With a web-based supply chain management system, home décor products retailer Kirkland’s Inc. says it has cut the per-unit cost of processing shipments through its distribution centers by 14% and eliminated 90% of its back-up storage locations.
The system helped Kirkland’s process shipments more efficiently and accurately during the 2004 holiday season, said Todd Weier, vice president of logistics. “We handled the busy holiday season well and are achieving every goal we set forth,” he said.
Kirkland’s, which operates 323 stores in 34 states, implemented the web-based Supply Chain Advantage Suite last year from HighJump Software, a unit of 3M. In addition to cutting per-unit processing costs in the fourth quarter by 14% compared to before it deployed the HighJump system, it decreased the cycle time of moving goods through distribution centers by 67% and increased throughput, or the amount of products moved, by 40%.
Prior to deploying the new system, Kirkland’s had maintained for each of its stores an off-site warehouse where it kept extra stock to make up for shipment irregularities. Now, because the web-based system helps provide for more regular, planned shipments, Kirkland’s has been able to eliminate 90% of its off-site store warehouses, the retailer says.
The Supply Chain Advantage Suite lets Kirkland’s distribution center dock workers and managers access information on a web page regarding incoming and outgoing shipments. With information on shipments entered into the system by suppliers, for example, managers can view the amount of goods due to arrive at scheduled times, then arrange for the proper number and location of employees to process inbound and outbound shipments, a HighJump spokesman says. As dock workers scan shipments, managers at the distribution center or at a remote location, such as a central or regional headquarters, can view real-time updates on the amount and speed of shipments processed, he adds.
The increased visibility and accuracy in inventory management has also helped Kirkland’s comply with the Sarbanes-Oxley law on accounting for assets. "This was the best physical inventory I`ve ever been associated with,” Weier said. “The auditors were amazed at the HighJump system`s flexibility and functionality."