Brook Furniture Rental provides home and office furniture, décor, and housewares to people and companies in transition. To improve its white glove delivery operations, Brook replaced its manual processes with Descartes’ sophisticated last mile delivery solution, combining intelligent route planning and execution, dynamic delivery appointment scheduling, real-time notifications, and mobile proof-of-delivery (POD). Brook increased productivity and fleet capacity, reduced operational costs, and dramatically improved the customer experience.
The Challenge: Inefficient Manual Processes Impacting Customer Experience
Brook provides white glove delivery and pickup services of furniture and housewares to direct-to-consumer (D2C) and business-to-business (B2B) (e.g., commercial staging, corporate housing, office furniture) customers across 17 states. The company manages 12 distribution centers and a leased fleet of 26-ft. box vans.
Operating in a time-sensitive environment, Brook’s inefficient paper-based processes and homegrown system for taking orders and planning delivery routes hindered response time, offered minimal visibility into truck capacity, and compromised sales growth. Plus, without the ability to provide real-time status updates, the company’s support team was swamped with “where’s my truck” calls, resulting in a lengthy series of communications between the customer success team, fleet managers, and drivers.
“Descartes Route Planner and the Track-My-Truck feature have been a huge win for our customers, enabling us to give them the flexibility, responsiveness, and transparency they expect and deserve, while also reducing our overhead costs and boosting fleet productivity to drive growth. Delivery operations improved more than we expected, faster than we expected, and it’s made life easier and more efficient for customers and internal teams alike.”- Nathan Sanders, President and CEO, Brook Furniture Rental
Headquartered in Lake Forest, IL, with distribution centers nationwide, Brook Furniture Rental provides direct-to-consumer (D2C) and business-to-business (B2B) furniture, décor, and home essentials, delivered in as little as 1-2 business days, to help people and companies in transition.
Route Planning and Optimization
Descartes route planning software provides advanced route optimization to drive peak fleet performance, increase efficiency and streamline operations.
The Solution: Always-on Route Optimization + Real-time Visibility
As part of an enterprise-wide digital transformation—including building a B2B portal and new D2C website to offer self-service for customers—Brook implemented the Descartes end-to-end platform for last mile delivery operations, encompassing dynamic delivery appointment booking (Descartes Reservations™), continuous route planning and execution (Descartes Route Planner™), mobile POD (Descartes Mobile™), and real-time notifications processes (Descartes Notifications™).
“Our ability to grow sales was hampered by a time-consuming manual workflow and a homegrown system that had no planning capabilities, no advanced intelligence, and required paper-based follow-up. We were, no doubt, losing business opportunities because we had little idea of our capacity and could never give the customer a quick response,” said Nathan Sanders, President and CEO of Brook Furniture Rental.
“Speed equals growth, and Descartes Route Planner is the key to the efficient, on-time delivery service that is accelerating our sales growth.”
Descartes Route Planner’s algorithm takes into consideration multiple factors—number of pieces, location, cubing, time required for drop-off and set-up, drive times, average traffic conditions, DOT hours of service (HOS) limits, customer availability, and more—to optimize routing decisions. Brook improved its already strong on-time delivery rate by an additional 4-6%, achieving industry best-in-class rates as high as 97%.
“We markedly improved dispatch efficiency and route productivity, which opened up additional delivery capacity and reduced our delivery costs,” said Sanders.
With dynamic delivery appointment scheduling and real-time inventory updates, Brook can offer customers delivery options in real-time at point-of-sale (POS). “The Descartes solution is tied to our B2B portal and D2C website to allow self-service delivery booking. Customers can choose their actual delivery dates to avoid ‘recommended’ dates and date changes,” noted Sanders.
The Descartes solution manages delivery execution with intelligent dispatching and GPS-based real-time vehicle tracking, enabling proactive decision-making and responsive customer communication in response to unforeseen delivery disruptions (e.g., traffic accidents). Descartes Mobile, the integrated mobile application and wireless messaging network, helps drivers execute the route and capture essential POD details, while ensuring Brook’s customers are kept informed of delivery status in real-time.
INDUSTRY WHITE PAPER
6 Ways Machine Learning Can Improve Fleet Performance
Machine learning (ML) has become a pervasive topic in supply chain technology circles. Machine learning can help fleet operators maximize fleet performance improving the accuracy of data used to plan and execute deliveries.
“With our white-labeled Track-My-Truck feature, customers can see where their truck is and when it will arrive, down to the minute, saving them time and energy,” said Sanders. “We’ve taken what was once a somewhat grueling experience and made it stress-free—no more back-and-forth, no more unreliability and disappointment when it comes to deliveries.”
He added, “We’re driven by the goal of providing an unparalleled customer experience, so we’re thrilled that ‘where’s my truck?’ calls have decreased by 50% and that customers are getting time back in their day thanks to real-time ETAs.”
Increased Route Efficiency
With dynamic appointment scheduling, always-on route optimization, and real-time mobile updates, Brook improved fleet utilization and increased its on-time delivery rate to 97% on average—best-in-class for the industry.
Improved Customer Experience
With 24/7 self-service appointment booking, real-time status alerts, and updated ETAs via the white-labeled Track-My-Truck service, customers can lock in the delivery date they want, freeing them from the unpredictability of lengthy delivery windows.
By optimizing route planning and execution with Descartes Route Planner, Brook decreased operating costs by increasing route density and improving fleet capacity utilization. Eliminating paper-based processes helped reduce planner headcount by 75%.
Fleet productivity doubled, with twice as many items delivered without adding more vehicles. With customers able to self-serve, Brook more than doubled its service call answering speed, and customer call time has been cut in half, including 50% fewer “where’s my truck?” calls.