World of Books, the UK’s largest used book retailer, is using routing software from Paragon Software Systems to support its rapidly expanding business while minimizing the impact its operations have on the environment. As a result of adopting the solution at the end of last year, the company has already experienced dramatic efficiency improvements, saving more than 27,000 transport miles year-on-year during January while collecting an average of 480 tons of books each week.

“As part of our plan to achieve a 30 percent reduction in our carbon footprint by 2020, we selected Paragon’s routing software to help reduce the mileage and time spent by drivers collecting books from 4,300 charity shops spread across the UK,” explained Steven Murray, Head of Stock and Logistics at World of Books. “The initial results have been extremely positive – representing an average reduction of 13 miles for each ton of product collected – and we anticipate greater improvements as it becomes embedded within our operational processes.”
To evaluate the benefits of Paragon’s multi-drop routing software, World of Books initially undertook a trial at its processing hub at Goring-by-Sea, UK, before rolling out the system across its entire transport operation. Following the implementation, the company has been able to consolidate its day-to-day transport planning process, moving from a local resource at each warehouse location to a single team at its central transport office.
World of Books operates a core fleet of 70 vans and drivers covering up to 80 routes each week, which is then supplemented with short-term rentals and agency drivers during peak periods. The company typically experiences spikes in demand over national holidays and school breaks, with the fleet increasing in size by as much as 50 percent. Each charity shop is assigned a fixed day of the week for collection and contacted 24 hours before to confirm pickup is required and the volume of books to be collected. The Paragon multi-drop routing software factors in vehicle payloads as well as any access restrictions at each location to create the most efficient routes.
As part of its pledge to reduce the distance traveled during collection by one million miles by 2020, World of Books is looking to extend its network with the addition of more local collection hubs to reduce mileage further. During the evaluation phase, World of Books was able to use Fastnet, Paragon’s distribution network modelling software module, to validate the shortlist of options, and ensure any future investment will maximize savings in time, mileage and costs.
“The Paragon routing software has enabled us to adapt our approach to transport planning. We had previously focused on filling each vehicle in the smallest geographic space – assuming this would create the most efficient plans – but we now understand that routes are best optimized when based on the least time and mileage involved. In just three months, this change in approach has allowed us to make real progress towards reducing the carbon emissions from our operations. Opening more local depots will help us build on this success and get a step closer to achieving our ambitious targets,” concluded Murray.
William Salter, CEO of Paragon Software Systems commented: “World of Books was founded on an ethos to do good, help charities and make a positive impact. As a company that is passionate about the environment, Paragon is committed to working with World of Books to ensure our multi-drop routing software helps them achieve their three pledges: a 30 percent reduction in carbon, one million books to good causes and one million fewer collection miles travelled.”