Electronic retail giant Dixons boosts competitive advantage and customer service with Ortec

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Dixons South East Europe is reaping numerous benefits following the decision to implement Ortec Shortrec at its central distribution warehouse in Greece.

As one of the largest consumer electronics retailers in Europe, Dixons uses Ortec's automated vehicle routing and scheduling solution to optimize its route planning and thereby increase service quality. Dixons has already realized significant cost and time savings by using ORTEC's solution: a cost reduction of 10 to 15% and in addition to savings generated by mileage reduction, the time and effort by local dispatchers/load planners is reduced with 75%.

George Iliopoulos, Information Systems (IS) Business Development Manager for Kotsovolos (a large retailer in Greece and part of the Dixons Group) describes the planner and management reaction to the new solution: "At first, we were quite hesitant about the types of results we would achieve but we are now fully convinced of its value and the positive results it has delivered for our business."

Prior to implementing Ortec's advanced vehicle routing and dispatch solution for retail the planners used a manual process to schedule the delivery of 2500-4000 customer orders per week across a wide distribution network. Without an automated system, it was difficult to optimise the routes and notify customers of accurate delivery time windows.

High standard of service
With five distinct areas of business activity, Dixons Retail plc provides a complete end-to-end service to its customers: product sales with extension guarantees; home deliveries with customer-defined date and time slots; installations; pick-up of old devices for recycling; and after sales service support. George Iliopoulos comments on the challenges they face: "Our main priority is to provide a high standard of service to all our customers and this can only be achieved through advanced technology. By deploying Ortec Shortrec at out central warehouse in Greece, we are better equipped to deal with the challenge of continually improving our service provision while simultaneously cutting costs."

High degree of integration
In order to ensure a seamless flow of information Ortec has customised a number of interfaces to Dixons' existing ERP and WMS systems. George Iliopoulos explains this process in more detail: "Customer order data is fed from our ERP system to Ortec Shortrec so that the order data can be optimally assigned to routes and resources (trucks, drivers etc.). We use the routing information to inform our customers of the expected delivery slots (3-hour time frame) and this information is also linked to our WMS system to ensure that the picking and loading activities are accurately performed. The loading of trucks is based on the delivery sequences extracted from Ortec Shortrec."

Product selection
During the initial product selection phase, Dixons used a tendering process in order to determine the solution best suited to its requirements. George Iliopoulos: "We examined three software applications in total and Ortec came out on top due to the software's functionality, flexibility and price. Ortec Shortrec proved to be the best match for our business model requirements."

The results
The functionality provided by Ortec Shortrec delivers the following benefits for Dixons:
Increased profitability by reducing distribution costs
10-15% reduction in costs
75% decrease (4 hours reduced to 1 hour) in planning time and effort for local dispatchers/
Increased vehicle productivity - 2-3 additional deliveries per trip
Reduction in average daily vehicle utilisation by 2
Significant improvements in customer service
Business process improvements
Greater employee satisfaction
Decrease in return orders
Enhanced sustainability due to reductions in kms and fuel consumption

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