Thousands of seasonal products from a large number of oversees factories were traditionally delivered to this major chain of retail stores over a very short period of time, causing all sorts of operational issues. These ranged from warehouse over-capacity or inability to unload containers quickly enough. Often the containers had to wait at a port for extended period of times, incurring additional demurrage costs. Stock would arrive to stores in unmanageable volumes, driving store staff away from serving the customers and into stock merchandising. It was a time consuming and painful task that had to be completed within just a few days, ready for the season.
We implemented an innovative direct-to-store oversees consolidation project. A full range of seasonal products from over 50 factories was consolidated in a central point at origin. The stock was loaded into store specific containers, merchandised reflecting equivalent store layouts and delivered direct to every site, bypassing a local warehouse all together.
The initiative significantly reduced warehousing, distribution and demurrage costs. It improved overall store efficiency and operations throughout the hectic pre-season period. Hundreds of man-hours were saved during the store implementation because the containers were loaded mirroring the store layouts.
Consolidation of products resulted in lower carbon footprint as a smaller number of containers was required to transport the goods. The seasonal disruption at the warehousing facility was significantly reduced and the store staff could focus on their primary activity of delivering excellent customer service. The overall pressure on all staff associated with the preparations for the main trading season was minimised, making their lives just easier. And it was greatly appreciated.