According to a report by Builders Merchants Journal on Wednesday, Wolseley UK has developed geofencing, a digital mapping technology the company will soon implement to speed up deliveries from its distribution centers to branches.
Geofencing uses GPS or RFID to create a virtual boundary around a location, and when that boundary is crossed, input data triggers an event. For Wolseley UK, when a delivery vehicle crosses the boundary, the recipient is alerted that the driver is 20 minutes away. Through data analysis tracking time elapsed from vehicles leaving the DC to when it enters the geofenced boundary of a branch, Wolseley UK has created one-hour delivery slots.
The report says the company's Melmerby (Northern England) DC has been trialing the technology on three branch delivery routes, with "outstanding feedback" from each.
BMJ quotes Nye Whittaker, branch manager at Beverley Plumb Center: "Geofencing is a great invention! The automated alerts let us know when a delivery is due so that we can prepare accordingly. It's really handy if a customer is waiting on a particular item, as we can call ahead and let them know that their order will arrive with the hour."
BMJ says Wolseley UK will implement the geofencing system across its entire delivery network by the end of April.
Alan Newton, head of distribution and fleet at Wolseley UK, is also quoted: "As the leading distributor in our industry we are keen to embrace any new technology that will help us improve our service. Ultimately, we want branches to be able to order their goods from DCs as late as 5pm, and still be guaranteed delivery within a one-hour time slot the next day - an unprecedented branch delivery service in any sector."
Wolseley was No. 1 on Industrial Distribution's 2014 Big 50 List.