Awana is a nonprofit organization that has been providing religious education resources to churches and families around the globe for over 70 years. Its mission? To reach kids, equip leaders and change the world.
From books to badges and gifts to games, Awana has an extremely large catalog with nearly a thousand products across dozens of categories. Originally, Awana managed its own fulfillment, but as the organization grew, it made the decision to outsource fulfillment to keep its focus on the core mission.
During its peak season, which runs from August through October, Awana processes orders for thousands of products per day. Because the size and weight of the products vary greatly, special attention needs to be given to packing and shipping orders efficiently. The organization’s previous third-party logistics (3PL) provider didn’t take the time to understand this model or make sure processes were optimized to handle such a large order volume. Errors ranged from “wrong items in the box, missing items, items incorrectly picked or miscounted and poorly packed boxes.” Heavy books were thrown in the “bottom of a box with no dunnage and one piece of tape. Items were showing up completely destroyed.”
"Our mission is to reach kids. If our distributor is not understanding that, not making sure the right product gets where it needs to be when it’s supposed to be there, it has a significant impact."
Many children that attend Awana come from underserved communities, so their weekly class very well may be the highlight of their week. With orders arriving damaged, and some not arriving at all due to issues with their original 3PL provider, Awana’s customer care team was overwhelmed with calls from frustrated customers who were having to give disappointing news to kids in their classrooms. The organization ultimately lost hundreds of customers and hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue due to fulfillment errors.
It was time for a change. Awana needed a 3PL provider that would take the time to listen and learn about the uniqueness of its business. Awana needed a true partner. That’s when the team connected with Whitebox.
The Whitebox team took time to listen to the pain points Awana experienced with its previous 3PL provider and understand the nonprofit’s main business objectives. Using our proprietary warehouse management system (WMS), Whitebox cleaned up Awana’s inventory to get distribution back on track.
Whitebox consolidated Awana’s inventory to one of our strategically placed warehouses. Since the organization’s business model features high order volume across several product lines, keeping inventory in one location prevents stock-outs and boosts shipping efficiency, so products aren’t being shipped from multiple locations to the same consumer.
Whitebox’s unique, highly efficient process for picking and packing, which combines proprietary technology with personal quality control, drastically reduced order errors and product defects.
Whitebox barcoded every SKU (stock keeping unit) to ensure each piece was tracked accurately. Using our own technology and operating with a carrier-agnostic approach to fulfillment, we prioritize and optimize shipping options to get the best rate and speed, and pass those savings onto Awana.
Additionally, our team implemented and continues to create custom solutions to meet their business needs, including a custom dashboard with unique fulfillment reports that provide real-time, transparent insights into inventory control and order statuses for the organization.
"We’re not a traditional, cookie-cutter ecommerce model. We were looking for competence to fulfill our business and partnership to actually do it well. Whitebox has proven to be an extension of our business, not a separate business unit altogether."