Missionaries to Deliver 10,000 Christmas Gifts with Smart Route Planning Technology

Top Quote Birmingham City Mission to use Route Optimiser to deliver Yuletide gifts to children. End Quote
  • (1888PressRelease) December 21, 2011 - Birmingham City Mission are on track to deliver over 10,000 Christmas presents to deserving families this year, with a little help from smart route-planning technology which automatically plots "impossible-seeming" routes in minutes.

    The Christian group relies on charitable donations and a network of volunteers to distribute around ten thousand gifts every Christmas. The presents make their way to over a thousand deserving families and 2,500 children.

    With such a high volume of deliveries to make, complex route-planning has historically taken up a considerable portion of the group's resources. However, thanks to the donation of smart logistics software from Postcode Anywhere, a faster route can be plotted in a fraction of the time.

    Volunteer Frank Williamson said: "BCM has been involved in the annual toy programme since 1970. The work is funded by general income from Christian churches and individual Christians both inside and outside of the Birmingham Christmas Appeal that is sent every year. We also receive gifts in kind such as toys (and batteries), often donated in considerable quantities. Making the deliveries is important too: a Land Rover is kindly made available for three weeks in December to help.

    "Last year, 296 people were involved altogether. This number was made up of volunteer present wrappers, drivers and deliverers, students, software support, a personnel manager and office staff. Together, over 3,200 volunteer hours went into wrapping and delivering the presents. This doesn't include the work done by those who collect toys from churches and school children, or the referring agencies who collate the names and visit the families who will be receiving parcels.

    "We start to deliver the presents at the beginning of the second week in December and finish on Christmas Eve. We've gratefully received software help from Postcode Anywhere, and the time saved would amount to several days of work for the database administrator. His job would normally be to map out the points from the database and manually put them in order. This is very laborious, time-consuming and prone to error!

    "We trialled the service last year, and Route Optimiser from Postcode Anywhere significantly helped the delivery - saving at least 50 hours' work. Driver comments certainly indicated the routing was well ordered.

    "For many of the children it is a complete surprise. We deliver presents to families from all over the world, like Lithuania, Uganda, Nigeria, Russia, Iran, Czech Republic and Iraq. Personal circumstances can vary hugely, and the people we visit are deeply grateful for the toys. We've seen men crying when we deliver something for their kids."

    Postcode Anywhere's managing director Guy Mucklow said: "The work that Birmingham City Mission undertakes, including what they manage to achieve at Christmas, is of remarkable value to the local community.

    "We're enormously pleased to be able to offer them the use of our Route Optimiser service at no cost. It's fantastic to see one of our oldest institutions, the Church, making use of the very latest technology so they can make Christmas that much more special for children across the Midlands.

    "Imagine trying to plot an acceptable route which connects thousands of destinations. Route Optimiser calculates these impossible-seeming routes in minutes, dramatically reducing the time spent planning and making journeys. For commercial use, being able to provide estimated arrival or delivery times makes a huge difference to the level of customer service you can offer."

    For more information about the work of Birmingham City Mission, visit the website at www.birminghamcitymission.co.uk. To find out about Postcode Anywhere's range of services for businesses and not-for-profit organisations, see www.postcodeanywhere.co.uk.

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