Case Study: How Design Within Reach (DWR) Streamlined Its Logistics
Updated: Dec 7, 2021
711 Canal Street
Stamford, CT 06902
Sector: Retail/Home furnishings
Design Within Reach Inc. (DWR) is a retail and contract supplier of modern design furnishings and accessories whose mission is to make authentic modern design accessible.
When DWR was founded in 1998, consumers were not able to buy authentic classics in the retail market. To find them, you had to go to Europe or work with an often costly intermediary. DWR changed that, bringing these innovative works by iconic designers to market in the United States for the first time. DWR continues to bring customers the best in modern design – past, present and future – making it more accessible for more people.
DWR markets and sells its products to residential and commercial customers in the United States, Canada and Mexico through its catalog, any of its 40 retail studios throughout North America, or through its website and direct sales force. DWR also serves qualified architects, interior designers, property owners and developers through its trade and contract business for companies, residences and projects.
DWR’s identity is tied closely to making sure that the classic home and office furnishing products are available in its extensive catalog, much of which depend on foreign providers, and are always within reach of customers.
Up to June 2014, DWR used a home-grown enterprise resource planning (ERP) application/ software called IMARC for creating purchase and sales orders, and tracking and managing customer data and shipping containers. Over time, DWR found that IMARC didn’t meet its growing needs. Some of the specific challenges the company faced included:
Too many manual steps were needed to manage import container shipments with manufacturers and freight forwarders
The purchase order system did not allow for tracking split shipments across containers
Tracking and reporting of the logistics operations throughout the business was mostly done manually
There was no integration with freight forwarders to provide transparency into the logistics process in real time
“Some of our orders can be large, filling a number of containers that are transported by ship from Asia and Europe,” said Alec Davis, DWR’s director of quality assurance. “The IMARC system was unable to specifically show how orders in the containers were split – identifying which purchase orders were attached to which containers – so our warehouse team was never quite sure about what it was going to receive until it actually received a shipment. That situation complicated our ability to plan ahead.”
“Our warehouse team was never quite sure about what it was going to receive until it actually received a shipment. That situation complicated our ability to plan ahead.”
Director of Quality Assurance
Design Within Reach
The solution provider: Streamline ERP
Streamline, a cloud-based ERP software company offering innovative logistics and supply chain data management tools, delivers enterprise-wide products and services that maximize return on investment. Streamline provides a pace-setting, easy-to-integrate solution without the large capital expense of traditional ERP systems.
Offering comprehensive multi-national software and services, Streamline has built a client portfolio to include overseas shipping brokers, carriers, freight forwarders and NVOCCs, as well as retail and manufacturing customers.
Streamline enables organizations to comprehensively manage their business lifecycle in a single multi-modal logistics platform for land, sea and air shipments. Based on the award-winning Salesforce.com / Salesforce1 platform, it features logistics GEO mapping provided by Google Maps that provides greater transparency of the logistics lifecycle from origin to destination, along with real-time integration with leading freight forwarding partners like DSV, JAS, DB Schenker, Weiss Rohlig and others via Electronic Data Interchange (EDI).
Some of the steps Streamline took to implement the solution included:
Streamline, which previously implemented Salesforce for the client, enhanced DWR’s existing Salesforce CRM investment to provide a 360-degree view of the fulfillment process for import orders.
Streamline evaluated DWR’s business processes and proposed an integrated solution
Streamline delivered an enhanced Purchase Order Management System to allow for split shipments across purchase orders with greater visibility throughout the enterprise
Streamline integrated via Dell Boomi to DWR’s legacy ERP System (soon to be replaced with NetSuite integration) to provide for seamless transition and connectivity
For comprehensive electronic data integration (EDI), Streamline delivered Streamline Data Service (SDS)
Streamline’s data integration with leading freight forwarders enabled it to deliver a complete, graphic, real-time picture of DWR’s logistics lifecycle
Through its information dashboards and data maps, Streamline provided greater transparency that enabled DWR to better track its entire operational lifecycle throughout the enterprise.
“Streamline was able to provide the visibility we need to incoming shipments to keep our customers and our sales folks informed and expectations in line – functionality that had been sorely missing to date.”
Vice President, Technology & Information Systems
Design Within Reach
The Streamline ERP Welcome page provides an easy-to-navigate starting point from which you can manage your company’s entire logistics lifecycle.
