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Whitbread's supply chain and logistics division use mobile devices and Blackbay software to speed food delivery to high street brands.
Whitbread PLC, the UK's leading hospitality company, and mobile solutions specialist Blackbay, today announced the roll out of mobile solutions across the Whitbread supply chain. The project will improve the delivery process to all Whitbread's brands; Premier Travel Inn, Brewers Fayre, Beefeater, Costa, TGI Fridays and David Lloyd Leisure.
Whitbread's Food Logistics (WFL) team is responsible for providing each of the company's 1,400 brand sites with their essential food stock. Food products delivered incorrectly (misorders, late arrivals or simply transporting products at the wrong temperature), can all leave a site short of the stock they require to be able to offer customers the best possible experience, and impact an outlet's seasonal profits.
The WFL team had previously been subject to a data 'dark spot' in the delivery process. The team lacked information from when deliveries left the depot until the driver returned from their full day's work with paperwork from each of his deliveries. These details then had to be inputted manually to the central system. However, with mobile devices loaded with Blackbay's Delivery Connect software, drivers can now transfer delivery sign off details back to the depot as they happen - avoiding delays, lost paperwork and incorrect information arising from poor handwriting. Each scheduled delivery can now be checked and centrally stored within minutes of it taking place therefore where any discrepancies do arise they can be resolved more quickly.
The solution has been rolled out to 80 of the team's 165 drivers to date. Each user is currently saving 30 minutes a day. This is thanks to the ability to cut time previously spent collecting delivery information at the start of the shift, completing the delivery process at the outlet, and signing off at the route end.  Once rolled out to the entire team this saving will be approximately 82.5 hours every day. 
Whitbread's in-house warehouse management system, supported by Chess Logistics, has been in place for several years. The new addition to the system which allows the improvement to the delivery process is Blackbay's Delivery Connect application. Delivery Connect is fully integrated with the current warehouse system allowing information to flow seamlessly across the network, specifically Delivery Connect automates the delivery sign off process and collates this data digitally, removing the need for paperwork.
Jonathon Abbott, Systems Analyst and Project Manager at Whitbread Food Logistics said, "Prior to Blackbay's involvement we had a great warehouse management system from Chess Logistics but we could only track the product from receipt into the depot to truck loading. We lacked visibility during the actual delivery window as we wouldnt receive delivery reports until the paperwork was returned by drivers often hours later. Now I have visibility of the product from warehouse right through to the front door of my customers - the Whitbread brand outlets."
He went on to say, The intelligence and simplicity of the Delivery Connect design was a key contributor to the success of this project. The drivers like the solution and in that respect, want to make it work. Its well designed so they got to grips with it quickly and were happy to use it, helping the implementation run smoothly.
"Working with Whitbread to improve their visibility of their supply chain is a great privilege for us.  Many organisations today are speaking about enhancing the efficiency and responsiveness of their supply chain, Whitbread is now leading the market to realise these gains for their customers and employees", said Larry Klimczyk, managing director, Blackbay.
The project is due for completion by end of March 2007.
About Blackbay:
Blackbay delivers real-time mobile worker solutions that enable business process improvements to Supply Chain and Field Service mission-critical operations.
The Company is a market leader in the rapidly growing enterprise mobility market delivering mobile data solutions for over 12 years to a growing list of premium clients.
Blackbays core activity is mobile software application development, offering organisations significant return on investment based upon reduced costs, increased sales, improved productivity and service levels. Blackbay develops the services both on the handheld intelligent devices (PDAs and Smartphones) and the back-end infrastructure required to manage the service. Our iConnect transaction server allows us to offer our premium customers a fully managed one-stop Mobile Application Service, a suite of mobility products. Our product line currently consists of the following:
Delivery Connect is a mobile freight solution for real time job tracking. Through a PDA, field staff are able to log all consignment details quickly and easily while the enterprise has full visibility as the transactions occurs. 
Service Connect is a business mobility solution targeted at field service business. The software provides off-site service, job management and inventory management visibility in real time. 
Blackbay further provides a range of technology designs and RFID solutions.  We produce a range of rugged and reliable Vehicle Mounted Cradles and mobile handheld RFID tools that are fully integrated to our solutions Service Connect and Delivery Connect.
About Whitbread PLC:

Whitbread PLC is the UK's leading hospitality company, managing market leading businesses in the hotels, restaurant and health and fitness sectors, including Premier Travel Inn, Brewers Fayre, Beefeater, Costa, T.G.I. Friday's and David Lloyd Leisure, and a strategic investment in Pizza Hut (UK).   Whitbread's strategy is to create value for our shareholders by focusing investment and growing in expanding sectors of the hospitality industry, primarily in the UK but also in selected overseas markets. In the financial year to March 3, 2005, Whitbread generated pre-tax, pre-exceptional profit of 263.5m on sales of more than 2,111m. Founded in 1742, the company is listed on the London Stock Exchange (as WTB.L) and is a member of the FTSE 100 and FTSE4Good indices. Further information is available from www.whitbread.co.uk.

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