Global floorcare market leader Vax is enjoying huge growth in its ‘direct to consumer’ e-commerce channel, because of very low overheads and bigger margins
A growing presence on the internet for advertising its product has helped, as well as easier payment options allowing customers greater access to premium products within the range, but central to this neat and clean expansion over the last four years is the company’s best-of-breed SnapFulfil warehouse management system (WMS).
SnapFulfil was originally brought in to handle the inventory side of Vax’s FMCG B2B business, whereby large pallets had to be shipped into the distribution centres of retailers, such as Argos and Currys, for them to send onto their fulfilment centres.
However, latterly the more fluid D2C ecommerce division has marked a step-change from packing pallets to picking items. This has led to Vax increasing its item picking areas and introducing pick face packing, whereby operatives pick from ground level at a fast rate, ensuring high success rates for forecasted replenishment.
At the heart of this fulfilment success is SnapFulfil’s cloud-based WMS solution, as explained by Suki Lotay, European business systems lead at Vax: “The SnapFulfil system makes sure the pick is in place and the first time pick is successful, as for us it’s all about a quick pick, pack and dispatch.
“Because the Vax brand is now competing with our retailer base, a good customer experience from start to finish is also vital, so we’ve evolved and started to offer things like free next day delivery, timed delivery and have opened the gates for nominated delivery. Communication is key as well, so if a customer does come to the site for vacuum cleaners and accessories, we ensure they get the full story from start to end – when it’s been picked, dispatched and signed for.”
The recent introduction of pick waves, which are managed by the SnapFulfil system, has also helped the company to reduce warehouse labour. Plus, by using the WMS’ cross docking functionality, Vax can now identify when a product is to go directly to the pick face for an order, rather than being put away.
Lotay added: “Cross docking, replenishment and pick facing are some of the tools we use to ensure we are always meeting the customer’s service level agreement, for example, if it’s next day delivery. Customers expect the delivery to be clean, efficient and trouble-free. That’s where the power of the SnapFulfil WMS comes into play and illustrates why we need best-in-class systems to consistently deliver that for us.”
SnapFulfil MD Tony Dobson said: “Taking a warehouse or distribution centre from B2B to D2C requires operations-supporting software applications to innovate and improve – and offer value, flexibility and responsive support options. More nimble, configuration-based applications, such as SnapFulfil, facilitate change management by allowing the flow of data and order of operations within the application to be changed – empowering management to easily store, organise, deliver, and track the accomplishment of work throughout a facility on a consistent basis.”
Prior to implementing SnapFulfil, all of Vax’s inventory control was carried out via their Microsoft ERP system using paper-based processes – however it didn’t have the flexibility or capacity to meet increased demand for their growing number of product lines.
A solution was needed that improved their supply chain capabilities (whilst reducing operational costs and increasing service levels) but without requiring substantial IT resource and capital investment, or significantly impacting the day-to-day running of their busy warehouse operations.
SnapFulfil was identified as the sophisticated and proven warehouse management system with simple interfacing capabilities that would effectively manage the fulfilment of orders in multiple sales channels, along with their finished goods and spare parts inventories.
Subsequently, Vax has realised many wide-ranging improvements – including increased number of despatches with no additional labour; reduced obsolescence due to better stock rotation; improved space utilisation, shipping container management and customer service across all channels; decreased indirect costs resulting from pick errors and product returns, plus more efficient sales order lead times and time for stock take, as well as all-important scalability for future business growth.
To find out more about SnapFulfil and how it could help with and improve your fulfilment requirements call 0333 241 2082 or visit snapfulfil.com.
(A Retail Times’ sponsored article)