“We faced a challenge in the lack of timely, accurate, and manageable data to confirm deliveries of newspapers to specified Metro newspaper racks. We also needed the ability to analyse data to set key performance indicators and refine our delivery operations. Since implementation of mpro5 in 2009, the mobile solution has achieved all of these targets for us. Furthermore, our back-office staff now save 26 hours a week from reduced admin time, just 1 per cent of copies are returned, and all newspaper deliveries meet targets.”
Rachel Hays, Head of Audience Targeting, Metro
Metro’s Logistical Challenge
More than 1.4 million copies of Metro newspaper are distributed daily in the UK and Ireland – 770,000 of which reach Metro newspaper racks in London each morning. It’s a major logistical exercise, especially since early morning commuters are the key target audience for readership and advertisers. Rachel Hays, Head of Audience Targeting, Metro, says: “Until recently, we faced a challenge in the lack of timely, accurate, and manageable data to confirm deliveries of the newspapers to specified Metro newspaper racks. We wanted to equip our drivers with personal digital assistants (PDA) to confirm and record the delivery of Metro newspapers in real time.”
Metro’s Logistical and Business Requirements
Metro was launched in the United Kingdom in 1999 by DMG Media as a free, colour newspaper targeted at morning commuters. While initially distributed in London, Metro has now extended its reach to commuters in 50 cities across the UK, in addition to Dublin in Ireland.
Requirement for real time proof of delivery and reporting
Before implementation of the mpro5 mobile solution, information relating to the delivery of Metro newspapers to stations across the UK and Ireland was recorded manually. Data was collated on paper, which led to inefficiencies – delayed reporting, wasteful printing, and excessive operational costs. Metro also wanted tighter control over the number of daily unread copies and returns, specifically aiming to keep these at less than 1 per cent.
Proof of delivery requirement to boost advertising credentials
Metro also wanted increased visibility of total daily deliveries for the UK Audit Bureau of Circulations, its advertising clients, and its consumers. The organisation wanted the ability to demonstrate to these groups, with the aid of photographic evidence, that timely deliveries had taken place at all 3,910 drop-points each day. Hays says: “We needed the ability to analyse data to set key performance indicators and refine our delivery operations. We also wanted to get early warning about issues, such as high volumes of returns or damaged newspaper racks, in addition to improving our green credentials.”
Crimson Tide configured its mpro5 mobile solution to meet the exact business and logistical requirements that Metro was looking for – ultimately the ability to confirm and record the delivery of newspapers around the country in real time on a daily basis on mobile opposed to paper. Luke Jeffrey, Technical Director, Crimson Tide, says: “Metro drivers use the mpro5 app on their personal digital assistants to confirm the collection of the correct number of newspapers for their delivery runs each morning. When they log on to the app, drivers are presented with their delivery routes, which have been scheduled from the mpro5 Windows Azure cloud-based job scheduling website – an integral part of every mpro5 solution. As soon as drivers arrive at a Metro delivery site, they take photos of the newspaper racks before and after they have been filled. They also use their personal digital assistant to scan in the location code on each rack via the bar code scanner integrated within the mpro5 application. This acts as proof of delivery and confirms that the correct number of Metro newspapers has been delivered each morning.
Metro has significantly improved productivity and cut costs with mpro5, which it implemented over 8 years ago. Automated monitoring of newspaper distribution has reduced returns of unread copies to 1 per cent and back-office staff are saving 26 hours a week. Drivers make their deliveries on time for the first commuter trains of the day, which has resulted in a consistent increase in readership since deploying the system.
Real-time reporting saves office staff 26 hours a week
Compared to Metro’s previous manual system, the mpro5 mobile solution developed on Windows Azure is saving back-office staff 26 hours a week. All data relating to newspaper deliveries is sent from the driver’s mobile device to the mpro5 job scheduling website, from where staff can immediately generate reports. Hays says: “mpro5 helps free up staff time for analysis and reporting, ensuring that we can fine-tune our key performance indicators to target our audience more effectively.”
Automated delivery schedules ensure newspapers reach stations on time to target urban commuter audience
By automating driver delivery schedules through mpro5, Metro is ensuring that deliveries reach stations for the first commuter trains of the day. Hays says: “Metro is an early-morning read for commuters. Readership tails off after 09:00, making it even more important that it arrives at stations on time. We’ve seen a consistent growth in our readership in Lonodn and South-East England, with an overall increase of 8.7% since implementing mpro5.”
Reduced paper waster and fuel costs boost green credentials and cut costs
Hays estimates that automated reporting is saving the firm two reams of A4 paper a day in the back office, while drivers are consuming less fuel with more accurate and timely delivery schedules.