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How GPA Logistics Achieves Unparalleled Support As A Part Of ShipBob’s Fulfillment Network [Case Study]

how-gpa-logistics-achieves-unparalleled-support-as-a-part-of-shipbob’s-fulfillment-network [case-study]
How GPA Logistics Achieves Unparalleled Support As A Part Of ShipBob’s Fulfillment Network [Case Study]

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Learn how GPA Logistics seamlessly onboarded to ShipBob’s Fulfillment Network and accelerated customer growth through top-tier analytics, pricing, and like-minded partnership.

About SFN

ShipBob powers a fulfillment network of franchised warehouses known as the ShipBob Fulfillment Network (“SFN”). The expansive network consists of over 20 3PL providers with 30+ facilities across the world, providing both DTC and B2B fulfillment to ShipBob customers. The SFN facilities are state-of-the-art warehouses, thoroughly vetted by ShipBob. Each SFN site is equipped with ShipBob’s proprietary technology, offering customers the entire ShipBob experience.

Brian Cantrell,
President of
GPA Logistics Group

Key metrics

  • 2 fulfillment centers in CA with ShipBob 
  • 1 cross-dock operation in GA with ShipBob 
  • 25 team members on average fulfilling ShipBob orders in FC’s 
  • 12 team members on average in cross-dock operation 

About GPA Logistics 

In November of 2016, Brian Cantrell and Bill Drummer purchased a small & struggling 3PL business. Over the next several years, what began as a single, 70,000 square foot facility grew into a thriving logistics operation with nine locations across 6 states, over 2 million square feet of warehousing space, and one goal: to fulfill customer orders excellently.  

GPA Logistics now provides world-class logistics expertise in the public sector and offers a variety of warehousing services, including warehouse storage, B2B & B2C fulfillment, transloading & cross-docking, and more. With over 2 million square feet of space, GPA takes the hassle out of logistics so that you can concentrate on growing your business.

GPA Logistics also specializes in a Staff & Manage model whereby they operate your private warehouse and assume all responsibility for day-to-day direct labor along with providing skilled leadership, administrative staff, executive oversight and vendor management. 

We sat down with GPA Logistics’ President Brian Cantrell to discuss how joining ShipBob’s Fulfillment Network enables them to support DTC fulfillment, achieve real-time data, and continue innovating for efficiency.  

Onboarding frictionlessly with a trusted partner 

As told to ShipBob by Brian Cantrell, President of GPA Logistics Group.  

When we were first introduced to the partnership model that the ShipBob fulfillment network uses a few years ago – where our team fulfills orders for hundreds of ShipBob customers – I was admittedly a little skeptical. But in practice, with the ShipBob technology, fulfilling for a lot of small-to-medium-sized merchants feels more like fulfilling for a single large customer, so the ShipBob model works well for us. 

We’d been operating under that model for a few years with different 4PLs when someone from ShipBob reached out to us. We had heard about ShipBob and saw that they were the up-and-comers in the industry, so we started exploring what a partnership would look like. We were really impressed with ShipBob’s knowledge and the plan that the team laid out – particularly the support and the data that ShipBob would be able to give us – so we felt like it was a good road to go down.  

The onboarding process to get started with the ShipBob Fulfillment Network was seamless, to be completely honest.  

Before joining, a couple of our team members went to tour ShipBob’s fulfillment center in Moreno Valley, California, just to see how it operated and get a purview of their system. Really quickly, we saw that ShipBob’s approach to logistics has a lot of structure and there are good processes in place, and that tempered any anxiety we had about adopting ShipBob’s system. 

From start to finish, the implementation process was really robust and comprehensive. We had a lot of help on the technical side setting up the systems and equipment, everything from scanners to PCs, and even hardware like conveyors and tables. There was a lot more support and shared ownership with the setup than we were used to with previous scenarios.

Brian Cantrell, President of GPA Logistics Group

Every implementation has its challenges, but by and large, all the ramp-ups we’ve done with ShipBob have been really smooth. I think this is due in part to their team having a great grasp on forecasting and order volume, and also because they don’t rush into anything. It’s very methodical, and they take the time to do things right.  

This is even true for inter-company transfers. For example, we’re condensing operations by consolidating smaller buildings into a larger facility, and that process has been pretty seamless. ShipBob’s team has been super hands-on and helped us get our new facility set up and organized in the way that’s most conducive to success. They’ve also done a great job of picking and choosing which merchants to transition to the new facility to minimize disruptions – it’s made things a lot easier. 

Accelerating customer growth thanks to ShipBob’s DTC expertise 

We decided to move all our ShipBob operations into one facility, and essentially have that facility 100% dedicated to direct-to-consumer (DTC) orders.  

