Improving van fill to reduce costs by 30%

When you pack a suitcase for holiday you don’t want to go over the weight restriction but you also don’t want to take it half empty – that would be ineffcient! Like so, delivery vans come with legal weight restrictions and you want to fill them as much as possible without breaking the law…

The challenge

Vans and drivers were the largest cost driver for the online delivery team. They were a bottleneck preventing further growth. In prudence, vans were going out with a lot of spare capacity. This was costing the business excess in van costs and in missed revenue from orders that it seemed that there was not enough capacity for.

The solution

Using the power of statistics and probability modelling, we developed a tool which would enable the planning team to predict in advance what the total weight of groceries was likely to be based on the weekday and store location.

We also developed a technology product which would calculate in real time the accurate weight of the orders on the van. We developed a simple interface which would tell each of the 200+ stores what they needed to do in order to stay within legal limits, which sometimes involved moving an order from an overweight van to an alternative.

The result

We maximised delivery van fill to unlock revenue generating capacity and reduce costs by 30%.

About Sainsbury’s

Sainsbury’s was founded in the UK in 1869 and today operates 1,200+ supermarkets & convenience stores and 160,000+ colleagues. “Our vision is to be the most trusted retailer, where people love to work and shop. We’ll do this by putting our customers at the heart of everything we do.”



We identify opportunities to simplify life for leaders who are experiencing the whirlwind of rapid growth. We build effective processes & tools which improve efficiency, increase clarity, save time and increase profitability.

“Everything was delivered in a structured, orderly and consumable way, which meant that it could be relatively easily picked up by our internal teams and carried forwards”


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