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“We were impressed by the investment and support that Descartes put into this product and the roadmap. This technology has allowed us to be agile, forward-thinking and work optimally with our fleet with benefits on costs, sales and satisfaction across the business and with our customers. ”
Edward Corbett - Head of Programme
Delivery capacity increased 25%
OTIF deliveries increased 15%
Fleet size 500+
SIG is active across the UK, Ireland and mainland Europe, where they are a leading European provider of specialist building solutions as well as a unique intermediary for contractors in the supply chain.
The organisation helps its customers to smooth out fragmented supply chains using its fleet of around 500 vehicles and 170 operating centres. Their emphasis has always been on connecting with their customers, suppliers, employees and the wider community and in 2019 this value became the cornerstone in their transformation journey when SIG launched Descartes’ software. This resulted in improved efficiency of their fleet, better service for internal and external customers as well as increased sales.
At first, because of consolidation within the business, SIG adopted only Descartes’ last mile delivery solution, which is also known as the Vehicle Routing & Scheduling (VRS) system.
However, after seeing that access to more data and insights on how the fleet could be optimised, Descartes enabled SIG to meet their goal of a 25% capacity improvement and an increase of On-Time-In-Full (OTIF) deliveries by up to 15%.
“Descartes’ last mile delivery solution suite is continually developed, remaining cutting-edge and is a cloud solution, which sits perfectly with our cloud-first IT strategy,” says Edward Corbett, Head of Programme, SIG. “We were impressed by the investment and support that Descartes put into this product and the roadmap. This technology has allowed us to be agile, forward-thinking and work optimally with our fleet with benefits on costs, sales and satisfaction across the business and with our customers. Achieving this improvement in capacity and increase in the volume of deliveries shows a real forward movement for us and the data we now have from this system gives us the ability to make informed management decisions to optimise the fleet and our business.”
"The data we now have from this system gives us the ability to make informed management decisions to optimise the fleet and our business."
- Edward Corbett, Head of Programme
The implementation of the VRS paved the way for additional Descartes’ hardware and software solutions which led to greater drive operational efficiencies and enhanced customer service.
Take for example, Hand Held Terminals (HHTs), which have improved the experience for SIG’s drivers and enabled them to transition to a fully paperless delivery environment. The drivers now use contactless ‘sign on glass’ which proved itself to be essential during the pandemic.
Moreover, SIG also implemented Descartes’ mobile electronic Proof-of-Delivery (ePOD) software. This provides the company with instant assurance that a customer’s order has been received.
Both the hardware and the software solutions work together to unlock a host of benefits such as:
“The Descartes solution is a real end-to-end offering that has improved our ability to track and offer services with increased visibility. We are reconnecting with customers, partners, employees and communities as much as possible and have put a focus on driving a culture of positivity and trust within the business.
Our partnership with Descartes has been an enjoyable relationship for us as a business, but has also allowed us to provide benefits to both our customers and our employees that bring us closer together,” Edward Corbett says. “The introduction of HHTs and ePOD software improves the interaction for drivers and therefore their ability to connect with clients and provide more visibility throughout the process. This also became a vital component during the pandemic to offer contactless delivery services, allowing us to prioritise the health and safety of both drivers and clients.”
SIG is currently implementing Descartes’ latest addition to the suite; a telematics solution, with the aim of providing best-in-class service to their drivers.
Now that 100% of their fleet is fitted, they have an opportunity to identify any sticking points, improve their driver’s practices and behaviours, communicate accurate drivers’ hours compliance and tachograph information. SIG’s end goal is to see a 20% reduction in idling time and a 40% reduction in accidents. Furthermore, they now have the ability to celebrate success and offer promotions and rewards to their staff based on the data that comes through on their graphs and reports. Specifically, SIG is looking to rollout recognition opportunities to their drivers such as ‘Driver of the Year’ awards.
By using digital solutions to help measure success, they are removing bias and helping to develop personal development strategies for each individual driver, thereby also helping with their recruitment and retention.
"Our partnership with Descartes has allowed us to provide benefits to both our customers and our employees that bring us closer together"
In addition to efficiencies and growing sales figures, SIG also wants to highlight its commitment to sustainability and understands the importance of showing that they are upholding ESG values.
Descartes’ suite of last mile delivery solutions has helped SIG to clearly communicate its ethics to its customers, employees, and partners. For example, demonstrating a reduction in unwarranted mileage by planning optimised routes according to the exact vehicle, its capacity and the demand has effectively eliminated wasted journeys as well as generally improving efficiency levels. Lastly, the implementation of the HHTs alongside the ePOD software has significantly reduced the company’s paper usage which bodes well when it comes to SIG’s corporate sustainability goals.
Lorna Stork, ESG Director, SIG, says: “Descartes’ software has played a significant part in our steps towards some of our sustainability goals. At SIG, we strive to improve our operations to reach a net carbon zero target and look to work with partners who can help us to reduce or eliminate unsustainable processes.
We have found Descartes extremely helpful in allowing our fleet to reduce the environmental impact while enhancing operational efficiency and we look forward to continuing to develop this in the future with the planned additions to our existing solution. The access to data from this is allowing us to gain recommendations and make decisions for the future that can benefit all our stakeholders further, such as the introduction of electric vehicles into the fleet.”
"Descartes’ software has played a significant part in our steps towards some of our sustainability goals." - Lorna Stork, ESG Director
“The building materials market is highly fluid and SIG differentiates itself by offering an agile and reliable service to our customers with the ability to track the progress of their deliveries to help better manage the supply chain,” Edward Corbett concludes.
“The Descartes solution helps us manage our distribution centres and territories more efficiently, with access to real-time information on how to organise and run our facilities optimally. Our improved responsiveness makes a huge difference to our customer service and efficient resource utilisation. It helps us maintain a safe working environment for our drivers and wider UK road-user community whilst also supporting our strategic ESG objectives.”
Pól Sweeney, VP Sales and Business Manager UK for Descartes adds:
“We are extremely pleased to be working with SIG and to have built such a strong relationship. It is fantastic to be able to supply a solution suite that enables them to improve their fleet efficiency and the experience for their customers and drivers, as well as reach their broader, strategic goals.
Ultimately, specialist building material suppliers compete on service and we are happy to have been able to help SIG maintain its leadership in this area.”
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