Fuel bill savings pay for Blackberry logistics app in under 12 months

A Spanish bed and mattress maker recovered its investment in a Blackberry logistics application in less than a year by driving 85,000km less to make deliveries,...

A Spanish bed and mattress maker recovered its investment in a Blackberry logistics application in less than a year by driving 85,000km less to make deliveries, slashing its fuel bill and its carbon footprint by 60 tonnes a year.

The company, Pikolin, makes and distributes the Serta range of sleep goods to customers in Spain, Portugal and France. Depending on the season, it moves between 42,000 and 60,000 items a month. Some 83% of its stock goes to regional warehouses from where goods are shipped to 83,000 homes and other clients.

Pikolin logistics director Angel Gil Gailego said the company had turned to Blackberry to implement a centralised system to manage its capillary distribution, ie, from the eight regional warehouses to the goods' destination.

Systems director Ignacio Brieba Villena said the system was based on an IBM AS/400 database that recorded deliveries and consequential events. Possible results were presented as a menu choice tied to the details on the delivery note.

Having drivers input delivery transaction details using one or two clicks while at the destination gave the company information that it used to plan the drivers' next move in real time.

"The information also kicks off real time responses in the warehouses," he said. This might include accepting the stock back into inventory if the customer was unavailable or refused delivery.

This also allowed Pikolin to reschedule deliveries on the fly or to anticipate or speed up replies to customer queries, improving customer service, he said. "We can act on a problem before it becomes a real problem," said Gailego.

Villena said the application was not unusual and "very simple". Its capital and running costs were about €10 a month per driver and the firm employed 120 drivers. "You can do the maths," he said.

"The key success factors were speed of implementation and the benefits to the drivers," he said. "If we tried to take it away from them now, I don't think they'd let us."

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