With improved online analytical tools to plan merchandise and a web portal to communicate with suppliers, The Orvis Co., a multichannel retailer of sports gear and apparel, is holding leaner inventory while also maintaining high fulfillment rates, says Marc Salamone, senior systems manager, marketing and merchandising.
“We’re providing better analytical tools to enable our merchandise buyers to make better pre-season estimates,” he says. The home-grown analytics technology helps get the right merchandise to Orvis’ stores and the warehouses that support its web and catalog channels.
In addition, the retailer communicates with vendors through a web portal running software from VendorNet to expedite the processing of purchase orders and work out changes or disruptions to planned production and delivery of the goods.
The combined strategy has helped Orvis r to run leaner inventory-holding about 10% less merchandise than in the past-while maintaining high order fulfillment rate of 85% or above, Salamone says.
Orvis uses a combination of demand forecasting software built into its Manhattan Associates Advanced Planning system from Manhattan Associates Inc. and the retailer’s own in-house business intelligence software to project how soon and how much it should replenish products. The systems, for instance, can project sales by comparing data like current price points and customer traffic to that of prior seasons.