Palmer and Harvey

Palmer and Harvey, the UK’s leading independent and national wholesaler of tobacco, confectionery, chilled & frozen, grocery and convenience goods have nationwide distribution facilities operating in the independent and multiple Convenience, Forecourt and CTN retail arena where the focus is on meeting customer delivery windows and managing an efficient delivery fleet.

With a fleet of 650 vehicles handling between 6,000 and 10,000 deliveries per day from 12 depots to over 20,000 convenience stores, Palmer and Harvey has to manage variables such as different customer service levels, time-critical delivery windows and multiple product types.

Working with mobile delivery management system specialists, TranSend Solutions Ltd, Palmer and Harvey has implemented the TranSend electronic proof of delivery (ePOD) software system and back office solution incorporating a new Executive Dashboard that provides managers with a single view of all delivery and tracking data in a graphical format and full drill-down to every detail for routes, vehicles and customer deliveries.

The drivers use the PDA system for individual job instructions, to record deliveries including any exceptions, to scan sandwich collections and to record delivery assets – all using Motorola ruggedised mobile computing devices. The PDA also incorporates a panic button facility for added driver security when handling valuable stock items.

“At Palmer and Harvey we’re on the roads delivering to over 50,000 customers a week. As Britain has one of the busiest and most congested road networks in the world, issues arise regularly and have a knock on affect on delivery schedules. TranSend ePOD and the Executive Dashboard drive our delivery operation and we are seeing the benefits in operational efficiencies and cost savings to our business. By having real-time information visible at each depot and at head office, we are immediately alerted to any potential issues and able to respond quickly. The system has been designed using our performance measures so we can run our delivery network more efficiently. This means that we can focus on developing our value-add service to customers and potential customers.”

Logistics and Development Director at Palmer and Harvey

By implementing a centralised system with multi-level, role-specific operational views, Palmer and Harvey are seeing real business benefits:

  • Reliable proof of delivery data on all deliveries and collections enables accurate, same-day billing.
  • Increased route compliance by managing driver performance with daily debrief reports.
  • Reduced admin for customer service teams in handling queries and keeping customers informed of delivery performance during the day.
  • Electronic scanning of sandwich returns at customer site enables suppliers to accurately manage replenishment.
  • Reporting of delivery asset balances by royalty group for accurate billing, i.e. roll cages and thermotainers.
  • Faster delivery turnaround with ‘drop and go’ cage drops to stores.

The Challenge – Managing Drivers, Routes and Customer Service

Palmer and Harvey has a nationwide distribution facility servicing a diverse customer base in the independent and multiple Convenience, Forecourt and CTM food retail arena. Clients include Esso, Shell, Welcome Break, Tesco and Sainsburys.

Historically, it was both difficult and time-consuming to find the right information to investigate and respond to a potential delivery issue or customer query with the sheer volume of data generated for each customer delivery, route, driver and vehicle.

Palmer and Harvey uses Roadnet for route planning but needed to be able to track vehicles and deliveries throughout the day to be able to measure route compliance and further improve performance.

In order to provide a streamlined, value-add service to their customers and potential customers, Palmer and Harvey selected TranSend proof of delivery and integrated mobile delivery management system to provide them with real-time visibility of all driver, vehicle and delivery activity outside the depot.

The Solution – integrated ePOD and Mobile Delivery Management

With the TranSend PDA-based proof of delivery and back office management system, all relevant delivery-related information is visible to drivers, transport managers, depot managers and central management. Any exceptions to the delivery plan show a ‘red alert’ and can be investigated by drilling down to the detail. For example managers can see immediately which routes have not departed on time without scrolling through a whole list of routes.

This high level of visibility with multi-level access points has a direct positive impact on driver performance and route compliance with a 5-10% improvement in planned vs. actual mileage. Automated end-of-day driver debriefs highlight variations to the plan and means that the transport manager only needs to debrief those drivers where there are issues to discuss – a much more effective use of the transport manager’s time when he may have up to 90 drivers returning each afternoon.

Going forward, Palmer and Harvey will set up tolerances for driver performance, such as 10% more mileage than planned, which will drive further efficiencies and cost reduction estimated to save an additional £100,000 per annum.

Customer Service – improved communication

Customer serviceThe customer services team at each depot have tailored screens which highlight any routes running later than planned and also which deliveries are running outside of the contracted delivery window. Even if a route is running late, some deliveries may still be within the contracted time and therefore, they only need to alert those customers affected. Customers can be advised where necessary, thereby reducing complaints. The system does all the hard work and saves the customer service team from making unnecessary calls to drivers and customers.

Sandwich collection

At some customer stores, drivers use the PDA to scan all out-of-date sandwiches that need to be removed from the shelves. The system electronically notifies the supplier with accurate information, necessary to drive replenishment forecasts and the next production run. This streamlining of the stock replenishment and forecasting process means the customer no longer needs to call the supplier as information is automatically supplied by the PDA.

Delivery Asset tracking

Delivery asset trackingDelivery assets, such as cages, are valued at over £100 each and represent a six-figure investment sum to the company each year. Palmer and Harvey use TranSend ePOD for proof of asset delivery to record cages delivered and collected from each site. Reports are generated for outstanding balances, at store or retail group level. By deploying this technology, P&H can confidently maintain the integrity of the stock it delivers, and the assets it leaves with the customer.


The Business Value The result for Palmer and Harvey is a fully integrated delivery management operation that helps to drive out costs and improve efficiencies as well as enable a more pro-active customer service which is vital to customer retention and new customer acquisition.

  • Real-time proof of delivery and exceptions for accurate billing, reduced payment queries and credit notes.
  • Visibility of all vehicle activity throughout the day compared to plan and daily driver debrief reports increases route compliance.
  • Reduced operational costs – less paperwork and time involved in the delivery process.
  • Easy access to real-time delivery information for Customer Service teams to react quickly, keeping customers informed.
  • Tracking of delivery assets allows accurate billing to customers.

Richard concludes: “TranSend is easy to use with an intuitive interface that enables us to drill down to any level of detail and to review service levels for any particular customer. The innovative Executive Dashboard gives a complete operational view of our daily performance across all depots and enables us to review depot and operational performance.”