ShipBob is extremely good at DTC, which has been key for us. The fulfillment industry saw a paradigm shift towards DTC during the pandemic, and even though it’s recessed a little bit, DTC isn’t going anywhere.  

There are a lot of potential customers that come to us and ask, “Can you handle DTC fulfillment?” and explain “Because a lot of companies say they can do it, but once we get in, we find out their operations really can’t support it.” And thanks to ShipBob, we’re able to say, “We can definitely handle it.”  

We’ve taken prospective customers around the facilities dedicated to ShipBob, and we’ve shown them how we can pick thousands of orders a day in a very systematic, methodical fashion using ShipBob’s technology. Our ShipBob operations show so well and it’s been very beneficial to work with a partner that thinks in such a like manner to us.” 

Brian Cantrell, President of GPA Logistics Group  

Achieving win-win-win pricing & transparent billing 

Pricing always has to work both ways, and with ShipBob we achieve a good marriage between value for money and transparency because our goals are so aligned. We found that happy medium where we both feel that we’re benefiting from our partnership – and we’re able to operate efficiently, which is very good from an economic standpoint, plus we are able to provide great service for the brands we support.  

The billing is also really seamless and easy. When we get our invoices, everything is pulled from ShipBob’s data, so it’s all timely and very accurate. It’s nice that we don’t have to put in a ton of administrative work – it’s a great feature.  

Accessing key data reporting & operational analytics  

Our company is pretty data-driven. On a day-to-day basis, the operators of each of our buildings are responsible for knowing how operations are performing, what the team accomplished that day, and what they’re forecasting for the next day – and ShipBob’s system lends itself well to that.  

ShipBob’s warehouse management software (WMS) makes a lot of daily reporting available to our team, like how many orders or pieces were picked that day and what imbalances there might have been. That data is crucial from an economic standpoint, so we love that we get it seamlessly through ShipBob. 

Our team also really likes the fulfillment center ranking each week. There have been several weeks where our facilities were ranked number one, and it’s always a good litmus test for how we’re performing as part of the ShipBob Fulfillment Network. Plus, our team loves that ShipBob’s WMS can waive and allocate orders for batch and bulk picking for efficient processing.  

Finding stellar support through a like-minded partnership 

The level of support ShipBob gives us has been phenomenal. There have been numerous times over the last couple of years where someone from ShipBob’s team – even someone from out of state – is boots-on-the-ground in our operation, working with our team on some initiative or implementation.  

Our managers also have a ShipBob regional liaison with whom they’re in contact with basically every day (in case they need help or there’s a hardware issue), as well as a couple of quality control team members at our facility that are ShipBob employees and part of the ShipBob support team.  

In our internal meetings, if there’s a question and none of our operators have the answer, the on-site ShipBob support employees will immediately leverage their direct pipeline to ShipBob’s support. Our team is very complimentary of the support that they get. 

We’ve worked with other fulfillment providers, but our relationship with ShipBob is special. It just feels more like a partnership, to be honest. People misuse that word or overuse it, but it feels like ShipBob is pulling the same weight that our company is and in the same direction, rather than the two of us pulling against each other.

Brian Cantrell, President of GPA Logistics Group 

Innovating together to constantly improve 

ShipBob is really progressive as a company, by which I mean they’re always looking for new ways to improve, which pushes us to improve, too. I know that our team has approached ShipBob before with ideas and suggestions for changes that could benefit both of us, and they’ve always had a warm reception from ShipBob.  

For example, we are working on partnering with a large manufacturer and distributor of shipping supplies (like poly mailers, corrugate, tape, labels, etc.) to pool our operational volume, work directly with a mill, and get a greatly reduced per-unit rate for those supplies while automating the replenishment process as much as possible. I’ve brought it up to a few folks on ShipBob’s team, and they’re just as interested in cost-savings with increased efficiency as we are.  

What’s next for GPA Logistics 

We’ve had several years of intense growth, so we’re at a point now where we can afford to take a bit of a pause and hone in on our existing operations. That said, when the next opportunity arises, we’ll definitely explore it!  

On top of investing in robotics and the packaging program, we’d love to grow our DTC business as much as possible. We’re totally open to other markets if they make sense – particularly in Texas, Illinois, or Ohio. Whatever happens next, we’re thrilled to continue partnering – and growing – with ShipBob. 

Learn more about SFN

If your 3PL is interested in partnering with ShipBob, click the link below to learn how you can gain a supportive partner to help you scale.

This article originally appeared on ShipBob and is available here for further discovery.
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