Features

Route optimisation at the drop of a hat

King

MHD speaks with Talal Kanj, National Warehouse & Logistics Manager at KING, and Adiona Tech CEO Richard Savoie, about how route optimisation is helping to keep the leading furniture designer on top of its game. 

Leading Australian furniture designer, manufacturer and retailer KING got its start over 40 years ago, and from the outset was dedicated to designing furniture in its own unique way, with its own distinct imprint.

But the spirit of innovation at KING isn’t reserved to its design processes, says Talal Kanj, National Warehouse & Logistics Manager at KING. It’s an attitude that permeates the entire organisation – including its attitude to distribution and customer service.

It’s that attitude that prompted it to re-think its delivery and route optimisation capabilities during the COVID-era, Talal says, and to foster a relationship with Adiona Tech. 

“Until recently our route planning was based on manual inputs,” Talal says. “This had been done through Google Maps, and before Google maps it was based on personal understanding of geographical areas – an old school understanding of what was needed in the north, south, east, and west. But then all of a sudden Adiona came along and that all became a thing of the past – so instead of having a person search an area to allocate deliveries, it’s become automatic with Adiona’s route optimisation platform. Instead of getting seven deliveries on a truck per day for our customers, we are getting 10 or 11 deliveries on trucks and maximising our capacity on each delivery route.”

In keeping with its proactive approach, Talal says that KING conducted market research and engaged a consultancy to trial a number of route optimisation systems. But it was clear that Adiona stood out from the crowd. 

“Adiona just brought out the best in the simplicity of its integration with our API system, and it was also just so user-friendly,” he says. “When the Adiona team came to the table they were able to make a few changes that better reflected the information we needed on tracking order numbers, so that the tracking system related those numbers back to our system to provide easy visibility.”

By using Adiona’s platform to optimise KING’s route planning – which delivered great benefits on that criterion alone – Talal says that his team now also has much more time to focus on customer service. “It’s allowed us to go ahead and call more customers, follow up on particular service levels, and not have to worry so much about where a truck needs to go or organising its next drop off,” he says. “Recently we have been much more able to focus on our customers, and they are the core of our business.”

Talal adds that the introduction of Adiona has made life much easier for KING through the ongoing COVID-saga. 

“Last year we went through a period where we had to get a lot more people and resources in to accommodate the volume of customer management, and the re-organising of delivery routes when there were changes to lockdowns and restrictions,” he says. “But since introducing Adiona, we have been able to drop in and swap things around at the drop of a hat. It just uploads new information by itself and re-optimises the route, which gives our team more time to call customers to update them on delays, or earlier deliveries, or explain updates to them surrounding state restrictions. It’s very easy to take a drop-off that’s been interrupted and put a new job on to replace it. Previously, we had to do all of that manually.”

Richard Savoie, CEO and Co-Founder of Adiona Tech, says that he was excited to work with KING because the company’s drive to improve its technology was all about delighting its customers – which Richard sees as one of the key end-targets of route optimisation. 

“Another thing that was immediately exciting was seeing that they moved really fast,” Richard says. “Talal, his team, and everyone else across the business was willing to be very clear and concise about what it was they wanted to achieve, and the quickest steps to get there. It wasn’t a protracted process of figuring out what they wanted to do – they knew what they wanted to do.

“You combine that with their collaborative spirit, their ability to come to the table and work with us proactively to solve a problem – that willingness indicated early on that this would be an excellent partnership for Adiona.”

That clarity of purpose and collaborative spirit was well in evidence during the implementation process, which Talal says took only about two months from conception through to execution.

With COVID-19 forcing people to work remotely, Talal established a core team – “system champions” as he calls them – that worked intensively with Richard and Adiona to get trained up and have the technology implemented into day-to-day operations as swiftly as possible, thus taking pressure off the rest of the KING team. “Two months is not bad,” Talal says. “Compared to some of my previous jobs, where system implementations have taken up to a year.”

And now that Adiona’s system is implemented, it will be applied across new geographies as KING continues to expand its showroom presence around the globe – from Singapore, Malaysia, and China to Canada and the United Kingdom. KING’s international deliveries can be managed via Adiona by someone based in Australia. 

“We’re super excited about the global plans KING has, because we’re a global company too,” says Richard. “We built our platform to be what we call ‘Global Day One’ or GD1. That means it’s instantly applicable overseas.

“Let’s face it, there are plenty of things for Talal and his team to worry about if they’re going to open showrooms overseas. Our aim is to not be one of those things.” 

For more information on Adiona Tech, click here. 

For more information on KING, click here

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