P2P Logistics (P2P) is a medium-sized distribution company based in Stoke-on-Trent, with over 20 years’ experience in the sector. A specialist in contract logistics and pallet deliveries, P2P manages a fleet of 17 vehicles, delivering around 50,000 consignments across the United Kingdom per year. With Microsoft Dynamics NAV hosted on Windows Azure, the business is enjoying strong growth.
|It was important for us to take a tried-and-tested, off-the-shelf system and use it for the benefits it is designed to deliver. We did not want to design our own, as these types of systems are always flawed.|
| Mark Barfoot|
P2P was established in 2012 following a management buyout from its parent organization. At the time, the company was dependent on group IT systems; after the buyout, it needed to deploy its own infrastructure.
As a member of Pall-Ex, the United Kingdom’s number one palletized freight network, P2P recognized that it the potential for significant expansion. However,P2P’s expansion depended on integrating its new system with Pall-Ex’s IT management system, called TWINE.
Mark Barfoot, Director at P2P, explains, “For me it was important that the new company had a system that could do everything the old system did, but also much more. Our focus was to ensure that any new IT solution promoted and supported growth, and would scale to meet our future needs.”
P2P chose the latest cloud-based version of Microsoft Dynamics NAV hosted on Windows Azure, provided by Microsoft Partner Cooper Parry. Cooper Parry had developed a complete haulage and distribution solution and demonstrated how seamlessly Microsoft Dynamics NAV could be integrated with TWINE. The new system consolidates previously manual processes and provides visibility of real-time information, so P2P was quickly able to identify the opportunity for improved efficiency and productivity across the business.
Barfoot says, “I already had a good experience with Microsoft NAV, so when I learned how well it integrated with TWINE and that it could be upgraded with a logistics layer tailor-made for our industry, it ticked all the boxes and made the transition seamless.”
Microsoft Dynamics NAV has enabled P2P to become a more agile and smarter business. With greater visibility of every transaction plus real-time analysis and sales intelligence, the company is now one step ahead and can take advantage of its new opportunity for growth.
A tailor-made but flexible solution
Microsoft Dynamics NAV has given P2P an industry-specific software solution that required no customization, yet easily integrated into other data sources and business operations. Information is shared easily via the cloud, with as many users as required, at any time. P2P has confidence from knowing that regular updates and releases to the software are built-in at no extra cost and will be tailored to its business.
|I now have a 360-degree view of the progress of sales, rather than a blinkered view that only allows me to react six weeks later. [...] I’m able to continually improve the business.|
| Mark Barfoot|
Barfoot says, “It was important for us to take a tried-and-tested, off-the-shelf system and use it for the benefits it is designed to deliver. We did not want to design our own, as these systems are always flawed.”
Greater visibility of information
Availability of real-time data across the organization is a significant benefit. All jobs are tracked in real time at every stage of the distribution process. The integration with TWINE allows P2P to manage consignments from the Pall-Ex network via the web, with the assurance of knowing that Pall-Ex has access to the same information, and can track the progress of a job at any point.
Sales intelligence boosts business
Robust daily sales reporting that can be viewed in Microsoft Excel, combined with access to the running costs and profit margins of vehicles at every stage of delivery, has enabled P2P to convert sales and profit information into business insight. P2P can respond to any issues before they escalate, can predict future supply demands, and is continually improving its sales performance.
Barfoot explains, “I now have a 360-degree view of the progress of sales, rather than a blinkered view that only allows me to react six weeks later. I can see which areas of the business are underperforming, which areas are doing well, and which customers are not delivering correct volumes against their pricing. I can respond to a situation much faster and I’m able to continually improve the business.”
Previously, custom reports would require technical expertise and could take days to complete. Now they can be created at the touch of a button; this has resulted in a 50 percent reduction in administration costs.
“I can manipulate data, customize screens, add columns, change reports, and also interrogate data easily in Microsoft Excel—all without having to ask developers to help,” Barfoot points out. “The automatic inclusion of proof-of-delivery details for each invoice has eliminated a significant amount of work, plus our invoices are now paid more quickly because there are fewer customer queries.”
Improved service levels
Better information about every stage of the shipment process has helped P2P improve the efficiency of its service through the Pall-Ex network and to its customers. From delivery to invoicing, including cross-referencing proof of delivery, the process is seamless between TWINE and Microsoft Dynamics NAV. It can all be viewed in real time; reducing the administration overhead for each transaction and increasing the throughput capacity.
Being fully integrated with TWINE has also helped eliminate errors and duplication, so customer queries are handled much faster and with greater accuracy.
Scalability for growth
Adding more users is both quick and easy, so in busy seasonal periods P2P can quickly increase the number of user licenses to boost its workforce, on a short-term or long-term basis. Because it’s a pay-as-you-go model, P2P has maximum flexibility.
The solution also features additional modules offering functionality such as Warehousing and Scanning. These are currently not deployed, but can be added at any time, providing P2P with the scope to offer new services when the time is right.
Barfoot concludes by saying, “Microsoft Dynamics NAV is a proven solution that fits perfectly with our industry needs and is hosted on Windows Azure. We don’t have to worry about servers, backup, or software updates anymore—now we can focus on running our business.”
This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.
Document published October 2013