Digital transformation for the building materials sector

With home builders pushing ahead with new projects this autumn the construction sector is one of the few bright spots in the UK economy as new, tiered lockdown measures continue to take effect across the UK.  Building firms and building material suppliers continue to bounce back from the initial slump seen in the spring of this year following the first UK coronavirus lockdown.

With firms citing the government’s cut in stamp duty on the sale of new home for boosting demand the outlook for the construction and building materials industry looks strong.  Here at PODFather we are also seeing the impact of growth in this sector.  More building materials suppliers are looking for digital technologies to help improve processes and eradicate paper tickets from their businesses. 

Eradicate paper tickets for good!

PODFather’s building materials clients span a range of business types delivering a wide range of products.  From flooring, doors, and tiles to dry walls, glass and building merchant stock, we cover the full spectrum of both trade and consumer materials.

One of the big benefits of introducing PODFather is that you immediately eradicate the need for paper tickets.  No more paper delivery dockets, driver manifests or customer paperwork.  Moving from paper to an electronic solution has huge benefits in terms of the flow of information across your business and will give you real time visibility, and full time accountability, for everything going on across your operation every day. 

With that in mind let’s take a look at the top PODFather features that are making a big difference in this sector right now.

epod and route planing

Job management

With PODFather, jobs can be automatically uploaded into our system from your ERP system using the API, or manually entered if you do not have another order processing system in place.  Using our job management functionality, you can capture all job specific information, such as delivery instructions, and store information against each of your customer accounts.  All past job information is stored within your PODFather system, meaning it doesn’t have to be re-entered when a repeat booking is made.  Using PODFather in this way cuts admin time and will improve the flow of information across your business. 

Read more about our Job Management functionality.

Route planning

With PODFather you can ensure that vehicle route plans are optimised, cost effective, resource efficient and meet customer time window expectations.  Our route planning and optimisation functionality allows jobs to be efficiently planned across available drivers and vehicles.  In addition, we can help you to optimise delivery runs in the most mileage efficient order, whilst considering SLA time delivery windows and vehicle capacities, with total route mileage and drive times being calculated automatically. 

Routes can be easily compared in the system with different colour job markers overlaid on a map. This allows the planner to quickly re-route jobs to a different run if necessary, to help further reduce distribution time and cost.

Read more about our route planning & optimisation software solution

Driver tracking

With PODFather there is no need for expensive in-cab telematics technology.  We help you to track your driver movements via our smartphone app.  The app, downloadable from the Google Play Store, and compatible with almost all Android smartphone and tablet devices, tracks your vehicles or drivers as they move around during the day.  ETAs are updated according to what’s going on in real time so you can keep customers informed about when to expect their delivery, and deal with any delays as soon as they occur.  At the end of the day you can review planned vs actual route performance, deal with any discrepancies and refine your route plans accordingly.

Read more about our intuitive driver tracking technology.

Customer notifications

With our Customer Notifications technology you can automatically notify your customers when a delivery slot is booked – either via email or text message (SMS charges apply).  Once your driver is out on the road you can set PODFather to notify your customer when their delivery is on its way with a 1-hour time window and live tracking link for real time updates.  In addition, why not give your customers access to our customer portal where they can track delivery times themselves?  Working in this way has been proven to cut the number of “where is my delivery?” type calls received by customer service teams.

Read about our automated customer notifications.

PODFather ETA notifications

ePOD – electronic Proof of Delivery

Our electronic proof of delivery (ePOD) solution enables your drivers to capture signatures and photos at point of delivery.  The big benefit of our ePOD solution is that all information is captured in real time…. there is no waiting for paper tickets to be returned back to the transport office to confirm job completion.  We have customers reporting that time to invoice has been slashed as a result….as soon as the ePOD is received an invoice can be issued.

Read about our ePOD solution.

“One of the biggest benefits of introducing PODFather is that we now have real time visibility of what’s going on out on the road.  With the PODFather system in place we can optimise the routes we are running, track progress in real time, and capture electronic proof of delivery information without having to rely on the use of paper tickets.  As a result of changing our working practices we’ve saved a huge amount of admin time and seen our On Time in Full performance improve by over 12%.”  Dave Fletcher, Operations Manager, Trimline

Trimline Group delivery van planned by PODFather

Case Study: Walls & Ceilings International Limited

Walls & Ceilings International Limited, one of the leading distribution companies to the construction industry, and FORS Gold fleet operator holders, have invested into the latest transport management technology as part of its ongoing project to digitize its transport systems.  Having historically relied on manual processes the Walls & Ceilings International Limited team saw the need to update its systems to maximise and grow the business.  Following a thorough investigation of the solutions that the routing and ePOD market had to offer the Walls & Ceilings Limited team made the decision to go with PODFather based on the system’s breadth of functionality, ease of integration and proven track record in its industry sector.

“With data driving modern business forward, investing into the latest technology is important to support our business growth,” comments Lee Birch, Warehouse & Logistics Manager at Walls & Ceilings International Limited.  “This is a huge step forward for us and will bring measurable benefits to our customers the form of improved efficiencies and communication.”

Walls & Ceilings International delivery truck planned by PODFather

“The introduction of PODFather will give Walls & Ceilings International customers advance notification, and real time visibility, of order progress,” comments Colin McCreadie, Managing Director at PODFather.  “Our system gives users a simple solution that makes short work of the complex problem of planning and managing a distribution operation and we look forward to seeing Walls & Ceilings International Limited achieve its business benefit objectives – to save fuel and cut empty running – as the system is rolled out.”

Why invest now?

Since March 2020, we have seen our usual rate of customer acquisition double due to companies needing to implement better delivery management processes within their businesses.  We are always clear about what our standard system does and does not include.  Basically, it includes all our core functionality.  So, when you sign up for PODFather you get the whole package…. however, if you just want one element, such as our ePOD or vehicle check functionality that is ok with us too.

The standard PODFather system has been built in such a way that system set up and roll out can be quick…so we need you to be prepared to hit the ground running if you decide to go ahead.  All our customers are assigned an account manager who will be with you every step of the way on your journey with PODFather.  Once we’ve been able to get your account set up – a process that can take as little as a few hours – we’ll work with you to organise your data, input your information and calibrate your PODFather system ready for go live.  Because of the way we have built the system configuration can be extremely straight forward and integration swift, especially if you use our API…read more about our integration capability. 

PODFather's Route Planning Software

Why digitize your building materials operation with PODFather?

Winter 2020 sees us facing yet more challenges, after what has been an incredibly difficult year for us all.  If you are a building materials distribution operator who is interested in looking at how technology can help tackle the challenges ahead then get in touch with us today.  Here are just some of the building material companies who rely on us every day to help them plan, manage and track their paperless delivery operations.

PODFather building material sector company logos

If we could be helping you, or someone within your network, to make the move to an automated, paperless distribution operation then get in touch today by calling tel: +44 (0) 131 553 0400 or email sales@podfather.com.  We would be delighted to tell you a bit more about what we can do.

Jane Geary

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