Piller’s Sausages and Delicatessens is a family-owned foodservice distribution company. For over 40 years, Piller’s has been delivering high quality European deli, smoked meats and sausages to customers across North America, including large-scale grocery chains, and small mom-and-pop operations.

Challenge

As demand for Piller’s products increased, dispatchers had to add new stops to its fixed delivery schedule and ensure that loads were balanced. These tasks were done manually and became increasingly difficult to accomplish as the business grew.

Piller’s also had no visibility into its supply chain. While delays and exceptions could range from lack of dock space to heavy traffic, the key for Piller’s was real-time access to this information. Dispatchers needed to know the status of deliveries and where drivers were being held up – time wasted on one call could affect the rest of the day’s delivery schedule and ultimately impact Piller’s number one priority: customer service.

Piller’s realized that it needed an efficient way to optimally sequence its routes following the order cut-off and prior to loading the vehicles. Dispatchers and route planning managers had to be able to measure actual performance against an engineered plan, and required real-time visibility into their delivery operations to ensure ongoing customer satisfaction.

Solution

The day Descartes first demonstrated its visibility and route planning solution to Piller’s Fleet Supervisor, Klaus Schraud, he was very excited. “My first thought was, Holy Mackerel! This is exactly what we need.” After a 30-minute demonstration of the Descartes solution, Piller’s knew that the Descartes solution would prove to be an affordable alternative to more conventional – and expensive – software offerings on the market. With Descartes, Piller’s is now able to ensure that the most efficient routes are created for every delivery, while achieving visibility into the status of every order.

With its subscription-based model, Descartes would provide advanced functionality and real-time access to critical delivery information at a fraction of the price. The Descartes solution, available on a pay-as-you-go basis, would require no up-front capital costs, and would minimize operational and financial risks. Over and above these advantages, the Descartes solution could be implemented quickly and the impact would be felt immediately

Results

By using Descartes sequencing functionality to create engineered routes, Piller’s has significantly reduced time and miles spent on road. The actual performance and cost of each route are compared daily against an engineered plan. Information captured in the field is continually fed back to the Descartes system to further optimize daily routes.

Using web-enabled cell phones, the Piller’s fleet and status of each delivery is now tracked real-time. As well, drivers capture data such as mileage, service time at each stop, exception handling, and dock waiting times.

With visibility into daily delivery activities, Piller’s can now respond immediately to customer enquiries. Sales representatives and night managers can check on delivery status without having to call Schraud – or the driver – for details. They simply log on to the Descartes solution and select the route in question to know exactly where a vehicle is and its estimated time of arrival for each stop. This information is also then used to sequence routes for optimal fleet management.

Within three months, Piller’s will be able to:

  • increase productivity of stops per on area hour by 12%
  • project labor, fuel and maintenance savings of 8% per year
  • potentially reduce overtime of 10%
  • improve efficiency of customer service calls