Tesco Direct, which aims to be the world’s largest Internet grocery retailer by the end of the year, has strengthened its relationship with Paragon Software Systems in support of meeting its order fulfilment objectives.

Following the initial roll-out of Tesco’s internet-based home shopping service to the first 160 stores, an additional 75 Paragon systems are now being provided to support the further rapid expansion of the service.

Speaking at Softworld Supply Chain, Paul Lancaster, Tesco Direct’s home delivery project manager, explained how Paragon had been instrumental in its achievement of timed home deliveries at minimum cost.

Describing how Paragon has helped Tesco Direct achieve this level of growth, Paul Lancaster spoke of the role of reliable, timely deliveries in the success of a service which extends brand image beyond the shop door and makes time window promises to customers. “Internet customers place their orders on our website, specifying a two hour time window for delivery on their chosen day,” he explained. “Orders are assigned to the customer’s local store, where our order processing system passes them to Paragon’s live daily planning and route optimisation software. Paragon calculates efficient local route plans for the Tesco Direct delivery vehicles, with delivery sequences adjusted, so that promised time windows are met. Paragon’s planned routes are then automatically passed back to the picking system, which prepares in-store pick maps and order details, transmitted by radio frequency to pickers’ team pad computers, and delivery manifests to aid accurate loading and delivery.”

The exceptionally high customer expectations, unpredictable demand levels and dense urban delivery environments characteristic of Tesco Direct, and most other internet-based home shopping operations, make the accuracy and suitability of the system underpinning order fulfilment particularly important. “Whoever actually makes the delivery, any delays or other delivery failures are attributed to the supplier company,” says Dr David Holmes, Paragon’s Managing Director. “With companies making huge investments in these new channels they cannot afford to let failed deliveries risk new customers’ loyalty – or double their delivery costs.”

For several years now Paragon has provided home delivery solutions for clients such as Allders Department Stores, Scottish Power, Silentnight Beds, Iceland Appliances, Northern Electric and Dixons, fine-tuning the system to meet the particular needs of the home delivery sector and providing solid support to companies venturing into it for the first time.

Paragon can receive orders either from the internet or SOP and ERP systems and the entire order fulfilment function is enhanced by its easy interface with warehouse and supply chain management systems. The system’s ability to handle multiple vehicle shifts to enable day time and evening deliveries, pinpoint locations accurately, plan the minimum number of vehicles/drivers to meet pre-agreed time windows and deal with multiple driver skill levels are proving of particular value to home delivery operations.

Also at Softworld, Paragon launched the latest version of its market-leading vehicle routing and scheduling software. Together with a whole range of new features designed to enhance general ease of use, the release includes specific new facilities aimed directly at the growing home delivery sector:

  • Integrated street-level geocoding
  • A wider choice of street-level map displays
  • OS street level vector mapping.

Paragon Software Systems plc specialises in the development and support of computer vehicle routing and scheduling software, with over 250 clients and over 550 installed systems, and has a reputation for providing solutions for strategic and operational use that achieve benefits in practice across a wide range of industry sectors. The company’s success has led to its recent recognition as one of the Top 50 small to medium-sized technology companies in Britain. The accolade was awarded by the Software Business Network (SBN), a DTI-supported initiative to highlight the importance of ‘hi tech’ companies in the national economy.

With headquarters in Dorking, Surrey, Paragon Software Systems provides a comprehensive support service, helping companies to use the software effectively and maximise the benefits that can be achieved.

Paragon's routing and scheduling software supports Tesco Direct in meeting order fulfilment objectives