BT has started to roll out an innovative supply chain solution which will help it speed up the delivery of broadband and phone services by reducing the distance its engineers need to travel to collect equipment. Starting in the Midlands, the company has begun the nationwide deployment of smart, secure delivery lockers inside and within the grounds of BT’s strategic sites, allowing engineers to access and collect essential supplies more quickly and efficiently.
The roll out follows BT’s acquisition of Pelipod Limited - the smart, connected parcel delivery solution business. The deal is the first acquisition made by BT’s Wholesale and Ventures division since it was formed. Pelipod, which was created in 2013 by entrepreneur Karl Wills, produces internet connected, centrally monitored, secure delivery lockers which provide proof-of-delivery and collection. They can be used by both consumers and businesses to save time, money and worry when receiving or sending goods.
Following successful trials by BT engineers, the business is planning to deploy a few thousand Pelipods across the country over time. Accessed via unique codes which are associated with specific users, drivers and parcels, the secure lockers will be used to deliver equipment and spare parts to engineers working on the broadband and phone network.
Pelipods will be positioned in around 500 of BT’s sites nationwide, removing the need for engineers to travel the longer distances required to collect equipment and supplies from BT’s forward stock locations or distribution centres. By cutting down on unnecessary travel, engineers will be able to spend more time working on the network and delivering services to customers. This will help BT’s continued drive to improve customer service. The Pelipod solution will also allow the business to further reduce carbon emissions in its supply chain and operations – one of its key Purposeful Business goals.
It’s also an example of the company’s growing portfolio of Internet of Things enabled operations. Using a secure, low power mobile connection, each Pelipod automatically notifies an engineer via SMS or email when their delivery or collection has taken place, as well as taking a photograph of the inside of the locker. This means engineers can collect essential equipment for a specific job as soon as it’s delivered, helping them complete the work faster. By providing a clear audit trail of every delivery and collection, the solution also gives BT clear visibility of its inventory of stock, allowing it to deploy equipment and spare parts when and where it’s needed most.
Nicholas Hale, Managing Director of Ventures, said: “We currently provide supply chain services to BT Group businesses and a number of external customers. Pelipod will boost our existing supply chain offerings and provide us with a competitive edge through an innovative technology which takes advantage of the Internet of Things. The move also supports BT’s continuing efforts to improve customer service. By spending less time on the road travelling to forward stock locations, engineers will be able to pick up equipment more easily and spend additional time working on the network and delivering broadband and phone services to customers.”
Karl Wills, CEO of Pelipod, said: “Being part of BT is great news for Pelipod. We can have the best of both worlds - the continued innovation and creativity of our talented team with the security and opportunities of being part of a major company like BT. We’re looking forward to working together to use our combined innovation to deliver business improvements for our customers and across BT.”
For added physical security, Pelipods located within the grounds of BT’s sites will be securely fastened to the wall or ground using industrial strength cables or bolts. The solution has undergone rigorous online and physical security penetration testing, with positive results. As part of BT, Pelipod will continue to provide its services to its existing clients which includes those in the utilities, healthcare and heavy machinery sectors. It will also look to further expand its external customer base.