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In a dynamic market, every large retailer depends on a well-oiled supply chain network for managing and maintaining the high volume of inventory. As retail volumes increase, most retailers struggle for keeping track of the millions of Stock Keeping Units (SKUs) across different product categories. Future Group, India’s biggest retailer and owner of numerous successful brands, such as Pantaloons, Big Bazaar, Central and HomeTown, was facing a similar problem. As the volume of retail business handled by the Future Group increased exponentially, it was facing a massive challenge in handling a large number of SKUs, spread across many different product categories including fashion, home, food, and furniture and consumer durables. Understanding the critical importance of the supply chain to the company, the firm set up India’s first end-to-end supply chain services company, Future Supply Chains. Over the years, the firm developed expertise in supply chain management of consumer product categories, such as fashion, food & FMCG, home decor and furniture, consumer durables & electronics and general merchandise. The company has a footprint of over 6 million square feet of warehousing space strategically located across India. As demand grew, the company fine-tuned its systems and designed supply chain solutions. Today, the firm is the first organized intra-city transportation services company in India — carrying out not only B2B deliveries but also B2C deliveries in the form of thousands of home deliveries every day across the country, especially for furniture and consumer durables. Future Supply Chains had warehouses spread across the country with very little infrastructure. As the warehouses were manually operated, it was getting extremely difficult for the firm to keep track of inventory. Retail stores started reporting lost sales because the goods could not reach the stores on time. The company responded to this challenge by first rationalizing the number of distribution centres and later consolidating to larger distribution centres. However, the number of SKUs and volumes had increased manifold, which necessitated a state-of-the-art Warehouse Management System (WMS).
The firm went in for an all-out approach. Future Supply Chains. Today. A pull system based on actual demand has now replaced a push system that ran on forecasted demand. warehouse management is at the core of supply chain management. . offices and clients. which ensured that the company was able to implement Infor SCM WM at 18 locations in a relatively short period of just 18 months. For example. whereas today even the last piece can be traced. as it believed that it was more scalable and reliable than other products from competitors. stock consisting of a few pieces of apparel could not be traced. “For any supply chain company. the firm zeroed in on Infor. previously. as well as strong presence across India in terms of manpower. for categories like fashion. Boosting supply chain efficiencies Post implementation. After evaluating a number of WMS products. And also because Infor had an ecosystem of existing partners.For Future Supply Chains. COO and CIO.” states Samson Samuel. all 18 warehouses are working at efficiency levels of more than 90 percent. having an effective WMS in place was a necessity and not a choice. the benefits of having a robust WMS is paying for the firm.
Future Supply Chains no longer has to . the staff used to scan every single consignment as they were never sure of what a vendor is sending or not sending.” explains Samuel. Future Supply Chains is now able to measure labor productivity and keep a track of what each person is doing or contributing. The speed of processing too has improved.The Infor WMS has also helped the company rationalize its warehouse structure design decisions. “The company is now able to handle a very large number of SKUs and ensure 100 percent stock accuracy as the stock is totally visible online. While shrinkages have gone down. In addition. Labor productivity and efficiency have increased significantly — through the WMS. Previously. The WMS also ensures that the company has visibility of stocks across the distribution centers. It is also possible to do stock corrections in real time since all entries are online. stock replacement and refill rates have reached an efficiency level of more than 90 percent. Even minor errors in SKUs now get corrected online. The company now receives goods on a sampling basis.
high accuracy and guaranteed on-time distribution to the customer. which ensures minimum shrinkage. .carry out lengthy and manual stock checks or do a wall-to-wall count of what is where in the warehouses. It has also helped in establishing a process based model of business. now it can do the stock check effectively without stopping the business. today all warehouses are working at 99 percent efficiency. As a result of the WMS. Earlier it had to do all these activities by stopping the business for a few days.