Last week, we had the opportunity to interview Bobby Kareer, Head of Software Development at U.S. Cold Storage, and we took the time to ask questions about Cold Storage’s digital transformation journey and how innovation has come across the company.
Tell us about your company.
U.S. Cold Storage is a warehousing and logistics company. We’re the premier provider of refrigerated warehousing and related logistics services throughout North America. With roots dating back to 1891, USCS has long served a diverse customer base with requirements ranging from primary storage to fully integrated third-party logistics. Any brand you might find in your fridge, we probably store it in our approximately 40 to 50 warehouses spread across strategic locations in the U.S. We also handle the transportation side of the industry, which we refer to as logistics. Our team and technology enable us to plan, execute, and report all facets of your shipments quickly and efficiently.
How has innovation brought digital transformation to your company?
It’s very interesting that when you think about a typical warehouse management company or storage facility, you do not associate it with a technology company, yet that’s what we are. We are not a traditional technology company, but over the years, one of the decisions that was made was to create our own proprietary warehouse management system, so that makes us as close to a software development company as you can imagine. We actually own the product that runs our warehouses, which allows us to customize it to meet our customer’s needs. We feel that it gives us a competitive advantage over our competitors.
Can a company teach its people to be innovative?
Of course. I believe that through different programs and by creating the space for people to contribute, they will surprise you with their innovative ideas and in finding new ways to solve problems in ways not obvious to everyone. Innovation comes from having a good understanding of the problem, which most of our staff has. Having our own software, built to specifically address our needs, gives us an understanding of the challenges that come with using the system, so we can constantly make it better.
How do you motivate employees over the long haul to keep them focused on innovation?
By listening to them. A lot of companies can take for granted technologies that they have been using for years, but fresh new thinking and stepping out of the comfort zone can result in a fresh take on age-old processes. You want to promote a culture of continuous evolution of your technologies and tools.
How has this partnership added value to your digital transformation journey?
There are multiple benefits and obviously, we are still early in our engagement and partnership, but so far it has been a very natural fit between our team in the US and Wovenware’s team here, on the island. The communication has been fluid. I think culturally people are also more aligned, there is just a more natural conversation that happens, which helps to ensure that trust is built. There is also the time zone alignment. Being in the same space helps to move collaboration, not having to wait six or ten hours waiting to be able to chat with fellow colleagues is very important.
Why is Wovenware the right partner to support your company’s digital transformation journey?
I think Wovenware’s engineering talent is exactly what we need. We started this journey with a quality and a test-driven approach to validate the partnership and so far it has produced great results. We’re looking forward to continuing our work with Wovenware to build upon our warehouse management system with new capabilities that help us meet the changing needs of our customers and employees. We’re always looking forward to what comes next.