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Village of Adderbury, home of Fired Earth HQ

Fired Earth optimises logistics

By Retail Technology | Tuesday November 19 2013

Home interior brand switches to new routing and scheduling system for greater supply chain and distribution efficiencies and customer service benefits

Fired Earth, which is part of the Aga Rangemaster Group, has implemented a new routing and scheduling system from Paragon Software

Since installing the software, Fired Earth has reduced the size of its fleet and is more able to schedule deliveries reactively to suit customers’ changing requirements. 

The software investment is part continuous improvement programme by the home interiors specialist to boost customer service while gaining more efficiency from its distribution operation.

Modelling flexibility requirements
Samantha Millican, Fired Earth operations director, explained that the company had outgrown its legacy scheduling system. “We got to the point where we found it difficult to get what we needed out of our old delivery scheduling system,” she said.

“It would not allow us to model ‘what-if’ scenarios, such as changing our fleet and finding out what it would cost to make the changes and what improvements we’d achieve. It had the capability but it wasn’t readily available and it would require several days of external consultancy to get what we wanted. This would be an additional cost to the annual fee we paid for the product,” he continued. 
Millican said the ability to tailor Paragon to provide strategic modelling was attractive, offering greater flexibility, end-user benefits and potential cost savings. “The schedulers find it easier to use and it gives them more control over the scheduling,” she reported. 

Enabling response logistics

With Paragon, the schedulers can see exactly how many vehicles they need day by day to fulfil orders. This is a big advance on how they worked previously, as the old system was fixed on the existing fleet and schedulers would share the loads among them, so vehicles were not being used efficiently. 

The new system also gives the Fired Earth schedulers the ability to react to changes to customers’ needs. If a customer calls in to ask if it is possible to send an additional order, it allows the scheduler to respond quickly to alter the plan to accommodate the extra delivery. With the old system, the entire schedule would need re-running from scratch.

“We can make changes to the fleet and see the effects of those changes on our distribution immediately," Millican added. "Also, with Paragon we pay for the software and a much smaller annual maintenance fee, which we calculated would save us money within three years of purchasing the system. In addition we’ve already taken a vehicle out of the fleet and eliminated its running costs, which saves us an extra £3,500 a month.”