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Store Operations

Happily Ever After

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“Bridezilla” became a popular term in the 1990s, when overly demanding brides began making news — normal, everyday women who just lost it amidst the stress of wedding planning. Now imagine a Bridezilla’s reaction if her dress wasn’t ready — even the sweetest lady could explode, with the likely result of a negative review plastered all over the Internet.

That’s why David’s Bridal, a 325-unit, $600-million wedding retailer, takes supply chain management very seriously.

“We don’t miss a wedding,” says Diane Garforth, director of logistics systems at David’s Bridal. “[Her wedding] is the most important day of her life, so we have to make sure that what we promise, we can deliver.”

The promise
After a bride picks out her dress at David’s Bridal, her exact measurements are sent to a manufacturing plant in China or Taiwan. The dress is made and shipped to one of two Pennsylvania distribution centers, reaching the store one to five days later (depending on the store’s proximity to the DC).

“Supply chain means everything, from sourcing to the customer experience,” says Tony Coccerino, vice president of logistics and distribution for David’s Bridal. “We’ve got to make sure we’re manufacturing goods at the lowest cost and bringing them into our DCs [in a timely manner] and to our stores accurately and in shape.”

David’s Bridal has used Manhattan Associates’ Warehouse Management (WM) Solution to minimize the number of moves per order and improve order accuracy. It’s helped consolidate orders, reducing transportation and shipping costs while eliminating the annual physical counts. WM has helped David’s Bridal improve monthly on-time delivery rates from an average of 65-70 percent to 98-99 percent. It also reduced overall cycle time some 25 percent and cut DC direct labor costs by 20 percent per piece.

“You can’t miss the wedding date, so there is a lot of time, money and energy spent ensuring that we meet our commitments,” Garforth says.

The upgrade
Because the bridal retailer plans to make an online push, David’s Bridal recently upgraded to Manhattan’s Distributor Order Management (DOM) software to help keep better track of incoming inventory and inbound purchase orders from bricks-and-mortar stores and online purchases.

DOM calculates distribution and transit time and provides an estimated time of delivery. If a bride wants her dress by June 15, for example, DOM computes this date along with online and store orders, and allows David’s Bridal to take action to make sure the bride gets her dress on June 15 — even if 5,000 other orders are due that day. “The validations we do ... in scanning the UPC barcode has really allowed us to ensure that we ship ... the style, color and size that [the bride] ordered,” Garforth says.

The test
When David’s Bridal added Manhattan’s DOM, Garforth made sure ample testing was conducted before going live. “Upgrading WM in any of these systems is like buying socks and underwear,” she says. “It is not fun ... but you have to do it.”

DOM allows David’s Bridal to leverage network-wide views of inventory, support order modifications and cancellations throughout the order lifecycle and provides customers with the option to buy online and pick up in the store.

Garforth says she shopped around for similar products, but was more familiar with Manhattan. “Once you have more than one of their products, it is in your best interest to keep on the latest version of all of their products,” she says. “This whole idea of upgrading has become something everyone is used to.”

Unfortunately, she says, many people’s idea of an upgrade is tied to their experiences with PC operating systems — push a button for installation. Upgrading a hefty piece of software requires the development of proprietary code — a lot more effort than merely pushing a button.

In order for DOM to work properly, the coding must allow for a label on every order that allows associates to see the customer’s name, order specifics and store location at any point along the supply chain. Manhattan customizes the coding for picking, packing and shipping at the warehouse, then makes any necessary tweaks.

Garforth says the upgrade is about laying the foundation for the future. “We expect e-commerce to grow,” she says. “We need the systems to support that.”