Logistics rollout boosts St Vincent De Paul charity work

First phase of IT project complete

A manual logistics system was hampering charity St Vincent de Paul’s efforts to collect donated items for the poor in Victoria, until the IT department stepped in.

Logistics manager, Louis La Sala, said the organisation was missing out on some donations as it did not know which areas its drivers where in or what they were collecting.

“We simply couldn’t keep up with the increasing level of donations without [more] sophisticated planning and scheduling tools,” La Sala said.

Drivers also had to plan routes by hand for up to an hour each day before setting off.

“There are 16 drivers in the metropolitan area so that equalled 16 hours of lost time every day,” he said.

After putting out a tender bid and whittling down six proposals to a short-list of three, the organisation chose enterprise resource planning Infor’s supply chain management (SCM) Fleet Routing software in May 2010.

The software was integrated into its existing order management system, developed by transport software developer TransLogix.

An IT project veteran, La Sala said he deliberately started off using the software in one vehicle only.

“It minimised the risk rather than taking a big bang approach. The lessons we learned were to tailor the software for our needs and make sure staff were well trained in using it.”

Since the first phase of the roll out, the 16 drivers are dealing with 150 bookings per day on the new system and La Sala reports that in the areas of Victoria where the application has been deployed it has increased transport activity by 70 per cent and efficiency by 100 per cent.

“It’s given the visibility that we need in able to plan better. We never had the audits in front of us to know where the drivers were going or what they were doing,” he said.

There are plans to roll out the software to 50 vehicles that service the charity's 102 retail centres by the end of 2011.

The implementation is part of a larger project to overhaul St Vincent de Paul’s logistics operation by centralising logistics management, order management and call centres.

“My call centre is geared up for 300 phone calls a day but I’m restructuring the centre to cater for the 600 calls that I’m forecasting,” he said.

In the future, La Sala plans to integrate Infor SCM with its warehouse management system.

He also wants to offer the system to other St Vincent de Paul branches in Australia and claims it is “leading edge” in terms of logistics systems charitable organisations are using.

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAu

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Tags InforlogisticsSt Vincent de PaulSCM fleet routing

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