Case Study – PlaceMakers improves delivery satisfaction levels by 50%

New Zealand-based PlaceMakers improves delivery satisfaction levels by 50%

If you’re a construction professional or a fan of do-it-yourself projects in New Zealand, you’ve probably spent a lot of time in PlaceMakers, the country’s largest supplier of building materials and hardware. A Southern Hemisphere version of The Home Depot or Lowe’s, the home improvement chain employs over 2,100 people at its 63 retail stores and eight manufacturing plants. It carries more than 74,000 product lines, ranging from concrete to paint and plasterboard.

Recently, the Auckland -based company decided it needed a better system for scheduling deliveries to its more than 300,000 retail and trade customers. So it turned to Bestrane Group, a Melbourne, Australia-based  supplier of “Best in Class”  logistics technology from developers such as The Descartes Systems Group Inc. Based on Bestrane’s recommendation, PlaceMakers implemented the cloud-based Descartes Route Planner solution to centralise its distribution planning operations across the country together with an automated ‘state of the art’ customer notification platform to radically reengineer the customer delivery experience.

PlaceMakers completed the software deployment around the middle of 2020 and has already seen some impressive benefits including:

  • a 40% to 50% increase in delivery satisfaction,
  • “significant” financial savings in transportation and internal business process
  • reduced inbound calls by 16%,
  • increased load utilisation by 13%,
  • reduced loading times by 14%.

“We sought to transform our customer delivery experience by moving each of our 63 branches from dispatching and executing deliveries with multiple logistics services providers to centralised logistics planning and our own fleet,” Wayne Armstrong, business transformation manager at PlaceMakers, said in a release. He added that Descartes Route Planner has proved to be “a world-class, end-to-end solution that is helping us provide an industry-leading customer experience.”


The system utilises “always on” technology to incrementally builds shipment schedules and route plans, so as each new order is received, the schedule is regenerated in real time to reallocate resources to optimise efficiency, deliver priority service to the most profitable accounts and routes, and maintain overall customer service objectives… all whilst respecting promises to customers that have already been made. This process continues until vehicles are despatched from each site giving Placemakers unparalleled ability to react to customer demand.  With a fully integrated GPS-based mobile application, the solution also has the capability to coordinate drivers, dispatchers, and call centers to help ensure that routes are executed according to plan and exceptions are handled efficiently.

Bestrane Group’s Managing Director Dave Sanders adds “Route Planning technology is evolving quickly and is now a critical tool to make promises to customers and also to inform customers of progress against that promise.”

Chris Mason, Bestrane’s Group Chief Operating Officer continues “We’re pleased to support PlaceMakers’ initiative to dramatically improve its customer experience, delivery productivity, and agility. Companies like PlaceMakers are seeing the customer service differentiation, cost savings, and improved operational effectiveness that centralised route planning combined with mobile applications for execution can provide.”

Read more about the solution components below.

Descartes Route Planner™

Descartes Mobile™