John Lewis, the leading UK retailer renowned for its commitment to customer service, has doubled its reliance on Paragons routing and scheduling software. Following four-way competitor trials, Paragon was selected to provide John Lewis with software for operational routing, generating daily plans for vehicles making deliveries from five distribution centres to all its UK shops. Managing up to 800 deliveries per week, the Paragon software provides John Lewis with a solution that overcomes long-standing problems and supports business growth while at the same time improving overall operational efficiency by 8%.

Having tested four routing and scheduling software solutions using live data, John Lewis opted to extend its use of Paragon software with the introduction of Integrated Fleets for operational use. A decision made on the strength of the softwares flexibility and ability to meet operational requirements, Paragon technology is now used both strategically to produce core schedules and operationally to route deliveries dependent on daily order volumes. Now planning up to 800 loads per week during peak times, and 640 off-peak, the introduction of Paragon has resulted in a significant cut in the number of loads required to maintain business volumes.

With Paragon software playing a vital role within its operation, John Lewis is experiencing significant savings and efficiency improvements as a result of more intelligent routing. Paragons Integrated Fleets software enables the efficient inter-working of vehicles moving between five distribution centres each housing a different product group and the network of shops. As a result, the Paragon produced routes provide the shops with more reliable delivery times and have also overcome the problem of time consuming vehicle queues at shops by ensuring that no two trucks are scheduled to arrive at the same shop at the same time.

In addition, using Paragon software has increased visibility of the distribution plan throughout the operation. This is the result of a process that begins with shop delivery requests being logged into the John Lewis in-house system which prepares them for input into Paragon. The Paragon Integrated Fleets system is then used to plan the 74 tractor units and 200 trailers as a single resource to help identify and maximise the benefits of backhauling and cross-depot working. The plan is completed by lunch time and by 2pm at the latest next-day schedules are released to depots for picking and to shops for advance information purposes.

Paragon is an invaluable tool for planning both operational and strategic schedules, comments Vince OSullivan, Manager of Transport Planning and Distribution for John Lewis. Our shops now know what they are getting when and that goods will arrive when theyre told they will. Significantly for the company, our implementation of Paragon has also meant that at a time when business has grown by 3% not only have we not required extra vehicles, weve actually cut total loads by 5% an overall efficiency gain of 8%.

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