Improving Crucial Delivery to Maintain E-Commerce Success
When national specialty retailer Stage Stores launched e-commerce fulfillment operations, it was inundated with online orders. Because Stage fulfilled e-commerce out of 113 brick-and-mortar stores operating under five separate retail brands, during the peak holiday retail season store associates had to be pulled off the floor to help fulfill e-orders.
With fewer associates to help customers in person – and a keen e-fulfillment deadline problem – Stage Stores needed to improve the speed of its e-fulfillment process, without negatively impacting in-person customer service during the crucial holiday season.
Sendero started with an in-depth time and motion study, to get an accurate picture of the current order processing fulfillment flow. A Sendero team visited 11 stores as observers, capturing the time and steps needed to accomplish each of six major steps in the Stage Stores e-commerce fulfillment process. Tracking 90 orders through the observation period, we calculated average time to fulfill, recording 8 gigabytes of video and capturing 494 observation data units. The next step: an industry competitive analysis to see how the current flow measured up to industry standards.
Armed with this data, our Sendero consultants built out:
- Three sets of recommendations (short-, mid- and long-term) to phase in immediate improvements
- Best practices to standardize and optimize fulfillment workspaces and processes
- Detailed standards to ensure the optimal process could be implemented at each location across the Stage Stores brands
- Recommendations for hiring a full-time fulfillment specialist
- Recommendations for improving the Stage Stores inventory system and fulfillment tracking
- Recommended technology upgrades that would boost efficiency by eliminating two steps of the six-step fulfillment process
Sendero always stood behind what they said they would do, both in things they committed to, and the fact that when their Principals say they’ll take care of something – they do it.Michael Chang, Stage Stores Vice President, Information Technology, Stage Stores
At the completion of the engagement, Stage Stores leaders had 100 specific, actionable recommendations to improve its e-fulfillment process and an executable timetable with phased levels of improvement.
With the recommendations in place by the retail holiday season, Stage Stores was able to successfully handle more than 1 million e-commerce orders that were generated across all five of its brands, during the peak five-week holiday shopping period.