The challenge: Improve Pick Throughput by 400 Percent
Within the past 24 months alone Lucy Activewear opened 30 new retail stores, giving it a total of 66 outlets, with another 10 to 15 new stores planned to open this coming year. The challenge was how to keep existing stores efficiently stocked with the more than 2,000 SKUs of apparel products while new stores were continually being added. Two years ago, the company’s manual paper picking operation, and no warehouse management system (WMS) was able to handle the volume for 30 stores. The increased growth, both in stores and in volume created a huge demand in throughput, which old the system would not be able to handle efficiently.
About 80 percent of products are crossdocked directly through the DC to its stores. The remaining 25 percent of product is either new or continuously replenished items that are handled through a pick system.
Without a WMS, Lucy opted for a more economical option, a software program called PickDirector®, to run its put-to-light system, generate its picking lists, manage its wave picking and produce tracking lists. Developed by Dematic, PickDirector takes data directly from the Lucy ERP system and manipulates it so that the DC can pick in waves.
The new pick system has shown a marked decrease in the amount of time it takes from the writing of the order, through the picking and shipping. The average throughput time for order processing has decreased by a full day.
"Making the shift from manual, single-store picking to picking in waves has shown a 400 percent improvement in time for processing orders in the picking process. And the putting system has improved speeds by 100% at least."
- Barbara Bones, Director of Distribution & Fulfillment, Lucy Activewear