The Exchange’s streamlined supply chain and innovative shipping practices are serving Warfighters, military families and Veterans well this holiday season.
The organization has invested nearly $27 million in optimizing its supply chain since 2013, including more than $900,000 in improving product flow through three of the Exchange’s distribution centers: Dan Daniel, Waco and West Coast. This involved upgrading the technology and automation at each distribution center to enhance the eCommerce fulfillment process.
These upgrades not only benefit the customers, who could see their shipping times drop significantly upon full implementation, but also the organization as a whole.
“In addition to initiating process improvements before the start of the holiday selling season and modernizing the DCs’ systems, the Supply Chain team also continues to collaborate with our Merchandising (MD-PAR) team,” said Jeremy Boyd, vice president of supply chain optimization. “We share common goals to drive out opportunity inventory and assess order quantities and requirements, so sharing actionable information throughout the supply chain is essential.”
From warehouses to stores
The Exchange recently completed a cross-channel study of eCom inventory placement – how and where items are shipped – and the Supply Chain team are working to implement recommendations that came from that study.
“One of the specific recommendations was to shift additional lines of products from DC fulfilment to SFS fulfilment,” Boyd said. “We are starting to move some of the product currently in our warehouses to the stores in response to that recommendation.”
Since the first Ship-from-Store locations launched in July 2016 at Fort Belvoir, Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, and MacDill and Nellis Air Force Bases, the Exchange has implemented 99 Ship-from-Store locations worldwide (76 main stores and 23 Military Clothing stores).
Getting closer to customers
Items that are shipped from the stores now comprise 20 percent to 30 percent of all online orders, and that number is expected to rise.
“Increasing the store presence brings us closer to the customer,” said David Lemons, vice president of eCommerce operations. We are able to ship the merchandise from a fulfillment center – the store, in this case – that’s closer to the customer, which cuts down transit time and overall cost.”
Our customers aren’t the only ones who benefit from the convenience of the ship-from-store model, Lemons said.
“The stores get the sales, which is a huge benefit to the field,” Lemons said. “This revenue creates additional hours for our associates to work, plus allows the Exchange to contribute even more to Quality-of-Life programs serving the military community.”
100 percent of Exchange earnings support the military, including Quality-of-Life programs that are crucial for readiness and resiliency. In 2017, the Exchange contributed $219 million to Army Child Development Centers and Fitness Centers, Air Force Outdoor Recreation activities and other programs to make life better for those who serve.