Independent family-owned retailer Rogers Sporting Goods is a formidable player in the sporting and recreational equipment industry. The company is a self-described provider of hunting gear for “the serious outdoor enthusiast” and routinely outsells larger competitors by offering more selection at the right prices.
Supporting Omnichannel Sales Experiences & Service
Rogers has established a strong brand presence online and through its brick-and-mortar store. Consequently, their warehousing strategy is as agile as their business model.
One-touch integration across both real and virtual channels gives our client a competitive advantage in a saturated market where suppliers typically try to be everything to everybody. Rogers, in contrast, is recognized globally for giving waterfowlers and hunters exactly what they want and for less. In just a few years, the company experienced substantial growth potential and, in response, initiated a major facilities expansion and an overhaul of order fulfillment processes.
Location Visibility & Fast Inventory Reconciliation
PowerHouse delivered on a truly integrated platform by supporting clear product location visibility and fast inventory reconciliation, essentials for fast-paced, “real-time, all the time” warehousing. “We’re busy all year round,” explained Brett Patton, Snr. Purchasing Agent. “Lot traceability and live ecommerce are critical, because we’re moving inventory all the time.”
Upstream & Downstream Data Analysis
As important, PowerHouse gave Rogers the ability to reach beyond their warehouse to gather upstream order information and downstream transportation data. We helped our client decrease dependence on safety stock and streamline open-to-buy budget planning, all while enhancing customer experiences.
“We knew that if we could expand our offerings, we could expand our customer base. Because the QSSI team could think outside-the-warehouse-box about output and potential efficiencies, we had the support we needed to double our business. And, by ‘double our business’ I mean double our output, said Patton.”
Live in 6 Months! Accelerated WMS Deployment
Rogers moved into a new shell office building and implemented a new WMS in an expanded warehouse facility—all within the course of 6 months. The fast-paced project evolved in phases, each characterized by a new juncture in PowerHouse’s development. Rogers’ WMS went live with the initial set-up of the company’s main warehouse. We then configured and made the retail store operational, followed by the second floor picking mezzanine.
The capacity to “configure and then reconfigure” in near-real-time is the key to a successful outcome for a complex WMS implementation. “You don’t know what you don’t know,” said Rogers’ warehouse manager, which necessitates demonstrating and testing the system sooner, rather than later.
Smart Warehousing during Company Transition
Significantly, the QSSI team migrated the new warehouse into live mode as the physical components were put in place. Move-in was happening as we built the system and integrated various elements. For instance, we configured the majority of WMS requirements for the mezzanine before it was built. We also imported inventory into PowerHouse to provide data loading initially for a partial go-live. Our objective was to support business development during the company’s transition; Rogers’ sales team had accurate data for their webpage.
Effective Phased WMS Deployment
QSSI adopted an iterative approach to Rogers’ WMS deployment. To connect our client’s various revenue streams, we formulated a series of functions and services, tested the methodology incrementally and frequently, and then evaluated the results based on the latest feedback and evolving business requirements.
According to Roger Saarimaki, Snr. Application Specialist at QSSI, “Effective phased deployments require constantly monitoring system configurations for changes that can improve efficiency or meet new data requirements.” Rogers’ new dashboard displays order status, work specifics, and any backlogs, which enables operations to respond in real time.
Key Integration Points for WMS Deployment
Integration needed to be in stages to meet Rogers’ ambitious deployment objectives.
Once the warehouse was set-up, we worked on increasing speed and volume, followed by the integration of the retail store data. The QSSI team started with existing warehouse data. We matched rules to current restocking and picking requirements. As throughput increased, we further configured the locations and tweaked the rules to match. We subsequently addressed the retail store locations in a similar way. Finally, with the configuration of the second floor mezzanine, we could migrate to live as the physical structure was being built.
We based the ongoing changes on new processes to support the host data, as needed. The goal was and continues to be continuous improvement. Ultimately, PowerHouse doubled our client’s previous shipping capacity—without doubling their staff.
Reducing the Day-to-Day Complexity of Order Fulfillment Operations
PowerHouse agility is also evident in improvements in operational efficiencies and workforce productivity. Rogers can now more easily adapt to shipping variations (ship ready, ship alone, etc.) and count on accurate, precise parcel measurements every time. But, perhaps the greatest cost savings came with the introduction of new processes for reducing time and touches.
Rather than significantly increasing the number of workers on the floor to meet increased demand, PowerHouse made Rogers’ existing labor more efficient. Cartons that don’t require repackaging (or a pack station) prior to shipping can now be picked, labeled, and shipped under one continuous procedure. Carrier compliant labels are printed from a mobile device when the carton is scanned. The worker simply “slaps” on the label and drops the carton at the conveyor to the truck. The fact that the carrier system is fully integrated with the TMS adds another level of seamless execution.
Flexible Order Picking Systems & Methods
The inherent efficiency of the “slapper” process has resulted in more nuanced responses, e.g., only under certain circumstances is a case pick sent by itself. For Rogers, we configured such criteria in PowerHouse to recognize atypical conditions and to create case picking. Again, there is no need to send the item to a pack station for extra handling. In addition, the item will not incur extra shipping charges.
Similarly, oversized items can lead to uncommon picking scenario configurations. Rogers’ pick module includes reusable totes, but certain items arrive in boxes too big to fit into those totes. As a result, the tote and large carton picks need to arrive at the pack station together to implement the most cost-effective solution, i.e., tote picks packedinside cartons. In these situations, PowerHouse can connect a tote pick with a large carton in the same zone by having the carton “train” after the tote. The pair move together to the next zone or pack station.
For Rogers, increased flexibility has meant adaptation—the ability to match their WMS to their warehouse environment over time.
ROGERS SPORTING GOODS
Kansas City, MO
- 200,000 square feet
- Double (2-level) pick module
- Fully RF enabled
- 40,000+ SKUs
- Bulk purchasing
- Low minimum orders
- Just-in-time delivery
- Same-day delivery
- High volume returns
Solutions in the Design
- Identifying labor in/efficiencies—at individual worker level
- Picking in real-time (interfaces in seconds)
- Scale counting and scan & pack—for easy picking and re-stocking
- Automating customized compliance labeling
- Automating rate shopping—for best shipping rate
- Order tracking—visibility for customer, too