Background: Major retailer strives to improve efficiency
A leading specialty department store that operates 1,163 stores in 49 states, as well as an online retail hub needed to improve efficiency surrounding special promotions. The company carries a number of recognized brands and is known for offering robust promotions that bring in droves of shoppers throughout the year.
Behind the scenes, the logistics of these merchandising initiatives are complex and often executed under tight schedules and turnaround times. The retailer sought a transportation and logistics provider that could maximize delivery efficiency while also offering cost savings for two of its mid-year promotions.
Situation: Engineering an effective delivery process
The launch of new apparel lines at over 800 stores set the stage for the mid-year promotion, making it imperative that fixtures arrive during the same delivery window for consistent execution across stores while coinciding with marketing and promotional efforts planned at a corporate level.
In the world of retail, fixtures are almost as critical as the merchandise itself. Shipments of service desks, wall fixtures and shelving units for special promotions have critical delivery times. Freight arrives after stores have closed, allowing merchandising teams to assemble and fill fixtures with fresh new merchandise ready for when the doors open the next morning.
Because many of the fixture shipments originate from multiple suppliers over a condensed period of time, the retailer routinely used a less than truckload (LTL) approach during these promotions. However, the company realized it might be able to find a solution that would allow for increased control over deliveries as well as reduced costs.
The right solution would have to be fast and flexible. Phase one included 750 deliveries between July and August; phase two included 150 deliveries between September and October. Between the two phases, there were only windows of two or three weeks from start to completion for planning and executing a delivery schedule. Schneider delivered a carrier capacity and engineered logistics plan that used both Schneider and third-party capacity, shifted freight from an LTL to a multi-stop, truckload solution and rang up cost savings and efficiency along the way.
Schneider solution: Consolidating LTLs into multi-stop truckload shipments
In just a few short weeks, Schneider conducted a detailed analysis of all the retailer’s shipments and locations involved in its mid-year campaign in order to present the most effective solution. Factors considered included:
- Size of shipment.
- Adjacent shipping destinations.
- Distance from origin.
- Specific store hours, requirements and coordination with assembly teams.
- Coordination of delivery times.
- Available carrier and third-party capacity.
- Cost of delivery.
For each unique promotional period, Schneider engineered multi-stop shipments that delivered product regionally and within time-sensitive parameters. Additionally, the retailer needed safe drivers willing to handle special loading requests, as well as specialized equipment for cargo protection of shelving units, wall fixtures and more Schneider trailers equipped with air ride and e-track kept merchandising equipment safe and expedited unloading and set-up at each store.
Results: Custom solutions lead to positive outcomes
Schneider was asked to create and implement a more efficient, Dedicated delivery plan for a peak season promotion. Schneider’s program delivered:
- A 98% on-time delivery.
- Cost savings up to 50% on certain delivery routes due to modified stops-per-load requirements.
- Created and implemented complete project plans within 2-3 weeks.
- Scheduled deliveries for 900 total shipments.
- Facilitated twice-daily delivery tracking updates from drivers to the retailer via a smartphone app.
- Assisted third-party carriers in understanding the expectations and requirements of the company.
While the retailer and Schneider have enjoyed a longstanding relationship, previous projects were implemented on a much smaller scale. The company recognized Schneider’s leadership in understanding their business needs and objectives for accomplishing a logistical project of this magnitude. Schneider provided the creativity and effective supply chain solutions the retailer was looking for, and now knows it can look to the Big Orange when additional large-scale projects and circumstances arise.