Dixons Carphone, owner of Currys, PC World and Carphone Warehouse operates a fleet of over 300 vans for engineers carrying out in-home appliance repairs, amongst its total fleet of around 900 vehicles. The company operates out of 20 customer service centres and 3 Regional distribution centres carrying out about 8,000 repairs a week and about 70,000 deliveries a week.
Back in 2013, retail and delivery giant Dixons Carphone was in discussions to develop a new digital routing and delivery system – moving away from paper-based proof of service forms to electronic versions. The company had recently rolled out PDAs to their delivery team, and while they could track these units efficiently, the process was less efficient for its commercial vehicles.
To put this right, Dixons Carphone Head of Compliance for UK Supply Chain and Operations, Chris Georgiou, began the search for a tracking solution that could keep the company better informed of vehicle whereabouts, performance, and driver behaviour. The latter of these points was particularly pressing, if managers found themselves struggling to respond to customer queries and complaints, says Chris: “We were on occasion, being contacted by members of the public with vague complaints such as ‘your lorry drove down my road and damaged my car’. Without specific details on the time of the incident or vehicle registration it was a challenge to identify the driver of the vehicle ”
And so, when the time came to renew the Dixons Carphone fleet, the company took the opportunity to upgrade its systems and processes too:
“Every time we renew our fleet we have the option to carry on with what we’ve got or explore other options. I’m one to explore other options. Not just for the sake of it, but because it is important to me that the people we’re working with are keeping up with technology and at the forefront of the latest developments in the market.”
By 2015, and with a new batch of vehicles added to the fleet, Dixons Carphone was ready to implement a full telematics solution.
After a lengthy investigative exercise, it was determined that the Verizon Connect platform was ideal for the batch of vehicles that we were adding to the Fleet.
Firstly, the telematics part of the Verizon Connect platform would allow Dixons Carphone’s managers to easily track the Fleet from a single dashboard – allowing them to stay abreast of vehicle location and driver behaviour, to better respond to customer queries and complaints.
Perhaps the main factor behind the decision to work with Verizon Connect, however, was the fully comprehensive integration with Ford, which makes fleet data visualisation incredibly easy, and as the new Fleet was a batch of Ford Transit Customs this made perfect sense. Through integration with Ford’s in-vehicle systems, Verizon Connect telematics collects near real-time information on vehicle health and diagnostics, driver behaviour, vehicle speed, location and much more. Managers can then receive near real-time alerts of their choosing and view in-depth analytics to spot ways to reduce fuel and maintenance spend and improve productivity.
Chris was further impressed when he delved deeper into the Verizon Connect offering: “We looked into the Verizon Connect platform and liked what we saw. We liked the information we could get from the vehicle – such as warning lights, and deeper insight into the driver behaviour side of things.” Dixons Carphone was also drawn to the Verizon Connect Spotlight mobile app. The ability to track fleet goings-on from a simple app, on any device, had the potential to be a game changer.
With deployment underway, Dixons Carphone’s Chris Georgiou was immediately confident that the company had made the right decision to partner with Verizon Connect.
“Deployment was incredibly smooth and straightforward. The telematics units were installed on the vans at the same time as the interior racking and shelving, and then sent on to individual sites. I’ve been through many of these kinds of installations and know that it isn’t that difficult for things to go wrong. However, that was not the case here – in fact, I didn’t have to get very involved at all which is a testament to how smoothly it went.”
The next stage of deployment was just as stress-free. Verizon Connect product experts trained the Dixons Carphone team on how to use the system and helped to set up key features such as geo-fences, key fobs and Driver ID.
“I can’t think of anything that didn’t go smoothly.” Chris Georgiou, Head of Compliance UK Supply Chain and Operations
With the system in place, the data provided is now being used to develop a new ‘Driving at Work’ policy which will be rolled out to the entire business – commercial drivers, employees with company cars and those who receive a car allowance. Such a comprehensive policy will allow Dixons Carphone to help improve fleet efficiencies and safety.
This easy access to vast amounts of vehicle and driver data has allowed Dixons Carphone to make several improvements to its operational procedures. As well as making it easy to spot inefficient routes or underperforming drivers, it has enabled the company to set clear and fair parameters regarding performance.
Putting the benefits of live location data and easy driver identification aside, there is plenty of reason to be excited about the Verizon Connect system in terms of future accident reduction, better driver education, improved HR policies, and how we can present information to our drivers. It supplies us with really useful information.
Finally, Verizon Connect’s customer support extended long after the system was installed, something Chris and his team are particularly thankful for. After deployment, Dixons Carphone was assigned a dedicated Customer Success representative, tasked with monitoring the company’s use of the platform – including vehicle uptime, safety metrics, fuel performance, operational use and more.
This data is then fed back to Dixons Carphone along with actionable insights on how to improve inefficiency or underperformance. Such a service helps Verizon Connect stand apart from its competitors and is vital to seeking out the marginal gains that are crucial to the success of the system.