DFS have been making furniture for over 45 years. With over a hundred stores across the UK and Ireland, it is the market leading retailer of upholstered furniture in the UK.
I have personally been involved in a number of projects for DFS but one of the most notable, purely from a financial point of view, was around the optimisation of DFS’s delivery capability. A project I worked on in conjunction with Satalia.
Inefficient route planning meant that delivery times were often limited during peak times as delivery vans were clocking excessive milage each day, whilst simultaneously wasting time waiting to drop off items during a customers chosen delivery window.
Whilst Satalia developed and optimised the algorithms necessary to reduce the idle time between drop offs and route vehicles more effectively, I was responsible for designing the interface staff would use to organise and book delivery slots on a customers behalf.
The primary goal of the interface was to aid staff in offering the most efficient delivery slots to customers. Analysing the delivery booking process helped us design a product that matched the desired workflow and uncover the use cases we needed to cater for.
When launched, the optimised route planning meant that customers could receive their goods faster and DFS benefited from an increased delivery capacity using the same number of vehicles during the same working hours.
The final design was extremely well received with the Business Services Manager at DFS describing moral in the office after launch as “through the roof!”.
The more intuitive interface also resulted in training for new starters being dramatically reduced with Russ Harte, the DFS CIO, being quoted as saying “We are taking UX [user experience] designers we’ve used online for many years to design our internal applications. We’ve taken training on our delivery scheduling system down from three weeks to 30 minutes. It’s that straightforward, even I can do it.” (view the article).
This is just one of the projects I have been involved in for DFS.
I have also been responsible for the interaction design of various projects around DFS’s online ecosystem including their in-store Swoosh application which allows staff to showcase high definition images as part of the sales process by utilising their large in-store displays, as illustrated in the short video below; this particular project was in conjunction with Videro, a digital signage provider.