Our example client
For this proof of concept, we’ve created an example food logistics business, ABC Logistics Company. This is a well-established company that provides products to leading food retailers across the UK. They have multiple depots, with lorries loading and unloading around the clock.
As with all food supply businesses, margins are tight, so any inefficiencies in the company’s systems or processes can be detrimental. Conversely any improvement can have a positive impact on their bottom line.
An example logistics challenge
ABC Logistics Company wants to undertake a digital transformation project, to help make some of their logistics processes more efficient.
One key challenge is their lorry booking system. With millions of products leaving their depots every day, the company is facing a huge logistics challenge, and has a constant stream of lorries loading and unloading in their bays. They are currently checking in lorries manually and logging the information into one Excel spreadsheet.
As each lorry arrives at the depot, a team of people capture and log a range of information, including where the lorry has come from, the registration number and how long the lorry takes to unload.
All of this data is important, as it is used for customer service performance reports. However, gathering the information is hugely labour intensive and open to human error.
The challenge is to change this.
How we’d tackle the challenge
To start the project, we’d use the Microsoft Power Platform to build an app with built-in license plate recognition technology to help speed up the lorry check-in process.
Instead of using an Excel spreadsheet for registration, staff at the depot would use the app on a tablet device to take a photo of the lorry. This would automatically capture the registration details and time stamp the transaction.
Alongside the app, we’d use the Microsoft Power Platform’s Dataverse to store and manage the data we need. With the data all in one place, we’d be able to use the Power BI program, which presents data dynamically and visually, to look for relevant insights.
In doing this, we’d be able to unearth some interesting results. For example, we notice that the lorry bay utilisation, which is managed by the teams, is sporadic. During peak times, there are high wait times, which means service targets are being missed. Yet during these times, some of the bays are still being left empty.
When we investigate further, we find a very simple conclusion: the most heavily used bays are those closest to the entrance. The further the bays are from the entrance, the less likely they are to be used.
To solve the problem, we decide to work with the depot managers to automatically assign bays at the log-in process, and remove any human error from the process.
The expected results
The small changes we make improve the lorry check-in process significantly. Before the app, each lorry was taking four minutes to check in. Now, with the app and built-in license plate recognition technology, the whole process takes just 30 seconds.
On top of this, the app has removed human error, made the data collection process more efficient and has helped ensure the company’s service reports are more accurate.
After working with the depot managers on automatic bay allocation, all loading bays are now being utilised. This helps reduce waiting times, especially during peak hours.
Last but not least, ABC Logistics Company has seen improvements in ROI too. In fact, implementing our applications has saved the business circa 13,000 man hours per year.
By using the Power Platform, analysing data and making small, incremental changes, we’ve been able to make significant cost savings and improvements in the lorry bays and beyond.
How we can help you
For more information on the Microsoft Power Platform and how it could help your business, please book a no-obligation call with our Digital Transformation here.
About First Solution Group
The First Solution Group is made up of three businesses. First Solution, an award-winning IT management service and technology strategy company. First Digital, which supports business transformation through the delivery of low investment, high return technology. Plus, First People, a resources company, providing the right leadership, operational and technical skills to support business transformation.
Book a call with our Digital Transformation lead to see how we can help you.