17 January 2023 - case-studies

Placemakers - Building a better delivery system with Bestrane

New Zealand-based PlaceMakers improves delivery satisfaction levels by 50%.

A division of The Fletcher Building Group, PlaceMakers is New Zealand's leading and largest supplier of building materials and hardware, employing over 2,100 people and assisting over 300,000 customers.

With 63 stores from Kaitaia to Invercargill, PlaceMakers sell over 74,000 product lines from concrete to paint and plasterboard, and manufactures frames and trusses from 8 manufacturing plants across New Zealand.

The Challenge

Serving over 300,000 retail and trade customers and completing more than 250,000 annual deliveries—often involving large, unwieldy freight (e.g., timber, panels) requiring craning onto building sites—PlaceMakers sought to optimise route planning and digitise its internal processes to increase delivery efficiency, reduce costs, and strengthen customer relationships.

With the aim of transforming the customer delivery experience, PlaceMakers wanted to transition its delivery model away from each branch performing its own dispatch and freight, with multiple local and regional 3PL suppliers, to a centralised logistics function and the company’s own fleet.

“We sought to transform our customer delivery experience by moving each of our 63 branches from dispatching and executing deliveries with multiple logistics services providers to centralised logistics planning and our own fleet. Descartes Route Planner and Glympse have proved to be a world-class, end-to-end solution that is helping us provide an industry-leading customer experience.”
Wayne Armstrong, Head of Digital Channels, PlaceMakers

The Solution

PlaceMakers implemented the cloud-based Descartes Route Planner solution to centralise its distribution planning operations across the country together with an automated ‘state of the art’ customer notification platform from Glympse to radically re-engineer the customer delivery experience.

Route Planner is an enterprise route optimisation and execution application that enables organisations to plan routes more efficiently, reduce delivery time windows, address exceptions on the road and respond to customer changes in real time.

This route tracking and execution enables drivers with a wireless connection to manage and view route information from Route Planner, provides logistics managers visibility as to the status of deliveries and drivers, and enables tracking of planned vs. actual performance in real time.

“Companies such as PlaceMakers are utilising customer service as a genuine point of difference in the market. We’re pleased that they have selected Glympse to enable their vision”
Chris Ruff, CEO, Glympse

The Results

Integrating seamlessly with PlaceMakers’ legacy enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, Descartes Route Planner has provided unique capabilities, including capacity calculation for each vehicle despite a wide range of product shapes and sizes, notifications at all stages of the delivery lifecycle, and address validation to ensure every delivery has a valid x,y coordinate.

The system utilises “always on” technology to incrementally build shipment schedules and route plans, so as each new order is received, the schedule is regenerated in real time to reallocate resources to optimise efficiency, deliver priority service to the most profitable accounts and routes, and maintain overall customer service objectives, all whilst respecting promises to customers that have already been made.

By optimising same-day and next-day route planning with Descartes Route Planner, PlaceMakers has maximised fleet and mobile resource utilisation and efficiency to enhance customer service and reduce operational costs.

Shortly after its deployment in 2020, PlaceMakers saw a 40-50% increase in delivery satisfaction and achieved significant financial savings. Other benefits realised was the reduction of inbound calls by 16%, an increased load utilisation of 13%, and loading times reduced by 14%.

Referred to as “the best central project implementation ever,” the accelerated branch-by-branch rollout was supported by weekly updates and reviews on all key metrics and issues, forming deep connections to enable continuous long-term improvement.

“With direct integration to our courier company, we’ve been able to offer a new quick delivery service: within 60 or 180 minutes! Plus, we were able to adapt the Descartes solution to pick and package orders ready for transport with full integration and APIs into a 30-year-old ERP. No other application could handle our combination of products and different fulfillment types.”
Wayne Armstrong, Head of Digital Channels, PlaceMakers