The Weird Fish clothing brand was born in 1993 and has grown its core business of wholesaling their unique and quirky range to 400+ independent retail outlets, with a significant increased growth rate in the last 2 years. In addition to the independent retail outlets Weird Fish also make significant internet sales and has 5 of its own dedicated retail shops in the South West of England.
The continued growth of the business is driven by supply to the major high street retail chains (in addition to the existing independent retailers and growing internet business).
It was identified by the Weird Fish management team that external expertise was required to develop and ensure that the warehouse and logistics resources were fully optimised to facilitate their considerable sales growth.
“We approached Gideon Hillman Consulting as they were highly recommended to us by another company for whom the specialist Warehouse and Logistics team carried out a similar project with excellent results” says Spencer Dodington, Weird Fish Finance Director.
The company has approximately 30,000 sq ft of warehousing and offices in Cheltenham which is the National Distribution Centre for the UK and currently fulfils all the orders for the business. The warehouse operation is primarily a break bulk, replenishment and pick & pack operation to suit the order profiles of the traditional customer base (independent retailers and internet sales). However the recent growth in sales towards major high street retailers has created the need for Weird Fish to review and reconfigure both their operational and planning processes.
The target for the team from Gideon Hillman Consulting was to design the optimised solution, reflecting the changing business profile, and to support implementation in December 2010 when the warehouse activity is traditionally low prior to the intake of the Spring/Summer 2011 range.
The Warehouse and Inventory Management specialists carried out a thorough review of all physical aspects of the warehouse operations from goods received through to order despatch; as well as a detailed review of historical and projected order profiles.
“We undertook a comprehensive mapping exercise of the existing pick face layouts, picking routes and operating procedures, identifying key areas for improvement, and designing practical solutions, in order to improve order pick speed, simplify the picking operation and consequently reduce costs. This also allowed us to generate capacity to accommodate the clients projected growth” commented Managing Director Gideon Hillman
The consultants worked closely with the Weird Fish Management team and warehouse teams to find pragmatic solutions to specifically suit the client’s unique requirements. The team were able to identify to Weird Fish Management the cost and efficiency benefits of the proposed solutions by clearly presenting the pick rates and the cost per item picked for the optimised solution versus the current operation.
“The result was a sensible and practical solution which focused on our real needs, objectives and capabilities, and gave us a clear direction on how to continue improving our warehouse operations in the future”; added Spencer Dodington (Weird Fish Finance Director).