Reinventing Workflow of a Grocery Giant (CSWG)

C&S Wholesale Grocers, LLC is a leading player in the U.S. grocery supply chain industry, providing wholesale grocery distribution services. Founded in 1918, the company supplies over 7,500 independent supermarkets, chain stores, military bases, and institutions with more than 100,000 different products. C&S operates on a large scale, servicing various retail formats, including corporate grocery stores and independent franchisees across the Midwest, South, and Northeast.

C&S's operations are extensive and multifaceted. The company focuses on wholesale procurement, category management, pricing, private brands, marketing, advertising, merchandising, business and accounting, and store design and engineering. This comprehensive approach allows C&S to support a wide range of retail partners and ensure efficient supply chain solutions​.

Lotus Labs partnered with C&S Wholesale Grocers (CSWG) to develop innovative products that streamline and enhance operational efficiency. The resulting products, CS Connect and GS Connect, have significantly transformed how CSWG manages orders, deliveries, returns, and reporting, boosting productivity and user satisfaction across various levels of the company.

The Challenge

Due to the scale of operations CSWG were sitting on a goldmine of data. However this data needed to be managed and streamlined to be useful. The existing tools and methods were traditional and a lot of effort was required in managing the extensive communication and operational processes required to fulfil orders, manage deliveries and returns, and generate accurate reports. CSWG approached LotusLabs to come up with solutions to streamline the entire process.

Understanding the Problem

Understanding the core issues were cardinal to providing feasible solutions and therefore the process started with analysing the issues that were being faced. Lotus Labs started with laying out the entire map of the operations and looked into various verticals and their specific issues. Research was conducted by interviewing users across different hierarchies and use cases. The insights received from the initial research formed the foundation of designing the solution scenarios.

Some of the core insights can be highlighted as,


To address these challenges, Lotus Labs developed two tailored products: CS Connect and GS Connect. These products were designed to integrate seamlessly with CSWG’s existing infrastructure, providing a comprehensive solution to streamline operations.

CS and GS Connect

CS Connect's dashboard offers an exceptional vantage point for users, providing immediate access to upcoming events and company advancements. It features vital statistics such as delivery status, open orders, recent invoices, billing data, and quick links to various reports, offers, and services.

Key Features:

Dashboard : Central hub for real-time updates, important stats, billing data, and report access, enhancing user productivity and awareness.

Financials : Provides detailed insights into invoices, payments, returns, credits, billing information, and statements, streamlining financial processes with dynamic lists.

Orders : Dedicated section for creating and tracking orders, managing payments, deliveries, returns, and mishaps, facilitating efficient order management.

Retail Section : Enables CSWG to visualize product pricing, make informed business decisions, and manage millions of products regarding retail prices, profits, offers, and discounts.

Reports : Generates detailed charts and reports, crucial for documenting and streamlining the logistics process.

Additional Features : Includes product search, tools, food shows, bulletins, and trade shows, tailored for both CS and GS Connect to boost productivity and promote offers.

CS Connect Home Page

GS Connect Homepage

Technical Insights and Upgrades

Database migration to improve efficiency:

CS Connect and GS Connect systems leverage an Oracle database and involve data integration from Excel production. To manage data more efficiently, the team migrated to PostGreSQL, which offers faster database activities.This switch facilitated better synchronization between the mainframe and PostGres databases, which are reflected to the user in the front-end

Advanced Analytical Solutions:

Analytical Solutions offer comprehensive insights into inventory management, sales trends, and customer behavior. By leveraging data analytics, we optimize stock levels, reduce excess inventory, and enhance demand forecasting accuracy. Additionally, our solutions enable personalized marketing strategies, improving customer engagement and driving higher sales conversion rates. With real-time reporting and predictive analytics, the client can make informed decisions, streamline operations, and achieve significant cost savings.Our Computer Vision and NLP capabilities provide solutions for future use cases to automate data entry,customized automated stock counting and customized Chatbots.

Product Usage and Technology Transition:

Both CS Connect and GS Connect use the same backend service but have distinct front-end features. There are plans to merge these into a unified system in the future, further simplifying the technology landscape for users. This transition from "My Store" to the customer portal has been pivotal in enhancing user experience.

Report Generation Improvements:

Transitioning the reporting system to the Customer Portal for GS Connect addressed previous issues with the outdated technology, which was slow and lacked filtering capabilities. The new system supports more efficient report generation, with enhanced filters and customizable report dates, significantly improving accessibility and productivity.

Microservices and AI Integration:

Utilizing microservices has prevented system interference and issues that typically arise with monolithic systems. Although AI and machine learning have not yet been integrated, there are plans to explore these technologies to further enhance functionality and user interface.

User Interface and Database Upgrades:

Recent upgrades to the database and user interface have improved speed and visual appeal, simplifying the process of updating product prices and details. The new price association groups feature allows simultaneous updates to products within the same group, greatly improving efficiency.


Since the deployment of CS Connect and GS Connect, CSWG has experienced remarkable improvements in operational efficiency and user satisfaction:

Increased Productivity: Automation of routine tasks and streamlined processes have significantly reduced manual effort, allowing employees to focus on higher-value activities.

Improved Accuracy: Enhanced tracking and reporting capabilities have reduced errors and discrepancies in orders and deliveries.

User Satisfaction: The intuitive interfaces and comprehensive training provided by Lotus Labs have led to high user adoption and satisfaction rates across all levels of the organisation.

Contribution of Lotus Labs

The success of CS Connect and GS Connect is a testament to the expertise and dedication of the Lotus Labs team.  Developing a customised product that meets the specific needs of CSWG, ensuring seamless integration and optimal performance. Also providing continuous support and updates to ensure the software remains effective and up-to-date with evolving business needs. And finally working closely with CSWG to understand their challenges and goals, resulting in solutions that deliver tangible benefits.