Casebook 2011: Urban Outfitters’ supply chain makeover

Fashion outfitter improves productivity and collaboration with trading partners.
By Josh Bond, Associate Editor
January 10, 2011 - MMH Editorial

Supporting sales and measuring performance across 1,800 retail and specialty stores on two continents can stretch the seams of a growing business. A warehouse management system (WMS; Manhattan Associates, 770-955-7070, http://www.manh.com) allowed Philadelphia-based Urban Outfitters to transform its supply chain processes with a long-term solution that would support operations across all of its channels.

The improvements have translated into a 35% reduction in total labor, an 80% reduction in manifesting and invoicing processes, a 66% reduction in turn time through receiving (from three days to less than 24 hours) and a 60% rise in putaway efficiency.

With a tradition of building successful partner and customer relationships, the company selected the same provider that had successfully worked to streamline the company’s multiple systems and labor-intensive processes in 2006. This time, the company sought an expanded solution that would handle higher volumes while delivering increased process efficiency, improved supply chain visibility and more meaningful performance measures.

“The solution has demonstrated the scalability and depth of functionality required to support multi-channel operations and growth,” says Ken McKinney, executive director of logistics for Urban Outfitters.

Moving to the next level of efficiency, Urban Outfitters relocated the fulfillment and call center activities of its direct and wholesale channels to a facility in Trenton, S.C. There, the company implemented a WMS to seamlessly optimize day-to-day distribution network processes from one common interface, in real time. 

“Urban Outfitters obtained a significant return on its investment,” says McKinney. “We achieved increased productivity and supply chain visibility along with improved trading partner collaboration and product flow.”

Future transformation initiatives include plans for two additional WMS implementations in the company’s Pennsylvania and Nevada retail facilities.

 



About the Author

image
Josh Bond
Associate Editor

Josh Bond is an associate editor to Modern. Josh was formerly Modern’s lift truck columnist and contributing editor, has a degree in Journalism from Keene State College and has studied business management at Franklin Pierce.


Subscribe to Logistics Management magazine

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your
entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Recent Entries

LM Group News Editor Jeff Berman recently conducted a wide-ranging interview with Bobby Harris, President and CEO of non asset-based 3PL BlueGrace Logistics about various aspects of the freight transportation market.

It’s small, but senior brass at YRC Worldwide will take it. After nearly seven years of continuing losses in excess of $2.6 billion, the parent of the nation’s second-largest LTL carrier posted a narrow net profit in the third quarter ended Sept. 30.

As was the case for the second quarter, third quarter earnings results for publicly-traded less-than-truckload (LTL) carriers are again strong. Signs of solid earnings results from carriers that have posted earnings to date include tonnage increases, gains in weight per shipment and average daily shipments, higher yield, and revenue per hundredweight.

While the holiday season is known to bring good tidings and cheer to all, it may also come with another thing that is not so pleasant: higher rate freights. That was the thesis of a commentary written by Mark Montague, industry pricing analyst and chief market-watcher for DAT, a Portland, Ore.-based subsidiary of TransCore.

Earlier this week, FedEx said it is expanding its International First service for early deliveries with the addition of 31 new origin countries, which will bring the total number of origin markets for the service to 97.

Comments

Post a comment
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.