Why now is a good time to tackle transport challenges with route planning and ePOD technology

12 Nov 2020
Why now is a good time to tackle transport challenges with route planning and epod technology

There is no doubt that this year has been challenging, like no other in our history. As we all work to keep UK supply chains moving it is fair to say that here at Podfather we have learnt some valuable lessons about how technology can help deliver benefits during these trying times. This year has seen our customer acquisition rate increase, far beyond anything we have seen before in our 20-year lifetime. 

Here we share our thoughts on why companies are turning to Podfather to help maintain stability and facilitate growth during these times of unprecedented, and often unpredictable, change.

We are committed to delivering something great

Podfather has been developing and delivering software solutions to the logistics, construction, home delivery, field service and healthcare industries for over 20 years. And we have learned a lot of lessons during that time. Over 30,000 vehicles are planned and monitored using Podfather software on UK roads every day.  We are very proud of this achievement. The fact that we are a privately owned company, and a tight team of like-minded forward-thinking people is a huge strength.  It’s the people behind the technology that makes Podfather great... together we have delivered leading edge solutions for big industry players such as Tarmac, NHS, Oxfam and Scot JCB, but this year it’s been the small and medium size fleet operators who have really come to the fore. 

Since March 2020, we have seen our usual rate of customer acquisition double due to companies needing to implement better delivery management processes within their businesses. Industries span food & drink distribution, home delivery, building materials, furniture, manufacturing and construction and each company has been up and running with a Podfather system in a matter of days.

When you become a Podfather customer you are in good company:


“The COVID-19 situation has meant our delivery model is currently focused on home deliveries and has temporarily shifted away from supplying wines to restaurants and hotels. We pride ourselves on delivering exceptional products and first-class service. Podfather has really helped us maintain a well-planned and managed home delivery service during these challenging times.”  Matt Anderson, Head of Operations, Berry Bros. & Rudd

No upfront fee makes economic sense

This year we made several fundamental changes to how we implement our system. We have productized our offering which means if you are after standard functionality – so route planning, vehicle checks, delivery tracking, customer notifications, and electronic proof of delivery – you can have it in a matter of days. Typically, there are no upfront fees or hidden annual support costs – we charge on a per driver, per month basis. The only extra cost is any hardware, but as our driver app runs on even the most basic of smartphone that does not have to be an excessive outlay for our business and usually our customer's drivers already have a suitable smartphone. We are happy to advise on which hardware to use…if you need some help please contact our sales team. 

Standard functionality is all included

We are always clear about what our standard system does and does not include. Basically, it includes all our core functionality. So, when you sign up for Podfather you get the whole package... however, if you just want one element, such as our ePOD or vehicle check functionality that is ok with us too.

Standard PODFather functionality includes:

Job Management: Automatically upload jobs via our API, our back-office system or customer portal for faster processing.  Store past job information for ease of repeat order management. 

Bulk Logistics Planning: Automate your load planning processes and eradicate the need for paper tickets within your construction business.

Route Planning & Optimisation: Ensure vehicle plans are cost-effective, resource efficient and meet customer time window expectations. 

Vehicle Checks: Make sure all necessary vehicle checks have been completed, and logged before vehicles leave the depot or arrive on site.

Customer Notifications: Automatically send communications via email text or our online portal, keeping customer informed in real-time.

Driver Tracking: Monitor progress against the plan in real time using our iOS and Android app.  Get real time updates about what is happening out on the road.

Driver App: Our easy to use driver app that will run on most iOS or Android smartphones.  Upload job notifications straight to drivers.

ePOD: Streamline your proof of delivery process.  Log & share job completion, scan barcodes, capture signatures, photographs and customer feedback in real-time.

Earthworks Ticketing: Automating the production & management of waste conveyance notes & associated paperwork for the construction industry.

Earthworks: Track zone to zone waste movements across your construction site or plan the movement of waste across your logistics operation.

Reporting: Use our reporting options to review and refine business performance. Includes OTIF reports & dashboards.

