Deya increases the quantity and quality of internally produced maps with Mapmechanics

DeyaDeya is one of the UK’s leading distributors of directories, catalogues and similar bulky items such as product samples. It covers the whole country, working for some of the biggest names in the market, including Yellow Pages and BT, and delivers millions of items a year.

The company handles the whole distribution job in-house. This includes trunking items on lorry trailers to each delivery area, then making final deliveries door-to-door. The well-proven technique is to set up temporary field stations, typically in the grounds of schools, leisure centres or similar open spaces, and then mount an intensive delivery programme throughout the area. Altogether Deya requires about 1,500 of these field stations in the course of a year, each of which is active for several weeks.

While Deya’s in-house database system was already generating effective final delivery routes, these were merely output as lists of addresses, and it was not possible to present deliverers with an “at a glance” map-based picture of the area covered by their route.

Realising that deliverers often needed the reassurance and clarity of such a map, Deya’s local organisers sometimes spent hours copying and shading maps themselves. But there was a lack of consistency in their approach, and in any case the task distracted them from their primary role of recruiting and managing staff.

Mapmechanics supplied Deya with Geoconcept Enterprise powerful digital mapping and geographic information system, which has wide ranging abilities to manipulate geographic data and output it in a meaningful form.

Routes generated by Deya’s IT system are now imported to Mapmechanics’ Territories
Module within GeoConcept, which uses its redistricting function to create maps encompassing all the postcodes on each route.

Geoconcept’s batch print facility is then used to output the maps to PDF document
format, automatically orientating them to either portrait or landscape format and
scaling them to fit on an A4 page. The maps are then printed out and despatched
to the local organisers. Typically, between 200 and 300 maps are required for each
distribution.

A particular attraction of Geoconcept for Deya was a feature called SmartLabel, which ensures that street names and other details are printed clearly on the maps, avoiding overlap with other annotation. If the street name won’t fit in the most obvious place, the system will either reduce the point size or place it in the nearest available space and use a ledger line to link it to the location it refers to.

Using the Mapmechanics system, Deya is now generating up to 40,000 maps a year – many of which would previously have been created by the company’s local organisers on an ad hoc basis.

We’d been looking for something like this for years. The system from Mapmechanics has supplied it

“Our existing database system was already able to generate lists of delivery addresses, but the missing part was the map. The system from Mapmechanics has supplied it.” said Andy Fisher, Deya Chief Information Officer.

He adds: “The maps are much clearer and easier to read than anything the local
organisers could have produced, which means deliverers have the reassurance of
knowing the exact area of their routes.”

Field organisers can now concentrate on the management aspects of their work, he
says, instead of painstakingly creating maps for their teams. As a result, the distribution task is more streamlined and efficient.