Logistics planning, route optimisation and electronic proof of delivery software from Podfather is helping catering butchers, the Yorkshire Dales Meat Company, tackle escalating costs and labour challenges. By intelligently planning and optimising routes for more than 3,000 deliveries a week, Yorkshire Dales Meat has reduced its fuel costs by 16 per cent in the year it has been using Podfather. The Bedale-based business has also decreased its use of paper 25 per cent and is saving more than 30 hours a week in routine admin and management of the delivery operation.

Priding itself on best in breed customer service, the family run company is also improving communications with restaurants and retail outlets, including Leeds Brewing company and the Co-op, with real-time delivery updates, ETAs and electronic invoicing.

“Before Podfather we relied on paper documents, in duplicate if not triplicate, and the experience and local knowledge of our drivers,” commented James Knox, Managing Director of the Yorkshire Dales Meat Company. “This presented problems in the day-to-day management of deliveries and did not give us visibility and therefore intelligence to tackle issues such as rising costs.

“Since implementing Podfather we have a real-time view of every vehicle, every schedule and every delivery. We know when things are going right, and more importantly if they are going wrong, and we can react and respond accordingly. Also we can share this information ensuring our customers are informed and happy.”

The Yorkshire Dales Meat Company is a third-generation run family business that started life more than 100 years ago as dairy farmers before Stephen Knox started selling meat locally in response to the foot and mouth crisis. In 2004 the company expanded with a new 50,000 square foot butchery and now supplies some of the biggest hotels and restaurants in the Manchester, Newcastle, Hull, York and Leeds areas. The company operates a fleet of branded, fully refrigerated vans, driven by uniform wearing drivers who each make between 50 and 300 deliveries a day, six days a week.

Using the Podfather software, Yorkshire Dales Meat now manages its deliveries, optimising vehicle journeys using intelligent route planning that takes into consideration time windows, customer constraints and vehicle capacities. Having previously relied on drivers to manage their routes this automation has helped reduce fuel cost by 16 per cent, with lower mileage translating into less vehicle wear and tear, and a reduction in emissions.

Using Podfather has also reduced the time and resource taken to plan and execute the daily delivery operation. What used to take between 2 and 3 hours a day to organise, can now be completed in a matter of minutes, and drivers, armed with mobile devices running the Podfather app, automatically generate ePODs and notify the back-office team, in real-time, of any issues boosting customer service and reducing the number of queries.

By linking Podfather to its ERP and finance software, Yorkshire Dales Meat has further improved back-office efficiency and its reliance on paper as it no longer sends out hundreds of hard-copy invoices each week.

“Podfather has so much to offer and we are discovering new ways it can help the business every week,” Knox continued. “Integration with other business management tools, including our ERP and finance systems, is already boosting efficiency and we are looking at other ways technology in general and Podfather specifically can help us grow the business in a sustainable and profitable way.”