National Retailer Soothes E-Growing Pains
E-Commerce Fulfillment Time & Motion Study
Stage Stores, a specialty department store retailer which operates under the Bealls, Goody’s, Palais Royal, Peebles, and Stage nameplates, launched its e-commerce business in 2011 and immediately experienced substantial growth from online orders. Since the retailer’s e-fulfillment was primarily handled out of its stores, it struggled with order fulfillment during the peak holiday season. Sendero was asked to perform a time & motion study to determine how to make the in-store fulfillment process more efficient.
During the holiday season, the retailer’s 131 fulfilling stores were inundated with orders. As a result, store associates had to be pulled off of the selling floor to help with fulfillment, leaving fewer associates to assist in-store customers. To overcome these issues, Stage Stores needed to develop a set of best practices to ensure that an efficient e-fulfillment process was put in place.
Sendero performed a time & motion study on the in-store fulfillment processes. The Sendero team visited 11 of the retailer’s stores to observe the time taken to accomplish each of the six steps in the fulfillment process and to identify opportunities to improve efficiencies. Sendero tracked 90 orders during the observation period, calculated the average time spent to fulfill, and recorded more than 8 gigabytes of video and 494 observations. Sendero also performed a competitive analysis.
Sendero came up with short-, mid-, and long-term recommendations that included standardizing and optimizing fulfillment workspaces and processes, creating a team to teach fulfillment best practices to fulfillment specialists, and outlining standards to ensure that the optimal process could be implemented at each store across all brands. In addition to recommending the retailer hire a fulfillment specialist, Sendero outlined improvements for the company’s inventory system and identified better methods for tracking fulfillment hours. Sendero also recommended technology upgrades that would boost efficiency by eliminating two steps of the six-step fulfillment process.
Stage Stores was given 100 unique recommendations for fulfillment process improvement and an executable timetable for completion of each step. Most of the recommendations were put in place in 2013, giving the retailer the ability to successfully handle more than 1 million e-commerce orders which were generated over a five-week period.
“They have always stood behind what they said they would do, both in things they’ve committed to in writing in terms of scope of work, and also the fact that their principals say they’ll take care of something and they do it.”
Vice President – IT