“Before Podfather, the management of our deliveries was pretty manual,” commented Leon Hackett, Logistics and Operations Manager at HG Walter. “Paper-based picking notes, a dot matrix printer producing duplicate copies of delivery notes and driver knowledge that would challenge that of a London cabby!
“We first introduced Podfather when there was a trend to automate – everyone else is doing it, so we probably should too!” he continued. “We eagerly dove in headfirst, though soon realised onboarding and getting sign-up from our drivers would prove a little trickier than initially expected. It wasn’t until a few years later, when I joined HG Walter, that we started utilising Podfather to its full potential, bringing about better visibility and more control of our delivery operation.”
Podfather integrates with HG Walter’s other back-office systems to produce up to 25 rounds daily, each with an average of 25 drops, 6 days a week. Serving retail outlets including Harrods, more than 45 Michelin-starred restaurants and even premium airline catering operations, HG Walter operates a fleet of temperature-controlled, 3.5-tonne vans mainly in and around London. The routes and drop details are automatically sent to the Podfather app, accessed by each driver using a handheld device or mobile phone. Once Podfather-guided vehicle checks have been completed and the van is loaded and ready to go, the drivers can see the exact details of each delivery, including any customer-specific instructions.
As the rounds progress, back-office staff have total visibility of vehicle location via the Podfather app, and this can be used to inform customers of delivery times or potential delays. The app is also used to electronically capture evidence of delivery, including customer signatures and date and time-stamped photos. Real-time reporting of any issues with a drop ensures speedy resolution, and customers can always be kept informed.
“In the current financial environment, keeping on top of deliveries that are made or those that haven’t been made is crucial to our bottom line,” Hackett continued. “And Podfather is a vital element of that management. With Podfather, we can show a customer in which fridge a delivery was left, at what time and on what day. We can even show them a photo of the member of staff who signed for it. This intelligence, available at the click of a button, has greatly reduced the resources required to deal with queries, has dramatically reduced the number of credit notes or duplicate orders we have to issue and has, therefore, had a significant financial impact on the business. The ability to share this information with customers and keep them informed as deliveries are made has also positively impacted our customer service.”
HG Walter is an independent family-run business committed to selecting the highest-quality produce. Established in 1972 by Peter Heanen, it has become one of the UK’s most respected butchers. Supplying some of the best chefs and restaurants, and of course, its loyal customers, HG Walter provides first-class service and exceptional meat, rating highly in provenance, welfare and flavour. HG Walter serves the public from its original shop in Baron’s Court and its growing commercial customer base from its warehouse in Northwest London.