Blair Corporation, first established in 1910, has been selling apparel and home-furnishing accessories via direct mail flyers for more than 85 years. When a recent update in marketing strategies required a redesign in distribution and logistics, Blair turned to Dematic to meet the challenge.
The challenge: new strategy strains old distribution methods
About 10 years ago, Blair expanded their marketing strategy by making their products available through multiple channels; arriving at a highly successful catalog system that was later augmented by the development of an e-commerce web channel. This change, however, required Blair to offer a broader selection of merchandise with smaller quantities of each SKU, creating a significant distribution and logistics challenge for a company attempting to maintain its high sales volume and quick product delivery to customers.
The solution: retooling order fulfillment
Blair required a solution to handle an increase in product volume and to reduce staffing requirements to support their growth. Blair partnered with Dematic to develop a customized material handling solution to suit their order fulfillment and distribution needs.
The system utilizes a variety of technologies including two crossbelt sorters and a sliding shoe sorter to consolidate orders and direct shipments. The solution also includes order picking, zone routing, pack out stations, and various conveyor technologies to route product throughout the entire material handling system.
- Increased customer satisfaction through faster order fulfillment
- Reduced costs through automated processes
- Improved profits from increased throughput
Prior to installing the automated material handling system, Blair shipped only 24 percent of all orders on the day it received the order, 40 percent on the second day, and the remaining 36 percent on the third day.
Blair is now able to ship 48 percent of all orders on the day they are received, 33 percent on day two, and the remaining 19 percent on day three. This improved turn-around time is significant, given retail consumers’ increased expectations for faster delivery.