SPI FOCUS: GETTING FLOOR-READY

Byline: Jeanette Hye

NEW YORK — Seattle Pacific Industries, a manufacturer of men’s and women’s jeans and sportswear, plans to implement a supply chain-management system to bolster its floor-ready merchandise efforts.
The system will link the company’s sourcing, manufacturing and distribution operations in North America and Asia and smooth transactions through the entire supply chain.
Seattle-based SPI, which manufacturers apparel under the Unionbay, ReUnion Menswear, Nautica Marine Denim and Sergio Valente brands, is increasingly handling demands from retailers for merchandise to be delivered “floor-ready.”
The company’s customers include Nordstrom, Federated Department Stores, Dayton Hudson and Dillard’s. Seattle Pacific also operates 180 Unionbay retail stores in Asia.
When merchandise is floor-ready, it’s price-tagged, put on hangers and fitted with antitheft devices, among other services.
SPI is implementing the Richter Success system from New York-based Richter Systems. It will enable the company to better track its floor-ready needs and perhaps push responsibility for them back in the supply chain.
“We’re not handling it nearly as efficiently as we’d like to right now,” said Kevin Evans, MIS director at SPI. “We need a better method of collecting the information up front, accumulating it and reacting to it.”
Under the current system, information on customers’ floor-ready requirements is documented on orders as additional comments. While the company has access to information regarding each customer’s floor-ready requirements, it is more difficult to sort the information in a way that is more useful.
For example, it would be more of a challenge to determine which companies that require wooden hangers also require a specific price tag. This does not allow SPI to use the information efficiently, said Evans.
With the new system, which is expected to be fully installed by December, SPI will have the capability to track and sort floor-ready data according to its needs.
Currently, the large majority of SPI’s floor-ready work, whether it is attaching price tags or putting product on special hangers, is done in its warehouse facility. Evans said the company would like to have a larger percentage of the work done on the factory level rather than later in the process.
To do that, however, SPI needs to be able to track floor-ready needs on a companywide basis, not just on an order-by-order basis, as it does now.
This would allow the company to have more of the work done in the factory. If, for example, SPI orders 200 shirts to be manufactured at one facility for several different customers, and some of those customers want the shirts placed on the same hanger, SPI will be able to track that data and integrate it into the production process so that the work can be done at the factory.
“This way, our merchandising agents will be able to better visualize demands and act upon them,” said Evans.
Evans said the system will also work in conjunction with radio-frequency scanners used in the warehouse to scan product as it is shipped. This will give the company inventory tracking capabilities and provide more information about the location of product further back in the supply chain.
“This will allow for better reaction based on customer needs throughout the entire process,” said Evans.
SPI also expects the installation of the supply chain-management technology to improve its EDI functionality, which it considers essential to meeting its customers’ needs.
“Our merchandising agents will be able to better visualize demands and act on them.”

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