Dealer speeds up deliveries with new back office software

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Cherwell’s fleet of vans is now said to be able to complete deliveries quicker.

Cherwell, a dealer of catering equipment and hygiene and janitorial supplies, has transformed its back office operation by investing in Maxoptra real-time scheduling and delivery management software.

Fully integrated with Cherwell’s existing management systems, including ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software from Merlin and TomTom vehicle tracking, Maxoptra is helping reduce the dealer’s ‘Cost to Serve’. Savings have reportedly already been realised in the time taken to schedule its fleet’s complex routes, as well as the mileage and man-hours required to complete deliveries.

Cherwell feels it has also improved customer service with more efficient and accurate ETA messaging fed directly back to the ERP system, streamlining its warehouse operation with intelligence driven picking and reduced a backlog of outstanding orders.

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Timothy Merridew, business services manager at Cherwell Packaging said: “Having completed a study of our Cost to Serve we knew we needed to implement changes in our workflow in order to improve our logistics capability and maintain our customer focus.

“We selected Maxoptra based on its rich functionality and its ease of use and, since implementing it, we have realised a significant reduction in costs evidenced through reduced back-office resource and the lowest overtime bill in recent history.”

A family run business, Cherwell has been operating for over 40 years from two sites, Southam in Warwickshire and Wednesbury in the West Midlands. The company holds over 8,000 stock lines and, using its fleet of 11 vehicles, completes around 100 deliveries a day.

Prior to the introduction of Maxoptra, Cherwell estimates it took around 1 man-month per year to schedule and route deliveries. Due to the complexity of the process the order cut off point for next day delivery was unnecessarily early and vans were often not loaded to full capacity, leading to unnecessary mileage.

The delivery operation used fixed geographic routes, was heavily reliant on driver experience and the only visibility of the mobile operation was from the on-board vehicle tracking.

Using Maxoptra, Cherwell has reportedly reduced the time taken to schedule and route deliveries to minutes, meaning orders can be processed much later each day. The mobile operation is said to be more efficient with vans running at capacity and Cherwell has seen a reduction in both mileage and driver hours, contributing to its Silver Level Carbon Smart certification.

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Clare Nicholls

The author Clare Nicholls

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