What was the scope of their involvement?
We started by identifying all the processes involved in a driver’s day for their developers. Their consultants each joined a driver on the road, doing deliveries themselves for a whole day, to become acquainted with the process. We threw these IT developers in the deep end, pushing trolleys and doing the deliveries in the real life restaurant scenario because we wanted to capture all the processes involving paper. They then helped us to document those processes for their UI team. They made prototypes of the workflow, step by step, from when the drivers left the distribution centers to when they came back, including payment collection, adjustment for damages, issuing credit notes, etc.
Next, we discussed the technical specifications for the app’s architecture; what technology and platform to uses, the hardware they needed to develop. We had a wide variety of choices and IoT elements to agree on for the temperature monitoring, and GPS coordinates for vehicle tracking. When that was done, they started developing the final product. When the development was finished, we went through the phase of testing, bug fixing, retesting, and all the way to go live. They were with us from process specifications all the way to the go live cycle, the full journey.
One of the features we included was a cash management, which is a very sensitive area. If a vehicle comes back with the equivalent of $5,000 from 20 different restaurants, it’s a risk on the road, and at the same time, it’s a headache for the driver to manage that process. Cash reconciliation functionality using mobile technology was a key functionality. They also worked on stock reconciliation. We are sending goods of various values out from our distribution center. A box of lobster could be $200 versus a case of plastic forks, that’s only $2 or $3. The price range of the products within the vehicles was quite diverse, so we also had to make sure that the customers get the right products, and whatever’s not delivered is brought back to the distribution center, into the warehouse, and sent back to the stock for scrapage or reusage, quarantine, etc. We call all of that process inventory reconciliation/management, which was another crucial piece of functionality achieved.
The third important thing is the SLA delivery for customers. When our customers place orders, they select a delivery time window; some of the restaurants are busy at lunchtime, or they are closed at a certain period of the day. In the UK, the road network is very congested, and some areas have travel time restrictions after or before certain hours with barriers. The delivery SLA management was another key functionality which we actually got from this. We’ve other areas where drivers could receive notifications from the order messaging system. This could say “Beware of the dog,” or “Don’t deliver through the front door, go through the back door,” or “Parking restrictions apply.” All the customers’ ad hoc messages would pop up into every delivery location and so on.
There are also features like GPS coordinates, so we can record and monitor the GPS coordinates of drivers, with the goal of enhancing our customer service. If customers were inquiring, “Where is my delivery today?” we could find out where the driver is. Another enhancement was to have the app linked with the customers’ website account, so customers could log into the website and see the estimated time of arrival for his delivery.
What is the team dynamic?
There are various teams: there was a process specification team, a UI team, a development team, the project manager. I didn’t have full visibility of how many people were in their development center, I interacted with at least 10 different people at various phases of the project.
How did you come to work with Saviant Consulting?
I think the fact that they’re a smaller company rather than a big consulting house like IBM made them very customer focused and cooperative in terms of understanding our needs. There was a cultural difference since they are based in India and we are in the UK. They were proactive at flying out to come see us so they could understand the cultural aspect of our business. We found it very interesting that they took that initiative to come out and see us face to face, go out with the drivers, and meet all of our IT team. They also wanted to understand the backend ERP system with which they would have to make bilateral data movement. We found that very helpful and cooperative.
How much have you invested with them?
We spent between $200,000 and $1 million.
What is the status of this engagement?
The project started in September 2014, and it’s an ongoing collaboration.