The MRPI Supply Chain IT team, VisionID and Zebra have delivered a mobile computing platform that is enhancing fleet efficiency, cutting administration, improving customer service, and significantly reducing costs. And with the service and support contract provided by VisionID we have a clear view of the cost of our device estate over its life cycle. Colleagues elsewhere in our business in Great Britain are evaluating the technology which underlines the significant degree of satisfaction that we have in the platform.
About Musgrave Retail Partners
Musgrave Retail Partners provides services to entrepreneurial retailers in the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Great Britain and Spain, including grocery distribution and advanced systems for sales, marketing, IT, finance and logistics. It runs over 3,300 stores under retail brands that include household names SuperValu and Centra. In 2009 Musgrave was named one of Ireland’s best-run companies in the Deloitte Best Managed Companies Awards.
As part of its ‘Better Business Project’ – a major investment to improve key areas of its business – Musgraves deployed a mobile computing platform to advance logistics operations. It asked VisionID, specialists in data capture technology, to help prepare and support a core component of the system – the handheld computers used by the logistics team and delivery drivers. Musgrave selected Zebra MC75A Enterprise Digital Assistants (EDAs) and VisionID supported the implementation and deployment of the system throughout the Island of Ireland.
- ePoD: PoD is collected using the MC75A’s screen and stylus
- Fleet tracking: Musgraves’ dispatch team tracks the location of its delivery fleet
- Route optimization: Drivers’ routes are optimized using satellite navigation
- Asset tracking: Delivery crates are asset tracked using bar coding
- Calls: The MC75A is used as a mobile phone by drivers
- Time sheets: Drivers can log hours on the MC75A with the data captured for interface to payroll systems
The technology is improving performance across operations. Drivers collect electronic Proof of Delivery (ePoD) with the record immediately updated in back-office systems. The MC75A’s GPS capability optimizes route planning. Drivers can use the computers to log time sheets eliminating paper. In addition, Musgraves is asset tracking the many thousands of metal ‘combies’ (metal delivery crates) and potato bins used to pick up goods from food manufacturers and deliver stock to its retail partners. As a result, losses of containers have been significantly reduced – cost savings that, in the first year, are delivering a significant return on investment.
Zebra Zebra said Stephen Bennett, Supply Chain Systems Manager of Musgrave Retail Partners Ireland.
The Business value: Reduced costs and enhanced performance
A key reason behind the move to mobile computing was to allow Musgrave to track and trace delivery containers used to pick up goods from suppliers and deliver products to retailers. says Stephen Bennett.
Musgrave owns thousands of the expensive containers thanks to the tracking system it has now implemented a deposit mechanism, whereby funds are credited back once containers are safely returned by retail partners and suppliers. Consequently, losses of containers have been significantly reduced.
The technology is delivering improvements across other areas of the logistics operation. Musgraves has introduced ePoD for customers to sign for goods using the MC75A. The details of who signed for deliveries and when are immediately available to the business. Drivers can use the computers to fill in time sheets with the details automatically interfaced to internal systems to significantly reduce paper trails. Drivers can also make calls with the MC75A and are benefiting from enhanced route planning.This is achieved using the MC75A’s GPS capability connected to a BING mapping application and, with a realtime view of vehicle resources, the team can better respond to customer requests.
The Challenge: Driving supply chain efficiencies
Musgrave is investing in a ‘Better Business’ project to deliver world-class business performance across its logistics and supply chain network. As part of this drive Musgrave targeted improvements in its delivery processes by deploying a mobile computing platform. The primary objectives were to improve customer service, reduce administration and enhance the efficiency and accuracy of its delivery operations. It also wanted to asset track its various types of delivery crates used to transport goods to reduce the numbers of these items that were misplaced.
The Solution: Advanced mobile computing platform to track and trace delivery assets
Musgrave consulted with members of its supply chain IT and logistics teams to define the requirements for its mobile computing system. These included the ability to track and trace metal delivery crates, collect electronic Proof of Delivery (ePoD), optimize route planning, and support automated workflows (such as allowing drivers to fill in electronic time sheets). With these demands in mind, it evaluated which mobile computer would best meet the needs of its teams.
- Fast ROI: Asset tracking of delivery crates has resulted in cost savings within the first year that has paid for the initial investment in the technology
- Enhanced customer service: Immediate details are available to the business and customers about who signed for deliveries and when
- Reduced administration: Automating driver time sheets has significantly reduced administration
- Advanced fleet efficiency: Real-time mapping of vehicle locations and route optimization is improving fleet planning and utilization
Within its in-store operations Musgraves was already using Zebra handheld computers installed and managed by VisionID. The devices were working well and VisionID was selected by Musgrave to help with the new project. says Robert Jones, Managing Director, VisionID.
VisionID supported Musgrave Retail Partners Ireland to deploy the Zebra MC75A EDA. The rugged devices provide the key features to support Musgrave applications including an integrated bar-code scanner, GPS, camera, and voice capabilities. Also, feedback from other users was positive as Stephen Bennett describes: Zebra
VisionID provides a complete service for the computers. It is responsible for the MC75A’s software, the training of end-users and the maintenance and management of the device estate, providing a help desk for users to report issues. To cost-efficiently manage the devices, VisionID uses the Zebra Mobility Services Platform. When users dock their MC75As in the charging cradle, it enables VisionID to remotely connect with the devices to monitor their status, diagnose any problems and update software. Should there be any unresolvable problems with an EDA, this is swapped out the next day through Zebra Service From the Start support package.