United Distribution Services (UDS) is an established presence in the textile warehousing industry, known for innovation in freight and logistics services. Founded in 1995, the privately owned and operated 3PL got its start in the motor freight transportation sector. Consequently, UDS company culture is a standout among competitors as particularly in tune with manufacturer and retailer priorities.
Supply Chain Planning and Execution
UDS invests significant resources, time, and energy into advising customers to make the right logistics decisions to ensure optimal efficiency and cost savings. The company’s leadership believes in harnessing the power of technology to customers’ advantage, making QSSI an ideal partner. Both our companies ultimately want to liberate clients from supply chain planning and execution, freeing up time and resources for them to focus on primary business functions: manufacturing, marketing, and sale of goods.
Fortune 500 manufacturers and retailers turn to UDS to solve logistics challenges, but so do designers wanting to move their well-structured start-ups to the next level. The company has collaborated for years with experts in warehouse material handling, engineering, and design.
The goal is to leverage the latest technological development to raise customers to the next level of productivity and competitiveness. QSSI followed a similar strategy when initiating discussions about the effectiveness of UDS processes related to warehouse management, execution, and controls.
To effectively leverage technology, we started by asking UDS pointed questions about their current WMS. Could it provide detailed answers to inquiries, like “How is handling different (or more difficult) this time?” We learned that critical information, such as the precise cost and time investment to fulfill an order, was absent from decision-making protocol.
I had worked with other WMS software in the past and understood the potential for improved CRM. But, ROI for PowerHouse is exponential. With implementation, we went from 10 users to more than 100. You learn PowerHouse, you can now do whatever you want with it, which means my WMS and my company grow together.Carl Ingargiola, President, UDS
Strategies for Rapid Response to New Customer Demand
For UDS operations to expand exponentially, their WMS needed to support the rapid onboarding of new customers. PowerHouse successfully connects various new revenue streams with a series of warehouse functions and services. UDS now had the ability to configure, reconfigure, and scale its operations (equipment, people, space) in response to evolving customer demands—without expensive modifications to the WMS application.
PowerHouse also supports multiple business models simultaneously—another key strategy employed by UDS to meet increased customer demand. In response to the shift in recent years to Direct-To-Consumer (DTC) shipping, UDS has engineered fulfillment processes and procedures to position its partners to meet their online consumer’s immediate expectations.
Communication is the key to converting process changes into business opportunities. PowerHouse is a systems integrator for complementary supply chain management software and for all leading e-commerce, marketplace, and carrier software, including shopping carts and customer portals. Therefore, we worked effectively with UDS to handle volume fluctuations flawlessly and at a moment’s notice. Increased flexibility also translated into reduced overhead and the ability to specify a fixed cost per unit.
Tactics Employed for a High-Volume Operation
UDS is an exceptionally high-volume operation, as demonstrated by the 200+ packing stations that keep business booming. The QSSI team partnered with UDS to identify and develop optimal solutions for a full range of customer requirements, from shipping DTC via an e-com site to drop shipping via a carrier. Orders are mapped specific to their type, e.g., flagged as e-com.
UDS is giving its customers the ability to compete with the largest e-com outlets out there. Orders are processed instantly, leaving the warehouse within 12 hours from when the transaction was first initiated.Ed Troianello, President, QSSI
Through constant reporting, PowerHouse delivers high-level order management and oversight. Quality, actionabledata is made available for informed decision-making. According to the UDS website, automated reporting, among many factors, contributes to the company’s “impeccable fill rates and turns.”
- Item velocity analysis
- Pick flow setup
- Inventory count
- Location accuracy
Clear order visibility is another important strategy for delivering within a high-volume operation. UDS keeps its customers informed through many PowerHouse capabilities, including transmitting EDI transactions, pushing order status, and tracking information. UDS can also send a branded, yet personalized, email alert, generated by Powerhouse and containing all order information, tracking numbers, and customer service contact information.
Consolidated Dedicated Returns Processing
UDS prioritizes returns processing. The company has dedicated facilities to handle vendors and retailers’ consolidated return services. PowerHouse is an integral part of this process, as well as key to capturing revenue through additional efficiencies and improved customer satisfaction.
A multi-pronged approach ensures the timely reconciliation of return charge backs and consumer credits. UDS leverages as much PowerHouse data as possible to monitor returns volume, eliminate manual data entry, apply credits, and quickly refurbish and transfer goods back to appropriate fulfillment centers.
PowerHouse captures and monitors data on multiple levels.
- Return authorization validation
- Carton level ASN EDI 180
- Quality inspection
- Refurbishing to first quality condition
- Damage and disposal maintenance
- Trend analysis and advanced BI reporting
A Reliable Partner in Retail Distribution
“Accuracy, accountability, and speed” are the crucial factors in the retail distribution pick & pack environment, according to UDS. The company maintains a 99.98% financial and statistical inventory, achieved through “stringent receiving variance approval procedures, obsessive cycle counting, and utilization of UPC and RFID barcode scanning” (UDS website, 2021).
All these disciplined procedures are sustained through PowerHouse.
United Distribution Services
- 2,000,000 square feet
- Home goods
- Garment-on-Hanger and flat pick & pack fulfillment
- Just-in-time retail replenishment
- Direct-To-Consumer shipping
- Same-day e-commerce fulfillment
- Full case distribution
- Retail deconsol/consolidation
- Domestic transportation
- Overseas pre-packs
Solutions in the Design
- Systematic wave modeling
- Bulk pick line zones
- Scale counting
- Flow racking
- Automated customized compliance labeling
- Automated rate shopping
- Reserve to active replenishment location