Contract Furniture Group is the UK’s leading manufacturers and distributors of quality furnishings, fixtures and fittings for the hospitality industry, including: hotels, restaurants, pubs and clubs up and down the United Kingdom, as well as in Europe.
When Contract Furniture Group approached Stream, they were looking to improve two key areas of their logistics operation:
- Reduce the time spent planning delivery runs
- Gain real-time visibility of their orders
We sat down with Simon Opie, Logistics Manager at Contract Furniture Group, to learn about what their logistics operation looked like before they started using Stream, how Stream has transformed the way they manage and plan deliveries and how this has supported them as the business has scaled.
What did the logistics operation look like before using Stream?
Simon explained that, prior to implementing Stream in the business, Contract Furniture Group were using a labour-intensive process to plan their furniture delivery routes, which was becoming increasingly cumbersome, labour-intensive and difficult as the business grew.
“We started off using simple web-based mapping software where you can add pins and a description, and then we’d use a double sided printer to print this onto two sheets of A4 paper and we would then build our runs up using Google maps, using information we’d pulled out of Sage.”
“It was a system which was okay at the time, as in we were just getting by, but we were growing as a business.There were a lot of changes to those delivery runs which would need to be done quite quickly, and printing and re-printing and re-printing was just not the way forward. At that point, we decided to look for a delivery management system which was able to handle what we needed to do both at that point in time, and also as we scaled.
”And that’s how we found Stream.”
What pain points has Stream helped Contract Furniture Group overcome?
The real-time visibility of orders in Stream has helped Contract Furniture Group to overcome their single biggest pain point, which was the traceability of their orders.
Simon went onto say:
“Everything was done by memory. Remembering whether goods were in stock, remembering if an order is ready to go or what trailer it’s come in on, or when specific components were on-hand. It was becoming an impossible task as there are so many different elements to each order.”
“We could be assembling the furniture here, it could be coming direct from our factory, or certain parts from a supplier. You’d therefore have elements of each order coming from many different places where you have to remember whether or not the goods are physically here for that customer to receive their delivery.”
“Obviously with Stream, you’ve got all of that information there, and you can make it available for delivery, or not, depending on whether it’s in stock. That was the biggest thing for us, actually knowing whether or not the goods were in stock so that it didn’t get missed off the delivery”
The ability to visually plan deliveries by selecting pins on the route planning map in Stream has also been a big plus for Contract Furniture Group.
“Having the mapping area, you’ve got all your pins for the orders which are live and ready to go, which is helpful to us, because we need to know: A, is it here and B, has it been delivered, or is it on my map and needs to be delivered.”
How has Stream supported you as your business has grown?
“Stream has definitely enabled us as the company has grown.”
“Contract Furniture Group has gone from 15 – 20 members of staff, to now 60, and Stream has been there to help us keep up with that internal growth, as well as help us meet that increased demand from the customer and make sure things aren’t missed on the delivery front”
“The Logistics team use Stream for the distribution of the goods, but other people do have access to the system so they can find out whether an order is ready, or whether it’s been delivered.”
Simon mentioned that Contract Furniture Group is using the Stop Summary report from each run in Stream, in conjunction with a report they run from Sage, to provide analysis on whether goods are being delivered efficiently and within budget.
On top of this, they also use the data produced directly in Stream to monitor driver hours.
“We look at the run sheet start and end times, as well as the actual accumulated times, to make sure the drivers are within their recommended hours.”
Advice for furniture suppliers & manufacturers looking to improve their logistics operation?
To conclude the conversation, we asked Simon what advice he would have for other furniture suppliers & manufacturers who might be looking to improve their delivery management, plan better routes and get greater visibility of their orders.
“I would definitely go to Stream, because all the information is automatically generated and it takes a lot of the labour away and gives you that chance to make sure your logistics operation runs efficiently. There’s so much that Stream has been able to offer to us, with bolt-ons and extras where it’s obviously worked for us.”
“Stream ships new features and functionality every month, which we’ve been able to take advantage of through the years. If we ever have any questions about how to use Stream to further improve the efficiency of our delivery operation, the support team is always on hand to help.”
“For us, the system just works as it should.”