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Retailer takes the sting out of peak seasons, boosts customer service levels

Modular order fulfillment software supports significant increase in transactions for leading digital retailer. By Josh Bond

Argos is a leading digital retailer in the United Kingdom whose online orders now represent more than half of total sales. In addition to a billion Website visits a year, around 120 million customer transactions take place in its stores each year. During the Christmas season, the company’s order fulfillment software can expect to process more than 1 million deliveries of more than 60,000 products. Using a modular software solution, the company has increased peak fulfillment capacity by around 60%—without having to significantly expand its delivery fleet.

“As part of our five-year digital transformation plan, we implemented the new solution to enable the launch of our Fast Track store collection and same-day delivery service,” says Andy Brown, central operations director at Argos. “It has helped us manage strong levels of customer demand, particularly during the Black Friday and Christmas trading periods, and support significant increases in digital transactions over the last 12 months.”

The software dynamically plans delivery slots, enabling Argos to offer customers confidence in a timely delivery whether they are collecting in-store or receiving a home delivery. The planning is based on real-time availability, using operational fleet capacity and the proximity of the customer to available stock. The software continually re-optimizes the routes and schedules as every order comes in.

The new software (Paragon Software Systems), is now used across more than 160 Argos hub stores to help manage a fleet of 436 vans, with around 1,300 routes being optimized by the software on a daily basis to support the Fast Track services. This allows the retailer to offer four delivery timeslots throughout the day for customers to select at the point of purchase, making it possible to order an item as late as 6 p.m. for delivery to around 95% of households the same evening.

“The successful integration of all of our supply chain systems has been critical in allowing our customers to order any product they want and receive it at a choice of destinations within unmatched timescales,” Brown says.

About the author
Josh Bond, Senior Editor
Josh Bond is Senior Editor for Modern, and was formerly Modern’s lift truck columnist and associate editor. He has a degree in Journalism from Keene State College and has studied business management at Franklin Pierce University.

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