Warehousing and distribution is a numbers game in a largely commoditized industry. It’s a matter of getting products from point A to point B quickly and efficiently, with the least amount of storage time and freight cost.
But every industry can innovate, and every company can create competitive differentiation. That’s exactly why Jeremy Shubert was hired as CIO of Aero Fulfillment Services.
“We want to develop digital offerings that help our clients grow,” he explains. “Things like e-commerce, mobile, and social solutions that create a unique and customized experience—for our customers as well as their customers.”
- It’s clear that Aero has loftier goals than moving products from one place to the next.
- The company wants to stand out among the traditional warehousing and distribution crowd.
- And it wants to become an extension and steward of its customers’ brand.
Moving to the cloud
Aero’s first step toward creating new digital offerings for its clients was to shore up its own technology infrastructure.
“Before you can build out advanced digital solutions, you have to first address the data center and the network,” says Shubert. “You need a good foundation on which to build.”
That’s why Aero turned to Peak 10 and RoundTower Technologies.
- Peak 10 hosts a Cisco Powered™ cloud environment.
- RoundTower helped migrate Aero’s virtual machines into the Peak 10 cloud, configure the network connection features, and install the private network equipment.
“We wanted best-in-class, secure infrastructure, so it’s great to be in a cloud that is powered by Cisco UCS® [Cisco Unified Computing System™],” Shubert says. “And RoundTower worked closely with Peak 10 to make the migration a smooth one.”
The benefits of the move have been significant.
- Aero’s applications are performing better and are backed by stronger, faster disaster recovery capabilities.
- The company now provides enhanced data security and PCI compliance to its customers, and can more nimbly support their fluctuating needs.
- Aero is already capitalizing on a wealth of time and cost savings.
“I always say that companies should stick to their core competencies,” says Shubert. “Peak 10 runs a world-class data center way better than we can, and that frees us to focus on projects that help grow the business, generate revenue, and create differentiation.”
Aligning business and consumer models
Aero supports mid-market manufacturers and Fortune 500 companies with complex distribution needs, helping them ship a wide variety and volume of products to consumers, small businesses, and retailers around the world. Just like Aero, their business models are evolving.
“Many of our clients have new or expanding direct-to-consumer operations,” Shubert says. “So we need to seamlessly support—and increasingly align—business-to-business and business-to-consumer models.”
To do so, Aero must orchestrate complex operations on the back end and provide a seamless experience on the front end. This includes:
- Aligning the activities of countless suppliers, manufacturers, freight partners, and retailers.
- Facilitating customer orders placed online, through call centers, and in brick and mortar outlets.
- Accommodating a wide variety of promotions, rebates, and coupons that impact orders and shipments.
“The cloud gives us better agility, which allows us to manage all of the backend complexity,” says Shubert. “We never have to worry about scalability or security, and neither do our customers.”
Focusing on growth, analytics
Aero’s new technology services are booming. With a powerful and flexible cloud infrastructure at its disposal, the company can:
- Optimize its warehouse and freight management operations.
- Quickly spin up new microsites for campaigns and promotions.
- Create consumer-focused, omnichannel experiences that are tightly integrated with backend systems and work seamlessly on any device.
“These are revenue opportunities that spur new business, for us and our customers,” says Shubert, noting a revenue increase of roughly 50 percent in Aero’s technology services over the past year.
The company will continue to innovate, he adds, shattering longstanding warehouse and distribution norms in the process. Aero plans to invest in advanced analytics capabilities in the near future, and Shubert looks forward to creating new and unique digital solutions as part of Aero’s evolving service portfolio.
“Our clients are looking to grow their business,” he says, “and we have data and technology resources that can help.”
All backed by a world-class cloud.