Rexel UK – batch producing maps and site territories

Rexel UK’s web team faced a challenge from the business which would have taken a number of colleagues away from their busy day jobs and presented a risk in terms of delays to the tight project time lines. The team turned to Toby at Beacon Dodsworth who quickly understood our requirements. Providing quality data for Toby and his team to work with, was a challenge in itself, but Toby was patient and proactive in his approach and helped drive the activity all the way through to successful completion.

The data is now within the production system and used to correctly allocate every order from a National Sales Account.

Philip Stockton, Business Analyst, Rexel UK

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Rexel UK came to Beacon Dodsworth looking to allocate territories to their branches throughout Great Britain and Northern Ireland. We agreed that allocating every postal district to the nearest branch would help to maximise efficiency and minimise cannibalism.

We discussed the requirements with Rexel UK and agreed on the following:

  • Allocating all Great Britain and Northern Ireland postcode districts to the nearest Rexel branch by off-peak drive time.
  • Providing the data in several layouts to be used in internal systems to allocate orders to distribution centres.
  • An electronic map of each territory, labelled and showing neighbouring territories.

Rexel UK provided a list of their branches. We created simulations of off-peak drivetimes with non-overlapping borders, which allocated every district to the nearest distribution centre, creating circa 248 territories ranging in size. To allow the individual sites feedback, we returned the draft results to Rexel UK, who then liaised with their branches to confirm the new territories.

Rexel UK returned to us with manual changes from the branches, and reallocation around some site closures for us to produce the final results.

We offered the data in several formats including a .csv file with a row for every district and the corresponding branch’s details.

As we have in similar projects, we used our internal code to batch produce ~248 territory maps to the agreed template.

An example of the data format used

An example of the data format used

Example Rexel territory map

Technology points:

  1. Map layout is a dynamic template using our JavaScript-like proprietary language
  2. The map colours are selected to be as different as possible given that a map might have up to 20 territories visible
  3. Key generation automatically produces just those territories that might be visible
  4. Easily accommodate late changes to the data to reflect an evolving business


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