IT CASE STUDY

Learning4Leaders were asked to review the processes of a medium sized manufacturing business that delivers Morning Goods to a number of local businesses through a fleet of approximately 20 vans.

The business operates a sale or return policy for most of their customers and stock is managed by the driver making the delivery.

The procedure was that drivers would go into the store and work out the demand for the following day. This would be recorded in a notebook and after their last delivery they would call the factory with a list of requirements for each customer. Orders were input into the IT system, stock was produced in the factory, loaded on to the driver’s van and the driver would leave the factory with pre-printed delivery documents. If any order changes were made during the day (i.e. if a shop had sold more than expected and another had sold less), the driver would write these changes on the delivery document and collect a customer’s signature. Stock which exceeded its sell by date was issued a paper credit note. Both the credit notes & delivery documents were returned to the finance department at the end of the day and they would process them in the system before issuing invoices and credit notes.

Learning4Leaders reviewed the process and advised the company on available options; it was decided that a custom based solution would be the best option. Learning4Leaders worked with a developer to scope and subsequently test the system, purchase hardware (including setting up support contracts) and wrote and delivered the training and implementation of the solution.

There were a number of difficulties to overcome, including:

  • How to download and upload data as drivers were out on the road (some coming to collect from the factory and some collecting from satellite locations).
  • How to manage changing orders in the system and link this back into the company’s factory planning model.
  • What hardware to use – the solution was developed as a Windows App and at the time it was such new technology that specific software to print on the move had to be written.

The system was developed with the company by best understanding their processes and what they were trying to achieve. This then was rigorously tested; Learning4Leaders went out on numerous delivery runs testing how the system performed. After this, instructions and training programs were created and delivered.

The results have been:
  • 1.5 people removed from the operation.
  • Improved customer service as phone lines are no longer busy at peak times.
  • Improved cash flow – invoices & credits are being accurately raised every time the driver syncs, ensuring stock is up to date and invoices/credits are raised daily.
  • Invoicing correctly first time & any queries dealt with efficiently – POD’s (with customer signature and signee name) are viewed at the click of a button from the system.
  • Production accuracy – a ‘standard order’ for each customer was created, which can be adapted live by the drivers in each store.
A further subsequent development project involved developing reporting (Business Intelligence) systems to report on the new up to date data from the system. This now means that the company can do profitability analysis of each driver’s run. Sales & Returns can be tracked and all drivers receive up to date automated reports which help them to make decisions about the stock to put into stores, further improving the sales and wastage at the company.