Case Study

UST helped Ashley Furniture accelerate new project development by 99%

After identifying manual processes and recommending automations, UST has helped Ashley Furniture boost productivity across its organization.

CLIENT

Founded in Anchorage in 1997 and now headquartered in Brandon, FL, Ashley Furniture is one of North America's largest home furniture retailers. With over 2,000 corporate-owned and franchised locations worldwide, the company employs approximately 4,000 people and generates $5 billion in revenue annually.

CHALLENGE

Need for more process improvements

After multiple engagements over several years, Ashley Furniture and UST established a track record of success, including this story about an Internet of Things (IoT) asset management dashboard that spawned many innovative manufacturing and warehouse management productivity enhancements. During the course of those projects, UST proactively identified specific manual processes within Ashley Furniture’s business that could be improved with automations.

TRANSFORMATION

Multiple project advancements led to a big productivity boost across the organization

Centralized, automated group email system

While working on manufacturing-related projects, UST noticed that Ashley Furniture employees manually sent many group emails about quality control status. With that in mind, UST recommended and developed a centralized, automated group email system. The flexible system allows users to create email recipient groups and add additional recipients on the fly, fetch dynamic content from SQL views, stored procedures, and APIs, send test emails, and schedule or send emails on-demand. Now, the group email system is used throughout the company, especially for payroll, finance, and HR communications, and it’s embedded in manufacturing and quality control processes.

Start-up code accelerator tool

During another project, UST noticed that as new software developers joined the company, there was a five to six-day lag before the person developed code productively. While this time lag was acceptable as the new person created the start-up code, UST saw an opportunity to eliminate the lengthy delay and recommended our proprietary start-up code accelerator tool. The program language-agnostic tool allows developers to create secure, high-quality start-up code for new projects in just 30 minutes rather than several days—a 99% productivity improvement. The code generation tool uses industry-standard architecture templates, and the start-up code is equipped with CI/CD pipeline YAML files.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 EDI import/export optimization

As UST implemented Microsoft Dynamics 365, our consultants noticed Ashley Furniture’s IT team wasn’t fully utilizing the built-in data queuing functionality. UST helped the IT team understand the functionality and implement a more efficient electronic data interchange (EDI) process. Rather than importing massive quantities of data in a single batch, UST recommended using the queueing functionality to schedule smaller data imports. The more efficient queuing processes eliminated risks associated with large batch data transfers, and the IT team can schedule the queued data transfers to run overnight or while the team works on more strategic projects.

IMPACT

Small projects create lasting productivity improvements

As a trusted partner, UST looked beyond existing projects and identified several manual processes that could be replaced with efficient automations. By uncovering these points of friction and recommending efficient systems, tools, and processes, UST helped Ashley Furniture boost productivity across its organization.

Resources

https://www.ust.com/en/manufacturing

https://www.ust.com/en/what-we-do/strategy-implementation-operations