Major technology investment delivers better customer experience for Quinn’s Merchants
The builders’ merchant market is the backbone of our business. Our unique suite of complimentary building materials has enabled us to set ourselves apart when it comes to flexible delivery solutions and stock management, a key sell for our merchant customers. Our mixed loads delivery solution has proven to be a unique selling point with widespread appeal in the market, offering better value and greater flexibility, with the added benefit of significantly reducing our carbon footprint.
It’s a solution which most suppliers can’t offer their customers, so developing this into a fully digitised solution with a more streamlined process for merchants has been the core focus of a six-figure investment and a development project spanning almost three years.
The project to develop the new Quinn Delivery Hub ran in tandem with an associated project to deliver a new App specifically designed to add greater value to our merchant customers, the Genius by Quinn App.
Mixed Loads: A Complex Process
The logistical management of our mixed loads deliveries is extremely complex, with products manufactured in various locations within different Quinn companies, all delivered by our own fleet and several haulier contractors.
The previous cumbersome process was based on paper and spreadsheets. The entire function relied on the expertise of our despatch personnel, who needed detailed knowledge of the products and also an understanding of how to maximise space in the trailers. This needed to correlate with driver routing to ensure all loads were filled in a practical and efficient order, factoring in weighting configurations and health and safety. A strong sense of geography was also needed to understand the regional routes in order to plan the logistics efficiently.
The Digital Solution
With over 100 arctic lorry loads of materials despatched every day, systemisation of this complex process was a huge undertaking, requiring a significant amount of planning and involvement of all stakeholders to define and develop the bespoke technology.
Three years on, we have now launched our new Delivery Hub, which has streamlined the entire mixed loads management through an innovative digital solution. Every step of the complex process has now been digitised, from the administration teams who receive the orders right through to the merchant who signs a digital delivery receipt and receives an instant electronic version of their despatch.
All incoming orders are analysed by the new system and a complete mixed load is digitally built and assigned to a driver. When “building” the loads, the system considers multiple orders at once, all containing multiple products to be collected at different facilities and all with different weights to be transported to multiple destinations.
The Delivery Hub allows us to maximise the area space in the trailer, with loading and unloading and weight restrictions all balanced to ensure optimum efficiency. Each load is allocated digitally to a driver, with an assigned collection sequence and delivery route.
A full suite of new hardware devices has been rolled out, with all drivers using hand-held devices and forklifts fitted with specialist tablet units which all feed back into the Delivery Hub. This gives our despatch and administration teams real time visibility of order progression to delivery.
Speaking of the new Hub, Business Development Manager, Paul Melanophy, said,
“This new system ensures a more simplified solution for everyone involved, from our own personnel to our contracted hauliers, and most importantly, our merchant customers. Removing paper and siloed data gives us the ability to analyse the data on our deliveries and mixed loads to give greater insight to drive ongoing efficiencies and improvement.
The fact that we are informed in real-time now about all product movement translates into a better overall experience for our customers.”
Adding Value for Merchants
For merchants, the new streamlined system will ensure greater efficiency, real time visibility of order status and eliminate the paperwork associated with deliveries.
Quinn’s NBG merchant customers in GB are also set to enjoy a host of other benefits as we roll out our new “Genius by Quinn” merchant App. The App is not only an extension of the Delivery Hub system to give greater visibility and order management capabilities, but it will also give merchants access to a full suite of resources and technical information.
GB Sales and Marketing Director, Lee Gillman, commented,
“The key thing for us is that the App has been built specifically to address the needs of merchants, who have been heavily involved throughout the design and development process. Their input at every stage was crucial to refining and adapting every detail to ensure the end product is a functional and practical solution which delivers value by addressing the “pain points” experienced by merchants.
We showcased the App at this year’s UK Construction Week and the feedback has been extremely positive.”