AMP Clean Energy’s biomass delivery planning team: Peter Winwood, Nikki Day and Steve Horton
Ensuring the safe and timely arrival of more than 1,000 deliveries of biomass fuel a month across the UK – including to those most vulnerable such as hospitals and care home – is no mean feat for AMP Clean Energy’s planning team. With the added unknown dimension of the great British weather, Peter Winwood, Nikki Day and Steve Horton, say successful logistics are all in the planning!
What is a typical day like in the planning team?
Peter: Our focus every morning is planning for the following day. We use computerised routing software to help us plan all delivery routes, but as a function we have to be agile and responsive to any number of issues that can arise. By mid-afternoon we’re already starting to look at the next few days ahead.
Nikki: Throughout the day we’re regularly liaising with customer contact centre. The routing software enables us to plan the most efficient routes, track every lorry in real time and see estimated arrival times. If a driver is delayed, we can immediately communicate with customers. If we receive an urgent order in during the day, we may be able to re-route a driver in the locality.
What is the size and scale of your operations?
Peter: We deliver from Cornwall to the furthest part of Scotland to a wide range of customers including businesses, farms, schools and care homes. We have 33 drivers who are on the frontline of our business and a specialised fleet of vehicles spread across the UK, which means that we are flexible and agile. Our workforce are always prepared to go the extra mile for customers.
The routing software is linked to electronic proof of delivery software called fleXipod which has been revolutionary in terms of keeping customers informed and providing electronic invoicing. These things have really helped save time and plan ahead.
In the height of the winter heating season, just how busy is the planning team?
Nikki: During this busy period, we’re delivering thousands of tonnes of pellet and chip a month. We also offer Saturday deliveries so we can meet the additional demand.
Peter: Our peak time is between November and February but typically just before Christmas is the busiest time. People will be taking time off and want to ensure they are not going to run out of heat.
Steve: Generally, we guarantee deliveries within a five-day timeframe, prioritising the most vulnerable customers such as hospitals and care homes.
What impact does snow, and extreme weather have on peak winter deliveries?
Nikki: There’s no doubt that severe weather can be extremely challenging for our delivery drivers. Some of our customers are in very remote and rural parts of the UK so ice in particular can have an impact on trucks being able to get to these sites.
Peter: We prepare for severe weather by ensuring the drivers are fully equipped. The vehicles and all ancillary equipment are fully serviced before the heating season.
Steve: We have a failed or missed delivery process which automatically sets off communications to customers. Using our computerised route software, we can re-route a delivery when we need to.
What does the planning team do in the summer months?
Steve: We are obviously quieter in the summer, but it is a time to look back at the data we’ve recorded from the last winter and analyse what we can do better in the future.
Peter: This summer we’ll be looking at implementing the next generation of fleXipod which will mean we can move delivery jobs and drivers in real time. This means we can contact the driver electronically in his or her cab.
How do you like to relax when you’re not working?
Nikki: I tend to spend a lot of time freezing cold cheering on my son at football and doing other outdoor activities with my children.
Steve: I like to socialise and be out and about but unfortunately the pandemic has impacted on that at the moment.
Peter: I like to play golf, especially in the summer. I also support Shrewsbury Town FC.