Leonardo has designs on £1.7million IT investment
Europa Worldwide Logistics is using its own newly boosted in-house team to deliver the first, £1.7m phase of its IT investment programme. This marks another major milestone since the acquisition of Europa last year. Known as “Leonardo” the bespoke IT system is being designed and implemented by Europa’s 17 strong, in-house IT team. The first phase is a two year programme which will be completed by January 2016 focusing on Europa’s road freight operations.
This is the first stage of a long term investment programme that will see its operations, processes and communication streamlined. Once completed, Leonardo will offer a fully integrated, end-to-end management system, working across Europa’s entire organisation.
Europa’s own team of programmers are developing the bespoke system which will offer customers full trackability and management of their consignments. “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”according to Leonardo de Vinci – which is why this major investment in IT infrastructure is badged “Leonardo” by Europa and its IT Director Richard Litchfield.
Europa is one of the largest privately owned transport and logistics companies in the UK and was acquired by Andrew Baxter in August last year, at the time he announced plans for significant investment in the business. He has already delivered two major initiatives aimed at building Europa. The branch network has been extended plus Europa is soon to start construction on a state-of-the-art 262,500 sq ft (24,387 sq mt) head office and South of England hub, at Prologis Park near Dartford.
Europa has a team of 500 working across 11 regional branches, 60,000 sq mt of warehousing, hubs in Birmingham and Erith near Dartford and operates 100 trucks and 200 of its own trailers.
Richard Litchfield commented: “This is a huge investment both financially and in resources to help future proof the business, and is essential investment for any modern company within our sector.Europa has spent a number of months reviewing the business’s IT requirements and availability of suitable management systems and software already on the market – but after detailed evaluation decided a bespoke option with built in flexibility is the most suitable solution for Europa.”
Richard added “This is a tremendously exciting project for us. We have a unique opportunity to design and build a “perfect fit” solution from the very beginning and not be constrained by existing technology or approach. We are able to take advantage of the very latest Microsoft technologies to create innovative, flexible solutions with capacity to grow those solutions with the business. “
This is the second time that Richard has led such a substantial IT programme – he delivered a similar project whilst at RH Group.
Richard added “Leonardo will manage and support standard business processes providing greater efficiency, but the in house team will also enable flexibility to quickly adapt as the business and our customers develop. It will be simple, consistent, easy to use and logical for both users and customers, whilst behind the scenes it will offer added sophistication such as proactive monitoring, automation and managed workflow.
“Leonardo will mean that customers and partners can utilise fast, state-of-the-art systems that provide the information that they need, at their fingertips in real time. This is an exciting opportunity which will benefit both customers and our internal staff.”
Europa’s has eight dedicated developers and business analysts who will be working on the project and is looking to recruit further specialists to the team.
Andrew Baxter, Managing Director at Europa added: “IT plays a crucial role in the transport industry and we rely on the latest technology to provide us with essential business information. I’m delighted we have a team of highly skilled in-house programmers and developers who are specialists in transport and logistics to develop Leonardo and look forward to the end result.”