14 June 2018

Lincoln-based Sternfenster Window Systems, one of the UK’s largest trade fabricators of uPVC and Aluminium Windows and Doors, has extensively overhauled the planning and scheduling of customer deliveries by migrating to a cloud-enabled platform. This now provides ‘live’ scheduling and delivery through a system called PODFather, a software platform and back office solution designed for the field service and delivery sector.

PODFather will now allow Sternfenster to plan, schedule and manage ‘field’ operations in real-time by helping to reduce any paper-based transactional processes.

We have all drivers across our fleet using the PODFather system. This means we can provide customers with a two-hour delivery window timeframe and enables us to continually monitor/log the delivery times across the fleet to check progress.

Sternfenster is a family-run business established in 1974. It provides a comprehensive range of home improvement products to both the trade and retail industries. This will allow its driver fleet to provide updates of any unplanned or unforeseen delivery process issues, thereby further enhancing its continual customer excellence strategy.

Before the switch to PODFather, Sternfenster used its own ‘in house’ system where every item was scanned onto the vehicles which in turn, allowed drivers to scan items off their load. However, the system for in-cab driver use was built on a Windows platform several years ago and although it has been meticulously maintained and updated, it was beginning to show signs of unreliability.

Another issue from the legacy system was that Sternfenster only got delivery updates when the vehicle returned to the depot. Given the geographical spread of some of the deliveries, this could be 2-3 days after departure, therefore Sternfenster was very much reliant on drivers phoning in and reporting any logistic or delivery issues.

Mike Parczuk, Managing Director of Sternfenster Window Systems takes up the story; “With PODFather, we are switching to handheld devices that are more reliable and provide our back-office support team with updates in real time throughout the day. Therefore, if any items are missing or damaged we can respond immediately.

“We have all drivers across our fleet using the PODFather system. This means we can provide customers with a two-hour delivery window timeframe and enables us to continually monitor/log the delivery times across the fleet to check progress.

Moreover, we added a vehicle check before drivers leave our depot which also significantly reduces the amount of paperwork they need to handle. Therefore, delivery times/windows are re-calculated when the driver is ready to leave thus ensuring the ‘window’ to the customers is as accurate as possible.”

Colin McCreadie, Managing Director of PODFather comments; “Given the complexities of Sternfenster’s delivery scheduling across the UK, a prerequisite is to get product to customers safely and securely within a pre-agreed time window. Nothing can be left to chance in achieving this. PODFather’s real-time reporting will create a raft of efficiencies throughout the company and maintain high-level logistical and transactional administrative support at all times.”

Sternfenster operates from an 100,000 square metre state of the art factory in Lincoln. It manufactures over 3500 sealed units per week using its own toughening plant and two fully automated glass lines.