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Solving Massive Logistic Data Problems with Apache Cassandra®

Patrick McFadin on April 27, 2023

Solving Massive Logistic Data Problems with Apache Cassandra®

C&S Wholesale Grocers, Inc. is the largest wholesale grocery supply company in the United States, serving 14,000 retailers, chain stores, and institutions, and an industry leader in supply chain innovation. The company manages and operates warehouses in 15 states, delivering over 140,000 food and non-food items from more than 50 locations across the country.

Technical Challenges

As C&S continued to scale and grow, they faced several challenges related to warehouse data management:

  1. Siloed and disintegrated data: Warehouse data was fragmented and dispersed, slowing down distribution efficiency and impeding innovation.
  2. Real-time data consolidation: C&S needed to consolidate data from numerous points across warehouse operations in real-time to improve efficiencies and address problem areas.
  3. Mobile app for warehouse efficiency: The company required a mobile app that not only reads data but also allows users to communicate interactively and in real-time with the data to improve warehouse selection and time management.

Solution built with Apache Cassandra

C&S chose Apache Cassandra® as the core of their warehouse data management solution due to its scalability, high availability, and real-time data processing capabilities. Here’s how Cassandra helped C&S address their technical challenges:

  1. Data consolidation: Apache Cassandra’s distributed architecture allowed C&S to consolidate their previously disjointed data points into a single real-time view of warehouse operations.
  2. Real-time data processing: Cassandra’s high-velocity read and write capabilities enabled the company to process millions of records in seconds, providing a real-time view of warehouse operations.
  3. Mobile app development: C&S built a mobile app that leveraged Cassandra’s real-time data processing capabilities to enable users to collaborate, adding notes as data streamed from different endpoints into the application, and writing notes back to the database to improve warehouse selection and time management.

Results and Benefits

By implementing Apache Cassandra, C&S Wholesale Grocers achieved the following results and benefits:

  1. Improved warehouse efficiency: The new platform enabled C&S to process thousands of transactions per second per node and write back almost as many simultaneously, with over 300 users currently using the platform.
  2. Faster data processing: The platform can process about 280,000 records roughly in five minutes, significantly improving warehouse data management.
  3. Increased return on investment: Over the next five years, C&S Wholesale projects that its direct return on investment from implementing Apache Cassandra will equate to multi-millions in dollars.

Future Plans

Given the success of the current implementation, C&S Wholesale Grocers plans to expand the mobile application’s use to all 45-plus of its warehouses. Once this is complete, C&S will leverage Apache Cassandra to consolidate data sets from their entire supply chain into a single data lake, enabling enterprise analytics and reporting needs.

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