Working with delivery management system specialists, TranSend Solutions Ltd, JD Sports has implemented TranSend ePOD for store delivery management on Zebra TC55 devices. The system provides real-time tracking of stock outside the depot – to and from stores – and secure stock tracking using vehicle seal codes, driver, carton and store manager ID scanning.
As well as reducing delivery turnaround times and providing a more efficient service to stores, they have:
- increased the percentage of stock moved quickly between stores using ‘Fast-track’ inter-branch transfers (IBT),
- reduced the paperwork and manpower involved in stock re-allocation,
- reduced returns losses and improved stock accuracy across the business with 360o visibility of the delivery process.
“We are already seeing the benefits in operational efficiencies and cost savings to our business, including faster consolidation of stock for improved movement around the country and more secure stock tracking to reduce losses. TranSend provides us with valuable, real-time information and visibility of our delivery operation using our own performance measures and working practices to better manage exceptions including shortages, vehicle security breaches and missed delivery windows. This enables us to focus on areas that will make a real difference to our bottom line.”
Tim Edwards, Loss Control Director at JD Sports
The Challenge – Tracking stock in transit, deliveries and returns
In the fast-moving fashion retail industry, JD Sports need to meet customer demand, respond to regional variances and move slow moving lines from one area to areas with higher sales potential – essentially have the right product in the right place at the right time to realise maximum sales margin across all product lines.
Once stock has left the depot, there can be a time lag between being booked in at individual stores and becoming visible on the WMS system, even though it may have been delivered.
In order close this loop and to speed up and streamline the stock transfer process between outlets, JD Sports recognised the need for a sophisticated, but easy to use ePOD solution that would provide an effective audit trail, including stock tracking in transit and proof of delivery information from the distribution hubs to stores and back again, as well as inter-branch transfer of stock (IBT). From previous system trials, JD Sports had also identified the need for more rugged PDAs, fit for purpose in a retail delivery operation.
Tim explains further: “Certain products sell well in some parts of the country but not in others – so we wanted to be able to recognise that quickly and react. We don’t want to have to go back to the distribution centre because it’s very labour-intensive, it can slow the return and then dispatch of that product out again. In effect, the new software has a merchandising role: by increasing the number of ‘fast track’ inter-branch transfers we have forecast significant additional sales revenue per annum by having the right stock in the right place at the right time”.
The Solution – integrated ePOD and Tracking
JD Sports implemented the TranSend ePOD solution running on rugged hand-held devices to provide an integrated back office and mobile PDA system with automatic updates to their WMS system. By innovative use of real-time PDA-based mobile technology, JD Sports have been able to address three parallel requirements:
- Secure product receipting and proof of delivery
- Real-time stock visibility both in-transit and at store
- Tracking drivers and vehicles against routes
Prior to the system roll-out, stock delivered to individual store locations was not visible in the back office WMS system until physically booked in by staff at each store. With TranSend, as each delivery is scanned off the vehicle, stock information on the WMS system is automatically updated. Where store deliveries were previously checked off manually, now each carton can be scanned off the vehicle, in any order, resulting in a much faster turnaround time and elimination of any dispute over goods being received or returned. Drivers no longer have to wait for store staff to become available to receive deliveries since, with TranSend, the store manager is alerted as the driver reaches a specified distance from the store. By using co-ordinates rather than postcodes for navigation, drivers are presented with more accurate delivery point information.
JD Sports no longer have to handle returns through a delivery hub and re-process for delivery to others stores, since stock can now be automatically re-allocated and transferred directly from one store to another – ‘fast track’ IBT – which improves stock availability where it is needed, to maximise sales and minimise unsold stock.
Tim expands: “We no longer have cartons disappearing from view and, with a full audit trail of scanned cartons at any stage of the delivery and collection process, store staff are freed up to focus on selling rather than looking for missing stock. More accurate stock visibility and faster movement between stores has reduced the amount of markdowns and buffer stock required.”
In terms of information visibility, management and operational teams previously had to wait until the driver returned to depot to see if deliveries were made against the planned route and time scheduled and if there were any shortages. Now the team back at base can view real-time information on delivery status. This means that they can be more proactive in managing and re-scheduling deliveries as necessary and respond quickly to store delivery queries and any exceptions flagged by the TranSend system.
Tim remarks on the benefits: “We can now see exactly what is happening today, in real time and then run end-of-day reports for review. In addition, by analysing the data over a period of time, we can review our route planning and timings and investigate specific trends e.g. consistently late deliveries to a particular store, which may be due some stores needing a longer turnaround time down to access by stairs, etc.”
The TranSend system combines a number of functions normally requiring multiple devices – satnav, vehicle tracking, secure ID, electronic proof of delivery and driver security – operated via a single, rugged hand-held device.
The hosted system includes a reporting suite which uses the latest web technology, enabling secure access from any internet-based PC.
The drivers and back office staff at JD Sports have found the TranSend system intuitive and easy to use, which has enabled a smooth roll out and fast system go live. Within 3 months of placing the order, TranSend was live across and adding value to the business.
Tim continues: “TranSend is an innovative and exciting product to use for both drivers and back office users. Drivers have a single rugged hand held device that provides detailed instructions and records activity and all information is immediately visible to transport management, warehouse, security and delivery helpline teams. It adds real value to the business by eliminating manual and paper processes and speeding up inter branch stock transfers”.
The Business Value
As a result, JD Sports now have complete visibility of the whole distribution operation – where and when stock has been dropped or collected, where it is in transit, shortages and returns, vehicle and driver location. They have also speeded up delivery turnaround times and the movement of stock between stores resulting in increased revenue from maximising stock availability.
- Improved stock accuracy – the new process flags any discrepancy immediately, enables faster re-allocation of stock between stores, helps with replenishment planning and reduces manual stock checks.
- Reduced stock holding – faster stock movement means they can sell as much as possible of each product line and maximise sales margins.
- Reduced operational costs – less manpower and time involved in the delivery process and re-allocation of stock between stores; more efficient use of vehicles and drivers
- Secure delivery – real-time alerting of exceptions in the delivery process through use of vehicle seal codes
Tim concludes: “The team at TranSend Solutions really understood what we required and demonstrated a real commitment to get us up and running within 3 months from signing the contract. They managed the testing and roll-out phases to ensure that all users had a good experience from day one”.