|Timeframe:||203-2006||Technology:||ASP.NET, C#, SQL|
Propack Logistics in Blaine, WA was my first customer when I started DeWaard & Jones Company with Dick DeWaard in 2004. I met with Dan Lucht, Vice President of Operations at Propack in late 2003 and asked him to “Tell me about your business.” I listened for over two hours as he described the challenges Propack was facing.
Propack had several business units, but the one we talked about provided third party logistics for small businesses, especially those near the US-Canada border. Propack warehouses their inventory and then picks, packs and ships orders to their customers’ customers. It’s that second level of customer that made Propack’s business model very unique.
Unfortunately, Propack had chosen a warehouse system that did not support the nested customer functionality Propack needed and dealing with the vendor of this system was proving increasingly frustrating. We talked about what would drive Propack to cut the chord and start over, and several weeks later they made that difficult decision. Then they asked me to build an interim solution until they could find a suitable package. Now, 10 years later, that interim solution is called P3PL (Propack 3rd Party Logistics) and it runs this business unit.
When we started, orders were arriving from Propack’s customers via fax, email and even phone calls, and producing an invoice for their customers often took several weeks. Searching for an order could take 5-7 minutes of computer time and adding a new customer would erode their already slim margins.
When we completed, all orders came in electronically without human processing. Invoicing time was reduced to just a few mouse clicks and could often be completed in less than five seconds. Searching for orders took less than a second and adding new customers did not erode their margins.
I consider P3PL to be an outstanding success… and so does Propack.