When national specialty retailer Stage Stores launched e-commerce fulfillment operations, it was inundated with online orders. Because Stage fulfilled e-commerce out of 113 brick-and-mortar stores operating under five separate retail brands, during the peak holiday retail season store associates had to be pulled off the floor to help fulfill e-orders.
With fewer associates to help customers in person – and a keen e-fulfillment deadline problem – Stage Stores needed to improve the speed of its e-fulfillment process, without negatively impacting in-person customer service during the crucial holiday season.
Sendero started with an in-depth time and motion study, to get an accurate picture of the current order processing fulfillment flow. A Sendero team visited 11 stores as observers, capturing the time and steps needed to accomplish each of six major steps in the Stage Stores e-commerce fulfillment process. Tracking 90 orders through the observation period, we calculated average time to fulfill, recording 8 gigabytes of video and capturing 494 observation data units. The next step: an industry competitive analysis to see how the current flow measured up to industry standards.
Armed with this data, our Sendero consultants built out:
- Three sets of recommendations (short-, mid- and long-term) to phase in immediate improvements
- Best practices to standardize and optimize fulfillment workspaces and processes
- Detailed standards to ensure the optimal process could be implemented at each location across the Stage Stores brands
- Recommendations for hiring a full-time fulfillment specialist
- Recommendations for improving the Stage Stores inventory system and fulfillment tracking
- Recommended technology upgrades that would boost efficiency by eliminating two steps of the six-step fulfillment process