Dean Warehouse Services Inc.
Supply Chain Excellence | 2019 Manufacturing Awards
Dean Warehouse Services Inc. is a family business, but it operates at the level of a much larger supply-chain management firm.
The 39-year-old company provides third-party logistics support to entities around the country, including warehousing, fulfillment and distribution services. It’s grown 20-25 percent every year for the past few years while maintaining long-term clients in the face of increasing competition. Several of those clients are Fortune 500 companies, said Brad S. Dean, the company’s CEO.
Part of the reason clients choose Cumberland-based Dean is its sophisticated technology. The company invested in a multimillion-dollar warehouse inventory management platform called Synapse. Initially developed for OHL, a multibillion-dollar construction and civil engineering company, Dean Warehouse Services adopted the technology to track goods from around the world in near-real time as they’re brought into its warehouses, stored and then shipped. The internet-based platform allows clients to run reports, check order statuses and see exactly where their inventory is located at any given moment, 24 hours a day and seven days a week.
“They have complete visibility, as if that facility was in their backyard – even if it’s 3,000 miles away in California,” said Joe Iovini, Dean president.
The Synapse platform is multifaceted, supporting the vast range of Dean’s clients, from consumer-product companies to major importers and manufacturers. “An entity like us, if we have 100 clients, we have 100 companies under our roof,” Iovini said. “And they’re all different.”
Dean maintains an in-house information technology staff to oversee the Synapse platform and support clients. Every client has specific operating procedures for their products, depending on the retailers they work with. That means that every client has specific instructions for things such as how boxes are labeled or how shipments are prepared. In-house IT support ensures that operations run smoothly and that clients don’t get fined for failing to adhere to retailers’ vendor and routing guidelines. The arrangement ultimately helps clients save money and stress.
‘You call a large company, you get 48 voicemails. Our clients love the value-added, personalized services and support.’
JOE IOVINI, Dean Warehouse Services president
But it isn’t just the technology that draws companies to Dean. The supply-chain manager prides itself on pairing state-of-the-art technology with family values. “We’re a family business and we run it that way,” Dean said.
His father, Chairman Brad A. Dean, founded the company nearly 40 years ago after working in transportation. He got the idea to start Dean Warehouse Services after one of his transportation clients inquired about finding warehouse facilities to store his goods.
Rather than offering fixed-pricing packages, as some companies do, Dean Warehouse Services works with clients individually to understand their needs. They work with mom-and-pop shops that may only do a relatively small volume of orders every year and bigger companies that supply behemoth retailers such as Walmart. Each client gets the personalized Dean Warehouse Services touch.
“We find clients resist the traditional red tape of dealing with big companies,” Iovini said. “You call a large company, you get 48 voicemails. Our clients love the value-added, personalized services and support.”
It also helps that Dean Warehouse Services has facilities on both the East and West coasts. The company boasts more than 2 million square feet of space spread across Cranston, Warwick and Hopkinton, and Ontario and San Bernardino, Calif. All facilities are equipped with security features, such as video surveillance.
Servicing both coasts allows Dean to stay competitive by helping clients save time and money on shipping and transport. “If you can get goods into the U.S. market at the closest point possible, the sooner you can sell,” Iovini said. “Having an East and West coast footprint allows customers to split the country in half and put inventory to left and to the right, thereby reducing inland transportation costs.”