How A Small Boutique Kept Up With Heavy Demand
“Business was booming, and we could barely handle the growth.” Said Jane from Marie Nicole – a children’s clothing company in Gallatin, Tennessee. Like for a lot of online retail stores, 2020’s 4th quarter was a hectic one for the small yet feisty business of Marie Nicole. Their storage and shipping system was inadequate – to say the least – for the amount of growth they were having. Wrong shipments and long picking times were just a few of their growing pains. “We couldn’t scale our business, not like this,” said Jane.
To put it into perspective this is what a typical day for a product picker looked like. First, the orders would come in and a picking list would be printed out. For the next 45 minutes to an hour, the picker embarked on a scavenger hunt, tracking down all of the items on the picking list. It was a long and arduous process because “Everything was done by memory,” said Jane. There were no barcodes to effortlessly track orders and there was no organization of any kind. For this reason, training new employees was slow, difficult, and just about impossible. Jane found out the hard way that this sort of warehouse design is simply impossible to maintain when your business is growing rapidly.
Maintaining low volume sales was easy to manage, but a surge of 350 orders in one day quickly changed that. “Now, that isn’t a lot for us today but back then it was a ton!” exclaimed Jane. “It took us 5 days to pick and ship out the orders. It left us exhausted and crying with relief after it was said and done. That’s when I thought to myself, ‘this can’t continue, or I will never get any sleep.’ ”
Something had to change.
Jane then proceeded to search for an answer. She quickly came across Hoj’s video highlighting what their design engineers were able to accomplish for Sparkle in Pink, a similar online retail clothing company. Sparkle in Pink brought in Hoj Innovations engineers to analyze their current system and design a more efficient one. They were quickly able to separate the high-volume items from the low-volume items and design a system which would grow with her business. “We were able to show her a complete configuration of what their warehouse would look like before we built anything,” said Robert, lead logistics engineer and co-owner of WarehouseOS®. This layout was key in organizing her new warehouse in the most efficient way possible. Much like Sparkle in Pink, Marie Nicole was a rapidly growing business that needed help. Jane remarked, “If it worked for them then it will work for us, so I made the call.”
*Digital plans of Marie Nicole’s warehouse before construction.
A newly designed warehouse is great, but it’s nothing if there isn’t strong software backing its picking and packing processes. That is where WarehouseOS® comes in. WarehouseOS®, or WOS, is a cloud based software that is updated regularly by HOJ’s sophisticated team of software engineers. With today’s ever-changing technology, businesses shouldn’t have to worry about the most mundane part of running a warehouse, the picking process. WOS leaves the user free from having to worry about how to manage, fix bugs and make updates to an internal system. This robust software can regularly handle tens of thousands of orders at a time without issue. Last year, in one of WOS’s busiest 4th quarters to date, there wasn’t a single hiccup that impeded users. In addition, WOS is incredibly simple and easy to use, which helps new users get up and running quickly without delay.
WOS coupled with the new warehouse design for Marie Nicole significantly decreased picking times and also reduced picking errors. “It was amazing. We had a warehouse worker pull one cart in only 30 minutes. The fastest one we had previously was 45 minutes,” said Jane. “With this amazing system, we’re able to catch up on a whole week’s worth of orders in only one day!”
Mark Merseth, Hoj project manager over the install of their new warehouse, noted, “The difference between what Jane had before and what she has now is significant. She went from a disorganized complicated system which led to many wrong orders being sent out to a system that tracks her inventory, speeds up the picking process, and eliminates picking errors.” Now Jane can focus all her efforts on growing her business and less on keeping up with fulfilling her orders.