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The journey of Sara Harper: UrbanBox’s innovative use of GenAI

Ronald Haantjes

Ronald Haantjes - Commercial Director Americas

In this episode, we learn how Sara Harper – the visionary CIO of UrbanBox – identifies and implements Generative AI solutions across diverse business functions, driving significant value and demonstrating the transformative potential of AI technology.


During a recent board meeting, one of the board members acknowledged Sara’s successful application of ML and AI to automate supplier invoice processing, and suggested exploring Generative AI’s potential for further business improvement.


Sara readily embraced the challenge with a compelling vision for integrating Generative AI across various departments. Her vision was fueled by collaborating with the Vanenburg team, who introduced her to Google’s Executive Guide to Generative AI and their online Gen AI Navigator tool, a cutting-edge solution designed to guide businesses in their Generative AI journey.


Inspired by the Google Guides, Sara and her team embarked on a two-pronged approach:

Case 1: Visualizing Customer Choices

Challenge: Sales representatives praise the existing product catalog, but customers often hesitate with order placement due to the lack of lifelike visualizations of their specific configuration choices.

Solution: Leveraging Generative AI, Sara’s team developed a system that generates personalized visual renderings of the customer’s selected container configuration, including indoor and outdoor views, color variations, and window/door options. This innovative solution enables customers to visualize and confirm their desired container configuration, leading to a more informed and confident buying decision.

Case 2: Optimizing Container Sourcing

Challenge: Despite automation in invoice processing, sourcing used containers at the right quality, size, price, and delivery times remained a time-consuming challenge for the finance team.

Solution: Sara’s team proposed an AI-powered container sourcing tool. This tool automatically compares bids, generates purchase orders, and optimizes the selection process based on price, quality, delivery times, and transportation costs. This solution significantly reduced the time spent on sourcing containers, along with significant cost savings.


The implementation of the GenAI solutions led to the following improvements:

  • A 30% increase in quote-to-order conversion. This is directly attributed to the AI-powered image generation tool, which removes customer hesitation in order placement by accurately visualizing their ideal container home configurations.
  • A 60% reduction in container sourcing time. This was achieved with the AI-powered sourcing tool, drastically reducing the time spent sourcing used containers at desired price levels.
  • A 15% decrease in container acquisition costs. This was achieved by optimizing the sourcing process and and freeing up valuable employee resources.


UrbanBox Living’s success story offers a compelling example of how Generative AI can be harnessed to drive growth and efficiency across diverse business functions. Sara Harper’s vision and leadership, coupled with the expertise of the Vanenburg team and Google’s Generative AI tools, have paved the way for continued innovation and success. As Generative AI technology continues to evolve, UrbanBox Living is poised to remain at the forefront, actively exploring new GenAI possibilities and unlocking even greater value for the company.

Google’s Executive Guide to Generative AI can be found here. Visit Google’s Gen AI Navigator tool here.

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