Lilley’s Cider picks Podfather Software to drive paperless deliveries

Lilley’s Cider is implementing logistics planning, route optimisation and electronic proof of delivery software from Podfather to drive efficiency, improve the customer experience and reduce administration. The award-winning drinks manufacturer and distributor offers a nationwide delivery service, supplying more than 3,000 pubs and shops, as well as festivals. Using Podfather software, Lilley’s will replace its paper-based processes with automated fleet utilisation tools designed to save time and money, and reduce the company’s environmental impact.

“Prior to Podfather we manually planned our deliveries using a paper map and a spreadsheet,” commented Mia Brixey, Sales and Marketing Manager at Lilley’s Cider. “This worked when we had a handful of trade customers but, as we now make thousands of deliveries each week / month, it was taking more and more time and impacting on the customer experience.

“Having reviewed a few routing systems, we selected Podfather as it was the most user friendly,” Brixey continued. “It was visually appealing, with an easy to navigate interface, and the functionality, although advanced, was easy to use. Podfather also integrated with our existing business tools.”

Based in Somerset, Lilley’s Cider is a family run business which was established by father and son Chris and Marc Lilley in 2007. From humble beginnings, Lilley’s now crafts a range of nearly 40 different flavoured ciders and perries, all of which are distinct, gluten free and made on-site at the family farm in Frome. Lilley’s is the holder of 3 Great Taste Awards, including one prestigious Gold 3-Star Award, as well as many CAMRA Awards and its Mango Cider is the top-rated fruit cider on UNTAPPD. Operating its own national distribution network, Lilley’s supplies pubs, shops and other outlets across the UK and is a holder of a SALSA food safety certificate.

Before selecting Podfather, Lilley’s management of its delivery operation was completely manual. This was time consuming to plan, difficult for drivers to execute and did not offer customers the choice or service quality Lilley’s prides itself on. With no scientific evidence to support planning, routes were often repeated week in and week out regardless of fluctuations in demand.

Using Podfather, routes are produced and optimised, based on locations, item volumes and weights, and customer requirements, and automated ETA notifications are issued. All paperwork is sent directly to the drivers’ mobile phone or tablet, with hardware provided by independent B2B communications specialist G-Force Communications, and management has total visibility of the delivery operation as it unfolds with any issues instantly flagged for investigation or intervention. ePOD notifications, including mandatory photos, can be captured by drivers as they make each delivery and this information used to update back-office teams.

Additional functionality including daily vehicle texts, driven by and completed using the driver’s mobile device and integration with the company’s Sage accounting software will further improve the efficiency of Lilley’s sales and delivery operation and help reduce costs and the environmental impact of the delivery service.

“Using Podfather we hope to dramatically reduce the time and resource it takes to plan routes. We hope this will have a significant impact on our business, freeing back-office resource which can be deployed to make a difference in other parts of the business and improving the service we give our trade customers,” concluded Brixey. “We also hope to reduce unnecessary mileage and paperwork which will help us manage costs and improve our green credentials.”