RR Donnelley Case Study
Spire Pack reduced RR Donnelley’s shipping costs while adding quality control measures to their packing process. Spire Pack built a logistics application for RR Donnelley on an existing Oracle APEX application.
Spire Pack's algorithm provides a 3-point check for every item virtually packed.
Spire Pack is extremely fast and enables RR Donnelley to pack over 10,000 items in 8 seconds.
Increased productivity by 350%.
What we did
Increased quality control through detailed reporting using advanced AI
RR Donnelley is a global, integrated communications provider enabling organizations to create, manage, deliver and optimize their multichannel marketing and business communications. The corporation has an extensive customer base across industries in virtually every private and public sector and an unmatched portfolio of capabilities.
Efficiency and Data
When RR Donnelley first approached Spire Pack, they were shipping over 36,000 packages per month and wanted to make sure they were doing it right. Their concerns ranged across the entire spectrum of the packaging and shipping experience from choosing the right container to tracking packages that were being shipped. RR Donnelley wanted the best quality control protocols applied to their shipping process. They wanted complete transparency over the journey of each package that left their warehouse.
RR Donnelley also wanted to ensure that they were not wasting money on inefficient packaging. Shipping costs are based on what is referred to as dimensional weight. Not only is the actual weight of the shipment determinative but also the dimension of the package contributes to the cost. Improper container choice and/or improper packing contribute to increased costs.
RR Donnelley ships approximately 36,000 packages per month
- Quality control and transparency
Choosing the right container
- Tracking packages
- Dimensional weight fees
Touchscreen Interfaced with Spire’s Solution
Spire Pack used our years of experience integrating hardware devices and software to create rapid quality checks in a warehouse environment. We introduced a rapid package scanning system using a QR code reader. This allowed all components of every shipment to be fully tracked. The system also allowed RR Donnelley to do quality control using a touchscreen interface. Warehouse staff scanned each shipment after packaging. Following each scan, the computer would determine if a quality check was needed. If the package qualified for a quality check, the QR code was sent to a computer database and the database then transmitted the contents of the container to the touchscreen. Users could tap on pictures on the touchscreen to log a pass or fail and this data then got sent back to the database to be saved. The quality control results were automatically presented to managers in straightforward, easy-to-read reports.
QR codes were a meaningful solution in an environment that required automation. Our solution required thinking about how to tag items and make them easily taggable. The scanner had to communicate raw data to the computer hardware when an item was scanned. In order to do this, Spire had to test the scanner by using code to simulate its functionality. We also had to write code to reproduce the QR functionality. Each of the boxes had a unique numeric code embedded in the QR code that would need to be scanned in order to be identified. Not only did the advanced algorithm we wrote allow for packing items correctly, but it also enabled quality assurance checks.
Lastly, Spire Pack incorporated artificial intelligence to virtually package every shipment. We developed an algorithm to pack multiple items into shipping cartons in the most efficient way possible. Once AI determined the best method of packing the items to ensure that all use of space was optimized, the smallest container could be chosen. This method could be used on shipments sent to thousands of different locations but the packing configuration only needed to be done once. The algorithm provided a 3-point check for every item virtually packed. It was extremely fast and enabled RR Donnelley to pack over 10,000 items in 8 seconds.
- Created rapid scanning system using QR codes
- Advanced algorithm for hardware integration of scanners
- Quality control using touchscreen
- Automated quality control reports
- Real-time reports for management
The system that Spire Pack created connects with UPS to automatically prepare shipping manifests and labels. By better communicating with UPS, RR Donnelley could consume their data regarding the status of the shipment and display it in a report that included shipped, yet to be shipped, delivered, and exceptions.
Managers can view reports immediately as soon as a scan occurs. The reports provide quality control and tracking status. Reports can also be filtered by target destination, the person who did the quality control check, and many other data points. The multiple filtering options allow managers to view data in percentages. Reports can also be downloaded in Excel or PDF.
3. Thousands of Dollars Saved per Shipment
Once adopted, the changes implemented by Spire allowed RR Donnelley to save thousands of dollars per job, increase quality control and increase customer satisfaction. By incorporating the QR code scanning system the process for quality checks became much faster and productivity in this regard increased by 350%. They could now quality check over 40 items in 90 seconds.
The packaging process was accelerated as AI determined the most appropriate carton for each shipment. Choosing the smallest possible shipping carton resulted in huge cost savings. The QR code scanning implementation resulted in quick and reliable quality control during the packaging process with managers getting up to date reports on all fails. In addition, RR Donnelley was able to fully track the shipping stages, respond confidently to customer inquiries and provide overall quality assurance to their customers.
- Connects with UPS
- Spire Pack’s logistics application checks 40 items in under 90 seconds
- Using advanced AI, Spire’s software solution saved RR Donnelley on shipping costs
- Spire Pack’s algorithm provides a 3-point check for every item virtually packed. It is extremely fast and enables RR Donnelley to pack over 10,000 items in 8 seconds