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Herts FullStop is the UK’s fastest growing Education supplier. Headquartered in Welwyn Garden City, the company has over sixty years’ experience of supplying goods and services to educational establishments. Their catalogue service has over 18,500 products, including stationery, furniture, arts & crafts and classroom resources which are delivered to customers across the country.

As well as educational establishments the company also supplies other non-profit making groups such as charities, the NHS, local authorities and childminder groups.  

The Business Objectives

According to Glenn Facey, Head of Herts FullStop, “the key objective is to continue leading the way, bringing the latest educational innovations and solutions to our customers. The aim is to enhance our working practices and fine tune efficiency throughout the distribution process, from stock management to logistics, resulting in a superior customer experience.” As an integral part of this process, the company sought a system that would optimise its delivery operations.

On the recommendation of long-standing supplier Minster Computer Systems Ltd, the management team selected the ‘PODStar’ Electronic Proof of Delivery system from Manchester-based Touchstar Technologies. The Cloud-based PODStar system provides Herts FullStop the ability to utilise up-to-date information to create job runs and to allocate drivers and vehicles. Once a manifest has been created it is then automatically sent out to the drivers remotely in the field. Once downloaded the driver can receive their jobs and, ultimately, provide electronic proof of delivery in real time.

The company’s delivery drivers are equipped with Zebra handheld devices which are used for both proof of delivery / signature capture and tracking of the driver location. Back at the Welwyn Garden City depot, management can view a real-time update on a ‘jobs table’ and the driver’s location, as well as additional data and the job status and driver performance.  

System Integration

The PODStar system can be integrated to a number of third-party software packages including ERP, Accounts and WMS. In the case of Herts FullStop, the company were seeking full integration to their existing Minster WMS system. Minster are an officially certified Touchstar ‘Integration Specialist’ and the two organisations have prior experience of ensuring smooth data flows between their respective systems.

Linking WMS to EPOD provides a greatly enhanced level of supply chain transparency and real-time process control. The WMS will govern classical aspects of the warehouse operation, including multi-client processing, receipt of goods, put-away, picking, loading of vehicles, perpetual inventory etc. EPOD will extend the visibility of stock beyond the warehouse, through to end-delivery. Integrating the two systems will allow for real-time control over functions such as stock replenishment and client invoicing.  

The Projected Outcome

Glenn Facey has been working closely with the business development and project management teams from Touchstar and describes the process thus far; “Right from the first meeting I was impressed with how the team at Touchstar firstly presented the product and secondly with its comprehensive feature set. I am convinced the system will be an asset for customers chasing POD’s and for our customer services team in locating the drivers on their deliveries and being able to give customers ETA’s for their deliveries. The product itself is very easy to use and we anticipate very minimal driver training on the handhelds will be required. I’m confident we can roll the system out to all of our drivers with very minimal disruption to the operation. The integration work with the Minster WMS system, that will be undertaken in a short timescale, will ensure that we have a thoroughly modern and completely optimised warehouse and outbound delivery operation. I would highly recommend the PODStar product to anyone looking to move away from a paper-based delivery system.”   

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