E-Commerce Supply Chain Revitalization through DSI® Cloud Inventory®

In today’s growing digital economy, there are more opportunities than ever before for e-commerce businesses to thrive. A key contributor to the success of any e-commerce business is the efficiency of its supply chain. To find success in competitive e-commerce markets, it is imperative that companies get finished goods out of the warehouse and to the customer on time. E-commerce supply chains face two main challenges: reducing costs and increasing productivity. DSI® Cloud Inventory® helps companies overcome these two challenges by digitizing their supply chains and inventory management systems. This gives companies a competitive advantage as it optimizes their inventory, giving them the ability to track any item and its corresponding location at any given time. Knowledge is power, and comprehensive knowledge of finished goods and their whereabouts can save time and money as well as increase productivity. Even more importantly, this allows them to meet and exceed customer expectations that lead to increased market share and revenue.

Rawlings Sporting Goods, founded in 1887, is the official baseball supplier to Major League Baseball®, as well as a leading marketer and manufacturer of baseball equipment and other sporting goods. Rawlings previously had a team in their warehouse dedicated to finding lost inventory, which was not only costly, but also consumed hours of productivity. To put it simply, it was inefficient. Rawlings Sporting Goods also struggled to accurately fill orders with manual, paper-based warehouse processes in a timely manner, especially as e-commerce allowed for quicker purchasing from consumers. Having already invested in enterprise software, Rawlings sought an additional solution and finally integrated the Cloud Inventory platform with Oracle’s JD Edwards World and the JD Edwards Warehouse Management System (WMS). With Cloud Inventory, Rawlings experienced real-time connectivity between their ERP system and their workers on the warehouse floor.

“[Cloud Inventory] gave us the flexibility to enhance the WMS to better meet our needs. It allowed us to complete the project on time and on budget,” stated Jack Matthews, Rawlings’ Director of IT.

Additionally, Cloud Inventory enabled warehouse staff to be mobilized with the pairing of Motorola 9090-G wireless handheld computers. One of the most important warehouse performance metrics for Rawlings is its cost-per-carton, which includes all the variable labor costs incurred while preparing a carton for shipment. After implementing the Cloud Inventory platform and JD Edwards WMS, Rawlings reduced its cost-per-carton by 47 percent from $1.16 to $0.61. The cost-per-carton metric has decreased for four consecutive years, demonstrating that Cloud Inventory provides sustainable benefits by giving its clients and users the adaptability to make continuous improvements.

Inventory accuracy continues to improve for Rawlings, and they have reduced the value of their inventory write downs by 50 percent, and their back orders have been reduced by more than 75 percent.

“We’ve been able to go from being a good performer to a top performer,” said Mike Campbell, Senior Director of Distribution of Rawlings. “I’ve got emails from customers stating that we’re ‘the best’ at delivering sporting goods.”

Another e-commerce provider using the Cloud Inventory solution is Art.com, which is owned by retail giant Walmart, and sells art prints, posters, and custom-framed pieces directly to consumers. Across the United States and European Union, millions of unique items are stored in multiple warehouses for Art.com’s e-commerce business. Dealing with an elevated level of customer demand for their wide range of products, Art.com needed to replace their paper-based processes to increase both efficiency and productivity. In addition, Art.com could not (and still cannot) use barcodes, as they need to avoid applying adhesive labels to the artwork that they sell.

To overcome the inability to use barcodes on their inventory, Art.com warehouses use a visual process with thumbnail images of each art print to help employees confirm they are retrieving the correct pieces of art for each order. Art.com sought a mobile-first solution to automate its unique visual pick process while streamlining data reporting back into their system of record, Oracle E-Business Suite. The company desired a solution that would optimize existing business processes without disrupting or even replacing them. The solution for Art.com was to implement a personalized Cloud Inventory app on iPads that streamlined the process of retrieving and sending the correct products to customers on time. Since implementing Cloud Inventory, Art.com has experienced a significant reduction in errors, which saved a substantial amount of time. There has been a reduction in paper wasted, and Art.com improved warehouse productivity. Employees of all ages and skill levels were quickly able to adapt to the new iPad tracking system, and Art.com’s business increased efficiency at a rapid pace.

A third company utilizing Cloud Inventory to improve business processes is Trek, the largest bicycle manufacturer in the United States and second largest in the world, based out of Waterloo, Wisconsin. Trek designs and manufactures high-performance bicycles and accessories for mountain, road, triathlon, and urban use. Their facilities span across the United States, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom, and have allowed Trek to create an international company known for its innovative bike technology. Trek’s main problem was their crowded warehouses and outdated processes with limited visibility of data that stifled their ongoing expansion. Trek had a need for direct correlation with e-commerce trends to automate and standardize their warehouse processes between shipping and receiving, directed picks and put-aways, and replenishments. The company also wanted to optimize its use of warehouse space to increase efficiency. Their paper-based processes and other inefficiencies likewise caused a decrease in their production. After researching various solutions, Trek implemented the Cloud Inventory platform which features pre-built, certified integrations with Oracle’s JD Edwards EnterpriseOne Advanced Warehousing. Because Cloud Inventory has multilingual capabilities and is integrated from end-to-end, Trek was able to deploy standardized applications worldwide, which mobilized their warehouse processes and continuously supports local languages across all its markets. After putting real-time information in the hands of warehouse personnel, Trek’s productivity improved by more than 20 percent. Following the process of automating its warehouses and minimizing delays between its employees and enterprise software, Trek has achieved secure, accurate, and timely information, and in return has made its customers happier. To add to their list of improvements, Trek placed real-time, actionable data into the hands of their employees with easy-to-learn solutions, allowing even temporary, seasonal employees to reap the benefits of Cloud Inventory immediately.

As the world becomes increasingly reliant on e-commerce, it makes sense that companies embrace technologies that will enable them to optimize and digitize their supply chains. If businesses are going to reduce their costs and increase productivity, then contemporary best practices point towards the cloud. With the exemplary case studies of Rawlings Sporting Goods, Art.com, and Trek, it is easy to see how Cloud Inventory has helped companies everywhere in a variety of e-commerce situations. If there is one platform on the forefront of cloud-based supply chain solutions, it is DSI Cloud Inventory.