March 1, 2011, 9:19 AM

Vera Bradley and Forte Make Packing the Perfect Bag Faster

Flexible Solution Increases Delivery Service Levels by 67% during Peak Period.

February 23, 2011 - Mason, OH - FORTE, a leading distribution consulting and systems integration firm, and Vera Bradley (Vera), a specialty retailer of accessories, handbags and more, recently completed an expansion project to help the company successfully meet ecommerce and value-added service demands. In 2008, Vera had changed from having its ecommerce distribution handled by a Third Party Logistics provider (3PL) to controlling it in-house themselves. With the growing popularity of the brand, the 2009 ecommerce season created operational challenges. FORTE was then engaged to help Vera finalize and deploy a flexible and scalable solution to more effectively meet product demand for 2010.

“The expansion was a huge success,” said Dave Gealy, Director of Distribution for Vera Bradley, “We were able to process twice the amount of volume in about half the amount of time during the peak period as compared to last year and FORTE was a big part of getting us there. We value the solid, on-going partnership that we have with FORTE.”

The project led by FORTE involved process improvement, addition of sorters and other material handling equipment, as well as an upgrade of FORTE's Warehouse Control System, Automation Director(R). One of the benefits of the implemented solution, mainly due to the capabilities of Automation Director, allows Vera to be extremely flexible in processing. Vera can now reconfigure its order processing areas based on special promotions, order profiles, etc. down to a daily or even per shift basis as needed. The solution also helped increased throughput enough to enable Vera to process a new product release in less time.

“We’ve worked with Vera Bradley for several years now and their focus is always on the customer and continuous improvement, which makes distribution and supply chain initiatives critical.” states Bob Babel, FORTE's VP of Engineering, “Our focus is on flexible and scalable solutions – we created an effective and successful solution for product demand with the Vera team and are proud to have them as a customer.”

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