Dickies Workwear is the largest privately owned workwear company in the world, selling a range of branded workwear, corporate clothing and streetwear. The company was founded in 1922 and has since become the trusted global leader in full-service workwear, with a wide range of products available in 100 countries worldwide.
Dickies have been working with Indigo Software for over a decade, using Indigo’s warehouse management software, Indigo WMS to manage its main 170,000 sq ft UK distribution centre in Bath.
At this facility, Dickies clothing, which is manufactured in India, China and Morocco, is stored ready for dispatch either in bulk to retail outlets or sold as individual orders through the company’s e-commerce division. The warehouse runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with 3 shifts each employing 30 operatives plus management.
Automating previously paper based processes As a result of manufacturing being outsourced to multiple geographies, one of Dickies’ key warehouse operations requires manually cross-checking incoming stock against dispatch documentation, to ensure the right garments have been delivered prior to put away. This is because historical experience has shown that there was not always a strong correlation between the stock inside a shipment and what was printed on a label.
Prior to implementing Indigo WMS, Dickies’ warehouse processes to complete these checks were paper based. The process was highly labour intensive, requiring garments or footwear to be checked by hand, assigned to a location and then put away onto different pallets.
Now, all the company’s warehouse operations are managed using Indigo. Rather than check every item, Dickies operates a random sampling procedure and is able to process incoming orders more quickly, transforming what used to be a 2 to 3 day operation into a same day onward shipping process in 75% of cases.
“Process efficiency has improved enormously using Indigo and now as soon as an order arrives we can have it assigned to a location and put away with very little human interaction needed – what used to take hours now takes less than an hour,” says Clive Mills, IT Manager at Dickies Workwear.
Fully integrated with ERP and warehouse automation Indigo WMS is fully integrated with Dickies’ Infor ERP solution and data is captured and processed using Honeywell CK3X hand held devices. In addition, Indigo has been integrated with an automated conveyor system, to speed up the goods receiving process.
The total volume of orders processed by Indigo WMS has increased significantly since the system was first implemented.
Indigo’s software has also supported the growth of Dickies’ ecommerce division, which is operated from a standalone warehouse and linked to the main DC via a dedicated ISDN line. The software allows stock to be quickly transferred between warehouses as needed and for items to be picked and dispatched as a single operation for maximum efficiency.
“Implementing Indigo was very straightforward and they did a great job of designing the system so that it works effectively in all parts of the warehouse. It’s an ideal solution for the apparel sector and very intuitive for users and management,” says Clive Mills.
Supports demand peaks to maintain high productivity As with most businesses, demand peaks for Dickies at certain times of the year, with September being a particularly busy month for the warehouse team as customers prepare for the onset of winter and harsher weather conditions. The resulting increased sales demand requires the company to recruit additional temporary warehouse operatives, who need to be able to reach full productivity levels as soon as possible for targets to be achieved.
Being such an intuitive system, Indigo WMS has always proved very easy for new incoming team members to become competent at using, with minimal training required.
“Indigo has been a great asset for Dickies as we have expanded over recent years. It has helped ensure our warehouse operations are optimised and that resourcing costs can be kept to a minimum without compromising on customer service levels or quality,” adds Clive Mills.
Full ROI achieved within 12 months Dickies saw a clear return on their investment in Indigo WMS within 12 months and recouped the initial capital outlay far more quickly than anticipated. Almost a decade later, the system is still going strong and continues to add value to the company’s business.
“We saw a return on our investment much faster than anticipated and since then have invested in more equipment to support our growth, with a greater number of RF devices and more operatives per shift, who now work around the clock to fulfill demand,” says Clive Mills.
Looking ahead, Dickies intends to implement dedicated business intelligence software and integrate this with Indigo WMS to improve management reporting and derive more value from the operational information gathered within Indigo.