Mountain Khakis, an omnichannel distributor of premium outdoor apparel, implemented Descartes OzLink™ Mobile Warehouse and Descartes OzLink™ Shipping to streamline and accelerate its order fulfilment workflow. By eliminating time-consuming manual processes and integrating the technology stack to ensure order data flows seamlessly between multiple applications, the Descartes solution increased operational efficiency, ensured order accuracy, and enhanced customer service. The Challenge: Manual Processes Impede Warehouse Productivity
Mountain Khakis’s complex order management ecosystem involves a 380-piece product lineup (plus size runs of up to 42 different SKUs per item), delivered via four sales channels (ecommerce, retail storefronts, the company’s own retail outlet, and marketplaces e.g., Amazon) and managed by a lean team of seven warehouse staff. In order to meet rising customer expectations for expedient delivery and consistent communication, especially during seasonal peaks, Mountain Khakis required a warehouse management system (WMS) that could be integrated seamlessly into its existing technology stack—Shopify, Returnly, NuORDER, Oracle NetSuite® and SPS Commerce—to boost order fulfillment efficiency and elevate the customer experience.
“We owe a big ‘thank you’ to Descartes because it’s been such a huge boon to our productivity and customer relationships. By integrating all the technology elements of our order fulfilment process, the Descartes solution streamlines picking, packing, and shipping for our small DC team; it’s basically a one minute process per item, which is a massive time savings for us.”Mary Jane Alvarenga, DC Operations Manager Mountain Khakis
The Solution: Technology Integration Drives Efficiency
With a goal of maintaining exceptional customer service amidst seasonal order volume peaks and sizeable growth across its omnichannel distribution system, Mountain Khakis implemented Descartes OzLink Mobile Warehouse and Descartes OzLink Shipping at its 40,000-sq.ft. distribution center (DC) in Charlotte, NC. The Descartes solution accelerates the fulfilment cycle by replacing time-consuming manual picking practices with handheld scanners for multi-order tote-based picking, ASN automation for large wholesale and retail orders, automated labeling, and seamless integration with UPS and other carrier applications for simplified shipping.
The apparel outfitter typically ships 5,000 packages during the spring/summer season and 9,000 packages during the fall/winter season, processing 400-500 shipments per day during peak times. “Our ability to handle these volumes comes down to the optimal integration of our tech stack—and Descartes OzLink is the ace up our sleeve,” said Mary Jane Alvarenga, DC Operations Manager at Mountain Khakis.
“When COVID-19 hit and ecommerce orders jumped from 40% to 90% of our total volume, our seven-person DC team was able to handle this radical shift without issue, even offering same-day shipping,” added Alvarenga.
“Descartes OzLink solved the problem of moving information from various applications—such as Shopify for ecommerce orders and SPS Commerce for order data sent via EDI for marketplaces like Amazon and Zulily—into NetSuite to ensure our accounting and inventory control systems are current and accurate,” noted Alvarenga. “Now all stakeholders across the distribution channels have access to up-to-date inventory.”
Timely, accurate communication is integral to the Mountain Khakis customer experience. “Customers want real-time information: they want to be certain what products are available, they want acknowledgement of their order, they want to know when and with which carrier their item ships, and they want an ETA for delivery. The integrated Descartes solution facilitates exactly this type of critical customer communication,” said Alvarenga. The Results
80% Increased Efficiency
By eliminating time-consuming manual processes and integrating disparate systems, Descartes OzLink streamlined the company’s order fulfilment workflow. A small DC team easily handled increased volumes during the pandemic, despite a 125% spike in ecommerce orders.
Exceptional Customer Service
With Descartes OzLink, Mountain Khakis can provide consistent, reliable communication with customers about their order, from receipt through shipment. The Descartes solution also supports sophisticated drop ship functions by generating branded packing lists to include in shipments, and changing the return address on shipping labels.
Over 90% Order Accuracy
Descartes OzLink reduced warehouse picking errors through barcode scanning and order validation. The solution integrates orders from Shopify and online marketplaces into NetSuite and shares data with carrier services to ensure accuracy across the order lifecycle.
With an intuitive, easy-to-use interface, Descartes OzLink simplifies the onboarding process by minimizing training time for warehouse employees. The Mountain Khakis training manual for pickers is only a single page!