Ann Summers tracking increases delivery efficiency

GPRS tracking technology is helping the lingerie retailer improve customer service and increase operational efficiency in time for one of its busiest trading periods, Valentine's Day.

Ann Summers, the UK lingerie and adult novelties company, is using web-based satellite tracking services for its entire fleet of delivery vehicles in time for Valentine's Day.

The online telematics service from Masternaut gives real-time visibility of the company's fleet. The capability enables it to pinpoint the movements of individual vehicles and improve customer service to the point of home delivery. By doing so, it is also looking to reduce costs and increase operating efficiencies.

Mick O'Neil, Ann Summers transport and fleet manager told IT PRO the company wanted to install an up-to-date tracking system to eliminate "grey areas" from its view of delivery operations."With the service we can clarify if a driver attended a delivery address if a customer queries it. We can use the wait times to properly track anything like parking fines. And it is helping us track shift times better, as well as ensuring that our drivers are taking breaks and so on," he said.

The Masternaut web-based vehicle tracking service uses global positioning satellite (GPS) technology to establish the location of each of vehicle within the Ann Summers fleet. This information is then automatically transmitted via GPRS mobile networks to a central server.

The real-time position of every vehicle is displayed using Microsoft MapPoint online street mapping over a secure connection using any web-enabled PC or handheld device, with minute-by-minute vehicle activity reports delivered automatically by email to Ann Summers fleet management team.

It is hoped the system will pay immediate dividends, in terms of it going live three weeks ago, in time for one of the 134-strong store and online retailer's busiest times of the year.

"Most retailers get a break after Christmas, but we get about one quiet week before our volumes increase in time for Valentine's Day again," added O'Neil.

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