IKEA Distribution Services, the sole distributor for IKEA in the UK, has installed a track and trace solution to effectively manage its growing number of customer deliveries since the launch of its Internet shopping service. Developed by Zetes, the solution provides increased visibility of IKEA’s stock from the moment it leaves the Central Distribution Centre in Peterborough to when it arrives at the customer’s house. The company has also integrated an electronic Proof of Delivery (ePOD) system to provide customers with a printed receipt of delivered items.
Zetes has used its advanced data capture solution, Nucleus IS, to transfer information between IKEA’s existing home delivery management system (Axida HDi) and wireless mobile computers mounted in delivery trucks. At the start of a shift, the mobile computer retrieves route data from the Axida HDi system and presents the driver with a list of visits and relevant information. As the driver delivers the relevant items, the customer’s signature is captured and GPRS is used to relay updates to the main system. The ePOD system provides customers with a printed receipt of the goods received and transfers a copy to HDi.
In-truck printers also enable drivers to label damaged and returned goods with a warehouse barcode as they go into the truck. Once transferred to the main system, this allows stock to be processed more quickly and efficiently when it is returned to the warehouse. Currently, 60 delivery trucks are installed with the track and trace and ePOD technology but IKEA anticipates further roll out in line with their e-commerce expansion. IKEA is also considering the technology in other operational countries.
Zetes bespoke data capture solution replaces a paper-based system and is expected to deliver a rapid return on investment. Initially, IKEA observed a substantial increase in errors on delivery but this was due to the failings of the previous paper-based system. Now that these problems have been resolved IKEA has seen a huge increase in the number of correct deliveries. Don Marshall, deputy customer distribution manager, at IKEA Distribution Services says, ‘In addition to delivering more of the right product at the right time, we are also benefiting from increased visibility across the supply chain. Our stock data has never been more accurate and we are making significant cost savings from ordering less replacement stock.’