For more than a century, the experts at this moving company have provided full service consumer moving and management, and warehousing and inventory management solutions. The company has grown from a single location to a nationwide network of warehouses for flexible and convenient storage options and is a founding agent for one of the largest and most trusted van lines in the world. Partnering allows the moving to meet legal requirements for performing interstate business, including logistics shipping and delivery.
That century of growth – and positive affiliation – did not transfer to the platforms and software used for the business. Most existing systems were nearly two decades old and any focus was placed on acquisition and growth, not technology. Nine separate and disjointed systems were being used; one transportation management system, two separate warehouse management systems, a variety of financing and logistics, Excel spreadsheets, and a few other old relational database systems thrown in. What was worse is that they were also forced to make do with manual processes and spreadsheets for their wide variety of logistics and transportation projects. A process such as tracking inventory movements and shipments, required the use of at least three or more separate spreadsheets; the original data from one, copied to another and then moved to a third to provide pricing. There was no delivery tracking system. Quotes were even more problematic; manual processes caused a two to three-day delay to get information to prospective customers. During peak times, three-four team members were required just to create all of the spreadsheets with a fifth on the phone with agents to confirm deliveries. To put this manual process into perspective; drivers would be tasked with delivering coffee cups for a popular chain to ten different locations. Each time they delivered a load, someone from the office called both the driver and the location to ensure that the delivery was successfully made and that the amount of the coffee cups corresponded to the original bill of lading. No automation; no mobile ability. This happened every single time a delivery was made. And to top everything off, there was no discernable reporting system. Any time anyone wanted to see a report – even if it was something simple such as accounts receivable – was a nearly herculean effort to get done.
- Redundant manual processes (hundreds of hours per month)
- Separate spreadsheets that required merging just to complete one order
- Lack centralized data for analytics and reporting
- No Warehouse Management System
- Inefficient order fulfilment and shipping operations
- Manual delivery process
- Custom developed ERP system with WMS
- Optimized process – order creation to fulfilment and shipping
- Consolidation of nine separate systems
Let technology do the heavy lifting
Clearly, the company needed to automate their manual processes, consolidate nine separate systems, get rid of the spreadsheets, and get people off the phone. They started evaluating several out-of-box solutions, including standard ERP solutions with customizations and add-on products. However, during this evaluation stage, the team found that none of the out-of-box solutions they found could ever really fulfil their requirements without a significant, time-consuming, and costly customization effort. The company first turned to Captivix to help them make an ERP decision. The Captivix team needed to fully understand the entire business process – including seeing if there was any way that an out-of-the-box solution could work. They looked at everything that was available in the market and found that nothing in the market covered everything the moving company wanted. The team was at a crossroads; either buy an out-of-the-box ERP and customize or build something completely new.
After two-month requirements gathering process, the Captivix team had a handle on every item, functionality and future-proofing process the client needed, including an ROI for every function. Ultimately, both teams made the decision to build a custom-build cloud solution that would streamline all of their business processes including their expansive warehouse network. The custom solution also needed to integrate with the existing United Van Lines system, including transportation management, finance/invoicing, EDIs and so on.
A design-build solution that hits all of its marks
Because of the relationship formed between Captivix and the client, the two teams were able to quickly change course when Captivix discovered several interdependences between the complex processes, existing systems and new functionality that needed to be fixed. After discussing this with the operations team, Captivix finalized a discovery phase first and gathered all requirements for the entire project. This meant that Captivix team could make sure that any interdependencies – whether it was technology or business process – were built into the system from the very start. The end result was minimal modifications. Even better, this way of requirements gathering ultimately saved the project money because the client could prioritize in a more thoughtful way.
Consistent feedback is critical to any project’s success. Captivix built in specific milestones so that the company could review work, kick the tires of the system and provide feedback right away. As the project progressed, the client team was asked to attend regularly scheduled status meetings and assisted with testing and quality reviews on completed components to validate that the system was meeting the vision. This project is still in development and expected to come in under budget.
“Our growth demands we have a cloud-based solution that can manage sales quotes, driver information, inventory and warehousing management. That’s why the Captivix team is so critical to our success; they have their finger on the pulse of the latest technologies and always give us the best advice to move our business forward..”