Descartes UK

Descartes – the best kept secret in logistics?

Descartes – the best kept secret in logistics?

Andrew Tavener – Head of Marketing, Descartes Systems UK Ltd

The world is becoming increasingly more connected and moving faster than ever before – instantaneous interactions and transactions with partners and resources all around the world is now the norm, no longer a luxury. Seamless logistics is all about having what you need, where and when you need it and Descartes makes that possible through its on-demand, software-as-a-service solutions that focus on improving the productivity, performance, security and compliance of logistics-intensive businesses. 

Founded in 1981, Descartes’ customers include an estimated 1,600 ground carriers, more than 90 airlines, 30 ocean carriers, 900 freight forwarders and third-party logistics service providers and hundreds of manufacturers, retailers and distributors. In the UK this includes high profile companies such as John Lewis Partnership, Wolseley and Kuehne + Nagel. 

Global presence and growth

With over 10,000 customers in 160+ countries worldwide, Descartes has established a global industry-recognised brand in uniting logistics-intensive businesses in commerce. The company has grown significantly over the years and has created strong financial and operational foundations, with over 1,300 logistics-focused employees and generating more than $275million in revenue. 

The Descartes headquarters is located in Waterloo, Canada, with offices and a number of partners located around the globe including the UK, Europe, South America and APAC regions. As part of its strong record of growth, Descartes is continuing to further expand its presence in certain territories, including the UK where the company has recently moved into a new, larger office space in Chippenham, to accommodate its growing team and provide extra capacity for customer training. Descartes continues to demonstrate its commitment to the UK market by recruiting and investing in this area – in the last six months it has hired new staff in software development, customer support, marketing and sales to support its continued growth. 

Unlocking efficiencies through joined-up solutions and processes

Descartes’ SmartCompliance solutions help fleet operators manage their tachograph data, ensure drivers hold a valid licence and driver CPC and that essential walk-around vehicle safety checks are done. Combining this data with vehicle tracking and route optimisation software has the potential to change driver behaviour, improve productivity and better understand performance in real-time whilst maintaining a compliant road transport operation. Fleet efficiency is becoming all the more difficult to maximise without advanced technology. Telematics shouldn’t be seen as a standalone system but a foundation to facilitate seamless exchange of digital data and information. The combination of telematics with mobile data communications and advanced routing allows transport operators to use fewer vehicles to deliver more goods, collect more returns, and also deliver returns back to warehouses for processing, placing stock back on the shelves for resale within the fastest time possible. Using telematics devices to then also transmit tachograph data further ensures improved levels of compliance and greater efficiency in managing a transport operation that meets all industry regulations. This is all to the ultimate benefit of the operators’ clients in delivering a trusted, reliable, cost-effective and compliant service. 

When it comes to transportation management, Descartes can provide a number of advanced capabilities to increase operational efficiency, reduce complexity, decrease costs and enhance customer service. For example, dock appointment scheduling helps to enable collaboration between shippers, carriers and consignees to schedule dock door appointments, streamlining the process by distributing the responsibility for scheduling warehouse deliveries or pickups to carriers and suppliers. Dock management is a critical interface that can affect a retailer’s entire operation, especially when dealing with large-scale and fast-moving supply chains. By moving from a manual approach to a fully automated, insight driven model based on true receiving capacity, retailers can achieve new and essential levels of control within this key component of DC operations. 

Similarly, Descartes’ routing solutions allow retailers and logistics service providers to optimise the last mile of home delivery for maximum cost-effectiveness and a premium customer experience.

Leading the way in innovation

With nearly 20% of its total revenue dedicated to research and development spending, Descartes has an ongoing focus on innovation to ensure that it continues to lead the way in global logistics solutions. As a result, Descartes has realised several significant milestones in the past year, as it consistently delivers innovative solutions to its customers. 

At the start of 2019, Descartes supported one of the UK’s many SME importers, Active Products (UK) Ltd in becoming the first adopter of HM Revenue and Customs’ (HMRC) new Customs Declaration Service (CDS). Active Products has been using Descartes’ eCustoms system for its CDS import declarations as part of the migration from HMRC’s legacy Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system. Following the technical release of CDS in August 2018, Descartes worked closely with HMRC to prepare Active Products as one of their first three traders for making the first declarations using the new system. 

Descartes also supported Staples Vegetables in helping them to become the first company to achieve the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency’s (DVSA) Earned Recognition accreditation, after successfully deploying Descartes’ SmartAnalysis software to ensure compliance across its fleet of 50 vehicles and 100 trailers. With SmartAnalysis Eraned Recognition KPIs, Staples Vegetables is able to proactively manage not only its transport operations but also individual drivers to take all reasonable steps to prevent drivers’ hours infringements and breaches of tachograph regulations. Moreover, in doing so, the company has increased efficiency and is minimising risk within its transport operations. Descartes is a DVSA Validated IT Supplier for KPIs for Earned Recognition.

Global expertise

With the current levels of uncertainty set to remain in place for the foreseeable future, it’s crucial for businesses to be able to react quickly to any market changes. Descartes’ comprehensive scope of logistics and compliance solutions support businesses across the entire supply chain, meaning that it is perfectly placed to help organisations deal with unexpected changes and challenges and ensure that any transitions are deployed as smoothly as possible drawing on its global expertise to apply best practices from the best companies around the world.