Joules is a fashion designer and retailer of casual clothing for women, men and children. Their product is mostly sourced from the Far East and sold through a chain of stores in the UK, including an online store. In addition, product is supplied wholesale to a wide range of retailers in the UK and internationally.
In 2010 Joules realised that its existing distribution centre in Corby would be unable to meet the considerable growth projections of the business and would need to relocate to a new site. To help plan the search for a new site and the equipment, processes and layout that would be required, Joules turned to The Logistics Business for help. Dylan Richards, Joules’ Head of Operations, enthused ‘We brought them in to support in the design and specification of our move to a new distribution centre, and they have demonstrated excellent knowledge and practical experience in completing the project brief’.
Our work started with an examination of the existing business, including analysis of such factors as order profiles and range characteristics. As a business with very large peaks and three very different routes to market (online, retail, and wholesale), we had to be sure we fully understood their business dynamics and could be confident about what was needed to deliver a successful solution. We were also very conscious of the entrepreneurial ethic within their business and therefore wanted to ensure that we provided a very flexible solution that did not constrain this.
The next stage was to take their five year growth targets for sales across the three main channels and range (a typical planning horizon for projects of this type), and apply these to our collected data. From this we were able to build a number of models to predict future requirements for bulk storage and to calculate the number and size of pick faces required. This focus here was on achieving a good compromise between short pick walks and minimum reliance on fast replenishment. A space model was then built in order to calculate the size of operation required and enable a site search to be carried out.
Design and Specification
Once potential sites had been identified we were able to develop draft layouts and show how the site and its configuration could be put to best use. These exercises have to be handled in a very pragmatic way as the perfect size rarely exists. They are usually too big or too small, too high or too low!
Whilst all of this was continuing, work started on specifying processes and on the search for a new Warehouse Management System. We developed an outline specification and tender document that enabled Joules to obtain quotations from a number of suppliers. Operating in workshops with Joules’ management team, we were able to help them come to a conclusion about the best choice of supplier.
As the decision on the best site was being discussed, Joules outlined that they were keen to minimise capital spend in the early years. They required a start-up solution that would meet the immediate needs of the business whilst also making the transition to the five year layout as simple and straight forward to achieve as possible.
This was accomplished with great success. The Logistics Business provided Joules with a well-defined solution and a development road-map that will effectively guide them through the future years of rapid growth. Joules were clearly impressed with the results: ‘We are delighted with the work that The Logistics Business has carried out for us. They were extremely professional in their approach and I would happily recommend them’.