Today’s omni-channel e-commerce world provides endless sales opportunities, but the logistics challenges can be overwhelming for even the biggest brands. Lucky for them, Distribution Management has them covered.
Retail powerhouses such as Amazon, Macy’s, Target and Walmart count on Distribution Management for fast, efficient order fulfillment. The company meets their specific requirements, from front-end integration to out-the-door compliance, affording retailers more time to focus on growing their businesses.
Distribution Management serves the print and imaging industry as well, distributing products and supplies for leading manufacturers including Epson, HP, Lexmark and Xerox. The company’s managed print-services program lets manufacturers keep watch over their customers’ print environments, so replacement supplies arrive just in time.
“Everything we provide for retailers and print manufacturers — our partners — is supported by IT applications we’ve developed in-house over the years,” said Tom Huck, Director of Infrastructure Technologies at Distribution Management. “We look at IT as a way to become more nimble and agile in the way we do business, and as a way to differentiate ourselves from competitors.”
The software development team continually adds new features to the company’s expanding line of services to meet partners’ needs. Over time, legacy storage, which included tools for backup and replication, challenged the team’s ability to innovate.
“Legacy storage was inhibiting our ability to provide developers with real-time SQL Server data to do their work,” Huck said. “The best we could do was provide data that was several months old, which wasn’t ideal.”
Distribution Management replaced legacy storage with Pure® Storage FlashArray//X20 based on its outstanding performance during a proof-of-concept test. Next the IT team sought backup and replication.
“We narrowed our choices to Veeam® and Zerto, but after testing both we quickly realized they shouldn’t even be in the same room together,” Huck said. “Veeam offers more than backup and replication — it empowers us to make data more readily available to software developers.”
Veeam Availability Suite™ integrates with Pure Storage to deliver SQL data 90% faster to software developers, helping to accelerate time-to-market for new services and strengthen Distribution Management’s competitive advantage.
“We’re committed to the highest level of service to our partners, and Veeam and Pure Storage support our commitment,” Huck said. “Their integration enables a PowerShell script to spin up SQL databases from Veeam backups quickly and reliably, making data available faster to software developers so we can serve partners.”
At a basic level, software developers use the data to model connectivity and freight options for new partners. At a deeper level, developers might create Return Service Tag SKUs that are added to outbound shipments when retailers anticipate higher-than-average exchange or return rates, often during the holiday season. This reverse-logistics service enables retailers to process returns and exchanges quickly and efficiently, not only meeting their customers’ expectations, but also exceeding them.
“Veeam and Pure Storage help us to be innovative in the way we do business so we can continue to differentiate ourselves from competitors,” Huck explained. “Our company is fortunate to have had several consecutive years of revenue and profit growth, including double-digit revenue growth year over year. Veeam and Pure Storage support this growth.”
Distribution Management has five distribution centers and a disaster recovery (DR) site. Veeam backs up more than 40 TB across 275 VMware vSphere virtual machines (VMs) from Pure Storage snapshots on-premises for high Availability and replicates them off premises for DR. Veeam Explorer™ for Storage Snapshots helps the IT team recover individual items or entire VMs quickly and efficiently, directly from Pure Storage snapshots.
“Two of the best words to describe Veeam are fast and reliable,” said Sam Baltz, System Administrator at Distribution Management. “I work with Veeam every day, and what I appreciate most is not having to babysit backup and replication anymore, saving at least one day each week, for a total of nearly seven weeks each year.”
The IT team uses this time to work on specific projects, including security. In a world constantly under threat, team members work diligently to hone practices that comply with SOC and GDPR.
“Veeam supports our compliance with SOC and GDPR through built-in encryption,” Baltz said. “Data is encrypted before backup, in transit and at rest. Veeam helps us protect critical data, so we can help ensure business continuity for our company and our partners.”
Distribution Management provides the operational infrastructure for its subsidiary companies specializing in automated order handling, fulfillment and shipping of small-package goods. Distribution Management can reach 99% of the United States within two days from its five strategically positioned and highly automated distribution centers, shipping millions of packages each year. Founded in 1972 and headquartered in St. Louis, the privately-owned enterprise employs 350 people.
Distribution Management has developed internal resources to meet specific fulfillment and shipping requirements for partners such as Target, Walmart, HP and Lexmark. One resource is a software development team that builds custom in-house applications to support these unique needs. Legacy storage, which included tools for backup and replication, challenged the team’s ability to innovate, making it harder to deliver new services quickly and risking the company’s competitive advantage.