WMS helps D2C firm compete on cost
05 February 2020
Europe’s leading online contact lenses supplier is offering savings of up to 45% on major high street opticians, thanks in big part to the company’s ‘direct to consumer’ (D2C) model.
Superior service relies on a lean infrastructure that enables speedy turnarounds, fast delivery and providing a consistent great customer experience –and integral to VisionDirect success is the SnapFulfil cloud-based warehouse management system (WMS), which manages each stage of their supply chain whilst maintaining the ability for ‘in-flight’ realignment.
Flexibility and adaptability are key and SnapFulfil has provided the data integration across the workflows - from receipt, order process, stock replenishment through to final despatch. This has allowed VisionDirect to maintain their completive lead and keep pace with ever evolving customer requirements and service expectations, whilst also ensuring continued optimisation of the supply chain.
Distribution is handled from three sites across Europe, based in the UK, Netherlands and Spain and with the company handling nearly 10,000 same day customer orders (D2C) per day. All three locations are serviced by SnapFulfil’s proven end-to-end solutions.
Jason Thornton, head of operations at VisionDirect.co.uk, explains: “Effective warehouse management or the fulfilment and distribution side of the business needs to be managed carefully, to maximise opportunities at productive levels. The availability of product and the use of ‘real estate’ to hold the stock can soon become an added ‘high’ cost to any business if not managed properly.
“To deliver a high level of service and to not tie up cash with excess stock or racks of empty locations, is not achieved by a best judgement – rather it’s about gathering and analysing data intel that provides robust decision-making material. We are continuously reviewing our process effectiveness and consistently interfacing and collaborating with the SnapFulfil team to maintain our best in class processes and updates.
“Our aim is to maintain our next day service promise, so we are always monitoring the order flow and the allocation of the teams to fulfil the demand – and the end result is processing customer orders faster and without impacting quality, accuracy or our service.
”In our early days , pre-SnapFulfil, we were utilising a paper (based on a manual order sortation) pick route, but this has been replaced by an automated process allowing our pick operatives to complete 45+ orders within a single geographical pick run, thanks to pre-set algorithms.”
Material handling at a more granular level is vital for brands and manufacturers moving to a D2C model and the two companies have worked together to streamline processes, making them more flexible and fast moving. In addition, VisionDirect has also introduced order priority handling with significant labour and cost savings.
Thornton adds: “The devil’s in the detail, and to have trusted software goes hand in hand with that. Breaking down data and understanding the analysis to determine what we need to do can only be achieved with the right tools for the job. Getting it ‘right’ will provide much improved data quality, effective resource allocation and highly responsive process flow, whilst not investing and getting it wrong will quickly reduce any margin or effective service.
“We’re also able to better communicate with customers around their deliveries, improving the customer experience as a result. A stand-alone implementation reduced customer queries to our Service Support team by over 20%, with an automated ‘ready for shipping’ notification that came from the enhancement of the SnapFulfil process.
“With SnapFulfil, we additionally get the benefits of automatic storage and retrieval systems (ASRS) technology, which places and retrieves stock quickly and easily from within the warehouse environment for much improved efficiency. This helps reduce the footprint required for storage and cuts travel time, plus gives us the capability to operate over longer periods with minimal operator intervention.”