EDI, Scanning Prove Key to Success at Polo’s Fledgling DC
CHICAGO -- Polo Ralph Lauren Corp.'s distribution center just turned three years old, but Al Adcock, director of engineering and distribution support, said savvy planning is ensuring the facility will remain state of the art for years to...
CHICAGO -- Polo Ralph Lauren Corp.'s distribution center just turned three years old, but Al Adcock, director of engineering and distribution support, said savvy planning is ensuring the facility will remain state of the art for years to come.
Adcock outlined the operations of the DC at the recent Quick Response '94 conference here in a presentation called "Reengineering the Distribution Center." He said a commitment to electronic data interchange and scanning has allowed Polo to improve service while cutting operating costs.
"Our service time to the customer, within our center, has been reduced by no less than 50 percent," he said. "Order fulfillment has improved from 92 percent to 99 percent plus, [and] we reduced our cost per unit by 50 percent from 1988 to 1994."
The 350,000-square-foot Greensboro, N.C., facility serves all Polo's retail customers along with 48 company-owned stores. Adcock said effectively serving retailers was difficult before the DC opened.
"We had grown to three small warehouses in New Jersey plus two contract warehouses for our wholesale business and one warehouse for the retail business," he said. "On any given day, it was very possible a customer would receive as many as five shipments from five different locations. Today is a very different situation. We are located in one consolidated facility."
The distribution center's success, however, has as much to do with changes in the way Polo deals with suppliers as it does with the physical facility. Polo now requires advance ship notices (ASNs) from all its suppliers and is pushing suppliers to adhere to VICS standards and employ the UCC/EAN-128 bar code for carton marking.
Polo has made allowances for smaller suppliers who are not electronic-data-interchange capable. Rather than transmit ASNs via modem, they can fax the statements to the distribution center. The ASNs, Adcock said, let Polo make sure it is receiving the correct styles in the correct quantities.
He said the ASNs set an automated receiving system into motion at Polo. Once received, they are loaded onto a host computer. When a trailer arrives at the dock, the information is downloaded to the personal computer system that runs a conveyor belt."The receiving process becomes very easy at that point," Adcock said. "It's a matter of unloading the cartons and making sure the labels face forward. As the cartons pass the scanner, the conveyor system checks in each carton based on the ASN."
Adcock said the system also sorts cartons based on destination within the DC.
ASN are also generated by Polo for outbound shipments to retailers. Adcock said the ASNs can be transmitted electronically or printed and faxed, depending on the retailer's ability to receive the information.
He said scanning has also proven "integral" to the operation of the automated DC. The facility relies on fixed sortation scanning on the conveyor belts but also uses hand-held and truck-mounted radio-frequency scanners.
"With our systems, the scanning was one of the largest changes," Adcock said. "In the past, all these transactions were recorded manually and keyed in at a later time. These old operations led to many errors and lost cartons."
Assouline is paying homage to the late Azzedine Alaïa with a reprint of "Alaïa Livre de Collection.” The book is comprised of photographs of the designer's summer 1992 runway show with models Christy Turlington Burns, Naomi Campbell and Tyra Banks, pictured here at right. #wwdfashion #alaia #tyrabanks
Fall 2018 accessories take on a painterly hue, with Nebulas Blue among Pantone’s top 10 colors of the season. (📸: @jonghyupstudio ; editor: @twallz21 ; stylist and set designer: @haideefindlaylevin ) #wwdaccessories
@americanapparelusa is relaunching the brand outside of the U.S. today, opening its online store to more than 200 countries. The company is also contemplating a return to brick-and-mortar, though details have not been confirmed. In tandem with the expanded distribution is a recasting of a social media ad campagn, called “Back to Basics,” pictured here, with a focus on diversity and a cast of models above the age of 21. Read more on WWD.com #wwdnews #wwdfashion
Exclusive: @britneyspears is continuing to expand her brand. The pop icon, who appears in @kenzo ’s latest campaign, is partnering with Epic Rights to launch a line of branded merchandise. Read @hernameislex ‘s story, link in bio. #wwdnews #britneyspears
The Duchess of Cambridge channeled Princess Diana’s look upon giving birth to Prince Harry, when she and the Duke of Cambridge departed the hospital with the new baby Prince this afternoon in London. #wwdeye #princeofcambridge
The new Prince of Cambridge has arrived! The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge posed with the 8-pound newborn. She wore a look from one of her go-to designers, @jennypackham. Tap link in bio for more. #wwdeye #princeofcambridge
Jewelry label @alisonlou has made a name for itself with fine jewelry that speaks to the Millennial market. Now @twallz21 reports that the label is bringing those playful ideas to a new affordable line of lucite hoops with the launch of Loucite by Alison Lou. Here’s a look from the line modeled by @emrata. #wwdaccessories
@sarahjessicaparker and @gilt are teaming up on a bridal ready-to-wear line. Tomorrow, Parker will launch SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker Bridal — and as part of the launch, Gilt will offer 15 exclusive styles from the SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker footwear collection that were designed to complement the new line. Made out of 10 styles, the line is designed for a variety of occasions, from bridal showers to receptions. Get more details on WWD.com #wwdfashion