This high-end, service-oriented home products retailer began as a catalog business, offering high-quality kitchen accessories. Today, its product channels include catalog, retail, and the Internet, and it has expanded into other home furnishings and accessory businesses.
The company’s distribution challenges included:
- Multiple distribution channels and multiple concepts
- Significant sales growth across all of its distribution channels
- A peak-to-off-peak ratio of 2:1 for store volume
- A peak-to-off-peak ratio of 3:1 for consumer direct orders
- A wide mix of product types with different handling characteristics, including hard goods, soft goods, food and furniture
- Demands for decreased order cycles across all of its distribution channels
- Special packaging and gift wrapping requirements
- Multiple delivery service levels and multiple delivery methods
- A need to reduce distribution costs while enhancing distribution capabilities and improving service levels and customer satisfaction
Given the variety of concepts, the large growth rates, and the radical change in product mix to larger items, the company’s infrastructure was under strain. The physical distribution network was in constant need of expansion, information systems of all types were being stretched, and the ability to meet service levels during peak periods was becoming a significant challenge.
The company reviewed its strategic direction in all facets and determined that the highest priority project was a process improvement initiative, which included the implementation of a new Warehouse Management System (WMS) within its five distribution centers (DCs) and fully leveraging the capabilities of the WMS to drive those operational improvements.
Tompkins was responsible for recognizing and implementing operational process improvements while assessing supply chain technology solutions to support those improvements. After an extensive evaluation, Tompkins recommended that the company implement a complete solution that went beyond the traditional WMS scope to also include best practices, slotting, labor management, supply chain visibility, order allocation, and an executive information system.
The Tompkins/client team chose to implement Manhattan Associates’ full suite of supply chain execution products into the company’s five automated facilities, which totals 3.5 million square feet.
In addition to providing design and implementation services, Tompkins also developed and delivered the entire training program and new standard operating procedures.
The entire project has delivered significant cost savings in DC operations, IT maintenance, direct labor, and transportation. In addition, the utilization of DC capacity will be maximized, deferring the costs associated with having to build new DCs. Most importantly, the client’s customers have benefited from the company’s ability to fill their orders quickly and accurately.