DSW Distribution Case Study


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“LoadProof lets us be able to do it more efficiently, quickly and keep it organized and stored. We saved approximately $30,000 per year on the labor costs alone”. – Chris Thiel – Vice President Operations.


Ernest – 

So what’s the three things that you like about the tool? So far from a process improvement standpoint or ease of use or what are some three things that you like about the tool.

Chris –

Yeah! what we like a lot is, I mean the one is that it’s all essentially to organize one desktop, so you know as a 3pl having multiple clients and different needs. 

We have one place to go where it’s all stored in the cloud, and we can go pull the data as we need the picture when we need to and share them with the customers, and the app having all the employees that have company cell phones, and we’re using ipod’s for some of them on a dock. They’re able to use the app with ipods, and we have many more people that can take pictures of all. Anything that’s going on with our loads such as the loads coming in. Anything that needs to be worked on in the warehouse and we can categorize it based on a Gemba walk or an a quality issue and it’s nice and organized and it’s all in one spot and then the ability to put multiple photos for one load into a nice clean PDF with notes on the photos and to be able to send that over to our customers we attach that and connect it with our automated receiving documents that go to our client. 

So they have a nice professionally presented documented image of what happened with the receipts or shipment and it was working well for us we’re getting pretty efficient with it now.

Ernest – 

Oh! that’s great to hear and so you’re seeing some improvements on efficiency and it’s just speeding up the process and it’s essentially organized.

So it’s easier to find the records and those kinds of things. These as opposed to having a bunch of photos on your cell phone or in a digital camera or in someone’s email.

Chris –

So, yeah! exactly it’s not taking up the cell phone memory with all the photos in it. Then, we going to save,  somewhere else whether it be on a pc or a server.

And then we should email that over to the customers and it just clogs up you know the emails as well as the storage and this is nice and organized it reduces all that. It is streamlined and the  people can just take pictures on the fly out in the warehouse and it all goes to one place. 

We don’t they don’t have to send it to a specific CSR to go and retrieve it somewhere. They can just send it here and then the CRS go in there and they identify their own clients and pull it out so it is definitely more efficient for us and organized.

Ernest – 

Yes, thank you very much that’s a great feedback.

Okay so, where are you seeing the most savings? It sounds like you know time spent investigating these claims and just the time and labor savings on that side. Where you would say that you’re seeing the most savings it’s with LoadProof before.

Chris –

The most savings is not necessarily from efficiency, but, the biggest savings here is that when people in the warehouse are taking photos they don’t know who to send it to and so some things get lost or missed. They may get sent to the wrong person and never get sent for the customer or saved or you know if that’s the biggest one so then obviously.

We send it to the customer and they say, why didn’t I get photos of this damage or why I got photos of these. Then we spend time trying to figure out where we take a photo and where we put it.

And who do we send it to is just much more organized to be able to do. It’s just that they were able to do things on the fly and not worry about who is going to do. It goes all to a centrally located place where our CRS can go in here and reference it to a receipt or to an order or to a quality issue and to a client and get that information over to them and we know for sure we have it.

So, the efficiency is just that everybody knows what to do. It’s one way to do it and it’s all streamlined versus you know kind of every employee kind of doing their own thing taking photos and then coming in and sending it to one person, clogging up their email on their desktop. Then having that sent out. It’s been very efficient overall, I mean we’re just barely getting started. so every week that goes by we’re getting better and better and more efficient with it.

Ernest – 

Yes, and it’s going to just keep growing and you’ll find other areas to implement in as well.you know get the most value out of it you know and i remember.

When we talked you know back in april you mentioned that you were looking to solve some compliance issues in food and pharmaceutical. So have you been able to take any steps there in that area?

Chris –

Yeah, we’ve always been taking photos and documenting things for our clients. This lets us be able to do it more efficiently and quickly and keep it organized and stored.

So we have it at our fingertips but, it is helping us in other areas too. I guess because it is so easy and efficient. So what we do is like various programs, one of the cross-dock programs with food products that’s coming in so we’re not really picking orders and we just get full pallets come in and they stay for a day or two .