Customer Portal: Use our portal to allow your customers to make job bookings, review requests and get live status and account updates.

In addition to our long list of core software features, our talented team of software developers are well known for their ability to create bespoke client solutions as and when required. 

Our easy to use software can be rolled out fast

The standard Podfather system has been built in such a way that system set up and roll out can be quick…so we need you to be prepared to hit the ground running if you decide to go ahead. All our customers are assigned an account manager who will be with you every step of the way on your journey with Podfather. Once we’ve been able to get your account set up – a process that can take as little as a few hours – we’ll work with you to organise your data, input your information and calibrate your Podfather system ready for go live. Because of the way we have built the system configuration can be extremely straight forward and integration swift, especially if you use our API…read more about our integration capability. 

We can help you do more with your existing fleet

During these challenging times, some fleet operators are seeing unprecedented increases in order volumes. Food & drink companies, building and construction suppliers and home delivery operators are all battling to meet surges in demand from locked down consumers. If you are faced with this situation then Podfather can really help you manage order peaks in a resource efficient and cost-effective way. 

“Here at JW Filshill our motto is that ‘we’ll support you ever more’…something that has really come to the fore during this current pandemic. Our team is under pressure to meet a huge increase in demand and I have nothing but praise for everyone who has risen to the challenge of keeping our customer stores stocked. With systems such as Podfather in place it makes life that little bit easier at what is a very testing time.” Stuart MacKenzie, Senior Operations Manager, JW Filshill

Here is how we can help:

  • Our route planning engine will help you build routes that are legally compliant, take account of customer time windows and driving time restrictions.
  • You can plan a multi drop, multi-route plan in a matter of minutes.  Once your order information is imported you click a button and optimised routes are calculated based on your operational parameters.  You can then manipulate the routes in PODFather, using our intuitive click and drag interface, to get the best results for you, your drivers, and your customers.
  • Planning with PODFather is much faster than producing a multi drop plan manually.
  • Our driver app allows you to push information straight to your drivers’ handheld devices.  No more paper tickets…. plan and go with PODFather.
  • Every delivery is tracked in real time so when order volumes are high, and your driver resource is working at maximum capacity, you can quickly make real time changes and adjustments based on what’s going on out on the road.
  • Automated ETA notifications and our customer information portal means your customer service team can concentrate on taking orders, not answering ‘where’s my delivery?’ questions. 
  • Electronic photographic proof of delivery information is captured and submitted back to the transport office which ensures you can get post-delivery invoices out of the door instantaneously.

Our support team is always here for you

Introducing new software can be daunting, that is why we make sure our UK-based support team is always here when you need them. While we hope you our customers never find themselves in the position where they need urgent support there are some situations no one can plan for. That’s why we offer business hours support as standard to all our customers with all infrastructure supported 24/7.  When you need us, we won’t let you down!

“Podfather is an intuitive and informative software solution that has the benefit of being supported by a first-class team of industry experts who quickly understood our challenges and delivered us a solution that we’ve successfully rolled out across this project.” Jay Athwal, Project Manager, Caulfield Contractors

So, to conclude…

Winter 2020 sees us facing yet more challenges, after what has been an incredibly difficult year for us all.  If you are a distribution operator who is interested in looking at how technology can help tackle the challenges ahead then get in touch with us today. Here are just some of the companies who did just that this year:

Customers we helped

“I am incredibly proud of what we, as a business, have been able to achieve during this most challenging year,” comments Colin McCreadie, Managing Director at Podfather.  “To have seen client acquisition rates increase is testament to the strength of our software offering, and the team behind it.  We remain committed to developing and growing our solution to meet the changing needs of today’s logistics and construction fleet operators.  If you are a company looking to introduce route planning and ePOD software, then please give us a call today. We’d love to hear from you.”

If you would like to find out more about how our software solutions can help to keep your supply chain moving during these challenging times give us a call today on tel: 0131 553 0400.