Mail order company achieves real-time stock visibility

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Mail order catalogue specialist Scotts & Co has achieved real-time visibility of its direct dispatch supply chain and detailed reporting after implementing Kewill Trade.

The system provides Scotts’ suppliers with a user-friendly way to receive and manage its orders, from initial visibility of purchase orders through to dispatch.

After each order is made the system automatically generates Scotts-branded documentation, while a “whiteboard” facility allows both Scotts and its suppliers to add comments to a specific order.

A detailed history is also provided, enabling users access to an audit trail of all status changes in the life of the order.

Kewill Trade is also helping Scotts to work more closely with its suppliers to fine tune the range of products on offer and the quantity of stock available.

Keith Greasley, warehouse operations and logistics director at Scotts, says: “The direct dispatch project has proved a win-win for Scotts and our suppliers.

“Kewill has enabled us to increase customer satisfaction while reducing operational costs by providing complete visibility of our fulfilment cycle of 1.7 million per annum direct dispatch orders, making it possible for us to operate as a true multi-channel business.”

Following implementation, Scotts conducted a review of its carrier strategy and introduced a revised roster of approved carriers and a more flexible delivery schedule, which has delivered progressive savings of ten per cent of annual carrier costs.

The company has also been able to cut delivery times for customer orders to ten to 14 days, from 14 to 28 days previously.

Scotts is now looking to streamline the out of stock process followed by its suppliers.

The system is being developed to recognise the estimated date when out of stock items will be available again, removing the need for suppliers to keep dealing with requests for those items.

Scotts started trading as a single catalogue brand and now operates a multi-channel business.

In addition to distributing more than 50 million catalogues annually and operating a chain of retail stores, its various websites generate some 20 per cent of sales.

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