METRO Cash & Carry is the leading international player in wholesale trade and the largest sales line within the METRO GROUP. Large- and small-scale business owners register with METRO to place bulk orders for the multitude of food offerings that METRO provides.
With METRO’s motto of fulfilling customer orders “On Time, In Full”, the organization has ventured into making Food Service Distribution (FSD) their main focus. To that effect, METRO has sanctioned large scale depots, with a capacity as big as 10,000 square meters, to store, reserve and fulfill order delivery to customers. As a next step to digitize their delivery chain, they partnered with ThoughtWorks to develop the mobile app DAN (Driver Application).
Focusing on more transparency and less paperwork
DAN is an application that manages METRO’s order delivery process to create more transparency. Its primary goal is to aid METRO's aim of "On Time, In Full" delivery to the customer by supporting direct stakeholders such as store managers, transport managers and drivers.
In short, DAN manages the process of delivering orders to METRO customers. Running as a mobile app, it supports processes from loading trucks to delivering orders, navigating to customers, supporting the return of articles, returning refundable empties, delivering and returning transport goods, and accepting customer payments on delivery.
The goal is to replace the paperwork that would be typical in the FSD delivery which saves time and reduces manual errors. It also supports the driver with loading orders, delivery and finishing a tour. This helps to offer more transparency and traceability for the business, especially on the last mile of shipments.
Working closely with end users on challenges they face
With DAN being one of the first projects in the digital transformation of METRO, several services were developed simultaneously by METRO.digital, partnering with ThoughtWorks. Hence, incremental integration and synchronization with other services was a key differentiator of this solution.
To develop the right solution for stakeholders, user research was a very important aspect in product delivery. However, getting time from drivers for user research was a major challenge. To overcome this, the development team actually went on tours with drivers to deliver goods to METRO customers. That first-hand experience was a great way to learn what drivers need and what challenges they face.
We discovered that METRO drivers face a practical challenge while delivering to their customers at remote locations - it isn’t always possible to get internet access at some locations. Hence, the app was designed to work offline as well as online.
A second challenge that the team worked to overcome, was adoption of the solution. The main users of DAN are the drivers, who were reluctant to use the app at first, since they weren’t very comfortable with new technology and preferred papers over devices. We worked closely with them to build their confidence in using the app, as well as sharing the value it provides. Many realized that the manual paperwork solution is much more cumbersome and have now leveraged the new app to improve their efficiency.
Successful throughout the whole delivery chain
Currently, DAN is being used in more than 80 stores and depots in Germany and two major stores in Poland. It is going live in many other countries including China, France, Portugal & Spain. On average, there are more than 7,200 tours completed every two weeks covering nearly 30,000 deliveries.
Being fast and being digital was, and still is, the most important part of developing this solution. METRO is dedicated to great customer service and those values need to be present in the tools we use to interact with our customers. We managed to deliver a solution that — to quote our CEO — is 'business critical', a solution that will deliver even more value for the customers – the most important of which is the ability to track delivery trucks in real time.
ThoughtWorks helped create a positive impact for METROs whole delivery chain. METRO have reduced their paper consumption significantly, as well as adding more traceability to their daily business. Deliveries are more on time and complete due to the easier overview between planned and actual delivery. Store managers and back office employees get almost real time delivery updates and can communicate delays upfront if they occur. Customers are happier as deliveries arrive faster and with fewer missing items.
For drivers, the new platform means less manual work and fewer errors, resulting in improved driver satisfaction. The system also offers a load of data for the country supervisors who have better visibility in form of reports in order to plan ahead.