BOISE, Id. -- Albertson's here is leveraging logistics technology -- including a routing and scheduling system, integrated wireless dispatch, delivery tracking, and driver support software -- to more efficiently manage its Albertsons.com delivery operations in the Seattle market. The logistics systems have helped the retailer achieve a 90% on-time delivery rate in this new market.
"Basically what we have done is we have implemented [a logistics and communications systems] in our e-commerce facility in Seattle," said Stefan Schachtell, group vice president of information systems and technology for Albertson's.
"Based on customer orders, addresses and the amount of product, [the routing program] schedules the routes that our trucks need to take to maintain the agreed upon delivery times," he told SN. The technology maximizes the use of the truck fleet, Schachtell noted.
The retailer promises delivery between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.
The retailer also offers its on-line shopping service in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, but for now is using an in-house developed routing and scheduling system in that market.
"I think we have a different initiative in Seattle, because of the way the city is laid out," he said. "We felt like we needed a more robust and sophisticated system."
The logistics technology is from Roadnet Technologies, Baltimore.
The Albertsons.com store in Seattle is about 25,000 square-feet and the on-line order fulfillment center is partitioned off within the store itself, Schachtell told SN, noting that customers could also shop in the store, or may order on-line and then pick up their groceries at the store.
The retailer is making its deliveries in 14-foot multitemperature trucks. The retailer said that its Seattle fleet numbers 30 delivery trucks so far, almost all of which deliver on a daily basis.
A second part of the logistics solution, a client-server system, provides real-time tracking and vehicle communications with the driver, according to a source familiar with the situation.
The communication system allows the drivers to utilize a handheld communication device that provides them with route information as well as allow for two-way communication with a dispatcher.
We have a handheld device for drivers and a Global Positioning System (GPS) on the delivery trucks, Schachtell told SN.
"Handheld computers enable our delivery personnel to capture important transaction and preference data with minimal time and effort, which will help ensure a positive customer experience," said Patrick Steele, executive vice president, information systems and technology, at Albertson's in a statement.
The driver can scan the totes, which hold the deliveries, or key in the data on the status of the delivery, Schachtell said.
Based on the information sent by the driver, Albertson's can determine if the route is on schedule or if it's running behind and then make adjustments to meet the delivery windows, according to the retailer.