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PNE Corporation Deploys Descartes Fleet Management Software to Enhance Propane Delivery Network Operations

March 12, 2015

PNE Corporation, Canada’s largest distributor of propane and the spearhead of a popular propane exchange program, has deployed the Route Planner On-demand fleet management software solution provided by Descartes Systems Group. Also based in Canada, Descartes is a global provider of on-demand, cloud-based software as a service (SaaS) solutions serving logistics-intensive businesses.

Route Planner On-demand makes it easy to plan, optimize and dispatch delivery routes as well as track and monitor fleets in real time. The solution is comprised of several web-based modules with unique functionality that operate independently yet interact seamlessly to offer end-to-end route planning abilities.

The order management component transfers external address data into the web-based route planning tool, using intelligent filters to flag data that may be incomplete or otherwise problematic. These addresses are then geocoded and ran through a constraint-based software engine that sequences and optimizes delivery routes. The user is provided with the optimal sequence of stops based on constraints and economic factors, supported by street-level digital maps and an ETA for each stop.

Meanwhile, the order notification component ensures customers are kept in the loop about their deliveries. The system automatically notifies customers of scheduled delivery times as well as any possible adjustments via email, web, SMS or phone. In addition to offering real-time updates about an individual delivery and its ETA, the web-based interface provides the ability to accept, cancel or modify an order.

Route Planner On-demand includes a dispatch management tool that allows a company to view and modify delivery routes in real time, whereas drivers can use their mobile device to gain visibility into all routes on a company-wide basis. Field data is tracked and captured to enable insight into mileage, productivity, timecards, exception handling, onboard inventory, package tracking, weather conditions, signatures and many other significant details. This functionality creates an opportunity for both dispatchers and delivery drivers to optimize operations even further beyond the scope of the software’s capabilities.

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PNE has already seen some of the improvements afforded by deployment of Route Planner On-demand, including better customer satisfaction and a ten percent reduction in unit cost. Because of the software’s user-friendliness, new PNE dispatchers can get comfortable with it after a single simple training course. To a company where deliveries play a central role, a comprehensive solution that can enhance productivity and service levels while continuously providing avenues for improvement is vital to success in a competitive marketplace.

“Due to the rapid growth of our propane exchange program, we needed a more centralized, systematic method to provide customers with timely, reliable information about delivery options and status updates related to on-demand orders,” said Yann Baillargeon, Vice President of PNE. “With Descartes Route Planner On-demand, our dispatchers now have real-time visibility of the daily routes automatically planned for each driver. The system lets them see the status of deliveries and manage customer expectations when new orders are received or unexpected issues arise.”

“We're pleased that our technology not only helped PNE meet its goal of improving customer responsiveness, but also provided the company with cost saving efficiencies,” said Andrew Roszko, Senior Vice President of Sales at Descartes. “We look forward to continuing to deliver value to PNE as their business grows.”

Edited by Dominick Sorrentino

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