We reorganize as I go out for different deliveries but, we see that some of the food grade pallets can’t be broken or damaged or chipped. So we’re taking a lot of photos for that and we’re able to get feedback from the cross-dock customers. It helps prevent claims, we’re able to document and more photos are getting to our customers hands, where they have more confidence than us so that you know when something does come up, something gets damaged they don’t wonder what DSW, did you guys then report it and they lose credibility and us that you know even if we can show them after the fact it still gets them thinking that DSW may have caused that damage. But now that we’re far more frequently getting the right photos to the right client at the right time it’s a lot more credibility for us and a lot less potential claims .

Ernest –

That’s great and that’s exactly what we want to solve there. What’s the return on investment, what is the value that we are saving there, compare that with what we’re spending? Being that LoadProof is such a low cost that you know it’s the value that we’re saving is probably exceeding the cost of you know what we’re spending with oh definitely.

Chris –

Yeah, just for the gold plan at a month it’s just the efficiency alone. we’re saving a lot more than that per month. 

I mean just our internal labor costs, we’ll be saving more than that month easily on this. But it also again we weren’t really looking at it initially so everybody wants a lower cost. But that wasn’t the initial reason why we were doing it that’s at the benefit and we were just looking at it to have a more professional way to organize and provide our clients with what they need for a good service, they were just added benefit to be that much more efficient.

Ernest –  

That’s awesome

Puga Sankara is the co-founder of Smart Gladiator LLC. Smart Gladiator designs, builds, and delivers market-leading mobile technology for retailers, distributors, and 3PL service providers. SG LoadProof is a patent pending Centralized Enterprise Photo/Video Document System on Cloud for Supply Chain. SG LP is built on the fact that photos & videos are vital docs as important as POs/SOs/Legal Contracts/Fulfillment Orders that reside in ERP/WMS/TMS systems, that serve as compelling, conclusive, unequivocal proof of crucial, critical, vital operations executed in Supply Chain within/across orgs when fulfilling customer orders as well as meeting contractual obligations between orgs as merchandise is transferred between different parties that partake in Supply Chain functions & operations. And these photos/videos data should not be stored in someone’s Smartphone or Email Inbox or in their personal/work Computer, but should be stored in a Centralized Enterprise system, where such data can be pushed into super-fast, stored securely, accessible to all stake holders (CFO/Sales Reps/Customer Support/AR/AP) in an org, as well as facilitates super-fast retrieval/sharing. LP is an Enterprise System of record for Photo/Video docs & is as important as an ERP which is an enterprise system of record for POs, SOs, Legal Contracts between parties etc. that have huge legal ramifications, also as important as a WMS (Warehouse Management System) that hold indispensable shipment & fulfillment data on orders. Like how Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat etc. have evolved into social media platforms/systems that enable individuals to showcase their beauty/pretty clothes/lovely cosmetics/hep coolness etc., LoadProof is an Enterprise system that holds similar photos/videos, but for a different reason, not for show off, but to serve as compelling, conclusive, unequivocal & indisputable system of record and proof that can be presented even in the court of law, when there is a dispute between parties while they execute many facets of the Supply Chain functions & operations. Puga is a supply chain technology professional with more than 25 years of experience in deploying capabilities in the logistics and supply chain domain. His prior roles involved managing complicated mission-critical programs driving revenue numbers, rolling out a multitude of capabilities involving more than a dozen systems, and managing a team of 30 to 50 personnel across multiple disciplines and departments in large corporations such as Hewlett Packard. He has deployed WMS for more than 30 distribution centers in his role as a senior manager with Manhattan Associates. He has also performed process analysis walk-throughs for more than 50 distribution centers for WMS process design and performance analysis review, optimizing processes for better productivity and visibility through the supply chain. Size of these DCs varied from 150,000 to 1.2 million SQFT. Puga Sankara has an MBA from Georgia Tech. He can be reached at [email protected] or visit the company at www.smartgladiator.com. Also follow him at www.pugasankara.com.

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