“Now every route is fully dynamic and can be updated on the fly...What used to take two people several hours to do can now be done by one person in a matter of minutes.”
Bloomfield, CT (Vocus) December 4, 2009
Prophesy Transportation Solutions, Inc., an Accellos company, provider of trucking and logistics software solutions to the transportation industry, today released a case study of its customer Piggly Wiggly Carolina Company. This profile details the company’s significant reduction in transportation costs and increase in staff productivity following its investment in Prophesy’s powerful load planning software, Accellos One Optimize.
At the turn of the 20th Century, the typical American grocery store consisted of a service counter at which customers would place their orders and have a clerk pick items from shelves for them. This all changed in 1916, when entrepreneur Clarence Saunders had the revolutionary idea to put shopping into the hands of customers by introducing the first self-service grocery store, Piggly Wiggly. Since then Piggly Wiggly has grown immensely and become a household name throughout much of the US, now comprising over 600 independently owned and operated franchise locations in 17 states.
The Piggly Wiggly Carolina Company, which manages the distribution centers in Charleston and Jedburg, South Carolina, delivers frozen, refrigerated, and dry goods to stores throughout South Carolina and Georgia. The company also handles backhauls from vendor warehouses and production locations. With a fleet of 63 trucks serving 105 stores, it is vital that these distribution centers stay abreast of all processes and manage their transportation operations as efficiently as possible.
All daily runs occur along fixed routes, with multiple deliveries to each store per week. Until recently, all route stops were plotted manually and required daily review by office personnel, giving rise to inefficiencies and increased transportation costs. “The workload was enormous,” said Distribution Center Director Woody Arsenault. “The need to build and update our routes manually each day required several work hours, and it also meant our routes were often not organized as efficiently as possible. This is not a fault of our personnel, but a fundamental obstacle of such an intricate system. It simply took far too long for our team to manage it manually.”
Arsenault reviewed several load-planning systems, seeking a solution that would not only deliver the capabilities he needed but also integrate with his company’s existing warehouse management system. Recognizing Accellos One Optimize as a prime candidate, Arsenault arranged a demonstration with Prophesy National Sales Manager Kevin Pasternack. Using a sample of Piggly Wiggly’s actual load data, Optimize Product Manager Gregg Marcuccio ran several “what-if” scenarios to demonstrate the savings the company would realize using the Prophesy solution. The pre-optimized data was compared with the scenarios run through Accellos One Optimize, and Prophesy (an Accellos Company) was able to demonstrate a projected savings of approximately 3000 miles per week, equating to a 10-15% reduction in overall transportation costs. At this pace, the software would easily pay for itself within 2-3 months.
Impressed with the outcome of the live data tests, Arsenault and his team selected Accellos One Optimize for their operation. In addition to the base Optimize product, the company implemented advanced commercial mileage and routing capabilities to calculate the daily routes and generate driving directions. Arsenault initially opted for the online SaaS (software as a service) version of the software, which would provide the same robust features as the on-premise version but would allow for a lower initial investment and thus more rapid ROI, as well as a quicker implementation.
Prophesy Implementation Consultant Adrian Dean worked with Piggly Wiggly to integrate Accellos One Optimize with the existing Warehouse Management software and instruct the staff on how to use it. “I can’t believe how quick and straightforward the training and implementation was, and how easy the product is to use,” said Arsenault. “The entire process only took two days from start to finish, and we were able to go live with the software and begin seeing the benefits right away.”
With Accellos One Optimize in place, the Piggly Wiggly Carolina Company fully recognizes the reduction in transportation costs projected by the preliminary live data tests. Orders from the WMS are imported into Optimize, Piggly Wiggly’s specific business rules are automatically applied, and then Optimize builds highly efficient truckloads and routes. Finally, turn-by-turn commercial driving directions are generated and printed for drivers. This newfound level of automation minimizes costs and maximizes efficiency while freeing up staff to perform other valuable tasks such as assisting customers. As a result, the company is now better able to handle a greater workload and customer satisfaction is at an all-time high.
“Until now, all our delivery stops were statically organized and could not be changed without difficulty,” said Arsenault. “Now every route is fully dynamic and can be updated on the fly. If a stop needs to be added or removed, the software automatically re-sequences the route as needed. What used to take two people several hours to do can now be done by one person in a matter of minutes.”
Arsenault added that the software is not the only thing that draws him to Prophesy. “Prophesy’s customer service is absolutely top-notch,” said Arsenault. “Whenever I need anything, be it technical support, answers to my questions, or just practical advice, I can count on the people at Prophesy. The National Sales Manager Kevin, the product manager Gregg, the Technical Support and Training teams -- they all really know their stuff, and they are glad to help me anytime I need it.”
For more information about Prophesy’s Total Solution for Trucking, email moreinfo @ mile.com or call 800-776-6706.
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