Hotter Shoes is a relatively small but rapidly growing shoe manufacturer and retailer. The business was continuing to expand its markets by increasing its own retail outlets and offering a mail-order service to the United States but these developments were putting greater pressure on the fulfilment operations. This meant that there were concerns that in the longer term these pressures could have an effect on the ability of the business to maintain its high standards of customer service. With this in mind The Logistics Business was asked to carry out a review of the possibilities for re-organisation or expansion of the fulfilment operations to allow for continued growth whilst maintaining service and keeping costs low.
Our team started by examining and understanding the current operations and, after carrying out analysis of throughputs and storage, quickly came up with some suggestions for short term improvements which would allow more products to be stored and permit faster picking of customer orders. This was an important part of the project and these recommendations were implemented by Hotter Shoes at a very early stage. This analysis of operations also allowed the physical flows to be examined and the relative location of the various warehouse functions to be plotted. Particular attention was given to the areas of handover between production and warehouse and the loading of vehicles for dispatch.
We then modelled the future pattern of business that the warehouse operation would be required to support, including growth in the range of products and the increase in sales forecast for each channel. Following this we presented Hotter Shoes with a number of layout options, and the details of the capacities of each option in terms of storage and throughput were highlighted. We provided cost estimates for the options together with pros and cons and our recommendations formed the basis of the proposals submitted to the Board.