Somerfield is testing out a "zoning scheme" to improve the efficiencies of its home delivery operations. The first zone coordinates deliveries from 20 stores in an area stretching from Sheffield to Derbyshire. Instead of being attached to one store, the vans are used throughout the zone. Customers who want groceries delivered choose their preferred time by taking a time card' from a chart displayed at the front of the store. When they pay for their goods, customers present their strip to the cashier who scans it so the delivery van is automatically "booked". Somerfield says this system ensures that customers are not disappointed by a lack of suitable delivery times, and that vans are fully utilised. Somerfield says the idea will also allow it to maximise deliveries to small store retailers who have signed up to buy groceries via its Village Link scheme. It says 800 small stores are interested in coming on board, and zoning will allow it to serve small stores in urban areas. {{NEWS }}

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