Founded in 2012 and headquartered in Los Angeles, American Worldwide Agencies (AWA) is a leader in international freight forwarding, providing high quality air, ocean, road, and logistics services.

Despite the challenges of the pandemic, AWA witnessed exponential growth in their warehouse operations, doubling their Los Angeles footprint in under two years.

Graham Burford, AWA’s Chief Executive Officer, explains that a key component of their growth was the implementation of CargoWise Transit Warehouse, a powerful barcode-based solution designed to streamline inbound and outbound package processes, along with storage and retrieval operations.

“Integral to our success during this period was technology, specifically CargoWise Transit Warehouse. Its advanced scanning processes, from warehouse entry to container staging, played a pivotal role in enhancing our overall efficiency and streamlining cargo handling during this unpredictable time.”

According to Mr Burford, this has allowed the team to give customers greater visibility, from the moment packages enter the transit network to the time they depart.

“What CargoWise offers us with Transit Warehouse is visibility. The customer can see the total visible supply chain as it works its way through our process, and giving visibility through that process to our customers is critically important.”

Optimizing warehouse efficiency

Today, AWA provides flexible solutions for all storage and distribution scenarios. Their warehouse operations are AWA-owned, full capability facilities, located across the US.

Robert Thatcher, AWA’s Director of Operations, says the implementation of CargoWise Transit Warehouse significantly enhanced AWA’s warehouse operations, allowing them to optimize resource utilization, including equipment, space, time, and personnel.

“With daily fluctuations in outbound and inbound shipments, we're constantly chopping and changing what goes out and when. At its core, Transit Warehouse allows us to better handle changes in freight flow, without constantly updating load manifests or printing excess paperwork,” explains Mr Thatcher.

He says one of the biggest benefits is that the system proactively alerts the warehouse of changes or exceptions, minimizing errors in loading and ensuring more timely movement of goods. Importantly, it also eliminates the need to print numerous load lists at each step, contributing to a more efficient and error-free workflow.

“Take a scenario where a shipment destined from Los Angeles to Sydney goes missing in the warehouse. With Transit Warehouse, once the shipment is scanned and its barcode is logged into the container, any potential issues are immediately addressed, providing peace of mind, and streamlining the workflow.”

From manual paperwork to seamless automation

T’ona Hodge, Systems and Communications Manager at AWA, vividly recalls the challenges posed by the outdated cargo receipt process, involving the cumbersome task of handwritten documentation manually distributed via email to clients.

"In the past, it all started with the driver check-in, where details about cargo arrival were transcribed onto paper. This manual transfer of paperwork throughout the shipment's lifecycle proved time-consuming, especially with a full container load."

Ms Hodge highlights the transformative impact of technology on this once labor-intensive process.

"With Transit Warehouse, the entire workflow is now automated. The first scan of a package entering the warehouse triggers automated emails, ensuring efficient and accurate communication with clients. Our team is well-informed about the precise distribution points for goods – no manual button presses are required; a simple scan is all it takes."

Echoing this, Michael Eriksen, AWA’s Warehouse General Manager, emphasizes the power of barcode scanning to drive more accurate inventory control and billing.

“If shipments end up in the wrong country, the cost of finding and shipping them to the correct country is astronomical. It's key we have better control and visibility of the freight, from where it's going to how it's moving through the warehouse.”

Mr Eriksen says with Transit Warehouse, the AWA team can run searches and update colleagues on scanned inventory in real-time.

“Initially, it's about accuracy rather than speed of data entry. We can locate freight in the system or push the manifest to handheld devices, directing employees where to find it. This is where we're making real inroads, and being paperless is a significant factor in that."

A global warehouse solution

For AWA, the new warehouse capability seamlessly integrates with CargoWise’s forwarding functionality, creating an ecosystem where data flows effortlessly between their warehouse and forwarding operations.

Michael McGlone, AWA’s CCSF Manager highlights the benefits of being able to send pack line updates directly from warehouse scan guns to AWA’s freight forwarding team.

“Previously, we had to fix incorrect information via a desktop back in the main office. Now, team members can make instant corrections on their scan guns and send updates direct from the warehouse floor.”.

This feature significantly improves reaction times, allowing the team to swiftly identify and update information within the Transit Warehouse system, avoiding additional emails or face-to-face conversations.

The advantages also extend to the accuracy and speed of scanning freight into the warehouse. Once a driver checks in and the freight is being offloaded, scanning and updating information occurs rapidly.

“If done manually, this process would take significantly more time, potentially double or triple the current efficiency. The streamlined approach ensures that paperwork is accurately placed, minimizing delays, and expediting the screening and certification processes for outbound trucks,” says Mr McGlone.

Charting a future course for growth

For AWA, CargoWise Transit Warehouse has not only facilitated current success but also opened possibilities for future growth.

According to Ms Hodge, "What we've learned about Transit Warehouse is that it not only delivers the simple warehouse solutions we need, but it can also scale up and become a full-range platform, not just for us but for our clients.”

The integration of new features and ongoing collaboration with the CargoWise Warehouse team keeps the company agile, positioning them as a forward-thinking player in the industry, ready to leverage the latest technology for sustained success.

“The CargoWise team has been incredible, and I personally adore them. We routinely meet to discuss a vast array of products and features. We've brought ideas to the table that have turned into live features for other clientele – things that weren't necessarily thought of initially. This collaborative process benefits everyone, and I’m proud to be on this journey with them.”

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