Grove Collaborative uses GrandCanals’ Fulfillment Intelligence Cloud to streamline its fulfillment data and get a better handle on spending.

Natural products e-retailer Grove Collaborative is a small business that was facing a big problem.

It had a ton of data on where its orders were going and how those orders were getting there. What the retailer didn’t have was a single place to organize the data so it could figure out how much it was paying to ship each order.

“When I wanted to get my ship cost per order, I had to merge three to four different reports together, take that data, clean it up, and then take my internal spreadsheet, which tells me about my customers and do a bunch of pivot tables to get at that key number,” says Roni Rae-Staples, head of fulfillment and logistics at Grove Collaborative.

Rae-Staples was looking for a way to save money on fulfillment costs and save time when it came to understanding her average shipping cost and where her orders were going.

A year and a half ago, she began working with fulfillment optimization software provider GrandCanals to streamline her shipping and fulfillment data. Grove Collaborative implemented GrandCanals’ Fulfillment Intelligence Cloud, which connects with a retailer’s inventory management systems to determine how much a retailer is spending, on average, to ship a product and where those products are being shipped.

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GrandCanals provides retailers with a heat map that shows where their demand is, she says. Being able to see where Grove Collaborative’s packages were going in real time proved to be eye-opening almost immediately, Rae-Staples says.

“You know that you’re shipping all across the country,” she says. “What you don’t understand is what percentage is going that far. Pretty early on in the relationship with GrandCanals, it was able to take a look at all of my data and what percentage was going out East.”

That data, in turn, prompted Grove Collaborative to expand its fulfillment operations to get products closer to its shoppers.

When Grove Collaborative started working with GrandCanals, the retailer had one fulfillment center, located in its hometown of San Francisco. Rae-Staples soon realized there was significant demand for the company’s products on the East Coast, and the company opened a fulfillment center in Harrisburg, Pa.

“That data helped me decide strategically where we needed to be,” she says. “What the East Coast warehouse did for us is it took an average five to six days in transit and dropped it to a three-day average transit time.  Time in transit now is two to three days. The East Coast [center] fulfills 30% of our packages now.”

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Consolidating the data also helped Rae-Staples better ascertain how much she was paying in shipping with each of Grove Collaborative’s carriers. For instance, a GrandCanals tool showed her that a slight tweak to its shipping routes could save $1.30 per package, she says. Moreover, tweaking some rules so that all packages in a certain weight range prompted the retailer to ship those items via U.S. Postal Service Priority Mail because it was more cost-effective, saving Grove Collaborative between 15-20%. GrandCanals declined to specify how much it costs to use its software.

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