Friday 28th Oct 2016 - Logistics Manager

A Quiker route to success

Quiksilver, the casual clothing retailer, has doubled its productivity by implementing HighJump Software’s Warehouse Advantage warehouse management system. The retailer wanted a robust WMS to manage the complexities of high-volume retail distribution through multiple channels.

The system’s retail-specific functionality and its ability to adapt business processes were big reasons for choosing the system – a lesson the company had learned with the rigidity of its previous WMS. Ed Shaver, senior vice president of distribution operations for Quiksilver, says: “Companies need to consider what they want to do not just today, but down the road. One of the things HighJump Software offered was the ability to grow with our business.”

Previously the Quiksilver team would receive hundreds of thousands of different products, which then had to be shipped accurately and on time to thousands of customers with varying order profiles. And in the fashion industry, where inventory changes dramatically from one season to the next, this was no mean feat.

Quiksilver uses the system to control and direct picking, put-away, inventory control and cycle counting. It has also configured replenishment visibility in the system. “Now we know instantly which zones need to be replenished based on the order demand and inventory availability. We’re being a lot more proactive for workers so the product is available to be pulled when they get there to pick it,” says Andres Castillo, vice president, distribution operations.

The retailer also implemented the HighJump wave planning solution to speed up high-volume order fulfilment. This enables it to carry out a “dynamic pull” picking process, which has resulted in faster picking and shipping of large orders to major retailers.

The flexibility of the system has allowed the distribution management team to explore new ways to push merchandise through the site faster. By designing and implementing a new cross-dock function called “hot pick pack,” Quiksilver marries inbound items with outbound orders, allowing customers to get popular merchandise quickly.

Quiksilver and HighJump worked together to configure the system to meet a particular need involving a process called “pack and hold”. With clear visibility into customer orders and shipping times, the system directs staff to pick, pack and hold until a customer’s shipping window opens.

Andy Engel, operations warehouse management system director, Quiksilver, says: “If many of our customers want orders shipped on the first day of the month, we can’t suddenly pick, pack and ship everything in one day. The HighJump system allows me to plan outbound shipments with great precision. So we’re set to go when the customer’s shipping window opens, and our product gets to the store right away.”

Cycle counting

The company has made big savings because of the interleave cycle counting functionality, which has cut out the need for costly physical inventories. These processes enable it to cycle count each location two to three times a year with no operational interruption. Previously, the distribution centre had to be shut down for five to ten days each year, delaying up to $10 million (£5.8 million) in order processing.

The company now ships twice the number of units each year compared to the two years prior to implementing the system, and has generated improvements in shipping, receiving and inventory accuracy.

“Our picking and packing have more than doubled,” says Engel. “Before, it may have taken a week to process an order. Now, if an order drops to the floor, we can process it same-day.”