Gramener + USCold:
Building data science capabilities to improve operational efficiency.
USCold advances its digital transformation journey by implementing Gramener's strategic ‘advisory-to-implementation' offerings in data analytics and storytelling.
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At USCold, we strive to provide a great customer experience to our clients and carrier community. We believe that our digitization evolution is critical for serving our customers effectively. Therefore, we have put together a robust data infrastructure that can support our digital growth.
Earlier, our MIS (Management Information System) reports and dashboards provided us with a descriptive, backward-focused view of the business. We felt the need for deeper, predictive insights to empower our business teams with real-time decisions. This was crucial to transform our business digitally.
Our leadership team aspired to build data science capabilities across the organization to improve our operational efficiency. The intent was to provide reliable intelligence to every employee and enable them to deliver a great customer experience.
We partnered with Gramener to enable our digital transformation journey. They helped us in this strategic initiative with their ‘advisory-to-implementation' offerings in data analytics and storytelling.
Building a roadmap of high-impact initiatives
Gramener leveraged its five-step ‘Data-to-Value' RADAR methodology and toolkits to put USCS on a seamless path towards data maturity. They helped identify the strategic data science initiatives crucial to realizing our corporate strategy and business goals.
‘Innovation funnel’ for rapid experimentation
The prioritized initiatives were taken through rapid data science experimentation based on Gramener’s 'innovation funnel’ approach. Based on business results achieved at the pilot warehouses, the qualified pilots were then moved to production.
For example, the intelligent appointment scheduler was the first data science solution we chose. This solution helped warehouse teams identify the most optimal appointment slots in the day to achieve the best turn times on warehouse pickups. When this solution delivered a 16% improvement in turn times, the experimentation was scaled up for organization-wide deployment.
Gramener worked closely with our technology team to help set up the right data science processes, onboard relevant skills, and build production-ready machine learning solutions. Over the past two years, the innovation funnel led to three applications.
Scaling machine learning solutions in production
The chosen data science applications were rolled out across US Cold’s 40+ warehouses around the country. All the applications were built on Gramex, Gramener’s low-code platform. Gramex is a PaaS (Platform as a Service) data platform that rapidly builds customized data applications using over 200 pre-built components and microservices. The platform has a zero learning curve because of its easy drag-and-drop visual features that enable the rapid creation of enterprise-grade data applications.
Managing change and measuring ROI
With strong executive backing, the technology teams worked closely with business users to ensure integration with day-to-day processes and adoption of the solutions. In 2021 Q2, some of the largest warehouses recorded more than 80% adoption to the recommendations made by the data science solutions.
Gramener enabled the adoption of data science solutions by sharing industry best practices in change management. For example, data storytelling was leveraged to educate the target users, improve ease of use and build ground-level support. The business value generated from the data science solutions was tracked and quantified using an ROI framework.
Fueling the next phase of digital transformation
With the head start we achieved in advanced analytics, we have set up a governance committee with institutionalized processes to ensure repeatable outcomes. The data science transformation at USCS is built on the foundation of our strong technology team and robust data engineering expertise.
Gramener helped build upon this strength by getting the organization on board with data science. In a phase-wise manner, an ongoing set of data science initiatives are continuously identified to radiate impact across the organization. USCS leadership team drives the initiatives by storytelling the vision and highlighting its criticality to all functions.
Extending this strong partnership with Gramener, USCS has envisioned continuing its ‘Coldvolution’ transformation journey in three major areas – transportation, automation, and digitization.
A combination of advisory, experimentation and implementation approaches helped us significantly enhance our decision-making capabilities across the board. This has delivered transformative benefits across areas such as warehouse appointment scheduling, employee task allocation, and pick-ups.
Here are some of the key outcomes from our organizational data science transformation initiative -
- We scaled three data science applications into production with a presence in about 26 warehouses.
- We achieved a 16% reduction in warehouse dwell time on outbound schedules.
- Upon deployment of the Intelligent Appointment Scheduler solution, we observed about $300,000 reduction in annual potential detention charges.
- The warehouse operations simulation solution identified potential demand-supply gaps by forecasting the potential demand spikes with more than 80% accuracy.
- We scaled up in organizational data maturity to a score of 3, equivalent to ‘Systematic’ operational execution.
- Warehouse was able to schedule 13% more appointments on certain slots, which were earlier not used due to experience based constraints. Organization was able to move beyond these constraints that were created in warehouse operations by leveraging data science generated recommendations.
About United States Cold Storage
United States Cold Storage (USCS) is a leading name in cold storage solutions in the USA. Since 1891, we have been committed to providing reliable and cost-effective logistics solutions that support the American frozen and refrigerated food industry. We are a pioneer in driving Coldvolution – an innovative and strategic transformation of temperature-controlled logistics, storage and distribution systems. The company offers more than 330 million cubic feet of temperature controlled warehouse and distribution space in 43 facilities located in 13 states including California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Nebraska, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Virginia. USCS is the third largest PRW Logistics provider in North America. It is a subsidiary of the U.K.’s John Swire & Sons Ltd.
Gramener is a design-led data science company that helps solve complex business problems with compelling data stories using insights and a low-code analytics platform.
We help enterprises large and small with data insights and storytelling by leveraging Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Automated Analysis, and Visual Intelligence using modern charts and narratives. Our services & technology has been recognized by Gartner and has won several awards.
About our Partnership
Gramener partnered with US Cold Storage to design and develop a more intelligent scheduling system. As a design-led data science organization, Gramener rapidly builds custom data and AI solutions that improve business processes using their low-code platform Gramex. Gramener partnered with USCS in creating a machine learning-based Intelligent Appointment Scheduler, also known as IAS, that enhanced the efficacy of the dock scheduling system.
The Intelligent Appointment Scheduler (IAS) is built on Gramex, Gramener’s flagship low-code platform. Gramex is a PaaS (Platform as a Service) data platform that rapidly builds customized data applications using over 200 pre-built components and microservices. The platform has zero learning curve because of its easy drag-and-drop visual features that allow even non-developers to build and create enterprise-grade data applications.