What we did
Shipping like the big retailers
For small-to-medium businesses (SMBs)—whether with a storefront or an entirely digital footprint—warehousing and delivery logistics can be daunting and expensive. Most SMB retailers partner with a third-party logistics provider (3PL), which means shipping from a single warehouse and paying big prices to have products sent via air. More than that, those 3PL providers ask small retailers to sign long-term contracts and occupy a set amount of warehousing space.
Incubated within UPS, Ware2Go is an independent company that offers better service for both retailers and providers. Its mission is to simplify those supply chain and shipment pressures for SMB retailers.
Whether it’s a local bookstore sending new thrillers to a reader, or an arts-and-crafts business shipping materials to a painter, Ware2Go gives SMB retailers access to third-party logistics and fulfillment services at a scale that they typically couldn’t achieve. “We’re here to help the little guy scale to act like big retailers,” says Brian Gallagher, chief product and technology officer at Ware2Go.
Ware2Go finds its customers flexible warehousing options while offering delivery services without a long-term contract. Most importantly, Ware2Go offers the two-day ground footprint of UPS—a national system for shipping and delivery minus the cost of an airplane.
“It’s an on-demand model,” says Gallagher. “You’re signing up for as little or as much space as you want, and you can flex up or flex down, no minimums.”
A need for new capabilities
Ware2Go’s homegrown warehouse management system (WMS) served its original needs, but, says Gallagher, “We got to a point where we needed a new version that was going to help us achieve scale and growth.”
The company was looking for a way to support a larger quantity and variety of 3PL warehousing partners. Feature development was taking too long because the team was having to custom-build capabilities that were already commercially available via Softeon, a company that provides software solutions for supply chain management.
“We were building wheels that already existed,” says Gallagher.
“Ware2Go needed a platform with scalability, performance, and an enterprise-level OMS [order management system] with WMS capabilities that are standard,” says Susan Scarce, Slalom director.
Now we build, test, and deploy multiple times per week and can do so during the day with zero downtime.
An integrated partnership
The timeline for the project was ambitious, which meant Ware2Go needed a partner to help meet those ambitions.
“We wanted to work with a global firm that had a local presence, because we knew we had a lot of work to do in a short amount of time,” says Gallagher. Slalom’s reputation for success with businesses of all sizes sealed the relationship. “We wanted a firm that had a long history of working with medium- or large-size customers, but wasn’t too big, and would be able to move fast enough with us to achieve our goals quickly.”
Our partnership faced a major test almost immediately. We kicked off the project in March 2020, and despite quickly pivoting to remote work, our collaboration was as close as ever. With everyone working from the same digital platform, Gallagher watched as the two crews quickly merged into one.
“It was a true partnership and collaboration,” says Gallagher. “I really appreciated that the Slalom team was so invested in the project being successful, and we never had to push a date or reduce scope. I’m proud of the fact that we were able to deliver on time, and with such high quality.”
New platform, new possibilities
Working together, Slalom and Ware2Go built a robust solution on Google Cloud that provides first-party software and an entirely new integration service layer that easily connects to a wide variety of 3PL warehousing programs. We also gave the merchant interface a fresh redesign.
The new platform enables Ware2Go to expand its client network and services in a way that wasn’t possible on the last platform. And, as Scarce observes, this is central to its future growth: “Now Ware2Go is able to scale. Now it can increase its business, onboard more merchants, and onboard more warehouses.”
By moving to Google Cloud, Ware2Go is reducing spend by 75 percent—while doing twice the business.
It’s the technology behind the scenes that excites Gallagher most as he looks to the future. The platform was built as a foundation—with the need for future capabilities in mind.
“The thing I’m most proud of is the continuous delivery model we now have,” he says. “On the old platform, we were able to build, test, and deploy once every three weeks. Now we build, test, and deploy multiple times per week and can do so during the day with zero downtime.”