Holland & Barrett takes new direction with routing software

Health and wellness products retailer Holland & Barrett has adopted new routing and scheduling software, as part of a restructuring of its supply chain operations.

It is part of a strategy by the business to more quickly identify and achieve transport cost savings by reducing “dead mileage”, enhance reverse logistics, and improve overall efficiency in its store delivery processes.

The retailer said the new technology from Paragon will allow it to reduce in-store inventory, while also better optimising its network of third-party logistics providers. Most of Holland & Barrett’s 900 UK stores are located on the high street, and the retailer wanted to make the process of store deliveries from its Burton-on-Trent distribution centre more efficient by, for example, adopting schedules that take into account daytime access restrictions and traffic congestion levels.

Holland & Barrett’s move to invest in this area follows an external review of its transport management function, which previously involved manual planning processes. In the future, it is looking to reduce its fleet size by using the planning software to find more efficient routes and maximise use of fewer vehicles.

Jason Thompson, transport operations manager at Holland & Barrett, remarked: “To maintain our position as one of the world’s leading health and wellness retailers, it is vital that Holland & Barrett continues to invest in streamlining its supply chain.

“Paragon’s routing and scheduling software solution will enable us to transform store replenishment, removing the need to keep high levels of inventory in store by delivering direct to shelf.”

Until now, Holland & Barrett had operated fixed daily routes with each store receiving a single weekly delivery. With up to three deliveries a week now taking place, the retailer has more chance to shorten click & collect pick-up timings – with increasing speed of fulfilment a key target for the organisation.

Supply chain optimisation is one part of a wider strategy at Holland & Barrett to use technology to improve operations. George Goley was installed as the company’s first ever CTO in October 2018, and he has been ramping up in-house software development capabilities in the 13 months since arriving from a similar role at Sainsbury’s Argos.