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PIVOTING CALGARY SUPPLY CHAIN DURING COVID

 

The COVID crisis shocked traditional supply chains in March 2020, rapidly shifting the supply and demand across the food supply chain network. Many suppliers whose customers closed their doors were left with excess inventory and had no way to get it into the hands of consumers. Routeique saw an opportunity to support local manufacturers, distributors, and retailers as well as customers isolating at home by creating a new channel for direct-to-home grocery delivery.

On March 13, along with a group of local partners, we launched Calgary Grocery – an online grocery delivery service. The goal is simple – to provide Calgarians with another option for their grocery shopping during the COVID-19 outbreak. 

With the help of the Routeique™ platform and our incredible partners at Birkby Food Service, Ziing Final Mile, Pre Pak Meats, InspiredGo, Good Bread, and Fine Food Stop (with more vendors joining us every week, connecting them with customers and bringing people back to work) we can deliver groceries and provide excellent customer service to Calgarians. It is an incredible experience to be put in the shoes of our clients and see how our platform can enhance home deliveries with time-saving technology.

The Routeique platform manages Calgary Grocery inventory, vendor & customer orders, customer notifications, and delivery. We are using the Digital Control Tower (DCT), Inventory Management System (IMS), and Dynamic Route Optimizer, providing reliability and consistency in a time of uncertainty. 

 

The Technology Behind Calgary Grocery

Calgary Grocery’s first month of operations provided us with an in-depth look at how our technology enables efficient and accurate home delivery. Our software allows us to provide the best service to Calgarians ordering online – from accuracy on picking & packing to delivery status notifications.

 

 Step 1: Shopify integration and the Digital Control Tower

We developed an easy to use online store using Shopify, where customers can place and manage their orders. The Shopify e-commerce store is integrated with the Digital Control Tower, allowing orders to be exported directly into the DCT, where we can then manage routing & inventory for those orders.

 

 Step 2: Delivery details sent to the Dynamic Route Optimizer

Order data is then shared from the DCT into the Dynamic Route Optimizer, creating new routes for each delivery day and sequencing the deliveries on each route to allow delivery to as many customers as possible.

 

 Step 3: Optimized routes used for picking and packing process

After delivery routes and sequences are established, the Inventory Management System (IMS) utilizes the data during the picking and packing process at the Birkby Foods warehouse. The IMS organizes the orders based on the delivery route so orders are picked in the order they need to be loaded into the trucks. For example, we want the first order to be loaded last to ensure drivers are efficient at the time of delivery.

 

Step 4: Delivery and packing data sent to Ziing drivers for delivery

Our delivery partner, Ziing Final Mile, uses routes and sequences from the Dynamic Route Optimizer, combined with packing details from the IMS, to give their drivers the tools they need to deliver efficiently. The Dynamic Route Optimizer provides us with an estimated delivery time for every order, which we share with our customers via email notification. Customers then receive an SMS notification after their order is delivered.

 

Benefits of the Platform

In this time of so much uncertainty, it’s important to Calgary Grocery that our customer’s grocery orders arrive accurately and on time. Our technology is the foundation of this service-first approach, ensuring we have visibility into each order at every point in the fulfillment process.

We’ve been delighted with the performance of the technology across our first month. We’re continuing to enhance Routeique based on new use cases that come up as we scale up our service to support more Calgarians.

The Dynamic Route Optimizer ensures our drivers are taking the most efficient route, and that we can provide a delivery time estimate we can stand behind. The Digital Control Tower and Inventory Management System guarantees we order everything we need from our partners to fulfill customer orders, and our picking & packing team have an accessible mobile solution to manage orders. Just in time delivery from our partners means the freshest product arriving at our customer's doorstep.

 

Going Forward

Calgary Grocery gives us a new home grocery delivery model for the application of Routeique technology. The Routeique product development team is working side-by-side with the operations team at Calgary Grocery, along with our partners, to enhance the software based on the requirements of the new Calgary-based supply chain network we’ve developed across the last month.

Many of our partners are rapidly pivoting their businesses in response to this change in demand and finding new revenue streams to keep their doors open. We’re here next to them with our technology and service and look forward to supporting other local businesses with the technology they need to start their own home delivery model in response to the crisis.

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