days when customers expect to have to stay home to wait for a delivery. Now they want the delivery schedule to work around their daily routine.

Businesses going green

2020 hasn’t entirely been about Covid-19. The government has also recently decided to bring forward its ban on fossil fuel vehicles from 2040 to 2030. With businesses all over the country sitting up and paying attention to what this means for them.

For many, electric vehicles are something they weren’t having to consider for another 10 years or so. And for businesses in the logistics industry, or those who rely on delivery and distribution operations, this could mean considerable change in a short period of time.

There is no time like the present. So I would strongly suggest that businesses use 2021 to begin looking into what these changes mean for them, the processes they will need to consider, and the costs involved.

Of course, with green initiatives being focused upon by the government, this is likely to filter down into the business day to day.

So it is likely that 2021 will bring an increase in sustainability processes. Such as limiting paper operations and reducing fuel consumption.

Of course, implementation of technology will again be key to achieving all of the above.