Multi-Warehouse Shipping and Box Consolidation for Large Quantity Packages
Background & Challenges
Edco Source was launched in 2018 as an extension of the Edco brand that began in 1954 with Edco Supply Corporation, a leading supplier of military specification packaging. Edco Source sells thousands of plastic bags, tubing, packaging, and sheeting in many types, sizes, and gauges for commercial applications. Products ship from 5 warehouses strategically located around the U.S.
Each product comes in a large quantity per box (or roll), i.e., 1,000, 5,000, 20,000, etc. pieces per package, and can be quite heavy. In addition, when multiple boxes are ordered, they may be consolidated into a larger shipping box or sent in multiple boxes based on dimensions of the outer box and total weight.
Product categories are straightforward, with the same image being used for every size of each product (there may be dozens of sizes). In addition, every product is available with discount pricing based on number of boxes/rolls purchased. Given these unique hallmarks of the site, category pages needed to display products differently than most sites. The Harris Web Works (HWW) and Edco Source teams strategized to create a layout that comprehensively includes all required info and is easy to use.
- Products are presented by type and by industry – industrial, medical, retail, and food service.
- Customers can filter by product type, industry, size, gauge (thickness), material, and price, and sort based on price or measurements.
- Category pages present all key info and functions at a glance – user can compare sizes and price tiers, and easily add items to their cart (see screenshot below).
- Magento back-end customization enables orders to be filled and shipped from one of 5 warehouses, based on recipient’s address. This saves on shipping fees and times.
- Orders containing 2 or more of the same or different items get organized to ship in the fewest boxes possible. Custom box consolidation uses the dimensions of each SKU and available outer boxes to calculate the leanest configuration to pack boxes for shipping.
Process and Results
Edcosource.com was built from scratch using Magento 2 and leveraging many native features. Data importation was a key area of focus as data originated from multiple vendors and required significant normalization. For example, products sizes vary in whether they’re length x width or length x width x depth, whether dimensions are best presented in inches or feet, how products on a roll are measured compared to those in boxes. In addition, products come in sizes from very small 1.5″ x 2″ zip-top baggies to 40′ x 100′ construction tarps to 60″ x 350′ tubing, and many in between and beyond.
Once the site was built, populated, thoroughly tested, and launched, we further refined shipping calculations based on real orders. The site meets the major goals of being “The Easy Way to Buy Bags” by providing:
- An easy at-a-glance display for comparing product features, sizes, and prices
- An extensive selection of product types, sizes and quantities
- Volume discounts
- Very competitive shipping rates and speed
Edco’s dedicated Magento site administrator continually adds new products, adjusts pricing for many products at once (a regular occurrence in this business), and increasingly uses more admin functions to improve efficiency. Hosting on the Harris Web Works AWS hosting platform keeps the site running quickly and with exceptional reliability.
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