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Customer Success

PFSweb Achieves Real-Time Tracking to Provide a Higher Level of Service to Blue Chip Customers

Industry leading brands and retailers across several industry verticals look to PFSweb to provide brand-centric operations that effectively scale to support growing eCommerce demands. With over two decades of experience and innovation, PFS brings together technologies, systems and people to create exceptional post-click eCommerce experiences. More than 90 enterprise and growing brands including fashion and apparel, health and beauty, jewelry and consumer packaged goods partner with PFSweb to perform eCommerce operations on their behalf.

PFSWeb REal Time Inventory Tracking

Providing a superior post-click experience meant that brand orders are fulfilled quickly and accurately. “With the rise in demand of multi-node fulfillment operations, it’s more critical than ever to track inventory more efficiently across our facilities,” said Jon Gardner, senior Vice president of fulfillment operations at PFS. Effective tracking required PFS to achieve their maximum inventory accuracy across their warehouses. In 2021, PFS partnered with Vimaan to deploy the solution provider’s drone-based cycle counting solutions. “Vimaan’s technology allowed us to implement real-time tracking against our WMS more accurately, efficiently and safely. It also enables PFS to deploy immediate investigation and adjustments to improve accuracy and responsiveness for our client.” added Gardner.

The previous cycle counting solution from Vimaan, StorTRACK Air, helped PFSweb keep an eye in the sky to manage inventory in its fulfillment centers. “A significant portion of the brands we support at PFS fall under high-value verticals and require 99.9% inventory accuracy, according to our service agreements. Drone automation offered an efficient and accurate inventory management solution that enable us to better support our clients.” said Gardner.

PFSweb joined the ranks of several other 3PLs to deploy Vimaan drones, and despite achieving success in reaching their highest inventory accuracy levels, PFS and Vimaan grounded the drones in the summer of 2023. (Learn more about warehouse drones here)

Vimaan was one of the very first companies in the world to launch warehouse drones as a means of cycle counting inventory in warehouses. In fact having deployed drones in many 3PL and brand warehouses, Vimaan flew more drone missions than any other North American solution provider from 2017-early 2023. “We started with the goal of being a 100% autonomous drone-based computer vision and machine learning solution to enable cycle counting. However, after years of operational experience, we now understand how inhospitable of environments warehouses can be for drones.” said KG Ganapathi CEO and Founder of Vimaan. “Even the best managed warehouses have unattended loose material like shrink wrap, packaging tape, corrugate, and paper on their shelves and floors. These items get sucked into the drone rotors and cause catastrophic failure and potentially damage warehouse assets. As a result, frequent and thorough floor and shelf inspections are essential to safe drone operations. These in turn require labor, which dilutes the notion of full autonomy”. (Watch what happens when drones and shrink wrap meet.)

“Many of our customers were apprehensive about switching away from the drone,” said Chahal Neema, Head of Product for Vimaan. “Despite the drawback of drones, customers were still reaping benefits from the airborne system and were hesitant to the change.”

Jon Garnder, Vice President PFS Fulfillment Operations

Improved cycle counting with StorTAACK
StorTRACK exceeds all expectations with superior inventory tracking capabilities

In early to mid 2023 Vimaan began the process of replacing drones with StorTRACK, a rugged computer vision system lifted and handled by existing warehouse forklifts and order pickers. This new cycle counting solution includes a battery charge life of up to 8 hours (24X longer than any drone on the market). Additionally, StorTRACK includes 4 cameras and LED lights, allowing the system to capture the entire contents of a bin in one quick pass. This array of cameras and AI enabled algorithms allows customers to scan 50 items just as quickly as one. (Watch this Operational Overview Demonstration of StorTRACK.)

“Because of their apprehensiveness in switching away from drones, PFS was one of the last customers to transition to StorTRACK,” added Neema. “The time to completely make the move over to StorTRACK took four weeks, and we began to see efficiency improvements almost instantly. By the time we had completed UAT (user acceptance testing), the only complaint we received from the warehouse team was that we didn’t make the switch sooner.” The new StorTRACK system allowed the PFSweb warehouse team to cover more areas of the warehouse faster than before and free up team member to take on more high valued inventory management tasks.”

wAReHOUSE Cycle count automation guide

Learn how other warehouses have improved their inventory accuracies to over 99%, while reducing cycle count headcount.


Inventory Cycle Counting Resources

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