How to scale up fast the courier operation with mobility strategy implemented in time
ABOUT DPD Romania
DPD Romania is part of DPD Group, a leading parcel delivery network in Europe. It started to operate in the Romanian market in 2008, after the successful takeover of Pegasus Courier. Now it has over 1,800 employees (including franchises) and delivers over 15 mil parcels every year.
DPD is a leading-edge and innovative company which makes targeted investments in operations to stay in tune with the newest market trends and demands.
No less than 1,200 drivers work on a single shift to deliver smiles and great customer experience securely and on time, day in and day out (warehouse employees work on three shifts to ensure parcel processing and distribution nationwide and internationally).
Over 1,200 delivery vehicles are on the road in pouring rain, blizzard or nice weather, avoiding crowded areas especially on long routes so as to deliver more parcels in the shortest time to customers from all market segments.
THE 2020 CONTEXT: Unforeseeable dramatic changes in customer behavior
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, the number of online orders had significantly increased, and this uptrend remained constant throughout the year with unprecedented peak periods in the history of the company.
As expected, this year on Black Friday, orders exploded: they at least doubled as compared to a regular day, and were 10% higher than the peak period during lockdown (April to May), and 30% higher than Black Friday last year.
In order to meet these challenges, DPD invested in new distribution centers located in major cities across Romania. This meant more jobs and investments in all touchpoints for increased flexibility and scalability of operations. A mobility strategy deployed as early as 2017 made it possible to accelerate business, to scale operations for seasonal peaks without limitations and without impacting deliveries and driver support throughout this challenging year.
BACK TO 2017 – If you can’t see the future, you can create it
DPD is a leading-edge, innovative and customer-oriented company. In 2017, it made a strategic change which included comprehensive end-to-end software migration from ERP (scanning) to invoicing. This made it necessary to replace the servers in the first place, but also the bar code scanners used by warehouse employees and drivers. This decision posed new challenges to the management.
Among the trends which marked a dramatic turn in the industry – e-commerce acceleration, next generation technology, card payment, parcel lockers, remote resource management, and parcel delivery – mobility was the most important.
DPD drivers are the most important point of contact with our customers. To ensure delivery in the shortest time and in the most efficient way, the company needed the latest technology, equipment and applications, and dedicated processes.
As a result, the employees were provided with leading-edge equipment – barcode scanners, mobile printers, smart mobile computers equipped with POS applications. These developments put additional pressure on the IT Department as tasks became increasingly complex and the equipment pool became harder to manage as a result of the large number of devices.
Territorial distribution of the equipment across more than 54 warehouses, a small IT team (only 10 employees), significantly more orders and onsite demands made it necessary not only to migrate to a modern solution for the management of mobile devices, but also to put in place a mobility strategy intended to ensure long-term business scalability, continuity, and consistency.
A few months later, in 2018, the DPD team began to assess various integrated management solutions
With over 1,200 drivers and over 400 warehouse employees, DPD needed a solid strategy. As soon as the new ERP-supported devices reached the company, they had to be configured and shipped to the 59 warehouses and delivered to the employees. However, the level of performance DPD sought could not be attained in the absence of a device management solution allowing for the automation of a number of critical tasks.
Modern solutions required modern device management applications integrating deployment, maintenance, updating, and technical support.
Therefore, DPD specialists attempted to find a management solution for the entire equipment pool, irrespective of manufacturer or brand, which should also allow for remote task automation directly from the headquarters.
Why the SOTI platform?
DPD assessed several solutions available on the market. The company sought a solution that could ensure device and application security, be used on a BYOD basis, support new applications, and provide more visibility into real-time operations, and support the mobile teams.
The SOTI solution made quite an impact from the start. Among the factors that weighed in its favor was that it had already been in use with DPD Group and it could be tested using DEMO accounts to assess the features and functionalities of the platform. Due to the integrated application suite, SOTI made it possible for DPD to reduce costs, complexity, and downtime, and offered it the flexibility required to develop new applications, and advanced security features at a faster pace and in a secure manner.
SOTI provided the IT Team with an IoT-based solution for the management of all equipment and devices and for the generation of reports concerning the mobile teams and assets for more reliable business decisions.
Unlike dedicated solutions which supported a single brand, SOTI was more versatile and supported over 1,000 IoT equipment and devices. In the past, before replacing the equipment pool, the company had used a dedicated Honeywell solution. However, it was no longer usable as it supported a single equipment brand and the changing market circumstances and the development of the company required a more versatile solution.
“We use SOTI to manage over 1,200 devices. This means state-of-the-art processes and perfect synergy between the customer service and the intensive environment support teams. Without remote access to each device, our work would be tremendously difficult. SOTI has allowed us to reduce complexity and to focus on productivity and performance as main targets that we monitor on a daily basis.”
Valentina Ionescu- IT, Business Development & Project Manager DPD.
Which processes does SOTI cover?
At process level, SOTI ensures automated device configuration directly from the application, based on device location.
The IT Department has developed and customized a script for each equipment model. As a result, to configure the interface, an IT employee only selects the script, enters the IMEI, the equipment model and the SIM series (Vodafone), sets up the APN, and pushes the software to the device. The entire process is automated, and all updates or new equipment settings automatically propagate to all remote devices.
Devices used by drivers are automatically connected to the company network via a SIM card or a wireless connection. In this way, we can easily identify the last warehouse the device connected to. Moreover, the IT team is able to generate reports concerning the use of equipment so as to allow transfer of the available equipment between sites whenever a particular site has to handle larger parcel volumes. In this way, the platform ensures equipment track and trace.
The mobile teams need daily support which is provided remotely for each device. When drivers are faced with various onsite issues, they contact the IT Helpdesk and report the issues encountered. Very often they are unable to complete a delivery either because they do not use the equipment correctly or because they encounter software or hardware issues. If the support team did not have remote access to the equipment, they could not correctly identify and solve the issues so as to allow the driver to deliver orders in a timely manner.
The platforms also allows generation of very accurate business reports including the physical location of the equipment, the last time it connected, the number of devices for each model, the Android version, update history, service reports, to name just a few of the monitored elements.
Another important advantage of the SOTI platform comes from the licensing model. Licenses are granted per number of devices and not individually per device. When a device reaches end of life, DPD replaces it and the license is allocated to the new device.
“Other benefits of SOTI relate to precise identification of the date of the EMEI-based enrollment of the device SIMs, GPS tracking of lost equipment, faster and improved support to end users, automated loading and updating of instructions into devices, automated loading of new features which are instantly available to drivers.”
Valentina Ionescu- IT, Business Development & Project Manager DPD.
Why Smart ID as a deployment partner?
“The greatest strength and advantage of Smart ID has always been people. I cannot say how much I appreciate the team I worked with on the project. I was not involved in the purchase, but I do believe that Smart ID has one of the most sophisticated and professional intensive environment support teams on the market. This shows best in their development over the past years.
We work with people and teams that are always ready to deliver beyond expectations, are aware of the latest trends in the automation and mobility market, and are always willing to help and find solutions for each and every issue that may arise.”
Valentina Ionescu- IT, Business Development & Project Manager