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DX Group CIO Mike Sturrock's special delivery service

Mark Chillingworth | July 30, 2013
"All my career has been about rapid change," says Mike Sturrock, Group CIO of logistics specialists DX Group, the company he joined in 2011 with the express mission to put technology in the driving seat of a high-end delivery services company.

Integrating Webmethods into DX Group is Quinox, a systems integrator that was already working with DX when Sturrock joined, but an organisation the CIO is pleased with.

"They are great with the legacy and they have the skills. We need these platforms for the organisation and we need them to operate with Windows 8," says Sturrock.

"You must get the culture right with systems integrators. It can be a deferential culture where they say yes but mean no, but now we have the culture right they are proper partners and they challenge us." Sturrock adds that Quinox are a good size fit to DX Group and so his organisation gets the attention it needs.

In line with his earlier comment about the poor technology integrations that can follow logistics business mergers, the CIO is not putting the acquired Nightfreight on to the same core platforms as the rest of the DX Group's divisions, but has placed Nightfreight's data into a central data warehouse along with all DX Group information so that all the company's data is in one place.

"BI is my pet thing," he says and business intelligence certainly plays a significant part in Sturrock's future strategy and reasons by the implementations so far.

"BI is a work in progress and we can provide good reports, but we want to move on to prediction."

Before joining DX Group, Sturrock was head of operations systems at easyJet and his three years there were instrumental in easyJet becoming a smart user of business information.

"I'm getting further into BI to drive intelligence to give us some insight and some predictive analytics of what might happen. At easyJet we modelled hypothetical scenarios of fog in Madrid and a handling strike in Athens. You can then work out whether it is better to cancel a flight and take the crew off duty and start afresh.

"Fuel is the biggest cost at easyJet. At DX Group we do place a fuel surcharge to the customer, but we are optimising our routing and the number of deliveries. Can we deliver 20 items rather than 15? It is all about the efficiency of the route. At Nightfreight all the vehicles have telemetry that monitors fuel use, but also logs throttle use, braking and idling time for fuel and safety reasons.

"A fully-used 18-wheeler costs the business £65,000 a year. Can we make £8,000 to £10,000 improvements from a vehicle?," asks Sturrock.

Challenged as to whether getting drivers to make 20 instead of 15 deliveries will make the roads more dangerous as they race to meet targets, Sturrock is clear that BI does not come at the cost of safety.


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