Eden Farm, the frozen food and ice cream wholesale distribution company, has implemented a Multi Depot routing and scheduling solution from Paragon Software Systems to help improve transport efficiency and customer service. The Paragon Multi Depot system provides a high level of specific driver, vehicle and route planning capabilities across the company’s nationwide transport operation.
Eden Farm is a family-run company with a focus on customer service. What began in 1964 as a smallholding with one minivan delivering its home-grown produce, has grown into a five-depot operation with a national delivery network distributing all the top brands of frozen food and ice cream. Throughout this business growth, Eden Farm has maintained its high level of service and stuck to its guiding principle of "deliver on promise".
Prior to implementing the Paragon system, Eden Farm’s sales team would accept orders whilst being unable to take into account the delivery logistics. The drivers planned their own routes and the company’s head office had no real-time visibility of the fleet to check that deliveries were running according to schedule.
Following a successful trial of the Single Depot system at its Bradford operation, Eden Farm upgraded to Paragon’s Multi Depot routing and scheduling software to cover operations in its London, Cardiff, Glasgow and Peterlee depots as well. Further functionality was added with Paragon’s INRIX-based road speed data and HERE Map Content with street level mapping for daily operational planning use.
"We use fewer vehicles in the depots now, and have greater visibility into our delivery operations, which in turn means improved customer service," says Robert Gee, Strategic Manager of IT & Operations, Eden Farm. "Head office can track all our delivery vehicles, and, not only does the system give us visibility into our actual operations, but it is also a scenario planning tool. Ours is a seasonal business, and the system allows us to plan for high-volume summer orders as well as to react to what-if situations, such as accommodating a customer’s request for an extra delivery."
Eden Farm’s system includes Paragon’s Fleet Controller module, which links Navman Wireless vehicle tracking with Paragon’s route planning system, and enables the Control Room to monitor the position of all vehicles in the fleet and check they are on-route and on time. It also includes Paragon Resource Manager, a software option which enables specific drivers to be matched with specific vehicles and specific routes, taking into account driver’s hours regulations and any planned vehicle maintenance.
The final module in the current system is Paragon’s Timed HTML Reporting, which feeds a web page giving the customer service team visibility into Eden Farm’s delivery operations so they can give customers accurate delivery information.
"We are currently looking at the next stage of integration," adds Gee, "which will link Tachomaster with our Paragon system so we can import actual real-time data to check drivers’ hours and allocate routes and shifts accordingly."