Berry Bros & Rudd deploy PODFather for wine and spirits distribution

18 December 2009

Berry Bros. & Rudd is Britain's oldest wine and spirit merchant, having traded from the same shop for over 300 years.

The business was officially established in 1698 in London, opposite St James's Palace. The company evolved from selling provisions, exotic spices, tea and coffee to, ultimately, fine wines and scotch whisky for which it is famous for today.

Berry's first supplied wine to the British Royal Family during the reign of King George III and has continued to do so to the present day. Their first Royal Warrant was awarded in 1903 by King Edward VII and today they hold two Royal Warrants for H.M. The Queen and H.R.H. The Prince of Wales.

Despite Berry's history and the continuation in the belief in traditional standards of service and quality, it is also extremely innovative. In 1994 it launched one of the first online wine shops, www.bbr.com, which is now regarded as Britain's leading wine website and has been awarded Website of the Year seven times in the last eight years at the prestigious International Wine Challenge.

Their drive for embracing new technologies comes from the desire to provide the best customer service possible. This lead them to review their delivery operations and implement The PODFather to ensure delivery targets are met and any problems are identified as early as possible.

Keith Procter, Operations Director at Berry Bros & Rudd, explains, “Our delivery operations involve a combination of private and business customers. Private customers will typically request an AM or PM delivery, perhaps with alternative instructions to leave the goods if no one is home. Business delivery windows are, however, much tighter. For example, a restaurant might only accept deliveries between very specific hours of the day to avoid peak lunch and evening trading times.

“We conducted an extensive evaluation of the systems available and found PODFather to be a very flexible system that could be quickly adapted to our needs. The system has been integrated with our main order processing system, taking a feed of jobs throughout the day.

“Delivery manifests are then further sorted by transport staff and drivers to provide logical routes within PODFather, and alerts are issued if a job is likely to miss it's target delivery window by automatically calculating the time taken to make a drop and travel from point A to B. The changes give reasonably accurate predictions of delivery times down to the nearest minute, but in practice being able to advise our customers to the nearest hour, with a high degree of certainty, is a huge improvement for us.”

Any jobs that have a problem reported – be it a late delivery, broken bottle, or missing case – are automatically entered into a new Customer Services module within PODFather. This allows Berrys’ to be more proactive in dealing with potential complaints, contacting the customer before either the customer phones to report the problem, or the driver returns to the depot to inform staff of the issue.

The standard system has been enhanced further by issuing alerts to both drivers and office-based transport and customer service staff throughout the day if a time-critical delivery is going to miss its target delivery window.

Keith continues, “It's common for our private customers to instruct deliveries to be left at an alternative location if they are not home. So the facilities to take photographs of the cases of wine in their alternative location and include them in the POD give us great information to confirm to the customer where the cases have been delivered.

“The support provided by Valley Technology in designing and delivering the system on time and in budget has been exemplary, and I'd recommend the system to any organisation wanting to ensure they deliver the best possible customer experience.”

 

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