Bluemark Case Study: How a project manager saves ten hours per week

Thanks to North Labs!

The Daily Data Chore

Bluemark is a logistics company that specializes in branded promotional products. It handles the logistics process from end to end, including sourcing, design, manufacturing, warehousing, and shipping.

In 2022, Bluemark launched Brand Courier, which Account Manager and Lead Data Analyst Marc Brewer calls a “last-mile, white-glove service.” The Brand Courier service entails Bluemark sending couriers to retail locations to deliver and install branded materials such as tent cards, window stickers, promotional card boxes, and technical devices.

This straightforward service belied a laborious data process. When Bluemark received Brand Courier delivery and installation orders from its clients, data relating to that order had to be cleaned before it was placed into the company’s proprietary application. Then, once the couriers completed a job, all related data had to also be cleaned and entered into another system that fed the dashboard shared with clients.

“I was the person touching that data every day, and, let me tell you, that process was highly manual and extremely time-consuming,” said Project Manager Paul Riccio. “I would spend as many as two hours daily cleaning data and making calculations and other transformations using Excel and Google Sheets, and I had to do it column by column.”

Marc and Paul needed a system that would eliminate the tedious and manual data processing and easily create key performance indicator (KPI) dashboards. Fortunately, they found themselves standing in line for coffee next to North Labs representatives at a data conference. This fortuitous meeting led to a warm conversation about Bluemark’s data woes, but the representatives assured Marc and Paul that North Labs could help. One impressive demonstration later, Marc and Paul were convinced North Labs had the personality and professionalism needed to solve Bluemark’s issues.

FORMULATING THE PERFECT SOLUTION

Marc and Paul stressed to the North Labs team that the entire data processing and KPI presentation process had to be automated. “I couldn’t stand having Paul work so hard on just the data every single day,” said Marc. “It was a huge waste of his valuable time. He really should be working on more strategic matters.”

Recognizing the objective, the North Labs team started the project by obtaining a clear understanding of what data cleaning, calculations, and transformations needed to be done. Then they explored, analyzed, and tested several tools on the market that could automate Bluemark’s manual processes before recommending the best functioning and most affordable option.

Next, North Labs diagrammed Paul’s daily data routine to determine the best way to automate the workflow. When Marc and Paul reviewed the diagram, they knew that what the North Labs team recommended was perfect for Bluemark.

“The automated workflow that the North Labs team created was amazing,” said Marc. “The team developed the workflow and figured out how to create a data pipeline to connect the services of the two data systems we used. They then drew up some automation scripts to handle what we had been doing manually.”

The automation project was completed in just two and a half weeks. Now, when data comes in, the system cleans it and effortlessly moves it properly between the various systems. That automatically populates a dashboard that presents KPIs to Bluemark’s clients.

“In an extremely short period, we went from dealing with spreadsheets in the Data Stone Ages to living on the cutting edge of data management—and at a fraction of the expected cost,” said Paul.

BUSINESS IMPACT

Time Savings - Bluemark’s return on its investment is the ten hours each week Paul spends handling data. “Getting those ten hours back was huge,” said Paul. “Now, I have control of my time, and I can use that extra bandwidth to be more effective in my project manager role.”

Increase in Data Accuracy - The use of manually populated spreadsheets can lead to data-entry errors. With the help of North Labs, there are no such errors because the data travels seamlessly from platform to platform.

Faster Data Flow and Visualization - North Labs took the Snowflake data platform and connected it to Bluemark’s Sigma interactive dashboard. Now, Marc and Paul can leverage the fast data flow and use dynamic visualizations to analyze data.

HEAR FROM BLUEMARK

“We are a young company. So, it was great that the team at North Labs really took us under their wings. They are more than partners. They are mentors to us.”

Paul Riccio, Project Manager 

The Daily Data Chore

Bluemark is a logistics company that specializes in branded promotional products. It handles the logistics process from end to end, including sourcing, design, manufacturing, warehousing, and shipping.

In 2022, Bluemark launched Brand Courier, which Account Manager and Lead Data Analyst Marc Brewer calls a “last-mile, white-glove service.” The Brand Courier service entails Bluemark sending couriers to retail locations to deliver and install branded materials such as tent cards, window stickers, promotional card boxes, and technical devices.

This straightforward service belied a laborious data process. When Bluemark received Brand Courier delivery and installation orders from its clients, data relating to that order had to be cleaned before it was placed into the company’s proprietary application. Then, once the couriers completed a job, all related data had to also be cleaned and entered into another system that fed the dashboard shared with clients.

“I was the person touching that data every day, and, let me tell you, that process was highly manual and extremely time-consuming,” said Project Manager Paul Riccio. “I would spend as many as two hours daily cleaning data and making calculations and other transformations using Excel and Google Sheets, and I had to do it column by column.”

Marc and Paul needed a system that would eliminate the tedious and manual data processing and easily create key performance indicator (KPI) dashboards. Fortunately, they found themselves standing in line for coffee next to North Labs representatives at a data conference. This fortuitous meeting led to a warm conversation about Bluemark’s data woes, but the representatives assured Marc and Paul that North Labs could help. One impressive demonstration later, Marc and Paul were convinced North Labs had the personality and professionalism needed to solve Bluemark’s issues.

FORMULATING THE PERFECT SOLUTION

Marc and Paul stressed to the North Labs team that the entire data processing and KPI presentation process had to be automated. “I couldn’t stand having Paul work so hard on just the data every single day,” said Marc. “It was a huge waste of his valuable time. He really should be working on more strategic matters.”

Recognizing the objective, the North Labs team started the project by obtaining a clear understanding of what data cleaning, calculations, and transformations needed to be done. Then they explored, analyzed, and tested several tools on the market that could automate Bluemark’s manual processes before recommending the best functioning and most affordable option.

Next, North Labs diagrammed Paul’s daily data routine to determine the best way to automate the workflow. When Marc and Paul reviewed the diagram, they knew that what the North Labs team recommended was perfect for Bluemark.

“The automated workflow that the North Labs team created was amazing,” said Marc. “The team developed the workflow and figured out how to create a data pipeline to connect the services of the two data systems we used. They then drew up some automation scripts to handle what we had been doing manually.”

The automation project was completed in just two and a half weeks. Now, when data comes in, the system cleans it and effortlessly moves it properly between the various systems. That automatically populates a dashboard that presents KPIs to Bluemark’s clients.

“In an extremely short period, we went from dealing with spreadsheets in the Data Stone Ages to living on the cutting edge of data management—and at a fraction of the expected cost,” said Paul.

BUSINESS IMPACT

Time Savings - Bluemark’s return on its investment is the ten hours each week Paul spends handling data. “Getting those ten hours back was huge,” said Paul. “Now, I have control of my time, and I can use that extra bandwidth to be more effective in my project manager role.”

Increase in Data Accuracy - The use of manually populated spreadsheets can lead to data-entry errors. With the help of North Labs, there are no such errors because the data travels seamlessly from platform to platform.

Faster Data Flow and Visualization - North Labs took the Snowflake data platform and connected it to Bluemark’s Sigma interactive dashboard. Now, Marc and Paul can leverage the fast data flow and use dynamic visualizations to analyze data.

HEAR FROM BLUEMARK

“We are a young company. So, it was great that the team at North Labs really took us under their wings. They are more than partners. They are mentors to us.”

Paul Riccio, Project Manager