Juice Express Deliveries Go Paperless
iTouch, Juice Express
7 June 2002
The arrival of a new paperless solution designed to automate transactions on the road has created a stir amongst Juice Express drivers nationwide. During the final stages of the trial, managers had to wrestle a PDA back from a driver who, after only two days on the road testing the new system, was reluctant to go back to the old manual paper-based system.
Since 1992 Juice Express, founded by director Robert Stevens, has supplied cafes, restaurants and hotels with their own increasing range of fresh juices including 100% pure organic fruit juices, fruit cordials, smoothies, tropical nectars, mineral waters and ice-blended coffees. This successful micro distribution juice company now has 11 distribution centres nationwide (including franchises), 50 staff, and supplies over 100 product variations direct to customers in the hospitality industry.
The company maintains its competitive edge by keeping apace of the changing demands and consumer trends. But with an increasing range of fresh produce items that have a short shelf life and a growing customer base, the manual day-to-day business processes at Juice Express were inefficient and costly - by as much as $70,000 a year. With over 60 deliveries per driver per day, it was evident that the problems needed urgent attention in the areas of stock management, product promotion, bill payment and sales administration.
After investigating the options, Juice Express teamed up with iTouch Business Mobility to develop an on road solution using the robust Symbol SPT1700 handheld computers. Eleven PDAs are being rolled out this month to drivers around the country. All units have a barcode scanner to collect and log the product codes, and a portable infrared Zebra printer to print out the packing slips with the captured proof-of-delivery digital signature.
By next month all Juice Express drivers will no longer have to spend hours estimating and loading stock for each customer. They also won't have to complete and calculate delivery dockets and packing slips by hand, or remember that a client is on a cash payment basis only and not on credit.
With a swipe over the barcodes, the capture of the customer's signature and a few taps on the touch screen, dockets will now be printed automatically and instantly at the customer's premises in a matter of minutes. All re-order amounts, stock totals, produce returns and customer data will be updated by the PDA automatically. It will even encourage the drivers to make customers aware of new product items and offer special promotions and discounts.
"We produce and supply products to our customers according to a specified level. Nothing is pre-sold, which means that our drivers have to estimate how much stock the customer will use that day depending on the customer's current stock levels and order history. With up to 60 visits a day and a wide range of products each with a limited shelf life of between 8-45 days, wastage of expired stock was inevitable and costly," said Mr Robert Stevens, Managing Director at Juice Express.
"Our freshly squeezed juice, for instance, is bottled at 5 a.m. and put on the truck the same morning for delivery and invoicing at the customers' premises. With such a tight turnaround of stock and short shelf life, we needed to sharpen the back-end business processes with an efficient system that would minimise the costs of error attributed to the old manual system. The solution had to be portable, easy to use, effective and, in case of accidental damage, it had to be robust."
At the end of the day, instead of tallying up all the stock items sold and working out what items need to be ordered, drivers will simply dock the PDA into the hotsync cradle and import all the data into the Juice Express accounting system at the touch of a button. The data is then compiled into a weekly invoice format for credit customers.
Juice Express calculated potential savings of up to $45,000 in stationery and administration alone each year. Add the wastage of over-supplied and expired stock, monies accidentally not collected, discrepancies, relief driver errors and lost sales opportunities by insufficient stock put on the trucks, and it is expected that the annual cost savings will be as high as $70,000 per year. The solution provided by iTouch came to $80,000 - providing Juice Express a return on their investment in little over 12 months.
Dave Ffowcs Williams, Business Development Director at iTouch Business Mobility said, "This was a great project to sink our teeth into. Juice Express required a full micro business solution that would include two business process functions we had previously developed under iSell and iDeliver packaged solutions. Here we had the opportunity to combine the two into one solution and add a number of enhancements. Features include: customer information and run details, intuitive stock calculation and order management - even considering seasonal variations, sales administration processing, invoicing, packing slips and proof of delivery. The drivers have taken to the new system really well and everything is working according to the clients' expectations and project specifications."
"The application developed by iTouch is extremely intuitive, we're really impressed," said Mr Stevens, "We had to take one of the test units off the first driver for a couple of days (a minor printer driver problem) and he was very upset as he didn't want to go back to the manual system again - he had only been using the new system for two days!"
About Juice Express
Juice Express Limited is a privately owned company established in 1992 that specialises the supply and delivery of fruit juices 15-hour 365-days per year. It is the preferred supplier to 67% of Cafes, Restaurants and Hotels in serviced areas throughout New Zealand.
The company is situated in Morningside, Auckland, with 12 Serviced areas throughout New Zealand including Whangerei, Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Rotorua, Palmerston North, New Plymouth, Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch, Dunedin, and Invercargill. Distribution centres are supplied daily from our factory in Auckland via overnight refrigerated transport. Juice Express operates its own processing plant and distribution fleet of 19 refrigerated trucks equipped for daily refrigerated trade delivery nationwide.
Every year, Juice Express processes more than 1.3 thousand tonnes of oranges for fresh juice, 125 tonnes of lemons, 30 tonnes of limes and 180 tonnes of grapefruits. In excess of 300 tonne of other ingredients such as juice concentrates and purees are used to make up the vast array of products now supplied by Juice Express. Now more than 100 varieties of juices, smoothies, nectars, cordials, mineral waters, mixers, and concentrates are available to the trade every day.
Recently, Juice Express Ltd director Rob Steven and an associate New Zealander resident in UK, established Drinks Express Ltd in the UK, with intentions to grow an export channel for Australasian beverages. Under the brand RE:JUICE, Juice Express has just shipped the first consignment of fruit smoothies due to arrive in London late June. The company is targeting specific successful local brands, which are believed to be in demand or unknown in Europe.
The iTouch / Symbol technology will allow Juice Express to seek new product opportunities for distribution, especially niche products where manufacturers have difficulty meeting delivery needs of the trade. For your nearest Juice Express distribution centre call 0800 808022.
iTouch is listed on the London Stock Exchange and has operations in the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Israel, with a further three operations in joint venture with MIH.
iTouch a leading provider of mobile content, commerce and communications services. It enables individuals to use wireless PDA devices to receive real-time information, effect transactions and use other value-added corporate services.
In conjunction with mobile network operators, iTouch provides services over a full range of mobile voice, data and Internet platforms, allowing customers to choose how they wish to send and receive information without being constrained by technology limitations.
The company provides a range of mobile products and services to enable businesses to communicate more effectively with their customers, potential clients and employees, either individually or on a group basis. The iProduct suite delivers critical office-based sales, service, survey and delivery information direct into the hands of the mobile workforce. For more information visit www.itouchmobility.com