Forzani Attributes WMS Success To Business Ownership Of Implementation

Choosing the right solution provider is vital, but business ownership of a project implementation is the key to success, according to Keith Lambert, Senior Vice President Of Supply Chain and Merchandise Management for Forzani, the largest sporting goods retailer in Canada.

“The best advice I can give anyone is ‘Own the project,’” Lambert recently told Retail TouchPoints. “The minute business takes ownership is the minute the project will be successful.”

Lambert also explained that the Forzani IT department was fully cooperative with the plan to have the project managed as a business/supply chain initiative. “We had no pushback from IT — they were actually pleased,” he said. “And in no way do I mean to slight our IT people.”


On Time, On Budget, Impressive ROI
Forzani continues to reap the benefits from the implementation of a new Manhattan Associates Warehouse Management System (WMS), several years following the initial implementation. “Initially we were able to product an ROI much quicker than anticipated, but as we continue to move more critical mass through the system, the savings continue to multiply,” Lambert noted.

Initially, Forzani saw a 31% decrease in unit costs and a 38% increase in productivity, in a very short time following the implementation. “We were at full productivity within just two days of implementation,” according to Lambert.

“This was one of the best project start-ups the organization ever experienced,” Lambert said. “Within 48 hours we were up and running at our old capacities, then the system surpassed our expectations within one week.”

New Functionality Propels The Business Forward
The need for the new WMS developed out of several ongoing issues, including a lack of functionality with the old system, movement into a new distribution center, and a quickly growing product volume. “At the time we were acquiring one to three new banners each year,” noted Lambert, “and it was becoming challenging to manage warehouse space efficiently. Also, we had a lot of common SKUs that we wanted to be able to support over multiple banners.”

The Manhattan Associates solution fulfilled that need  by improving receiving efficiencies, providing carton label control, and facilitating receiving with advance electronic ship notices. Additionally, the solution’s replenishment functionality gave Forzani the ability to waive orders either as a batch or as separate pick-to-store orders.

“We were moving into an era when we were beginning to ask vendors to build non-store-specific packs,” noted Lambert. “We would not have been capable of doing that with our old system.”

Forzani also has been able to reduce items’ clock-to-stock distribution time, using Manhattan Associates’ cross-clocking and put-to-store capabilities. Users can now move products from pallets to nearby locations for same-day delivery or on to trucks to fill pending orders.

In 2011, Forzani has tapped Manhattan Associates for a new project – adding its franchise business on to the Manhattan Associates WMS system.

With more than 500 sporting goods stores across Canada, Forzani Group is in the process of being acquired by Canadian Tire Corporation, for close to $800 million. The resulting company will operate more than 1,000 retail sports outlets across Canada. The deal is expected to close in Q3 2011. 

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