Logistics Management: La Boîte du Chef Automates 95 % of the Operations Behind its Ecommerce Website to Maximize Revenues
The Operations Management Behind a Monster Success
In 2017, Montreal’s renowned chef Jérôme Ferrer, known for his restaurant Europea amongst other things, launched La Boîte du Chef. This is a popular ready-to-eat meal box delivery service. In a very period of time, the business became a huge success, but behind the scenes, Ferrer’s team was ill equipped to meet such high demand. The orders were filled in manually in Excel files and the logistics behind the supply, preparation and delivery of thousands of meal boxes per week quickly became a major challenge. The staff felt overwhelmed and human-made mistakes were on the rise.
The Assignment: Developing an Application to Optimize Operations of an Ecommerce Website
La Boîte du Chef commissioned Unik Web to develop a personalized web application that had to integrate perfectly with their online sales platform: Shopify. This app aimed to optimize logistics management, eliminate manual work, avoid human errors and minimize revenue loss, while continuing to provide excellent customer service.
by the custom application
- Development of custom web application
- Creation of a custom mobile application
- Integration and development of Shopify features
- Creation of tailor-made APIs and integration from third-party partners
- Configuring a flexible and scalable hosting environment
The Challenge: Centralizing Operations in a Single Digital Environment
In order to properly carry out this mandate, Unik Web spent several sessions observing, discussing and analyzing the client’s processes. One thing became quickly obvious: the various departments, although intimately linked, had difficulty communicating with each other. Therefore, Unik Web had to create an integrated management module that consolidated the internal processes of several departments, particularly in logistics, supply, production and administration. This personalized tool had to optimize the daily operations while minimizing the manual work of La Boîte du Chef’s staff.
Developing a Custom Food Delivery Module to Integrate into the Shopify Platform
To meet the needs of La Boîte du Chef, Unik Web found a way to optimize the delivery chain with a system that is entirely digital. We developed a delivery management module that centralizes all logistics operations. This system automatically assigns orders to specific drivers according to the customer's postal code. The orders on the Island of Montreal are assigned to the internal drivers of La Boîte du Chef and the others are sent to third-party partners via multiple APIs. These APIs automatically generate shipments, purchase orders and labels to speed up the delivery process and avoid manual work. Secondly, the module optimizes the delivery routes in real time thanks to artificial intelligence and an ingenious integration with Open Street Map, Google Maps and Waze..
of tasks now automated
We designed a mobile app for La Boîte du chef’s drivers, so that they can access their orders and optimize their routes directly from their smartphones. Furthermore, the app ensures the traceability chain of deliveries. Drivers can take pictures as proof of delivery of the parcel and request a signature upon receipt of the package. Furthermore, drivers can enter their mileage, which makes it easier to track their expenses and reimbursements.
Customization of Shopify Modules for a Better Management of Operations
In addition to the delivery module, we customized the Shopify platform to La Boîte du Chef’s needs. The goal here was to minimize the ecological footprint and to maximize profits, while helping the company in offering better customer service.
Unik Web first developed a few features to allow customers to add "à la carte" items to their orders. For La Boîte du Chef, this module aims to optimize packaging space and to increase revenue through cross-selling opportunities. Plus, we integrated the module with a custom-designed inventory planning system that uses artificial intelligence and machine learning. By doing so, the client can easily manage the supply of materials and food products. This way, La Boîte du chef can manage its inventory with greater precision. This module helps with accurately responding to demands, reducing perishable foods surplus and monetary losses caused by food waste.
Lastly, we developed several additional modules to help reduce the most restrictive administrative tasks, including a tool for managing thousands of promotional codes and massive data entries for their largest corporate clients.
Interactive Heat Map: Visual Representation of Customer Geolocation
Unik Web also created a heat map to offer a visual representation of the geographical regions where La Boîte du Chef’s meal boxes are most popular. This proves to be a valuable tool for both logistics planning and marketing targeting.
Other elements are put in place to facilitate the logistics management, including:
- the implementation of a secure, flexible and scalable hosting service to support the strong growth of orders and customer needs;
- the development of APIs to ensure a bidirectional synchronization between the Shopify platform and the custom applications;
- the design of a standard user management system, so that La Boîte du Chef can administer different levels of access to its employees.