19 May 2022
Manchester, UK. 19th May 2022: Hedges
Chilled Distribution select EPOD system from Manchester-based TouchStar
Chilled Distribution is a rapidly expanding UK-based, independent logistics and
warehousing company. With an 8,000 sq/ft chilled warehouse capable of
maintaining a temperature of 2c to 8c and an additional 8,000 sq/ft ambient
warehouse, Hedges Chilled Distribution offers a number of short, medium, and
long-term storage solutions. Other services include E-Commerce fulfilment, pick
& pack and re-pack services. The company offers chilled, frozen and ambient
(full load and groupage) distribution services throughout UK, and Europe, via
its own fleet and network of European Haulage partners.
The company’s origins
began with its formation in 1997 and Hedges grew slowly but steadily for
several decades. Hedges was an existing a haulage supplier for Fardel Shipping
for a number of years before in 2015 John Hedges offered the company up for
sale to Paul Jackson and Ciaron Reynolds , which proved to be a significant
turning point in the company’s history.
Paul and Ciaron determined that to further advance the
company’s fortunes required a strategy of continuous improvement regarding
delivery performance and the constant refining of, and investing in, new
systems and processes. They inherited systems that were inefficient, poorly
integrated and excessively paper-based. They began a search for a ‘best of
breed’ planning and delivery system that led the management team to examine the
PODStar system from Manchester-based TouchStar Technologies. Hedges rapidly reached
the conclusion that the Touchstar solution offered the full required
functionality when compared to alternative systems.
The in-house Hedges fleet comprises Mercedes tractor
units, Scania tractor units and DAF 18 Tonne rigid vehicles. Drivers are equipped
with Android smart phones. The Cloud-based PODStar system offers a 'Planning
and Optimisation' tool that automates existing manual processes. A single screen view pulls together core
data on planned jobs, run list summaries and run details. Changes to runs and
run specifics can be made using easy ‘drag and
drop’ methodology. All screens display pallet, weight and revenue
information which allows for optimised run creation based on factors such as
revenue potential and weight constraints. PODStar also provides a ‘toggle’
button that allows established and changed routes to be viewed from a map
perspective, again simplifying the planning process.
Once a job manifest has been created it is then
automatically sent out to the drivers remotely in the field. To further enhance
the efficiency, jobs and route are displayed on a map saving Hedges fuel
and time on the road. Once downloaded the drivers can receive their jobs
and complete in real time. The driver’s smart phones are used for both proof of
delivery / signature capture and tracking of the driver and vehicle location.
Back at the Hedges headquarters, management can view a real-time
update on a map showing the fleet position as well as additional data on
the job status and driver performance.
regard to their vehicle fleet, Hedges take their responsibilities in the area
of employee and public safety very seriously. Drivers use their smartphones to
carry out their daily vehicle checks. In the event of a discrepancy being
recorded the driver is forced by PODstar to take a photo of the defect and
record notes. All defected items are
immediately emailed to the Fleet Manager ensuring that remedial work is
scheduled without delay.
Reynolds (Managing Director) comments: "Our
rapid growth saw an exponential growth in paperwork which was a nightmare until
the new system enabled us to effectively go paperless. TouchStar Technologies have been
fantastic in how they’ve tailored the software to meet our exact requirement.
The pace at which they adapted the system to meet our need has been
instrumental in optimising our delivery operation. The trial implementation went exceedingly well and
the PODStar system will shortly be rolled out fully so that our entire
organisation can accrue the benefits.
delighted that Touchstar’s professionalism extends beyond the product itself,
right through to the installation and support aspects of the project. Overall
we're very pleased with the system and, as we continue to expand, we look
forward to continuing our relationship with TouchStar."