Huge growth in sales led to the need to optimize inventory, fulfillment and warehouse operations at Ecentria, say Michael Wohlwend, managing principal of Alpine Supply Chain Solutions, and Andrew Mironov, head of operations at Ecentria.
Ecentria, an online distributor of high-end technical gear and apparel for outdoor enthusiasts, hunters and law enforcement personnel, experienced sales growth that outstripped storage capability in its distribution centers, says Mironov. “We needed to look at our distribution network as a whole, and make sure that we were properly serving our customers and saving on overhead costs.”
In addition to storage, Alpine analyzed SKU and velocity growth, Wohlwend says. “Coupled with their order profile, we were able to identify justifiable automation solutions. We ended up going with a goods-to-person solution.”
Following that, Alpine performed a distribution network analysis, looking at inbound and outbound transportation costs. The goal was to optimally serve both the East and West Coasts within two days. All analyses were completed within 12 weeks, Wohlwend says.
“From the storage type analysis, we decided to optimize our storage pick faces with some different racking profiles,” Mironov says. “And we also looked into a goods-to-person solution that will sustain us for years to come. When we reviewed our distribution network analysis, we found that our two-DC configuration we currently employ is actually optimal for not only our consumer base, but our supply chain as well.”
In Mironov’s opinion, Ecentria learned quite a bit about its own business from Alpine’s “deep dive.” It gave management “confidence in knowing that our existing distribution network set-up was ideal for our customers.”
The relationship continues, Mironov says. “We are going to be working together to look closely at our slotting arrangement within our warehouse, and making sure the layout is ideal for optimal efficiencies for our labor force.”
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