Home interiors specialists Fired Earth (Part of the Aga Rangemaster Group) has implemented a new routing and scheduling system from Paragon. Since installing the software, Fired Earth has reduced the size of its fleet and is more able to schedule deliveries reactively to suit customers’ changing requirements. The investment in the software is part of the company’s continuous improvement programme to boost customer service while gaining more efficiency from its distribution operation.
"We got to the point where we found it difficult to get what we needed out of our old delivery scheduling system. It would not allow us to model ‘what-if’ scenarios, such as changing our fleet and finding out what it would cost to make the changes and what improvements we’d achieve. It had the capability but it wasn’t readily available and it would require several days of external consultancy to get what we wanted. This would be an additional cost to the annual fee we paid for the product," says Samantha Millican, Operations Director, Fired Earth.
"Paragon can be tailored to provide strategic modelling and is therefore much more flexible. The schedulers find it easier to use and it gives them more control over the scheduling. We can make changes to the fleet and see the effects of those changes on our distribution immediately. Also, with Paragon we pay for the software and a much smaller annual maintenance fee, which we calculated would save us money within three years of purchasing the system. In addition we’ve already taken a vehicle out of the fleet and eliminated its running costs, which saves us an extra £3500 a month."
With Paragon, the schedulers can see exactly how many vehicles they need day by day to fulfil the orders. This is a big advance on how they worked previously, as the old system was fixed on the existing fleet and schedulers would share the loads among them, so vehicles were not being used efficiently. The new system also gives the Fired Earth schedulers the ability to react to changes to customers’ needs. If a customer calls in to ask if it is possible to send an additional order, it allows the scheduler to respond quickly to alter the plan to accommodate the extra delivery. With the old system, the entire schedule would need rerunning from scratch.