N early 50 years ago, The Rolling Stones had a hit with “Time is on My Side.” That sentiment seems to be the essence of the relationship between Citizen Watch Company and Kohl’s. Like most major retailers and vendors these days, both want to retain a close relationship with consumers. But they also want to maintain their individual identities while continuing to minimize the cost of online sales, inventory and order fulfillment. In their particular case, the solution was the development of customized documents for the drop-shipment of watches purchased at Kohls.com. The trick? Make it all happen just a few weeks before the all-important holiday season. This seemingly daunting task is now common practice for Bobby Sy, systems and technology manager for the Citizen Watch Company, who has gone through a similar scenario with a number of other major retailers using document output management solutions from Quadrant Software.
Speed and reliability Numerous retailers, wholesalers, manufacturers and distributors have been able to leverage Quadrant’s solutions to create, manage and distribute mission-critical documents electronically. But with holiday sales starting earlier every year, it’s become increasingly important for retailers to manage the increase in customer orders coming from their websites as well as from bricks-and-mortar stores. Those orders require the creation and distribution of shipping documents, invoices and purchase orders, though, and many major department stores require shipping paperwork. Citizen customized invoices and packing lists for drop-shipment of products bought on Kohls.com and went live two weeks before Cyber Monday. "We were able to make, create and print the documents needed to fulfill the order" using Quadrant software, Sy says. “Their solutions have been an integral part of our business operation for many years and allow us to provide the highest level of service to our customers,” he says. “In order to meet retailer demands, many distributors outsource their order fulfillment and document printing. However, we feel that by keeping order fulfillment in-house, it allows us to better serve our customers by ensuring quality and being able to meet their demands quickly. Additionally, it’s much more cost effective.” Quadrant president and CEO Steve Woodard understands that retailers “are constantly under pressure to deliver, whether it’s ensuring quality product, inventory availability or superior customer service. It is also a market that thrives on seasonality and deals with many peaks and valleys to its business cycles. “That is why it is so important for document output management solutions to be in place,” he says, “and for these documents to delivered and distributed consistently with speed and reliability.” Automating document processing during the holiday season was just as important for Citizen. The world’s largest watchmaker has worked hard to maintain an authentic and close relationship with its customers by having fast turnaround on orders, ensuring availability in major department stores globally and ensuring that they can scale to meet the growing demands for their products year round.
Citizen went into production on the invoices just a few weeks before Christmas, but the entire project took more than three months. “There were a number of internal things we had to do at Citizen as well as satisfying a number of specifications that were set out by Kohl’s,” Sy says. Those specifications included how the forms would look when Citizen shipped product to customers and the verbiage on packing lists.
“There were even detailed specifications on what style of type and which images would be used on all the documents,” he says.
The project was made simpler because Citizen had been using Quadrant’s software product for some time. This enabled it to take advantage of Quadrant’s Formtastic document management solution for generating customized paper documents of any kind — including invoices, checks and packing labels.
“Even with the customized specifications that Kohl’s wanted during the Christmas crunch, we were able to complete the project on time,” says Sy, noting that Citizen was able to significantly cut printing costs by using the Quadrant software system to fax and e-mail documents.
“It just all runs very smoothly,” he says. “By being able to generate custom products in-house we don’t have to go to a third party to have them do the design work. By doing it ourselves, we have greater control over the entire process.”