11 August 2015

Glasgow-based, JW Filshill, was established in 1875 as a confectionery manufacturer and diversified into cash and carry along with a delivered goods service in the 1960s. Still family-owned, the business has grown into one of the largest delivered wholesale businesses in the UK with revenues around £160m.  The business has won many industry awards; including best wholesaler, best IT project and Scotland’s most innovative haulier.  Continuous improvements to the business systems and processes over the years led to the company wanting a better solution for tracking deliveries once they have left the depot.

The company have integrated warehouse management systems and route planning software provided by Sandersons and Optrak respectively. By uploading customer order and route data from these systems into PODFather, the company has gained real-time visibility of the orders as they progress throughout the day and reduced the admin associated with the paper-based delivery processes.

The PODFather backoffice system links to the driver handhelds and confirms the ETA for each delivery based on the actual times of driver events. If any delivery is expected to miss a delivery window due to delays once the driver has departed the depot, alerts are raised to allow either a reordering of jobs or customer to be contacted to inform them of a change to their ETA.

The team at PODFather worked hard to understand our requirements and tailor the solution to meet our needs.

The system processes start at the depot in the morning when the driver completes a mandatory vehicle inspection on the handheld, with any faults logged and made visible to Filshill transport management staff.

Drivers are then presented with their route on the handheld, ordered in drop-sequence. Each delivery is processed on the PODFather handheld, with steps included to ensure high-value goods are barcode scanned on delivery, the number of cages and pallets left at customer sites are tracked, and any return products – either pre-booked or ad-hoc – are scanned back into the vehicle. Workflows on the devices will ensure if anything unexpected occurs, the handheld will prompt the driver to capture photographs as evidence, along with the name and signature of the customer.

Drivers also complete their end-of-day routines on the handhelds. By having all driver paperwork processes transferred into the PODFather system, JW Filshill have been able to build a custom driver activity and timesheet report into PODFather to make further efficiency gains.

Robin Spalding, Transport Manager of JW Filshill, explains, “Filshill will embrace technology if there are clear benefits in doing so. We make several hundred deliveries every day so processing all the driver paperwork was a significant task which we’ve been able to automate thanks to the PODFather system. This has removed the need to manually produce driver timesheets and process returns data back into Sandersons for generating credit notes to customers.”

“The PODFather system works well for our business”, continues Robin. “It makes us more efficient and has been quickly adopted as a tool to manage distribution. We intend to continue developing systems so that our Customer Services team can utilise live information from PODFather and inform customers of any developments with their delivery. The team at PODFather worked hard to understand our requirements and tailor the solution to meet our needs. We’ve no hesitation in recommending it to other companies working in our sector.”