21 December 2009

Oxfam is the world leading humanitarian aid organization. Working with others to find lasting solutions to poverty and suffering, and improve lives of those afflicted by conflict or natural disaster.  In the UK, Oxfam is also well known on the High Street for its network of general charity, book and music stores. However, Oxfam is the only major charity to operate its own textile sorting facility, Wastesaver, which maximises revenue from textiles that cannot be re-sold in its shops and minimises the amount of textiles sent to landfill. The facility sorts clothing and resells it through a number of different routes, including: Oxfam shops, Oxfam online shop (www.oxfam.org.uk/shop) or ethically resells through its various overseas routes – particularly to selected African nations where Oxfam is synonymous for their humanitarian work.

Donations of second hand clothing generate around £14.4m a year for Oxfam’s work to end poverty. This money comes partly from sales in High street shops and also from the Oxfam export and recycling business, Wastesaver.

The PODFather has transformed our collection practices.

Oxfam Wastesaver also operate UK wide logistics, collecting donations from some 700 stores in addition to Donation Banks located at national Supermarket sites. Retail supporters including Asda, Sainsbury’s, Spar, Somerfield and Tesco have a range of collection banks located on their sites for charity donations by customers and residents in the local area of stores, Generous donations are also provided by individual corporate supporters.

Therefore with a vast geographical spread of collections to undertake and the resulting, costly, paperwork to administer and fulfill, finding a way to minimise administration time and costs was sought.

The PODFather was introduced, streamlining the driver’s daily working practices by fully integrating collections schedules with the PODFather PDA system. This gives the benefits of real time reports and eradicates a complex paper trail of signed dockets, making significant time and cost savings.

Collection schedules are allocated to the driver via a PDA. Upon completing each job, the driver confirms the quantity of the items collected, with the administration team in Huddersfield receiving live information as each scheduled collection is completed. Delivered with a comprehensive reporting summary, efficient administration resource, with reduced need for paper-based systems and ensuring minimised wasted mileage.

Alastair Broom, Managing Director of Valley Technology Limited, creators of The PODFather comments:

“Oxfam Wastesaver recycling facility is spearheading the adoption of our technology and helps to set the benchmark for other charities to shore up logistics and make their operations leaner. No charity wants to spend any more than is necessary on its administrative costs, especially as any resultant savings could realise more money to be spent on delivering its charitable projects. We are proud to be working with Oxfam Wastesaver, an organisation delivering such incredible results for those that need help.”

Andrew Flintoff, Transport Manager of Oxfam Wastesaver adds, “The PODFather has transformed our collection practices. When a driver receives details of each job and collects each load, he can input the collection details, enabling our support team to keep a track of each collection per shop, per area or per region, so we know instantly about the types of collections – clothes, books, shoes – and the weight of each bag collected. It means our logistics are tighter, our recycling processes are optimised and every facet of our daily practices recorded remotely, uploaded and viewed online.

“Technology that remotely captures information and helps make scheduling and collection operations the most cost effective for an organisation, has to be welcomed and I’m delighted The PODFather is helping to further enhance our procedures and working practices.”