High transportation costs were plaguing British retailer Topps Tiles, a company that sells and delivers tiles and related products to homeowners and businesses across the United Kingdom. Company leaders turned to Descartes Systems Group for help and have since reduced driving time per delivery route across the business and are gaining better insight into the potential impact of changes to the company’s delivery strategies.
“With over 300 stores nationwide in the U.K., we’re continuously evaluating how to maintain a high degree of customer service while reducing operational costs, especially today’s high transportation costs,” Simon Macdonald, national transport manager for Topps Tiles, said in a statement describing the project. “Working with Descartes, we’ve replaced manual, spreadsheet-based processes with automated route planning to optimize the volume of tiles being delivered at any given time, as well as the routes our vehicles are traveling. Descartes’ strategic route modeling capabilities are also enabling us to model delivery scenarios and make more informed strategic decisions, which would have been nearly impossible with traditional resource-intensive analytical methods.”
To kick off the initiative, Topps Tiles implemented Descartes Systems Group’s cloud-based route planning and optimization software, which is designed to help brands, retailers, and logistics service providers attain three key goals: reduce costs with more agile and efficient routing; improve fleet resource management by generating additional delivery capacity; and become more sustainable by reducing their carbon footprint and use of paper across the business.
Topps Tiles is reaping benefits on all fronts, but most notably, company leaders say the business has cut the average miles driven per delivery route by 2%, resulting in lower overall transportation costs. The retailer is also moving more steadily toward meeting its sustainability goals: More efficient delivery routes mean less driving and lower carbon emissions, and automating formerly manual processes has allowed it to cut back on all that paper it formerly used to manage route planning.
But it doesn’t end there. Topps Tiles is also optimizing its fleet operations with a host of other Descartes solutions that work in conjunction with route planning optimization. Strategic route modeling capabilities are helping the retailer understand and optimize its delivery and customer service strategies before having to execute them, for example, which helps the company save costs down the line. In the field, Descartes’ mobile application helps drivers perform their daily routes, keeps managers aware of progress, and provides an accurate ETA (estimated time of arrival) to customers. And proof-of-delivery (POD) capabilities support customer service and order accuracy through real-time mobile communication.“Topps Tiles’ long-term success is based upon its ability to continually provide customers with a superior shopping experience while offering cost-competitive pricing,” said Pól Sweeney, Descartes’ vice president for fleet sales in Europe, in the statement. “We’re delighted to help Topps Tiles minimize its operational costs today through our route planning and optimization solution and in the future with our strategic route modeling capabilities.”