With 5,500 stores receiving merchandise from just three distribution centers, General Nutrition Centers (GNC) needed a warehouse management system with quick reflexes. GNC, the largest global specialty retailer of nutritional products, went live with RedPrairie Warehouse Management and Workforce Management in January 2010 for multi-channel fulfillment across its chain of retail stores, including 1,000 franchise locations and 1,200 Rite Aid-based stores-within-a-store.
From the GNC DCs in Arizona, Pennsylvania and South Carolina, daily orders must be planned, allocated, picked and ready for shipment in 90 minutes or less, noted Lee Karayusuf, Senior Vice President Distribution and Transportation for GNC. “To meet that pace, to get the orders out the door each day, we offer users compensation based on how productive their picking is,” he explained. “The solutions we chose had to support that practice, and enhance efficiency across multiple channels of business.” More than 145,000 order lines are fulfilled daily using the new system.
To complete the solution set, GNC also implemented RedPrairie’s Event Management, Scorecard and Web Visibility.
DC Labor Productivity is Key
While many retail organizations may focus more of their workforce management efforts in the store, they are wise to also pay attention to productivity in the warehouses and distribution centers. Bottom line: if the products are not efficiently delivered to the stores, the store associates cannot efficiently sell the products to shoppers.
The need to properly manage DC workers is clear. More than 80% of retailers currently employ hourly workers in their DC operations, according to an RSR study in February 2010. And DC labor management can be complicated, since DC workers can be seasonal and often must possess specific skills, such as machine operation, RSR reported.
To effectively kick off the implementation of the warehouse management system, RedPrairie’s project team met with GNC system users and were able to get them up and running in the first site in three days. Following initial training, the GNC team took over and implemented the solutions into the other two sites.