US LBM Holdings is a leading U.S. distributor of specialty building materials with more than 250 locations across the country, providing more than 60,000 SKUs of specialty products such as windows, doors, millwork, roofing, siding, cabinetry and wallboard.

US LBM implemented new logistics solutions to improve operational productivity and enhance the customer experience for its contractor customers, helping them better manage their construction projects. The company improved delivery performance, reduced costs and increased customer responsiveness through optimized route planning, real-time dispatch and tracking, and ePOD that are part of Descartes’ innovative last mile delivery solution.

"By working with Descartes, we have a solution that gives our highly mobile contractor customers accurate and extensive real-time visibility into the details and timing of their construction site deliveries. This mobile delivery management solution enables us to be more responsive and more efficient, and helps our customers be more productive."

- Senthil Arumugam, Vice President of Logistics and Inventory Management, US LBM Holdings, LLC

The Challenge: Optimizing Processes to Deliver Superior Customer Experience

US LBM operates in a very dynamic industry, serving custom home builders, professional re-modelers and commercial contractors who often require specialized and expedited services.

The company recognized that focusing on the customer delivery experience was key to continued success. US LBM needed to replace its paper-based scheduling system with a fully integrated, automated route planning and last mile delivery system.

Because most of its customers and salespeople are on the road every day, US LBM was seeking a mobile solution to provide real-time delivery information. The solution also needed to help operations set goals, measure performance and show continuous improvement.

The Solution: Real-time Visibility for Customers, Planners and Delivery Staff

After extensive research, US LBM elected to leverage Descartes’ real-time route planning, scheduling and mobile technology to build a mobile construction delivery solution to help contractors improve efficiency and better manage construction projects.

US LBM’s integrated mobile customer application helped the company overcome one of its greatest obstacles— communications about deliveries between field operations, inside sales support and the mostly-mobile salesforce.

The customer app allows users to instantly see the real-time location of a delivery, its anticipated arrival time and proof of delivery with enhanced pictures and signature capture. And with one click, they can call an outside sales rep, inside sales support or the dispatcher from the yard that dispatched the load.

The innovative mobile app also enables US LBM customers to input orders, download billing statements, track orders and get 24/7 access to product availability. By tightly integrating Descartes technology with the mobile app, visibility was enhanced and customer phone calls were greatly reduced. This allowed operations to plan more efficiently and get more deliveries out, which improved fleet utilization and lowered fuel and labor costs.

Additionally, Descartes’ dynamic route planning and scheduling solutions helped US LBM manage complex fleet, capacity and demanding delivery requirements. With automated scheduling, drivers now access delivery schedules on mobile devices. Real-time GPS data is received every few minutes and used by Descartes’ route planning and optimization solution to keep delivery times up to date.


Best Practices for Last Mile Delivery

The ultimate last mile delivery strategy is to use delivery information and capability to measurably improve the customer experience in some meaningful way that creates competitive differentiation.

The Results

Increased fleet efficiency

US LBM was able to turn around trucks more than 30% faster and improve fleet utilization due to enhanced fleet visibility made possible with the route planning and execution technology.

Cost savings

Paperless proof of delivery significantly reduced the number of customer calls and claims, helping US LBM save tens of thousands of dollars every month with better delivery claim resolution.

Better delivery performance

With dynamic delivery planning and real-time mobile update capabilities, many locations improved on-time delivery from 70% to 95% while decreasing transportation costs by over 10%.

Improved customer satisfaction

Real-time visibility into construction site deliveries, automated exception notifications, proof of delivery and other order details increased overall customer satisfaction.

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