IT director Nick Symmons said the retailer would save millions of pounds a year by increasing the distance per driver hour and saving fuel and third-party transport costs. The system was implemented with supplier Wincanton. It linked Safeway's core systems on IBM zSeries mainframes via bespoke links to Paragon software running on Wintel servers.
The creation of a national routing system is the latest phase in the company's revamp of its logistics software systems. Symmons said, "We had been routing and scheduling from local depots but trips between locations were more complicated. This called for a national system to calculate optimum routes and to track the movement of trucks and trailers."
Safeway, with 750 vehicles and 20 distribution centres, follows other large retailers in ensuring that distances travelled are minimised by choosing the most efficient route and enabling empty trucks on return journeys to pick up goods from suppliers, removing the need for suppliers to deliver.
Simon Bragg, an analyst with ARC Consulting, said most fleets, including Tesco and Sainsbury's, use Paragon for routing and scheduling in the UK.