Co-operative Food is cutting food delivery miles and slashing carbon emissions with the help of a new transport logistics system.

The Co-op has added Paragon's dynamic transport planning solution to its logistics service operation. The switch to a "dynamic resource managed planning approach", says the Co-op, has already delivered a 5 percent cut in delivery miles at a pilot depot, and it is expecting a CO2 saving of 5,000 tonnes a year across its entire distribution network comprising over 1,300 vehicles and 4,000 nationwide stores.

"Using Paragon routing and scheduling software gives our depot planners a great tool to produce efficient, compliant, delivery schedules that help us provide a better service for our stores," said Graham Leggett, senior transport planner of food operations at the Co-op logistics service.

"The pilot at our West Thurrock distribution centre resulted in a 5 percent mileage saving. We expect to save 5,000 tonnes of CO2 per year along with significant cost savings when we roll out dynamic planning across the network," said Leggett.

Leggett said the firm's fixed routes were generally supported by efficient schedules, but that volume fluctuations made it a challenge to meet stores' expected delivery times while maximising efficiency. The Co-op is using Paragon route planning software in combination with the Paragon Resource Manager system.

Every night, the planners update driver availability within Paragon Resource Manager. This provides the planning software with all available drivers, their start times, the vehicles they can drive and their maximum shift length.

Then they enter the actual store order volumes and apply the store delivery windows to each order. The system then creates the most efficient delivery schedule that meets the needs of the stores, while ensuring the driver and fleet resources are available to deliver the plan.

The order information also updates the warehouse management system to enable the warehouses to pick the orders for the new schedule.

The Co-op is implementing dynamic planning at all its composite distribution centres before the end of 2012. They are Newhouse, Birtley, Lea Green, Andover and Huntingdon. It is also implementing the technology from the start at new depots at Avonmouth and Castlewood.

Last month Asda said it was nearing completion of a two-year project to transform its retail distribution operation with new logistics and route optimisation software. Over the last 18 months Asda has been implementing a new regional distribution structure using Paragon TTS.

The same month Sainsbury's said it was improving its supply chain  technology for non-food items by enhancing communications, visibility and accuracy for 800 suppliers across Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.

The deployment of a system from Wesupply followed a similar initiative using Wesupply for 900 suppliers of its food range, which runs on an IBM back end to allow those suppliers to have browser access to the supply chain.