"Abercrombie & Fitch's supply chain has more than 1,100 stores globally with distribution centers in the U.S., Europe and in Asia supporting that store base, as well as a direct-to-consumer channel," says Grischow. "We use 100-plus shipping lanes for export and import."
Tools to manage that level of complexity and scale are essential, he says. After a competitive bidding process, the company selected Amber Road's global trade management solutions. "We have a best-of-breed strategy for software and they fit the bill," he says.
"It is critical that we have a supply chain that provides flexibility to respond to quick changes as well as predictability. With their solution, we are able to understand at any given point in time where our products are and can take action, such as shifting from ocean to air, to chase a category that is hot. It also allows us to improve predictability by holding our carriers and forwarders accountable for providing the service levels that we require."
When Abercrombie & Fitch implemented the visibility tool, it was in the midst of a significant ERP implementation and had embarked on an aggressive international growth strategy. "We were looking for a solution in the cloud that would be easy to implement and that would enable us to trace, track and manage by exception," says Grischow. "We knew that as the volume and complexity of our transactions increased, we would either have to hire a small army of people or implement an effective tool - obviously we chose to find a technology solution that would help us be as efficient and effective as possible in tracking our merchandise around the globe."
One of the ways the solution accomplishes this is by consolidating all relevant data into a single repository, Grischow says. "This allows us to manage by exception instead of managing every single point along the supply chain." Additionally, alerting enhancements "allow us to quickly jump on any shipments that are outside of our standard parameters."
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