Case Study

DX Group

DX is the UK’s largest independent logistics network operator, offering business and public sector customers a range of reliable and secure next day quality delivery services to 99.7% of UK business and residential addresses.

DX is the specialist of customer-driven solutions for the delivery of time-sensitive, mission-critical and high-value deliveries, routinely handling items including mortgage deeds, jewelry, optical lenses, and credit cards, and is the preferred provider of the UK Government and foreign embassies for passports and visas.

Established 35 years ago, DX is the only independent logistics network operator to have its end-to-end postal operation. The company prides itself on its ability to deliver industry-leading service levels

Customer sectors include legal, retail, ticketing and government. Significant contracts include Ladbrokes, Vision Express, Ticketmaster, the Land Registry and The Law Society of England and Wales.

The Challenge

DX was delivering using fixed routes, organised by postcode region!

They felt that they could be more dynamic, react to change faster and generally improve services if they were not so constrained by the postcode.

Their drivers’ payment structure was based on the number of miles and number of stops. They were incentivised to deliver more stops in fewer miles.

This could be unfair as the drivers’ wages depended on the route allocated. A rural delivery route would have high mileage and fewer stops, and a suburban route would have more stops and lower mileage.

No one wanted to take the rural routes as they would have been paid less. A fairer system was required.

DX also wanted a solution which would integrate with their Pitney Bowes Olympus letter sorting system and GPS handheld devices.

  • 50-70,000 items delivered per day
  • Approximately 740 routes per day
  • High fuel costs
  • Couriers manged their own routes
  • Customer deadlines hard to manage
  • Manual route plans
  • Unfair distribution of work for drivers
  • No visibility

The Solution

DX researched the various systems on the market in 2007 and concluded that their objectives would best be met by investing in routing and scheduling software from the team at TRU. They also use handheld GPS devices which integrate with the solution to show the drivers the planned route and delivery sequence.

Refining the routes suggested by the solution was a challenge due to the number and complexity of factors affecting each delivery e.g. type of road, the volume of traffic on the route, time of day, and shortest or fastest route. These could sometimes conflict with the GPS tracking devices which may override a route if a driver gets lost or takes a wrong turn.

One of the key challenges was handling the different priority packages correctly. If too many high priority items were promised for delivery by a certain time these need to be organised to ensure customers’ deadlines were met. If fewer high priority items were booked in, low priority items might be included to make the journey worthwhile and fill the vehicle – thereby delivering an item faster than required.

Handling low priority items which could not be delivered immediately added further complication. Clearly, these items needed to be promoted to ‘high priority’ to ensure they arrived on time. Similarly when deliveries for the same street included both high and low priority items, finding the fairest and most economical solution also needed careful thought. DX had to enhance their order processing system to ensure that the data transmitted to the solution included the updated priority.

Overall the installation of the routing and scheduling solution was a success for the company, integrating three complex systems and enabling DX to introduce their new wage system successfully.

The team at 121 Systems proved to be robust and reliable

The new system proved to be both robust and reliable, enabling DX to integrate their new payment structure fairly and introduce a more efficient mechanism for routing.

Dynamic routing reduced journeys from 800 to 740

Investing in the system enabled the introduction of more efficient mechanisms for routing which resulted in the average number of journeys per day reducing from 800 to 740.

8% reduction in mileage and fuel costs

DX estimates that 121 Systems has helped them to reduce both mileage and fuel costs by approximately 8%, as well as ensure that the best routes are used by their couriers.

Integration of numerous complex systems DX successfully integrated the solution with handheld GPS devices and their own internal PB Olympus letter sorting system.

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