Retailers have teased and rolled out online deals for days, even weeks, but the real Black Friday is here.
A web-based supply chain stocks a hectic pop-up store without stalling web sales.
At multichannel retailer J&P Cycles, the web is by far the fastest-growing retail channel for its sales of parts and accessories for Harley-Davidson and other brands of motorcycles. “We’ve had a lot of growth on the web the last three years,” says general manager Zach Parham. “That’s our channel of growth for the future.”
Still, there’s nothing quite like the surge in both sales and excitement at the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in Sturgis, SD, where the retailer operates a pop-up store in a town that grows from 5,000 people to more than 400,000 during the week-long event in early August. With about 100,000 of those motorcycle enthusiasts coming into J&P’s on-site pop-up store during the rally week, the retailer processes more than 10,000 sales transactions.
To handle that many sales from its 10,000-square-foot showroom at the rally, J&P relies on a web-based inventory and supply chain management system from Manhattan Associates Inc. that enables it to quickly replenish the pop-up store’s stock—including tires, engine components, seats, helmets and gloves—from the inventory in its Iowa warehouse. And if customers at the rally prefer to have something shipped home, the system integrates with J&P’s order management system from RedPrairie Corp. to arrange to ship those orders from the Iowa warehouse or from one of J&P’s two bricks-and-mortar stores located in Daytona Beach, FL and Anamosa, IA.
Part of the challenge of stocking the pop-up store for one week with thousands of products, Parham says, is to do that without interrupting the steady flow of orders placed through its e-commerce site at JPCycles.com and the 1.5 million catalogs J&P ships annually.
J&P uses the Manhattan SCALE (Supply Chain Architected for Logistics Execution) inventory and supply chain management system, a suite of distribution management and transportation management applications built on Microsoft Corp.’s .Net technology. A key benefit of the system, Parham says, is that it enables J&P to ship thousands of products to the Sturgis pop-up store without disrupting the fulfillment of online and catalog orders. “It’s a big undertaking to take that much product to Sturgis without hurting our regular daily operations,” he says.
As J&P needs to replenish stock in Sturgis, or to ship products to a customer’s home, the Manhattan system organizes the orders so that warehouse workers keep them separate from inventory slated for online and catalog orders.
The Manhattan system’s ability to manage inventory not only helps keep sales flowing through all of J&P’s retail channels, it also helps the retailer to sharply cut down the cost of moving inventory to and from Sturgis, Parham says. “We’re able to cut more than a week out of preparation time for Sturgis and about half a week when we return inventory to the Iowa distribution center,” he says. “That’s about 300 man-hours, a sizable cost savings.”
J&P Cycles is No. 300 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.