California Design Den: Driving higher profits with ML

“We would need an army of data scientists to make faster decisions on pricing and inventory levels. With Google Cloud Platform machine learning and artificial intelligence, we don’t need that. We can make much faster pricing decisions to optimize profitability and move inventory.”

Deepak Mehrotra, Co-Founder & Chief Adventurer, CDD

Introduction

For more than 10 years, NMK Textile Mills has manufactured bed linens for major retailers in the United States and Canada. As e-commerce exploded, the company’s co-founder saw an opportunity to grow the business. So, in addition to manufacturing bed linens wholesale for retail customers, they reworked its complete supply chain to manufacture products for California Design Den, which became an e-commerce retailer now selling its products directly to consumers online.

Accurately forecasting demand and supply was essential to the company’s financial success—but it was also a challenge.

Why We Chose Pluto7

A couple years ago, California Design Den partnered with Pluto7, a technology solutions provider leveraging Google Cloud Platform machine learning and artificial intelligence, to intelligently predict demand and balances it with supply.

But that was just the beginning. “Along the way, we realized that to compete with larger retailers, make quicker decisions, and move faster, we needed to go further,” says Deepak Mehrotra, Co-founder and Chief Adventurer at California Design Den.

With guidance from Pluto7, California Design Den began migrating its database to Google Cloud Platform. Using various GCP products Pluto7 helps reduce inventory carryovers by more than 50%, in addition to improving the accuracy of demand planning quarter over quarter, and gaining granular insights into how individual SKUs are performing.

Solution

“Using Google Cloud Platform machine learning and AI was essential for California Design Den if it were to compete successfully with larger retailers,” says Deepak.

For example, tastes and fashions in bed linens can change quickly and consumer prices fluctuate. With more than 2,500 SKUs, it wasn’t possible for California Design Den’s team to continuously monitor product demand and experiment with competitive pricing in real time.

“We would need an army of data scientists to make faster decisions on pricing and inventory levels,” says Deepak. “With Google Cloud Platform machine learning and artificial intelligence, we don’t need that. We can make much faster pricing decisions to optimize profitability and move inventory.”

By integrating all its data onto Google Cloud Platform, California Design Den’s team gains deeper insights into product sales over time, which in turn helps the company improve demand planning by better determining which styles to manufacture and sell in the future.

Before Google Cloud Platform, team members had to dig through spreadsheets and run scenarios to get a sense of how particular products had sold. The next step was to perform keyword searches across the company’s photo library in the cloud to find each product’s image. From there, a team member would insert the product images into a presentation, along with relevant data points, to provide a report for stakeholders on how particular styles performed.

Today, California Design Den, with the help of Pluto7, is integrating its entire product image library with its database on Google Cloud Platform. Experimenting with Google Cloud Vision and Google Cloud AutoML, California Design Den is moving towards a day when team members can run sales scenarios and get deep background data on individual product performance while viewing images of the relevant products.

Merging product visuals with data will help designers and team members better understand sales patterns over time and in context. In the past, making correlations between things like which sheet colors sold well in California, compared to how the same sheet colors performed on the East Coast, was something that California Design Den employees analysed manually.

Google Cloud Results

Results

Google and Pluto7 software helped California Design Den reduce inventory carryovers by more than 50%. Inventory tracking and distribution, along with insights and visibility into product sales, are faster, more efficient, and accurate. Google Cloud Platform flexible pricing, speed, reliability, security, and scalability enable California Design Den to stay relevant and be more competitive.

In addition to benefiting from Google Cloud Platform, California Design Den relies on G Suite—also part of Google Cloud—to enhance collaboration among its global teams. Previously, the company’s email server would sometimes crash, due to the heavy load of sharing product photos and other data. “Gmail and Google Drive handle the everyday demands on the business effortlessly and reliably,” Says Deepak.

Products Used

  • Google BigQuery
  • Google Compute Engine
  • Google Cloud SQL
  • Google Cloud Storage
  • Google Cloud Vision
  • Google Cloud AutoML