The Brakes Group increased efficiency with OR

The Brakes Group is a leading supplier to the UK catering industry. There is constant pressure on margins and a need to increase efficiency throughout the supply chain.

A Brakes lorry parked outside a home with a thatched roof.

The Problem

Brakes wanted to find ways of reducing the cost of its supply chain while gaining significant added benefits in customer service and reducing the company's carbon footprint

The Solution

Putting Optrak at the heart of a sophisticated supply chain

The Optrak vehicle routing solution is used at Brakes' Egham depot to dynamically schedule a fleet of 80 vehicles delivering grocery orders, ambient, chilled and frozen goods. In-cab communications and SatNav/fleet tracking are fully integrated with Optrak Business Intelligence and Optrak Real-Time to drive Brakes' depot operations.

John Burgess, Operations Manager for Brakes, said: 'We wanted to introduce more efficient planning with Optrak but also to enable drivers to work effectively within a dynamic scheduling environment. The project therefore expanded to look at integrating in-cab communications, satellite navigation and vehicle routing. Of the available vehicle routing solutions, Optrak's major advantage was that it had the flexibility to cope with the range of demanding requirements at Brakes.'

The scheduler uses Optrak to plan efficient vehicle routes and loading plans, reviewing the schedule using local knowledge to fine tune and finalise the routes. Drivers are navigated to each customer via a SatNav unit. The arrival and departure times are captured and stored for analysis and reporting.

Brakes' customer services team constantly monitors the status of each trip. Optrak can automatically flag up where issues are arising before they have impacted on the customer. For example, if a delivery is going to be late, the customer services team can proactively call the customer and if necessary reschedule the delivery.

The Value

Constantly increasing benefits leave Brakes hungry for more

Using Optrak has reduced the number of trips by 6% and allowed Brakes to take on more orders without needing to invest in additional vehicles and drivers. Productivity, flexibility, utilisation and service capability have all improved.

'We were able to customise Optrak and the end result is a solution that meets our precise, complex requirements. We have gained real advantages in terms of improved reporting, and greater real-time visibility of our distribution operations leading to improved customer service. The benefit of this project, for Brakes and the environment, will be felt for years to come and I would certainly recommend Optrak to other companies.' John Burgess, Operations Manager for Brakes, concludes.

'Brakes set out to find new ways of driving costs out of the supply chain and succeeded in reducing year on year costs by 8% but we gained significant added benefits in customer service and a reduction in our carbon footprint,' said Neil Heavisides, Depot Manager. 'We chose Optrak because of its proven expertise in the food and drink sector and the availability of dynamic real-time planning, supplemented with their unique Optrak Business Intelligence dashboard and reporting functionality.'