The UK’s leading vehicle routing and scheduling system, Paragon, is being implemented at a further 84 Tesco stores across the country in support of the major supermarket chain’s roll-out of its internet-based home shopping service – Tesco Direct.

Following a successful two-year trial, Tesco is expanding the service to other locations as a key element in maintaining its market lead in the highly competitive retail grocery sector. Tesco’s aim of having over 100 stores on-line by the end of the year will require that Paragon’s routing and scheduling system is installed at every one of these sites.

Paragon’s proven capability to meet the challenges of home delivery operations was a key factor in its selection by Tesco, as was its ability to integrate smoothly with its existing systems.

Home shoppers simply log onto the dedicated area of Tesco’s website, select their purchases and identify a two hour time window for delivery to an address of their choosing. The routing and scheduling system can offer a same day service for orders placed by a cut-off time in the morning for delivery that afternoon or evening. Once the cut-off time has passed, the order is allocated by postcode to a local store where the data is transferred to Paragon to plan the delivery. Paragon then transmits the necessary information back to the other Tesco systems to generate picking lists and delivery manifests for the driver. Paragon functions completely automatically at individual store level with no operator required to monitor the system on a day-to-day basis.

“We were impressed with the commitment shown by all the Paragon personnel involved in the development discussion stages,” commented Tesco Direct’s Project Manager, Paul Lancaster. “One of our objectives as a company is to do everything better, simpler and for less and this is where Paragon supports us by helping to reduce our costs of delivery to our customers.”

Home shopping is not Paragon’s first association with Tesco – the company has provided software for the routing and scheduling of both groceries and fuel since 1987. It first became involved in the home shopping project in 1996 when the concept was in its infancy. Following an initial trial at Tesco’s Isleworth store the service was rolled out into ten stores with orders planned from one location, at Tesco’s call centre in Dundee. A year ago the decision was taken to introduce separate scheduling systems into each individual store. Working closely with Tesco’s home shopping project team, further enhancements were made to the original Paragon system to ensure a smooth transition whilst meeting Tesco’s exacting requirements for an effective, dynamic scheduling solution. The Paragon Support Team is continuing to support the retailer on future roll-outs of the home shopping service as well as working with the Tesco project team with strategic planning.

Paragon’s Managing Director, Dr David Holmes sees the latest order for 84 Paragon systems as “an endorsement of both our software and us as a supplier, of which our whole team can feel proud.” He added, “From its own experience Tesco knows that our software is robust and effective. We have a reputation for developing bespoke solutions on time and within budget and we have the essential depth of resources in support and development that a company like Tesco needs and expects.”

Tesco’s choice of Paragon as a system to underpin its home shopping operation is yet further evidence of the system’s expertise and success in this field. Many other companies, among them Scottish Power, Iceland Appliances, Northern Electric, Allders and Silentnight, are using Paragon for efficient planning of their home delivery operations.

Tesco home shopping expansion enabled by Paragon's routing and scheduling software