Optrak gets Innovate UK support to revolutionise the online grocery market using route optimisation

Optrak has received an Innovate UK grant to develop a web-based application to help manage the increased demand for attended home delivery for online grocery retailers and supermarkets; optimising additional volume whilst minimising the environmental impact.

Ware, UK, 16 December 2020 – As the demand for home grocery deliveries soars amid ongoing lockdown measures, Optrak today announced it has received Innovate UK grant funding to develop its Optrak Grocery optimisation service.

The web-based application for the online grocery and supermarket home delivery industry will provide a solution to address the significant growth and complexity caused by COVID-19 and future proof the industry for long-term decarbonisation and sustainability goals.

The online grocery sector has seen substantial demand increases and operational challenges brought about by COVID-19. Increased volumes and new delivery requirements (such as making provisions for sheltered customers) have severely challenged established distribution models.

Operators have addressed these challenges through mass recruitment and training programmes, as well as investment in new vehicles. However, these are temporary solutions to alleviate pressure on the current framework of scheduling through slot booking and subsequently planning routes – which does not scale and is not an environmentally friendly or efficient approach to growing their businesses long term.

Optrak’s solution in development for operators will utilise specialised route optimisation techniques, new algorithms and software design to create the new following highly scalable, responsive application:

Optrak Grocery is a backend optimisation tool that allows supermarkets to merge the slot booking and scheduling operations with the route planning to improve route efficiency, boost slot availability and make better use of internal resources.

The benefits from these two solutions are as follows:

  • Improved Efficiency: Across the daily solution, Optrak anticipates reductions in mileage of c. 10%, with more efficient trips, greater vehicle fill and fewer vehicles used.
  • Better Customer Service: Solutions will improve delivery service for customers; opening up slot windows and supporting sheltered users for food delivery.
  • Greater Flexibility: Solutions will allow operators to respond quickly to growth in demand; growing slot allocation and resources in line with orders
  • Decarbonisation Future-Proofing: EV and low-carbon modelling will be incorporated into the design, allowing operators to transition to low-carbon fleets in the future with the knowledge that planning will take into account additional vehicle requirements and delivery instructions.

“Combining the slot booking process with a backend routing engine will significantly improve the routing process, making the most of customer availability and removing a structural barrier to efficiency arising from a 2-system approach to planning. I am confident this will result in greener, more flexible and more economic routes. It also offers the possibility for future extensions into dynamic delivery pricing based on real-time supply and demand,” explained Tim Pigden, Managing Director, Optrak.

Optrak is looking for strategic partners amongst online grocery operators in the coming months to collaborate and demonstrate the efficacy of its tools and help businesses better manage the new distribution landscape brought about by COVID-19.

More information can be found at Optrak Grocery.

Optrak Distribution Software

Optrak is an award-winning vehicle route optimisation specialist, providing software and consultancy services to private, public and NGO organisations looking to improve the efficiency of daily routing operations and solve strategic distribution challenges. Optrak works with organisations across multiple vertical sectors providing industry-targeted solutions to match real world business requirements, such as complex loading and delivery constraints.

Innovate UK

Innovate UK drives productivity and economic growth by supporting businesses to develop and realise the potential of new ideas.

We connect businesses to the partners, customers and investors that can help them turn ideas into commercially successful products and services and business growth.

We fund business and research collaborations to accelerate innovation and drive business investment into R&D. Our support is available to businesses across all economic sectors, value chains and UK regions. Innovate UK is part of UK Research and Innovation.

For more information visit www.innovateuk.ukri.org

Media Contact Details

Tom Pigden, Optrak Distribution Software Limited

Ware, United Kingdom

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