Technology is advancing at a rapid rate, fuelling consumer and business demand for seamless logistics; the ability to have what you want, where you want and at a time convenient for you. Instantaneous interactions and global transactions are now expected as standard but this can put immense pressure on retailers’ logistics operations and supply chains. Descartes makes that possible through its on-demand, software-as-a-service solutions that focus on improving the productivity, performance, security and compliance of logistics-intensive businesses.
Founded in 1981, Descartes has over 10,000 customers in 160+ countries worldwide. Having established itself as a global industry-recognised brand in uniting logistics-intensive businesses in ecommerce Descartes’ clients include leading retailers, manufacturers, distributors an estimated 1,600 ground carriers, more than 90 airlines, 30 ocean carriers and 900 freight forwarders and third-party logistics service providers. In the UK customers include John Lewis Partnership, TyresOnTheDrive.com, Gist and Kuehne+Nagel.
Delivering operational efficiencies
In the competitive environment of retail, organisations are increasingly using logistics and technology to enhance the customer experience throughout the purchase process. From providing costed delivery options so consumers can choose the right time slot at the best price, to offering value added services such as installation at the point of sale, retailers can benefit from added value and enhanced customer experiences.
Descartes can provide a number of advanced capabilities to increase operational efficiency, reduce complexity, decrease costs and improve customer service. For example, Descartes’ routing and scheduling solutions allow retailers and logistics service providers to optimise home delivery for maximum cost-effectiveness and a premium customer experience. Leveraging real time information and real time demand, advanced route optimisation across a wide variety of planning scenarios – from territories and master routes through to extremely dynamic routing environments – can transform performance.
Descartes’ mobile workforce software solutions can also unlock greater performance potential with minimal effort and cost. By adopting such technology, managers can automate operational workflows; and features such as proof of delivery (PoD) can help to speed up processes and provide an inventory chain of custody. This is instrumental in providing up to date real-time tracking capabilities to the end consumer, and at each stage of the supply chain before that. They are, simply put, a cost-effective way to streamline processes, while leveraging improved service quality, productivity and customer experience.
Warehouse Dock Management is also a critical component that can affect a retailer’s entire operation – especially when dealing with large-scale and fast-moving supply chains. From efficiently managing fresh and frozen goods to confidently meeting consumer promises for rapid FMCG delivery, an intelligent system recommending appointment times based on true warehouse receiving capacity can transform operations. Dock appointment scheduling helps to enable collaboration between shippers, carriers and consignees to schedule dock door appointments, streamlining the process by distributing the responsibility for scheduling warehouse deliveries or pickups to carriers and suppliers. By moving from a manual approach to a fully automated, insight-driven model based on true receiving capacity, retailers can achieve new and essential levels of control within this key component of DC operations.
Maintaining consistency in uncertain times
With the UK set to leave the European Union on 31st January 2020, some of the uncertainty surrounding Brexit may have lifted slightly, but there will remain a period of transition while the formal trade deal is agreed. Retailers with international supply chains are impacted by changing compliance requirements in their markets, such as Brexit, with customs and regulatory compliance filings a core part of international logistics. It’s therefore never been more important for businesses to unlock valuable efficiencies and deploy the right technology and tools in order to react quickly to any market changes. Ahead of the Brexit deadline, Descartes has worked with multiple organisations regarding the complex migration to the new HMRC Customs Declaration Service, supporting them with its software-as-a-service solutions and expert training – critical to achieving the change required to make this an effective process.
Leading retailers of all sizes depend on Descartes’ technology to improve the management of end-to-end supply chain processes involved in the transportation of goods from suppliers to consumers. From home delivery to omnichannel retailing and inbound logistics to store distribution, Descartes can help retailers realise rapid results, with the scale and flexibility to adapt as their businesses evolve.
Andrew is Head of Marketing at Descartes Systems UK Ltd and has over twenty years’ business-to-business senior marketing management experience with high technology solutions (hardware, software and services) in complex business-to-business markets that includes logistics and transport with organisations such as Intel, Securicor, Unipart Technology Logistics and Orange.