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Army & Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) and GetUsROI Success Story

Dan Daniel DC Celebrates New Warehouse Technology’s First Anniversary

March 30, 2021 | Conner Hammett

It’s been a little over a year since the Dan Daniel Distribution Center finished modernizing its warehouse management technology. And the effort has paid off.

For proof, look no further than the Virginia DC’s ability to handle the increase in orders driven by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Thanks to the JDA warehouse management system and a team of dedicated associates, Dan Daniel DC handled nearly 3.7 million packages from February through April 2020, when the pandemic was raging, compared with 3.2 million for the same period in 2019—a 12% increase.

From left, Receiver Alicia Wilson and Materials Handler Profile Leader Catherine Porter check merchandise into the Dan Daniel Distribution Center using the new JDA warehouse management system.

“With more people going to ShopMyExchange.com to purchase, we are picking, packing and shipping merchandise much quicker to customers and to the stores,” said Dan Daniel DC Manager Don Cassens.

In February 2020, leaders from the Logistics, Merchandising and IT directorates, along with DC managers, flipped the switches on the warehouse management system’s final two phases.

“We no longer rely on a 40-year-old system that dates back to when we opened Dan Daniel in the 1980s,” said David Adams, vice president of digital strategy, integration & architecture.  “This modern technology allows the Exchange to become more cost-efficient in our warehouses, keeping store shelves stocked fully, and getting merchandise to our customers quicker than ever before.”

Vice President of Logistics Jason Rakestraw said Dan Daniel associates have embraced the new system over the past year—and it will realize even more improvements in the future.

“The project was truly an amazing accomplishment of the entire team,” Rakestraw said. “Not only did we stabilize our largest DC operation prior to entering our peak selling season, but we were stabilizing during the pandemic with incredible volumes thrown at the DC. This year, our focus is to take advantage of the efficiencies the new system provides our operations and reduce costs by at least 10% while also improving service levels to our customers.”

The JDA system was already in place at the West Coast, Germersheim and Waco distribution centers, as well as the specialized jewelry DC at the Exchange’s headquarters in Dallas, before its rollout at Dan Daniel. Associates from those DCs helped train their Dan Daniel counterparts on the new technology.

Dan Daniel’s system was implemented in three phases, starting first with fashions in October 2018. Now, more than 50,000 cases of merchandise are shipped to the stores every day from Dan Daniel, and managers expect the numbers to grow quickly as associates gain experience on the new system.

“We have much better control of the workflow,” Cassens said. “We now have visibility of the inventory at all points and who is actually handling the merchandise in real time. This visibility provides better inventory accuracy and improves productivity, which will lower the cost of delivered goods to the stores.”

Eastern Region managers met at Dan Daniel last year to learn more about the system, and they came away impressed.

“On behalf of the Eastern Region team, we cannot thank everybody involved in the process enough for giving us the ability to better serve our customers,” said Eastern Region Senior Vice President Bob White. “These are amazing accomplishments and we are definitely seeing a difference in the shipments we have seen in our stores.”

Next to receive the JDA system are the Korea and Waco DCs, with Project Director Linh Ngo’s Logistics Enhanced Distribution team preparing the system for an early 2022 implementation.