Glanbia are a global food business with operations in 32 countries. The Irish market for milk is worth EUR 600+ million and while the vast majority is sold through supermarkets, independent milkmen service a small but significant share, estimated at EUR 50 million per year. Glanbia plans to grow this market by providing milkmen with a world-class order fulfilment system, designed specifically around their needs, while also providing a consumer-facing app that offers customers greater flexibility to manage orders and payments online.
Being a milkman has changed very little over 100 years. Operating as independent traders, orders are still communicated through paper notes on doormats and cash is still collected door-to-door in an ad-hoc manner. It is labour intensive, low-tech and, until now, very inefficient.
Glanbia asked Frontend.com to deliver the user experience for MyMilkman.ie. This was a unique opportunity to design a transformative digital solution for a user group that up to this point had been overlooked by technology. We spent weeks researching how milkmen work and the type of solution they need, compiling a list of user requirements unique to milkmen and milk delivery. The ad-hoc nature of orders makes it difficult to accurately manage stock levels. Milk itself has a short shelf life, so surplus stock leads to waste, while under-stocking results in unfulfilled orders. Collecting payments is hugely inefficient. It can take eight hours a week to collect small amounts of cash from just 100 customers. In many cases, the capacity to collect payments is what limits the growth of the milkman’s business.
Milkmen have comparatively low levels of computer experience. All orders, load-lists as well as invoices and payments are recorded by hand, generating a significant administration workload.
Online payments frees up more time to build up a round. So I’ve taken on an extra one hundred houses since I’ve started on MyMilkman.ie. It is just a matter of coming home on a Monday morning and pressing a button, that’s it!
Liam Reddy, Milkman
The solution needed to be highly intuitive, where possible mirroring the existing process. It also needed to be a complete management system, covering all business requirements to service both online and existing cash customers.
The solution we delivered was a complete business management ecosystem comprising of a website, a consumer app, a back-office management system, and a doorstep app.
Customers register through the website, they can also login to manage their orders and payments or use the app if they prefer. This updates the milkman’s back-office system, ensuring he has the right stock onboard for all deliveries. The system allows for cash and online payments, with account reconciliation done automatically. Online payments are collected with a touch of a button – as are email invoices for cash customers.
The final tool is the milkman’s doorstep app. Before setting out on their round, they sync the customer delivery list with their phone. At any point, they can add orders, collect cash or refund customers without an internet connection (important for rural milkmen). Once back online, changes will be updated automatically with the back-office system.
Outcome and Benefits
The impact of the solution has been transformative. There are currently 150 milkmen making almost 500,000 deliveries each week using MyMilkman.ie. Milkmen have testified to huge efficiencies, dramatically reducing time spent on cash collections, while reducing printing and bookkeeping overheads. More significantly the solution has provided a new scope for business growth. On average milkmen using MyMilkman.ie have expanded their customer base by 20%, with some having increased their customer numbers by up to 50%.
MyMilkman.ie has been a game changer for Glanbia, our milkmen, and our customers. Frontend.com have worked with us from the very beginning of our digital evolution. We are delighted with all the work they have delivered and the many awards we have won along the way.
Avril McArdle, Head of Marketing – Doorstep, Glanbia Consumer Foods
This work has been recognised by awards juries at the highest international level, winning both the Optimizing category and the Best In Show at the IxDA awards in San Francisco in 2015. It also won the Grand Prix, Best Use of Mobile, and Best Art Direction categories at the 2015 Digital Media Awards.
MyMilkman is a perfect example of the interaction design art. Looking at an entire problem and designing a comprehensive solution.
Alan Cooper, Founder and President of Cooper Interaction Design, IX Awards Jury 2015