29 Jul 2015 / Activity-based planning helps simplify operations at Relay

Relay 2

Specialist Logistics, Traffic Planning, Relay Technical Transport, Mandata TMS

Relay first started transporting delicate scale models of oil rigging equipment from London to Aberdeen during the North Sea oil boom in 1975. Since then, the business has evolved into a specialist company handling fragile and valuable electronic and IT equipment for the office print, telecommunications, health care and pharmaceutical sectors.

Its customers demand the highest levels of quality, utmost care and professionalism, optimum security and exceptional channels of communication. To meet these demands, Relay has continually invested in technology to ensure its customers can have total confidence in its ability to handle their transport and logistics requirements.

Relay's integrated Mandata TMS

It was 1997 when Relay first invested in Mandata’s TMS. Now systems are integrated with warehousing, track and trace, POD and finance systems to enable the seamless flow of live information between the company and its customers.

Relay’s complex business model consists of multi-drop deliveries and installations, made within tight timescales on sites where access can be difficult. To manage this process, Relay has found the ability to schedule and route jobs and loads using Mandata’s activity based planning tool, of tremendous benefit.

Each job has its own idiosyncrasies and aspects such as manpower, time required on site, location and installation requirements – all need intricate planning. The system helps by giving Relay the flexibility to build additional time into load planning, making it easier to plan subsequent deliveries.

Simplifying operations and reducing costs

Stuart Berry Internal Process Manager at Relay explains: “We often face the challenge of slotting numerous timed deliveries within runs. The system enables us to look at the best fit across multiple vehicles and route them in such a way that we optimise manpower, fleet utilisation and meet demanding timescales.”

It’s the visualisation of runs and their impact on the business that is helping to simplify operations and reduce costs at Relay: “We can see a load being built up on a map and change various elements such as vehicles and drivers to manage resources and create efficiencies such as fuel economy.”

The new job attachments feature in the Mandata TMS and Advanced Services is also simplifying deliveries. “Any images or documents relating to a delivery can be attached to a job by us or the customer. This additional information means our delivery teams are better prepared when they reach a site – and this is leading to smoother installations.”

Maintaining service levels and improving customer communications

It is innovations such as this that are enabling Relay to maintain high service levels and simplify communications for its customers. Web-based technology for example, has created total visibility from a point of collection to a point of delivery through GPRS satellite tracking and real-time electronic POD retrieval.

“A lot of our customers book jobs through Advanced Services or we use EDI technology to receive jobs automatically through the Mandata TMS. The manner in which customers can place orders through us, rather than by email or phone is very efficient. It saves our office-based traffic people countless hours every week.”

Once orders are placed and goods are live on the vehicles, Relay’s customers can track consignments through the web or by using Mandata’s Track and Trace App. “This means our customers are regularly being updated – they are reassured that their goods are being delivered within the right timescales, which in turn minimises the ETA calls we receive. Customers can also see electronic signatures in real-time so it’s of great comfort and benefit to us and our customers.”

Looking to the future

Stuart believes mobile technology will take more of a prominent role in its delivery process in the future. “We’re always looking for new ways to improve service levels and welcome the new advances Mandata has been making, particularly with regard to Android and iOS developments.”

“We’ve felt slightly restricted with PDA’s. But now there are more services available on mobile devices such as phones or tablets, it gives us greater potential to improve visual communications with our drivers and to simplify deliveries and installations further.”

Does planning work take up too much of your time?

Click here to find out how the Mandata TMS could help to simplify your planning processes.

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