Streamline enables DWR to run its total business operations on a single platform, including:
Comprehensive account contact management
Quoting, invoicing, purchasing (including split PO management) and payments
Tracking of shipments of multi-mobile shipments via air, land and sea
Mobile Salesforce1 support that allows DWR to access data anywhere, anytime (via iPAD/ iOS/Android)
Integration with Outlook for greater ERP support
Integration with export controls (US Census - AES Certified Software Vendor)
Enhanced document management (Manifest, Bill of Lading, more)
Ability to customize and scale quickly with DWR
Ability to support partner relationships with Manufacturers and Forwarders
EDI Integration to provide real-time updates with multiple freight forwarders
DWR went live with Streamline in June 2014. However, it’s already provided DWR with a number of positive results.
Streamline integrates with the popular Salesforce 1 platform: Streamline is built on the successful Salesforce1 platform; DWR became familiar with the platform as it has been integrating Salesforce, the world’s No. 1 CRM platform, into its sales operations. “We use Salesforce for internal and external customer support,” said DWR’s Davis. “It gives us a full 360-degree view of everyone we deal with.”
Tracking of shipments: “We now can tell which container is carrying which goods, so warehouse managers know what is coming into the warehouse and when it’s coming,” Davis explained. “So we are now able to share accurate information with our customers, which enhances our credibility. And knowing exactly what’s in each shipment allows us to plan in our warehouse better. Just the visibility of where everything is on the water, that’s huge.”
Streamline’s provides tracking information and mapping across the entire logistics lifecycle of an enterprise.
More useful information can be used and tracked on Streamline: “It has all of the information fields we need and we can add any other values we need,” said Davis. “From POs to sales orders, customer data, container management, we can track it. Before, we were trying to solve problems. Now, we’re looking at opportunities.”
Easier integration and improved relations with freight forwarders and manufacturers: Real-time data enables DWR to better work with its key suppliers and shippers.
“Our relationship with freight forwarders is evolving,” Davis said. “We’re now able to better integrate with those already using Streamline. It takes a lot of manual work off our hands. Freight forwarders will build containers to our specifications, so we don’t have to manually build them. And our warehouse team now has more advanced notice of what is coming and when, so they are able to make sure they have space available to accommodate deliveries. They used to have only two or three days advanced notice.”
Purchase orders are now are coming in more streamlined: Streamline gives the logistics team a complete view all current PO information along with associated shipments, containers and items for each PO in an easy-to-view user interface.
“Before, we would not know if we had received an entire PO until a container was delivered and unpacked,” said Davis. “There was a lot of back and forth, a lot of phone calls. Now, that’s unnecessary and there’s more visibility on what’s in the container.”
More automation: Through the use of the Salesforce/Streamline platform, customer, shipping and operational data can be collected and tracked automatically and systematically.
Greater productivity: The systematic collection and tracking of information allows DWR to divert its workforce’s attention from inputting contacting and tracking inbound shipments manually to more productive, growth-oriented pursuits. And improved data processes helps to reduce manual errors, providing greater efficiencies throughout the entire supply chain process.
Enhanced customer experience: By accurately knowing the estimated time of arrival on orders from manufacturers, DWR can more reliably update customers on when their orders will be fulfilled. This makes for a more satisfied customer, which means a customer who is more likely to return for more business.
Opportunity for future enhancements: Since Streamline regularly updates and enhances its platform, DWR (and all subscribing Streamline customers) get the benefits of each upgrade automatically, relieving DWR’s IT team of time-consuming and costly infrastructure revamps.
Access to information anywhere via Mobile: DWR team members, like all Streamline customers, can access their operational and shipping information anywhere with their iPhone, iPad or Android device, in addition to their desktop computers. This is important to helping maintain and improve relationships with customers, suppliers and shippers alike.
For More Information
DWR first in a series of retail case studies for Streamline. An established service provider for international shipping concerns, Streamline offers a comprehensive tracking platform for all modes of shipping for clients in all phases of the supply chain, including retail, manufacturing, freight forwarders, brokers/NVOCCs and others to provide greater supply chain transparency and management tools.
For more information on how Streamline can help your retail, manufacturing, carrier, broker, freight forwarding or NVOCC business, call us at 888-886-4621 or visit our website at www.streamline.bz.
Also, Streamline representatives will be available to meet at Dreamforce 2014/#DF14.