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Retail Technology, Retail technology News

Mulberry bags supply chain IT for business growth

Tuesday April 13 2010

Luxury UK brand improves efficiency and supports business growth with new systems in IT-enabled warehouse

Mulberry has successfully deployed Manhattan Supply Chain Architected for Logistics Execution (SCALE) from supplier, Manhattan Associates at its distribution centre (DC) in Chilcompton, Somerset.

The Manhattan SCALE deployment has resulted in improved inventory control, more efficient picking and better utilisation of warehouse space.

Mulberry is known worldwide for fine leather goods, including bags and shoes and is committed to retaining and investing in its UK factory. In spite of the recession, the brand has recently seen a marked uplift in demand.

Rapid growth forces switch from paper

To cope with the increase in demand and to manage multichannel orders, Mulberry needed to switch from a manual paper-based system to a technology driven approach to warehouse management.

“Following the deployment of Manhattan’s system we have a much more efficient warehouse. Over the Christmas period we were able to employ temporary staff to fulfil internet orders for the first time because the training of staff on the technology supported picking process took just 15 minutes, rather than the four months it took previously in the manual environment.

“Without Manhattan we simply would not have been able to process anywhere close to the quantity of orders we were able to fulfil. Looking ahead, we have forecast that, by this time next year, we will have doubled the amount of goods relative to what we are processing at the DC today. We would not be able to handle this growth without the new software,” explained Richard Cunningham, IT director for Mulberry.

Streamlines process, visibility

Humphrey Henry, warehouse manager at the Chilcompton DC, added: “New stock arrives quarterly and each SKU [stock-keeping unit] is allocated to a pre-defined bay. Under our old system, the early arrival of a large order might mean that a bay would sit empty until the next quarterly delivery or be filled with a product that arrived out of sequence. We were suffering problems with stock location, wasted space and an overall lack of visibility.”

Steve Smith, senior vice president for Manhattan Associates in Europe, Middle East and Africa, said: “It is a privilege to be associated with a quality brand that is so committed to British manufacturing. As Mulberry continues to expand, we are delighted to be providing a solution which is sufficiently flexible to cope with the peaks in customer demand that Mulberry typically sees each season and that can handle the rapidly growing demand for products Mulberry is seeing across an increasing number of channels.”

Mulberry added that it plans to fully integrate Manhattan SCALE with its host system, in order to achieve the automation of all processes, including the closing of orders and invoicing.

Tagged as: Mulberry | luxury | supply chain | warehouse | inventory | distribution | fulfilment | management | Manhattan